Do you workout because you want to or because you have to?
This is an important question to consider because it can make a huge difference in your outcome.
In my experience I’ve seen a lot of people working out because they have to. They come to my gym or contact me online to start a workout program because it’s something that needs to be done. Either they are fed up with how they feel or look, or worst case scenario there’s been a health scare and their doctor basically demands it. In both cases they are doing it because they no longer want to be in their current position.
They’re doing it because they have to and in a way, it’s not really their choice.
This option does work for a while because anger, frustration, and fear are all great motivators. We’re angry at our bad habits or poor condition so it’s time to change. We’re scared of the health risks so it’s time to change. Our current situation has to be different, so we HAVE to change.
The premise of the article is that we tend to idolize and make heroes of people (or characters) who embody perfection. We think up heroes like Batman and Superman, and idolize Greek gods and Spartan warriors. We’re always looking up to those that are the best at what they do.
The same is true in fitness. You can tell by the endless amounts of Instagram posts of “Fitspiration” focused on peach booty’s and 6-pack abs. It’s perfect images of perfect body’s in perfect lighting and perfect poses.
Thanks to modern medicine and scientific advancement, reaching 80, 90 and even 100+ is quite common.
One of my biggest fears is that we will live to 100 but our body only makes it to 70. We spend the last 30 years of our lives with minimal function and barely moving. Our life outlasts our body.
This make me think of one of my favourite quotes:
“We don’t stop moving because we get old, we get old because we stop moving”.
What this means for me is that in my fitness and health endeavours, I don’t only want a body that looks good now, I want one that lasts and functions for my whole life. I don’t want to just live to 100+, I want to BE ACTIVE until 100+.
Similar to a recent article I wrote, we need to focus on how our body functions and having a strong foundation in order to do this.
So many fitness programs today are focused on 2 things:
1 – an appearance/aesthetic result and
2 – getting that result as fast as possible
This speed and focus on external image often leads to sacrificing internal systems along the way.
We may look good at the beach, but this cumulative damage to systems on the inside ads up and leaves us limited in function, replacing joints, in a wheelchair or needing to inject hormones in our later years just to survive.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I want.
What I want is a 100 year body.
What I want it’s to look good AND FUNCTION GOOD until my last day!
Yes you are pursuing your fitness goal with maximal intensity, but is it at the sacrifice of other areas of your health?
I’m seeing this more and more lately so I wanted to address it.
Here’s my perspective:
I’m a Kinesiologist.
For the purposes of this article, all that means is that I study the movement and function of the body and how it works.
As a fitness coach, what this means is that when I create an exercise program for someone, I’m not only looking at their end goal and what they are trying to achieve, I’m also looking at their body and how well it functions.
What I see so much of today in the fitness industry is a singular focus intensity. Everyone wants HIIT workouts that “make me sweat”.
The good news from a coaching perspective is that making a workout hard is easy. I see endless amounts of videos on Facebook and Instagram of people creating insane workouts and super challenging variations of exercises. My personal simplification of it is: #JustAddBurpees
And it does make sense because intensity is how we get results.
It’s easy to make someone sweat and it’s easy to make someone work hard and push their intensity.
However, this often comes at a sacrifice to other areas of health or function in the body.
I see this in high intensity workout programs that don’t address body proper body mechanics and this creates added strain on joints and connective tissue.
I’m tired of seeing olympic lifts for added intensity meanwhile the knees and back are bending in ways that anyone watching knows is not right.
Bottom line, I’m not willing to make intensity the highest priority at the sacrifice of another area of health or physical function just for faster gains.
In my coaching I take the time to build a solid foundation with each client based on their individual needs. I take time to make sure they move and function well and I make sure they don’t develop other health issues just to lose a few quick pounds.
Unfortunately this process takes a lot longer than what we tend to see put in front of us online, but I don’t care.
I won’t sacrifice long term health for a short term result.
My goals is to help you create a body that not only looks good, but will function great for the rest of your life!
I’ve used this statement for years with my clients and I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot more lately.
The idea is simple:
1 is greater than 0 means something is better than nothing. No matter how small that something is.
When it comes to goals, my clients often get stuck on the size of it. They get overwhelmed with the distance they still have to go.
What happens is we feel we need to achieve a certain amount in order for it to be worth it or considered a success. We feel it’s all or nothing.
In other words, we set the bar really high.
We forget that something is better than nothing.
We forget that one workout is better than no workouts.
We forget that a 5 minute walk is better than staying on the couch.
We forget that 1 good food choice is better than no good food choices.
We also believe that 1 isn’t enough. That the one small thing will never get us to our goals.
To a certain degree this is actually true. The 1 thing won’t get us to our goal. But, that’s not the point.
It’s not about reaching the goal. It’s about the direction we are going in.
Doing nothing keeps us on the current path. The current course. The course that is NOT leading to your goal.
Doing the 1 thing is taking the 1st step that starts you in a new direction.
It’s not really that it’s 1 step, it’s that it’s the FIRST step.
It’s 1 thing in the direction you WANT to go and that is always better than doing nothing.
The added benefit is that 1 thing usually leads to a 2nd thing. And on and on it can go. At least this way there is a chance.
Reaching your goals doesn’t come from the 1 thing. It comes from the accumulation of all the 1 things over a certain amount of time. There literally is no other way.
So, if you’re stuck in a rut, hit a plateau or feel like you’re never going to reach your goal, stop looking at the finish line. Start looking at your current starting point and figure out 1 thing you can do to move in the right direction.
