This seems extremely common in our country today. We “design” a fitness program only to fall off the wagon or fail to achieve the results we want. There are new “diet plans” and “workout programs” coming out every week trying to get your money. There are powders and supplements and shakes and pills to help you lose weight and build muscle. There are people who tell you that you must shock your system into it with things like P90X or insanity. What is going on here? Do you see animals in the wild? Take a lion. Extremely fit, healthy, in good shape. We are humans. We are designed to be fit and athletic. Different people have been designed with different genetics. Fighting your genetics will only take you so far. Let’s instead attempt to work WITH our genetics and fix our fitness program faults so that we can achieve optimal results without wasting a bunch of our time, energy, and money. Sounds good right? This short list will give some basic tips on how to achieve this.
1. FIND THE LEAKS: I don’t care what your training program is. If you never sleep and eat fast food all day you won’t be fit or healthy. You can sleep all day every day without training and eating properly and it still fix you up. The most important thing for health and fitness is your diet. What you give your body to run on for fuel. Sleep and exercise are very important as well. Your body heals best on its natural rhythm cycle. We usually feel best if we sleep when the sun goes down until sunrise. This may be a little longer in the winter yin phase and a little shorter in the summer yang phase. Maybe you are emotionally exhausted or spend a lot of time around EMF and/or crappy air quality. The point here is to find all the things that are “LEACHING” your energy or taking away from your health and remove them from your life. This will vary from person to person.
2. WORK WITH: Work with your genetics instead of against them. Some people are naturally very thin and really enjoy long-distance running and cardiovascular events. Some people are stocky and muscular but tire with too much cardio. We are all meant to be athletes but our ancestors did a lot of different things. Some ran around a lot. Some did a lot of physical labor. You know deep down what types of exercise feel best for you. Choose to do those most of the time.
3. BE ROUNDED: Too many of us end up in the same routine over and over again. Maybe this means just riding my bike. Maybe it means i just jog every day. Maybe I just lift weights the same way every day. This does a few things. It keeps your body lazy as eventually your body gets used to the stimulus. It also is boring. It also develops a very unbalanced, unrounded physique. I find “cross-fit” to be a bit extreme as far as pushing yourself and seems really more geared to extreme fitness than health but I like their 10 factors of fitness. The key here is to MIX IT UP. Keep the body guessing. Evolve into different techniques. Walking, jogging, biking, hiking, mini-trampoline, paddle-boarding (thanks Katie), bodyweight exercises, weight lifting, sprinting, you name it.
4. FOCUS ON RECOVERY: This is probably the area most of us overlook. Really cut down on the time you spend “working out” in general. Now I don’t mean light exercising here. Riding your bike really mellow-like or taking a nice long walk is always recommended. I am talking about sprinting, P90X, hardcore weight training, endless jogging, exhausting types of exercise. Focus on RECOVERY. Your body needs to recover from this. That means more sleep. More rest. More stretching. Less sugar, alcohol and processed foods. Do the things that your body wants so that it has the best chance to repair itself. This includes “working in” exercising such as qigong, tai-chi, meditation, etc.
Those are the biggies guys. Let’s not mindlessly feed a fitness industry just designed to take advantage of people who are not taking the time or providing the discipline to keep themselves fit. TRUE health and fitness comes from within. You need to truly want to be fit and healthy to become fit and healthy. You DO NOT need a “gym membership, protein bars, shakes, “diet food,” fancy DVD programs, etc etc. If these things work to keep you on track; then that is great. Find whatever you need to find the motivation that you need to stick with a program. Just remember that training without the proper diet and rest will always yield poor results. So let’s fix our fitness program faults. Any ideas?