I had a client ask me, after our half hour ish session: So are you sure I don’t need to do a full hour of weights? Like the only determining factor was the 60 minute mark on the clock.
I assured her that the goal was not strictly the time but the effectiveness and focus of the workout. The next day she texted how incredibility sore she was and surprised by how much she got out of a workout in less time.
I too admit that it took me several years to get use to the idea of not counting the minutes. Growing up an athlete my workout schedules were hours. Sometimes double days. Sometimes practice and weights in the same day. And when the real world of adult fitness came I didn’t consider my workout a real one unless it was 60-90 minutes and I was breathing hard the entire time.
I remember when did CrossFit a few years back. I immediately loved the intensity of the workouts but with the workouts ranging 7-20 minutes with a few longer ones thrown in, I found myself doing extra sets of exercises just to make up the time different.
Within the past few years I have found a happier, middle ground. I don’t count time. I don’t feel the need to run myself into the ground every single workout. Just because a workout makes me breathe hard does not indicate a better workout or predict better results. I don’t workout more simply to burn more calories.
But it is hard. It is hard to relinquish old notions and what we think we should do. I see many clients who feel if they can’t give an hour, they might as well do nothing. Then I see others who go at maximal effort every days for a couple weeks only to get injured, sick or lose motivation, only to take weeks off at a time.
So today let’s talk about 3 common mistakes that many people make when it comes to exercise and what to do about it.
You think more is better.
Alwyn Cosgrove coined a system called the Hierarchy of Fat Loss that I want to share with you in regards to working out.
Essentially he says that when time is a limiting factor you need to prioritize what *type* workout you will do that will most benefit your metabolism and preserve or promote muscle mass.
Our resting metabolic rate (RMR) uses the majority of our calories throughout the day. Even if you workout for two hours, there are still 22 others to account for and the amount of muscle you have on your body will help determine if your metabolic rate is higher during that time. This is weight training plain and simple. If you have 30-40 minutes 3 times a week to workout choose weight training.
If you have additional time you add interval type training which can also burn more calories and elevate the metabolism post workout.
IF you have additional time after that during the week that is where you can add steady state cardio like jogging, dance class, walking, cycling or hiking. I consider this bonus work and always choose something I enjoy.
You are not honest about your workout nutrition.
I use to think I could outwork poor nutrition. Not even poor nutrition, just eating as much as I wanted, when I wanted. Or skipping means after or before my workouts just to “burn more fat.”
I quickly learned I could train as much as I wanted but if my diet was not in check, neither would results.
Plus I would get caught in this eat more, exercise to burn more cycle that repeated itself time and time again, only to leave me in a regretful, guilty mess.
Workout nutrition prior to and after exercise and throughout the day is crucial to support the movement and activity you are doing. There is so much talk of certain supplements, when to eat, what to eat that I know it can get confusing.
I even talk to clients and friends who say they don’t like to eat post workout because they feel it negates all their hard work or people who try to resist food all day thinking that the more hungry they, the more effective it is.
But your body needs fuel, it needs recovery, and it needs nutrients.
Use carbs and protein post workout to help refuel your bodies energy stores and repair your bodies muscles.
Check your intake of nutrients by what kinds of foods you are taking in during the day. Are you getting enough through fruits and vegetables? Do you have a balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats?
Be honest about your portion intake. Are you paying attention to whether you are truly hungry or if you are eating out of emotion and stress?
Proper nutrition in correlation to solid workouts and recovery is highly overlooked by many but highly important. Without this focus there is a great chance you can become sick, injured, lose energy or motivation because your body is not properly fueled and/or recovered. I put together a super simple, easy to follow workout nutrition guide that you can snag here.
You want results and you want them now.
Get your mind right. Patience and consistency.
The less perfect you can be, the more consistent you can be and this is actually a really great thing. Even writing this, it is a great reminder that I don’t have to do everything perfectly, I just have to do a few things really well.
We get so caught up in perfection, doing enough, and getting results quickly that we overlook the importance of actually developing lasting habits, of focusing on methods that are sustainable and really getting to know what works for your body, metabolism, lifestyle and preferences.
Trying to do it all takes A LOT of mental energy, mental energy that we don’t have. We have jobs, families, kids, relationships, and a life to be enjoyed outside of eating and exercise.
Eating and exercising perfectly is an illusion. So is getting lasting results after a few weeks or months of hard work. If you are in it for the long haul it doesn’t matter how quickly you get results, it matters more that you have the patience to put in the work time and time again. You don’t have to do everything well, just a few things.
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