No matter how small of a step it is, take it!
It’s only 1, but it’s better than 0 and it’s the ONLY way to get to 2.
Just this past Wednesday I got back from a 1 week vacation with my sister in Puerto Vallarta. It was a great week filled with a whole lot of relaxing and not much else. The perfect vacation.
To me the idea of vacation is that it’s a break from your normal routine. You do something different and for most you take time to relax. That’s what I did!
However, it may mean some difficulty getting BACK into your normal routine.
From my week away, I realized a few things.
1 – I love activity and I get bored pretty quickly by doing nothing.
I think this is an important element because it’s something that I consider in the whole concept of a ‘lifestyle change’. It’s what I consider to be my ‘normal routine’ and it’s all about momentum and habits.
If you’re the type of person that doesn’t exercise regularly and find yourself too tired to workout after work, that is your momentum and your habit. Your normal routine. You’ve built that through repetition. It’s hard to break out of that and into a workout routine because you’re going against your flow so-to-speak.
If you’re like me, and you’ve built a lifestyle of fitness, working out regularly and making healthy food choice are your momentum and habits. A few days of shitty food and no exercise would be going against your flow. After a few days of that you want to go back to your momentum. I found that after about 3 days of sitting by the pool I was ready to get up and move. I wanted a workout!
2 – I planned to rest and not much more.
On that third day I had decided I would go to the resort gym for a workout. However, when I packed for my trip I didn’t bring and running shoes, which of course are required in the gym. I had actually packed socks for my workouts, but at the last minute I recall tossing the shoes aside and saying “I’m only going to wear flip flops this whole week”. I wasn’t able to use the gym, but because I was in a workout mindset I ended up doing a few sets of push ups and pull ups near the pool. I made due with what I had in the moment, but had I planned for workouts I’d be better set.
That said, I’m actually a believer in a vacation being a vacation. Not just from work or other things you do, but from workouts too. Unless your vacation is pushing 2 weeks or more, having a week off from workouts can actually be a great thing for your body’s recovery. So I usually plan for the rest and plan to NOT workout.
3 – My metabolism is pretty good at managing calories.
A lot of people complain about gaining weight while on holidays. I get it and it makes sense. Especially when you’re at an all-inclusive like I was because the food and drinks are endless.
For me, because of my lifestyle as mentioned above and therefore the metabolism I’ve created in my body, I realized how well I self regulate. I had some indulgence of food and drink in the first day and a half. After that I felt like I wasn’t as hungry and I didn’t desire drinks as much. I wasn’t being active, my caloric demand therefore wasn’t as high and by filling it with greasy and sugary foods in the first couple of days, my body slowed me down and I didn’t feel hungry.
Again, I’m sure some people may experience the opposite of this and I’m not exactly a normal case here, but I do believe that it comes from my lifestyle and habits I’ve built.
4 – How you come back from Vacation helps dictate your momentum going forward.
Even though I wanted to exercise and I was pretty good at regulating my calorie intake during the trip, I did feel pretty lazy by the end of the week.
When I got back from my vacation on Wednesday afternoon and literally went straight to work. I coached classes at my gym that evening and again the next morning. I love what I do, but I was pretty tired.
I’ll be completely honest, when I came back I was completely planning on skipping my Wednesday night workout. I had plenty of excuses for why it would be best to wait till the next morning. Thankfully I’m slightly *cough* competitive and when one of my buddy’s came in to do the same workout I was supposed to do of course I jumped in.
I felt better afterwards and it kickstarted my momentum back into my normal routine. By jumping back into things, I jumped back on the wagon and regained my momentum of fitness and activity.
I think vacations can have a momentum to them. It’s good to relax and rest and recover if that’s what you’re going for. But doing that for a week or two gets you in that mode. I found that by the end of the week I was more tired throughout the day. I think part of it was from not having the best sleeps in my hotel bed, but also because that was the momentum I built. I had an inertia of not doing anything and my body was getting used to it and adapting.
For me, that’s a whole lot different than my normal routine. The key for me was that at the end of the week I broke that momentum and got back into my usual regimen. A couple days later I still feel a little more tired than normal, but I feel myself getting back on track.
Having the break is only good if you can get back on track again afterwards.
The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.
Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.
It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.
This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.
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We would like to welcome Allie Parris to our happy growing family:
Coach Allie is a NASM certified Personal Trainer, a Weight Loss Specialist and a Fitness Nutrition Specialist – meaning her approach to coaching centers around not only finding what works best for you, but also teaching you how to understand why it works.
“My approach to training is extremely personal and individualized. I don’t just want to help you lose weight or get in shape. I want to help you understand why the tools I’m giving you work. I think a client should not just receive a program, they should understand why that program is tailor made for them. I want my clients to understand their bodies AND understand how to achieve results rather than just blindly follow a plan!”
As a self proclaimed “former crash dieter”, she has experience with just about every restrictive diet there is – giving her the experience to steer you past that frame of mind and into thinking about “how to feed your strength”.
“I came to Allie after working abroad for 6 months and my body type had changed completely. I felt self-conscious and unsure how to even begin this journey of getting my body back in shape. Allie made me feel comfortable discussing my body issues. She was the perfect balance of tough love yet tenderly motivating. Thanks Allie!!”
Allie’s personal journey to better health gives her a unique connection to her clients. Read her story here!