7 liberating fitness truths the media doesn't want you to know
Do you ever feel like working on your fitness is one big roller coaster ride? You've tried boot camps, yoga, going to the gym, classes, you name it. While these things motivate you in the beginning, you find it quickly wears off and, soon enough, you're switching gears yet again.
Hey, me too. In a world full of quick fixes, fancy marketing and the like, it can seem like the next best thing is always right around the corner.
>>Spoiler alert: Fitness can actually be quite simple. We're just making it harder than it needs to be.
As you may know, I work in a corporate fitness environment. On a daily basis, I get to interact with a variety of people. All with different backgrounds, ages, lifestyles, etc. With that, I have the great privilege of hearing their struggles, complaints, and successes.
The beauty in this is, despite the differences of the person, I've been able to notice many common trends that slow people down when trying to reach their health and fitness goals. In fact, many of these things I am about to list STILL catch me up from time to time.
It's time to stop beating yourself up, free yourself from constraints and restrictions and LIVE your LIFE.
In this post you'll learn 7 truths that will:
Free you from self-imposed limits
Give you permission to eat dessert more often
End the roller coaster cycle that is fitness
Give you actionable steps to simplifying your routine
Truth #1: You don’t have to be THAT strict
Hallelujah! Readers rejoice… you do not have to be as strict as you may think.
Whether you can sense it or not, saying you "can" or "cannot" eat something puts you in a restrictive mindset. Doing this raises your chances of binge eating, rebelling against yourself, and throwing the whole day away if you eat something you “shouldn’t.”
Try being more mindful of portions. Ask yourself if you really want whatever it is. If the answer is yes, treat yourself to a smaller portion.
Don't get sucked down the rabbit hole of calorie counting. For some people it works, don't get me wrong. But there is an easier way and it's a careful balance of control and awareness.
Truth #2: Weighing yourself is not always the best form of measurement
If you’ve tried to lose weight before then you know the scale can make or break your day.
To avoid this mental roller coaster, try setting another progress-based goal like getting stronger at a particular life, being able to do a pull-up, or improving your mile time. This shifts you into more of an improvement mindset.
If you're a numbers person, you can also try to measure circumferences (waist, hips, thighs, arms and chest) to see if you drop inches over time.
My last recommendation on this is to keep a journal to note how you feel in your clothes each day, your confidence level, your attitude. Little things like this allow you to be more in tune with your body and can make the journey much more enjoyable. K?
Not losing weight? Take a step back and evaluate if you even have pounds to lose. If it’s a matter of 5-10lb, you may benefit from strength training to build lean muscle. In this case, the answer may not be dropping pounds.
Truth #3: Eating dessert won't ruin you
It’s true. You can have your cake and eat it too.
You and I both know how miserable it is to turn down a delicious-looking dessert while watching everyone else around you enjoy it.
Now, don't take this as an excuse for a free-for-all. I am a strong believer in little splurges. Reason being, the more you resist, the more likely binge eating will ensue later. Saying no to yourself breaks down that vial of willpower you started your day with and once that's gone... well, game over.
The good news is, you don't have to be super restrictive to get results. Something small here and there is not going to throw your hard work out the window.
Over time, as you get used to turning down a dessert when you truly don't want it or, vice versa, giving in when you do want it, it will be a less difficult decision and require less willpower.
Truth #4: High intensity training shouldn't happen every day
Thank goodness, because it can really suck.
HIIT can best be described as short, intense bursts followed by a brief amount of recovery. If you're familiar with Tabata or MetCon training, thats what those bad boys focus on. These workouts are shorter in duration, less than 30 minutes and literally break. you. down. Think 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off sprints for 20 minutes. WHEW.
Anyway, 2-3 times per week of HIIT will do. Keep your training in mind and make sure you're giving yourself 24-48 hours of recovery between sessions. Don't overdo the classes and boot camps either. As many of these focus on short intense bursts, you could get yourself injured if you're doing that daily.
Don't get me wrong, HIIT is one of my most FAVE types of workouts. But, everything in moderation right? Dive deeper into HIIT here
Truth #5: It's OK if you miss a workout
YAS. I know that sounds good.
Do you constantly feel guilty if you miss a workout?
Let looks through a new lense for a sec. If you look at your workout regimen in the grand scheme of things, let's say you average 4 workouts per week. Multiply that x 52 weeks.
52 weeks x 4 workouts = 208 workouts in a year (take that x the number of years you plan to continue exercising... hopefully forever)
That is a LARGE number. Lots of workouts happenin'. See how 1 day here and there will not affect much in the grand scheme? This is not an excuse to just randomly skip if you're not feeling it. Save it for when you're sick, too busy, or have other priorities to take care of.
When life happens, you need to be forgiving of that. Let go of the reigns a little bit and know that it's not the end of the world to miss a workout.
Truth #6: You don’t need to kill yourself in the gym every time
Remember this: You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.
Exercise should not be a punishment for what you ate, it's a celebration of your capabilities. If you're walking out of the gym each time feeling absolutely spent, I can tell you that won't happen for long. Why? You'll burn yourself out. And quick.
Feeling lost? Your best bet is to come up with a balanced plan of attack for each day you plan to workout. Whether it's 3 days per week or 6, make sure there is structure so you're not over-doing it on the high intensity workouts. A functional plan with plenty of strength and cardio is the way to go.
I know I know, you like to sweat! Me too. But just remember that sweat (and soreness) is not always the best indicator of results. You can still lean out by lifting weights, which doesn't always make you work up a sweat.
Part of being smart and not burning yourself out is knowing how to listen to your body and allow adequate time for recovery.
Truth #7: Carbs are good
Love me some carbs. And so should you! Permission granted.
Carbs (aka carbohydrates) are the main fuel for our brain. Not to mention, it's our main source of fuel during an intense workout. Without it, you can see how it can be hard to function.
Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but it's really the SOURCE of the carbohydrate that matters. When chosen right, they can help control weight and blood pressure, and help prevent against disease.
This could easily turn into a long-winded post, but I will allow you further reading over here.
One key to keep in mind: Choose wholesome sources with natural carbohydrates rather than packaged, processed, preserved items. Piece of cake, right?
Fruits and veggies
Low fat dairy
Grains (quinoa, whole grain rice, oats, barley, etc.)
Nuts, seeds, legumes
I know that fitness can easily be an anxiety-fest. With so many options out there, what choice do we have?
Get back to the BASICS.
LISTEN to your body.
Do what FEELS right.
Eat what makes you feel GOOD.
And be FORGIVING.
Ladies, that's all there is to it.
If you have any questions at all, please reach out!
Until next time, keep moving!