One of my most often used phrases in my fitness blogs and articles online is “any form of activity is better than being inactive”. I spend a lot of time in conversations with people asking about various forms of exercise and how effective they will be in the pursuit of their weight loss or fitness goal. With only a few very rare exceptions, I generally encourage whatever avenue of interest they’re asking about, other than something I think would be excessively expensive or potentially dangerous. Whatever it is, it’s going to be better than sitting on the sofa with a bag of potato chips, right?
Usually my hope that is that they will eventually progress from simply “getting active” to following a proper fitness & nutrition (wellness) program designed for long term results, although I am starting to reconsider this approach and go the hard sell on my own services instead.
It’s still true that any activity is better than no activity at all, but I think it is important for people to consider the “time spent – results achieved” ratio and choose the best course of action to reach their fitness goals. Other important factors worth considering are monetary cost, and enjoyment / motivation, and I’ll elaborate on these a little later in this post.
By “time spent : results achieved”, I’m talking about comparing an activity where you might burn a certain amount of calories to another activity where you would expect to burn a significantly greater amount of calories in the same amount of time. For most people new to exercise, burning calories for weight loss is the most common goal, but you can substitute whatever other fitness goal is appropriate. Regardless of the goal, we should choose an activity (or combination of activities) that is more likely to produce the greatest results.
Again when considering that “greatest result”, we need to consider the enjoyment / motivation factor. For the vast majority of people out there, if you do not enjoy it, you will not keep doing it! For me, this rules out a lot of the fitness equipment you see advertised on the television in those infomercials. Whether it’s a treadmill, abdominal device, stepper or whatever else, without even trying to decide if we think this is an affective form of exercise, the most important question is “will you continue performing this activity every day for the rest of your life without being bored out of your brain?”. My bet would be that most people will run out of motivation for performing the same repetitive exercise some time during the first or (at best) second week.
Monetary cost is another factor that I could (and probably should) write a whole new article about. Are you spending a lot of money needlessly, when you could get as good / better results without paying for expensive equipment? Or are you choosing an ineffective product because it is the cheapest option? Also it seems that a lot of people spend big money on various pieces of fitness equipment advertised on TV, which they don’t end up using – just like the last one they bought.
Getting back to the subject of results, it’s important to mention how easy it is to squander those hard earned results with poor food choices and especially with unhealthy snacks. As much as I wish it wasn’t true, nutrition really is worth up to about 80% of your results – no matter how good your training program is, you can’t just eat whatever you want and expect good results. The truth is that most people would be shocked to learn just how quickly the calories stack up with just a normal amount of snacking on junk food through-out the day, and they would be even more shocked at how much exercise it takes to burn those calories off again.
So, burning off 150 calories in an hour of playing Wii Fit might seem like a good result – but in reality it roughly equates to burning off the can of soft drink you had at lunch, or about one and a half of the chocolate biscuits you snuck in at afternoon tea time. I’m going to repeat that point to make sure no one missed it; just ONE chocolate biscuit is around 100 calories, and that’s close enough to 50% fat and 50% sugars. And when was the last time you stopped at just one chocolate biscuit?
Even burning up 3-400 calories in a relentless and brutally unforgiving Dave Hargreaves “Warrior’s Workout” session will only go about half way to making up for that large serve of chips you might be having with lunch every day.
Let me be clear – the hot chips at lunch, can of coke in the afternoon and chocolate biscuits at snack time is all stuff that I have done in the past, and wondered why I still couldn’t get a nice flat stomach despite all of my hard work in the gym.
I’ll also reiterate some points from earlier posts about fad diets and in particular any of the “replace two meals a day with this milkshake” diets. Anything that you cannot maintain long term is a counter productive plan. Although you may initially lose some weight as a response to the decrease in calorie intake, inevitably you will gain weight upon returning to your previous eating habits, usually ending up heavier than you started. You can’t just starve yourself for a few weeks and expect to see a positive result. An informed long term approach to improved nutrition and regular exercise is not just the best approach, it’s the only approach that works.
It’s very important to consider the psychological effects of repeated failed attempts to lose weight or increase fitness. Long term overweight people can end up believing that it is impossible for them to lose weight, when in actual fact they just have not had the correct long term approach to health and fitness.
Bottom line, people:
If you want to try to go it alone, follow some urban-myth type diet strategy you picked up from someone else who’s not getting any results, hope you can force yourself to stick with your boring as hell exercise routine and try to make the credit card repayments on that piece of equipment that’s taking up half of your living room, you can do that. But, if you really do want long term weight-loss or other fitness results, you WILL sign up for Personal Training right here at DHPT, and train with the guy who knows how to get results, and knows how to make it FUN as well.
Turn trying to get into shape from that unpleasant chore you keep putting off in the back of your mind, into the thing that you look forward to, get a kick out of and sets you up for increased vitality and success in the other areas of your life.
Personal Training in Brunswick,
Personal Training in Melbourne CBD,
Cardio Kickboxing on weekends in Brunswick West.
Sign up NOW. This stuff works.