Find Fitness Confusing? Follow Your Arrow.
"If you can't lose the weight then you're just fat,
but if you lose too much then you're on crack. Damned if you do
and damned if you don't so you might as well just do whatever you want..."
I love this song- it speaks to so many avenues of life. I find it especially applicable when applied to helping someone wade through the murky waters of fitness. Fortunately, they don't have to hear me sing the lyrics.
On Saturday, I posted about prioritizing resistance training for busy moms. But, there's a caveat- in the form of personal preference and exercise adherence. Resistance training is muy importante when we're talking about physique changes and fat loss because, well, muscle. You have to have it. But, what if you're really only interested in exercise for general fitness or you are just kind of wandering not sure what to do? Well then, let's talk.
I'm noticing the trend recently for fitness professionals to bash others for how they work out. I follow A LOT of fitness folk on all sorts of social media and every single one is SO damn passionate about their preferred form of exercise. And why shouldn't they be? I mean after all, they are popular for their research or achievements and that's why we follow them. But the bashing needs to stop, it's just not cool- it makes people confused about exercise and downright ashamed of doing the things they love! And, as fitness professionals our job is to encourage, inspire and help our clients meet goals, riiiiiight? Right.
So, then the question is, what should you be doing, and when? Here's my answer: follow your arrow.
Is it something you love and can't live without? Yeah? Then do it. Research suggests the more positive feelings you have about an activity or type of exercise the more likely you'll adhere . Don't listen to the peanut gallery about how you should be doing a, b, and c. If you look in the mirror naked and think, "Hey there, sexy" then, my friend, keep on keepin' on.
If however you've been trying to make some changes in your phisique for as long as you can remember, then it might be time to reassess your methods. What you're doing, how often, and how intensely you're working depends entirely on the goal(s) you intend to achieve.
So how do you know if what you're doing is right for you? Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
How long have you been chasing the same goal? If you've wholeheartedly been trying to lose 10 lbs. for over a year, something is not working.
Do your goals align with your methods? If you're training for a marathon and are solely lifting weights you may want to reconsider your plan.
Do you hate what you're doing for exercise? Are you bored? If you hate it, you're more likely not not to stick with it.
Is it sustainable? In 3 months can you continue these habits? What about 3 years? If you can't fathom another run, or perhaps the volume you're training you might be doing too much.
Are you making progress? Have you been doing the same body part split for months and remain at the same weight? If so, something needs to change.
If you found yourself uncomfortable with some of your answers it might be time to seek help. Find someone who’s doing what you want and find out how they do it. If you've got the money, hire a coach. Make sure that coach is not only educated but has experience! Being certified doesn't always equal proficiency. I for instance, would not be your go-to if you to compete in an Olympic Lifting competition. Do I understand the fundamentals of Olympic Lifting? Yep. Have I ever competed? Nope. Point being: make sure the person has the experience to back their education and vice versa. No money? No problem. There are a myriad of coaches and websites available to those who have the intrinsic motivation and desire to change on their own. Just be aware that you'll be investing some time into reading and researching the many ways to reach your intended goal.
In my opinion, when it comes to fitness, you should like what you're doing. Life is too short to agonize over exercise; your goals CAN be achieved incorporating what you love. If you're moving, healthy, and happy then continue on your path. Follow your arrow.
1. Jekauc, Darko. "Enjoyment during exercise mediates the effects of an intervention on exercise adherence." Psychology 6.1 (2015): 48.