Monday, January 11, 2010
The problem with overdoing it...
Maybe you’ve just begun a fitness program and you're so anxious for results that you kill yourself in an attempt to see a new you tomorrow. Or maybe, despite your best intentions, you found yourself eating and drinking far too much and exercising far too little over the holidays and want to fit in extra workouts to try to make up for it.
We’ve all been there. Take a look at my “before” picture and you’ll know I have! And yes, you are right that the answer to this overindulgence is to followThe Eat-Clean Diet® and get to the gym. But be cautious! The biggest reason people give up on a fitness program is not lack of discipline. Instead, it’s trying to do too much too soon. Fitness has to be a part of your life; it can’t be your whole life.
I know people who got bitten by the fitness bug and decided they should start training twice a day! Granted, there are professional athletes who train that much, but a) I’m guessing you’re not a professional athlete and b) even pros have to work up to that level. Going overboard leads to overtraining, which decreases your immune system, leads to injury, takes away your passion for exercise and in the end produces mediocre results because your muscles are not given enough time to recover.
I’ve said many times that I focus on weight training because it gives me big results, fast. I don’t have the time for marathon fitness sessions and I doubt you do either. Good news! You don’t need to spend your whole life in the gym as long as you remember these important training tips:
1. The key to improving is progression, not perfection. If all you can manage right now is a walk to the end of your driveway, then do it! Next time go to the end of the driveway and five steps further. We each begin our journey at a different fitness level, but as long as we challenge ourselves a little each time, we will get better, stronger and fitter. If you haven’t worked out in five years (or ever) you won’t be running a marathon this week. But if you stick with it and keep progressing, you just might run one next year.
2. Muscle recovers at rest. We break muscle down in the gym and it gets repaired at rest. That’s how we get stronger. For proper recovery, you need at least one full day off each week and you need an entire day off before training the same body part with weights. You also need to get enough quality sleep!
3. To get results from exercise, pay attention to your diet! You already know that your diet makes up 80% of your physique, but do you realize that your body needs top nutrition to get the most from your exercise sessions? You can’t build a magnificent house with sub-par materials and you can’t build a magnificent body with sub-par food. By following The Eat-Clean Diet®, you’re giving yourself the best muscle-repair nutrition there is.
4. Consistency is king! Exercise has to be do-able for you. If you try to fit in too much, you’ll end up quitting altogether. It’s far better to work out four days a week consistently for the rest of your life than it is to try hitting the gym every day and then find you either don’t go at all or go irregularly. The same idea applies to time of day. The best time to exercise is the time that works best for you. It doesn’t matter if research shows mornings give you a 1% better result. You won’t get any results if you don’t show up!
It’s a new year and there’s no better time to start a fitness routine you can stick to without burning out. Put your gym sessions into your day planner in ink and treat them as appointments you can’t miss. Make sure you record your workouts so you can watch your progression! The payoff is in the results – you’ll be fitter, stronger, more limber and happier for years to come!
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