Why do you exercise? Is it to improve your health? De-stress? Lose weight? Get stronger? Live longer?
Whatever reason you have, it is to ENHANCE your life in some way.
So, why then do so many exercise programs end up leaving you worse off than when you started?
Answer: You think you have to kill yourself.
The world of extreme exercise is becoming more and more wide spread. Crossfit, Spartan races, Insanity home workouts, Tough Mudders -- these are everywhere!
Everything is about working harder and harder, beating yourself up more and more until you can’t walk, and seeing just how much punishment your body can endure.
I think we have confused sport with fitness.
Sports and athletics are about optimizing performance in a single event/activity, but they do not promote long term physical health.
Just think about any high level athlete. Most of their bodies are so beat up by the time they retire, they live the rest of their lives in pain, dysfunction, and limited motion.
Fitness, on the other hand, is about optimizing performance in LIFE. Enhancing your life so that you can do more, have more energy, think more clearly, and especially increase your quality of life.
To be fit, not only do you not need to kill yourself, you SHOULD NOT kill yourself.
Challenge yourself? Yes.
But the one idea that is critical for you to take away from this article is that true fitness comes from achieving the MINIMAL EFFECTIVE DOSE when it comes to exercise.
This flies in the face of a lot of what you may read or hear, but if you want to maintain or regain your fitness as you age, this is going to be your saving grace.
Again, this does not mean that you do not push yourself or work hard…but you constantly are in search for the minimum work needed to reach your health and fitness goals.
Do you need 2 hours on the treadmill? No.
Do you need to do 50 burpees followed by 100 squats followed by 50 cleans? No.
Do you need to run a half marathon with barbed wire, freezing water, and climbing walls? No.
Is this even good for you? Not if your goal is optimal FITNESS.
Just think about all the stress that you are putting on your body in any of these settings! But people do this day in and day out because they think they need to push and push and push.
So let’s look at what it actually takes to maximize your fitness, functionality, and life fulfillment:
1) Find peace in your life
If you are stressed out 24/7 then you are not going to be fit or happy or capable.
Stress can cause just as much physical pain, weight gain, and muscle tightness as anything else you do or don’t do.
2) Eat like you know you should
You already know how to eat well, but you don’t do it. (Usually because you haven’t worked on point one.)
Every meal you eat is an opportunity to boost your mental and physical performance to get closer to the life you want.
But you have to have a REASON to eat what you know you should, and when you are stressed out and feel like a prisoner in your own life, food can sure be a nice comfort.
3) Lift weights
Like I said, you still need to push your body, but only enough to get you stronger.
The goal should be to choose the heaviest weight you can while keeping PERFECT form. If you are actually keeping form, you don’t need as much weight OR as many reps.
How do you know when to add more weight? When the weight you were using doesn’t seem that difficult any more.
4) Get your heart rate up...and then let it rest
Interval training is the way to go, but be smart about it. True intervals involve LONG rest periods, so work hard for 10-30 seconds, then take 60+ seconds off.
5) Keep moving
Getting to the gym is great, but if you go and sit for 24 or 48 hours after, your body is not going to like you very much.
Get a standing desk, go for walks, pick up a sport, or play with your kids. Whatever you do, just keep that body moving!
If you follow these 5 steps, you will find that your LIFE will get better. If you want to compete in a sport or look for a physical challenge, go for it, but don’t confuse competition with fitness.
If you are looking to optimize how you feel and perform day-to-day, this is the plan for you. And if you want to learn more about exercising in a way that will HELP you, download our Body Fix Guide now. This will include:
- How to prevent morning stiffness
- Key exercises to help your sore back
- 10 exercise you need to STOP doing
- How to get out of knee pain
- BONUS: How to nail your nutrition to help reduce aches and pains
Have a question? Please post your questions on our Facebook Page.
Mint Condition Fitness empowers purpose-driven men and women to lose weight, get out of pain, and do more of the things that make life meaningful.