Just a quick entry before I head off to the gym to do my back routine.
Lets talk a bit about what are the important things to stay focussed on when we get into fitness and exercise. Some of these overlap a little, some of them might not be what you expect me to say, either. Here we go!
- Top priority is happiness.
By that I mean, enjoying training, enjoying your food, and keeping a positive mindset.
It’s absolutely NOT about beating yourself up for not being perfect or not being the same as anyone else. As long as you’re trying your best, results will come, and you should be proud of yourself for making the effort.
Obviously, right? I mean… you work out, eat right, I have 8 million entries already on the health benefits. I’m still putting this as a secondary priority after happiness and enjoyment though. If you aint enjoying it, chances are you aint going to stick with it. Exercise isn’t punishment, it’s FUN. Always remember that!So other than “lets have some fun” the first goal of an exercise program is usually to get into a healthy weight range. I don’t think it is necessary (or particularly helpful) to set a very specific weight down to the last kilogram, but if you’re not in a healthy weight range, you need to GET into one. And if you’re IN one already, do NOT come to me saying “but I want to lose another 10kg and be underweight” because I’ll kick your arse. See priority #1, you don’t get happy OR healthy with that sort of thinking.
Lets be real here, other than the above two points… I could talk about increased lung capacity, core stability, cardiovascular fitness and all these other things that trainers like to talk about and clients feel that they should be focussed on, but if we’re honest… we want to look better in the nude, right? Or… in our swimwear at the beach or pool, right? Realistically if I gave you a program and we measured amazing progress in all of these areas EXCEPT you couldn’t see any improvements in the mirror… you’d be a bit disappointed, frustrated, not very satisfied. It’s not enough to just BE fit and healthy, we want to LOOK fit and healthy too!
This is about body composition and it is what I’m starting to see as my speciality. It’s not enough to simply “lose weight” by restricting calories and then burning more calories on the treadmill or whatever. It’s quite possible (and in fact, quite common) for people to lose weight, get into a healthy weight range, but still not see much of a change in their body. It’s smaller, but still has the same wobbly “problem areas”. So, usually they decide “I still need to lose more weight, I need to restrict calories even further, I need to train twice as hard for twice as long! Then I’ll be happy!”
Now, does that REALLY sound like a plan that will lead to being happier? Nope, not to me.So, back to body composition. We’re talking here about the ratio of lean (muscle) mass to bodyfat, and to achieve that lean and toned body type means we want to lose fat while maintaining or even increasing muscle mass.
Fortunately when you train with a focus on body composition and aesthetics, the health aspects take care of themselves. Loss of fat stores and improved posture are both health AND aesthetic benefits, and the other effects already mentioned above will also be achieved. The reverse may not be true of training strictly for improved performance on your next fitness assessment. Regardless of all of this, we’ll still consider health the priority even over aesthetics, as it would be impossible to build an attractive, aesthetic physique while disregarding health.
- It has to be practical, and sustainable.
This means whatever stupid fad diet, meal replacement or whatever else… unless you actually think you are going to keep buying these things for the rest of your life instead of eating actual meals? Not to mention, rules 1, 2 & 3. You’re not going to be very healthy or happy on these ridiculous products, and even if you do lose some weight on the scales you’re very unlikely to improve body composition on “the cookie diet” or whatever other ridiculous scam product. God. Are they actually serious with this stuff?
Practical and sustainable would be just learning what your regular intake should be, and how to hit that target with foods that you enjoy cooking and eating. Learn it and practice it until it becomes habit, and then it will become intuitive or second nature. Think about it for a moment; isn’t that a lot simpler and more logical than any other approach?