Do you ever experience one of those days where you just can’t be bothered being fit and healthy?
Where, quite frankly, all you’d like to do is snooze through your entire workout time and head off to start your day with a strong coffee in one hand a yummy croissant in the other? All before coming home to the couch, a good book or your favourite show, and a nice big bottle of wine with a side of chocolate.
Please tell me I’m not alone.
Many health experts believe that nutrition is ‘80% of it’ when it comes to taking control of your health and fitness along with the way your body looks and feels. Truth be told, I do agree. In fact, I was talking about this just few of days ago in a nutrition seminar that I gave. So in theory, I guess it’s not that big of a deal to skip out on your planned fitness regime from time to time, so long as your eating is in check. Right?
Well no, actually. If only it were that simple …
The Path To Good Health Is Paved With Movement. Yup, Every Day.
The truth is that the concept of nutrition being ‘80% of it’ simply refers to the fact that, on average, you would eat about 3-4 times as often as you workout. If this is true, and you’re willing to follow me with a little bit of maths, then you have to face facts:
Let’s assume you eat 21-35 meals per week (if you’re eating small meals regularly rather than meal/snack/meal/snack) and up to 14 snacks (if you are snacking). That adds up to at least 30 times a week that you open your jaws and start chomping. Which means that you would want to be doing about 6 planned workouts that week.
If you’re thinking ‘huh’ right about now, I’ll bet you’re not alone.
But here’s the real kicker.
Did you notice I keep talking about planned workouts? What I mean is your gym or at-home strength training, your sports or outdoor fitness sessions, any bootcamps or circuits you might do, and perhaps some nice’n’sweaty interval cardio or your favourite fitness class.
These are your ‘real’ training sessions, but they are absolutely just the beginning. If I started listing all of the reasons that being regularly active is important to you we’d be here all day but here are just a few:
– regular strength training will improve your bone density and lowers risk of degeneration later in life
– working out with weights or even your body-weight lowers your resistance to insulin, which is a fat storage hormone. An excess of the stuff due to poor nutrition or lack of movement is a primary reason for people not being able to lose fat.
– For the same reason, working out regularly lowers your risk of diabetes
– Not to mention heart disease and (duh) obesity
But let’s be honest about what we all really really want. Regular exercise keeps you looking hot and feeling great. When all is said and done, that’s what we’re all looking for isn’t it? We want to feel confident, sexy, and in control of our bodies. We want to be certain we can remain active with our kids or grandkids or simply for ourselves. We want to feel empowered every single day for the rest of our lives.
Which means, quite simple, that we are going to have to move every single day for the rest of our lives.
How To Make Daily Fitness Work For You
It’s not about being king or queen of the gym. And you certainly don’t have to pound the pavement like a marathon runner or start entering lifting competitions. Here is a simple – and realistic – five step plan to making everyday fitness work for you:
1. It’s not all about the time. A planned workout can be as short as 15 minutes. 40-50 minutes is ideal for strength training, but you can belt out a great little circuit or interval session in under 20 and still super-charge your metabolism for the day. So there goes that excuse.
2. It’s not all about the gym. I love training at the gym, but sometimes it’s just not realistic to get there. I’ve been through phases where I let everything else suffer so that I could get my training in and I’ve been through phases where I simply didn’t train because I couldn’t get there. Let’s get real. Buy yourself a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell, a skipping rope and a yoga mat. Get creative with at-home workouts; even if it’s just 10-15 minutes at the start of your day. Consistency really does pay off.
3. Planned workouts are just the beginning. As a healthy and fit person it’s natural that you should enjoy and even look forward to moving your body. But this doesn’t have to mean solely when you do your planned workouts. That stuff called incidental exercise? It really does make a difference. If you can create the mindset of always being an active person you will naturally start to move more everyday.
4. Traditional exercise is not the only answer. When we think about fitness we tend to think about running, lifting weights, playing sports, or maybe group fitness classes. These are all fantastic ways to workout, but they’re not the be-all and end-all. If you truly hate the gym, don’t go. Workout at home, or consider something completely different like taking up dance or learning a new skill. Heck, even flying a kite can be a workout if it’s a windy day, so get creative!
5. Just start. This is the most important point. While scheduling and goal-setting for fitness can be useful, this is really not the sort of thing you should need to overly think about. We’re talking about using your body in the way it was designed to be used. Stop making excuses, or waiting until the right time, because you just may never get there. And while it can be fun to hit the snooze button and then kick back on the couch from time to time, it’s a lot more fun if you’ve been active in the lead up and know that you’ll be straight back into it the next day.
I’d love to know what you think about all of this. What are the things that hold you back from committing to a regular exercise regime, and what do you think you might be able to change after today?
Kat Eden is an Aussie nutrition and motivation coach. Kat writes about health, fat loss and motivation over at her blog www.bodyincredible.com, and about nutrition, fitness and lifestyle for driven women at www.womanincredible.com. Sign up to both blogs for FREE blog update and your free copy of one of Kat’s recent books!