If you pay any attention to the latest fitness trends, you’ve probably noticed that things seem to be getting more and more extreme. The more “insane” a workout is, the better. Words such as killer, brutal, and hardcore are the new norm when describing popular workouts. The new craze in running is “Ultra Running” where 50 or 100 miles is the target. Whew! If that’s your thing and your body can handle it, cool, but is it necessary for the typical exerciser to push their body to the brink?
I get asked frequently, “Are you training for anything?” My response is that I’m training for life. I don’t do races or competitions. My goal is simply to live a fit and healthy life and have a little fun in the process. Instead of training harder, I want to train smarter. Don’t get me wrong. We have to work hard. People who come to my classes know this. We WORK. You can’t just lollygag with your fitness. You have to challenge yourself and be consistent to get results, but you don’t have to go to extremes.
Unfortunately, the current trends can be discouraging to people who have fallen off the fitness wagon or who are contemplating jumping on for the first time. A fitness newbie’s desire to start can be totally shut down when he or she feels so far behind and when the current workout trends seem so unpleasant and extreme.
Our egos can be the problem on both ends of the fitness spectrum. The person who has gotten out of shape doesn’t want to feel embarrassed or like a “fitness weenie” compared to others, so that ego keeps him or her from doing anything. On the other end, the very fit person can push harder and harder even when they are injured or could get injured by the extreme exercises they’re doing. As we age, it can be a real blow to the ego when our bodies can’t quite do what they once could. Our egos want our bodies to do awe-provoking things. We want to be admired, for other people to think we are bad to the bone, but at some point, our bodies will win and say “Enough!” And who cares what other people think? Whether they think good or bad, it doesn’t change my life. What matters is the tape I’m playing inside my own head. If I think I’m doing alright, then good for me.
Is there a happy medium?? Absolutely! It really is possible to have a healthy, fit body without all the craziness. How? If you’ve read my blog or come to my classes, you’ve heard me preach this before. It’s nothing new, but I cannot emphasize these two simple things enough.
- Consistent Exercise – Whatever your exercise of choice, be consistent. If you don’t have an exercise you enjoy, start experimenting until you do. Make it fun! If you walk or run, download some great music and get going. Just move and move most days of week. Work up a sweat! Starting out can be rough, but when you get into a regular routine, you will begin to crave it. You will FEEL so much better, and, of course, you will look better, too.
- Healthy Diet – This is usually the tough one for many, but if you clean up your diet, it will show. When someone is exercising consistently, but still carrying extra weight, his or her diet is almost always the culprit. Many people look for the magic exercise formula or a new and better workout program to fix this, but, as many of you have heard before, you cannot out train a bad diet. It’s not hard to do a little research to educate yourself on healthy eating. The information is out there. In a nutshell, work to eliminate as much processed food from your diet as possible. Begin to add in more fruits and veggies and start eliminating the junk a little at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself some time to adjust and change.
Be encouraged! You don’t have to be a total fitness freak to have the healthy, lean body you want. When others tell you of the insane workouts they do, applaud them and hold your head up high. Enjoy your workouts. Be consistent. Eat healthy. Smile and enjoy life!