Often people have a ‘More is better’ approach to their Training and Exercise. It’s something that I’ve done and probably what a lot of people have done?
Grinding your body into the ground is not the answer but on the flip side not doing enough leads to poor health and fitness too.
The Smarter Way.
Throughout years of training and coaching clients I have seen many people who’ve had poor results but these are not from a lack of intensity or frequency in their workouts. The reason for lack of progress is that often people train too hard and/or too often and try to fit a busy life in there as well? There’s nothing wrong with working hard, as long as you’re being SMART about it.
The Sweat and Soreness Myth
Sweat is not an indicator of an effective workout. Often I hear people say that they got a good sweat up, thinking that means they worked hard or effectively. Really your rate of sweating is more related to the ambient temperature or if you’re blessed with a heap of sweat glands. The same can be said for soreness, as it is not necessarily indicative of an effective workout either.
So sweat and soreness don’t tell us how beneficial the workout was but they may emotionally with little or no physiological carry-over. It feels good to work up a sweat, and a bit of soreness is a good thing as it tells us we have used our bodies. If you are doing something for the first time or after a break then yes you will definitely be sore. If however you are always sore then maybe there is something else going on like poor recovery or ineffective nutrition or you just did a whole heap of the same thing?
Out-Training Your Nutrition
t’s crucial to fuel your body for optimal living and training is just one part of living. Putting good food into your body is essential for long-term health but it does take fore thought and preparation. A common mistake people make is eating more because they are exercising regularly. Yes, training does stimulate your metabolism and increase calorie expenditure but if you make up these calories, then changes in your physique will be minimal.
Ensuring the largest part of your diet is made up whole foods, in particular vegetables, proteins and good quality fats is crucial for optimal health and body composition. Grains, sugars and processed foods need to be kept to a minimum for disease prevention and body fat reduction. A varied diet will ensure you receive good amounts of most essential nutrients.
Don't be fooled by good marketing campaigns. Just because a product is gluten free, low fat, high fibre, high protein, often doesn't equate to a highly nutritious food. Nothing is as nourishing as real foods.
Stress is Stress and Too Much is Too Much
Often we make the assumption exercise is good then surely more is better. The old adage “Go hard or go home” is not a good one to follow if you’re your not doing it properly or you’re going beyond your current strength and/or abilities. Most times you need to take your time and work consistently hard so that you see steady improvements.
The body treats training and exercise as a form of stress and reacts to it the same way that it reacts any stressor. Training and exercise may give us a feeling of euphoria, but like all stress too much is too much.
We live in a hectic world where family, financial, relationship and work stress all adds up. Exercise and training can be a fantastic stress relief but it too must be kept in balance. Unfortunately, many of us don’t keep our stress in balance so like anything and everything in our life’s we need to consider the bigger picture.
The spin-off from training is that it can make us much more resilient to the added stress of our day-to-day life but all things must be balanced. You need to take this into consideration when you’re planning your exercise and training.
When you’re overloaded with stress you really need to find ways to reduce the load. Finding a therapeutic practice that works such as meditation, walking in nature or learning to breathe. Probably the 2 most important things are to ensure that you nourish your body with whole foods and get adequate amounts of quality sleep.
Don’t Forgo your Health in the Pursuit of Fitness.
Athletes are often used as role models and are seen as paragons of health and wellbeing, but in truth most sports are not healthy nor is the training involved. The consequences of sport, especially at the highest level, are chronic injuries, and often chronic overtraining. The negative health effects can affect participants for the rest of their non-playing days. Just about every person I’ve seen as a client who has participated in some form of competitive sport has had a serious injury and/or suffers long-term problems because of it.
You can never be too strong or too mobile and if you put these two together then physically you will be a Super You. It’s how you get there that is the important thing. The ultimate goal is to get people strong and healthy, and hopefully give them the tools that will enable to stay strong for the rest of their lives.
The Hierarchy of Fat Loss
If you stop seeing progress in the things you’re trying achieve then most probably there is something missing or out of whack. This is where you need to look at the bigger picture and get some help to do this. The priorities of fat loss and optimal health are:
3 Stress management
5 Training and exercise
Without good nutrition we cannot function all that well and the long-term effects are potentially catastrophic with poor performance, disease and poor health most likely. We also need to good quality sleep so that our body’s and our minds can recover. Unfortunately stress is part of contemporary living, for most people, so stress management is vital. If we are distressed then we will most likely sleep poorly and often our nutrition is not optimal either.
We need to move daily as it is a part of our biological make up. We really are designed for movement and if we don’t move through full range then we lose it. If you look at the way children and toddlers move you see that they have not restriction. Movement is something we lose but could regain and retain. Walking is also a primal movement pattern and something that we are very efficient at. Think about how many hours you could potentially walk for and how many hours you could run for…really there’s no comparison as we can walk all day with little ill effect.
Training and exercise are fantastic and essential and in the time poor environments in which we exist but it needs to be well packaged and efficient. It cannot however be done in isolation and improving nutrition, sleep, stress control and movement help improve the effectiveness of the training and exercise that you do.
Minimum Effective Dose
Exercise develops physical strength, improves bone mineral density, improves metabolic processes, develops resilience, helps with stress management and improves sleep just to name a few things.
The Minimum Effective Dose means doing training that provides you with the most benefit in the least amount of time. This is the basis of our Small Group Training at My Wellbeing.
Practically this means:
• Strength training 1-3 times per week of 30 min full body, functional movements. (Body and Strength training)
• High-intensity conditioning 1-2 per week of 30 min (Huff & Puff)
• Sprint All Out 1 per week of 15 min maximum
• Light to Moderate exercise 2-5 hours per week (Walking, Cycling, playing with the kids, etc)
The best results will come when you team this up with good nutrition, adequate sleep, good stress management and moving often. If you’re constantly hungry or experiencing a loss of appetite, persistent fatigue, or perpetual soreness, then something is out of balance.
Use your training and exercise to augment and optimize the rest of your life. Being strong helps you to feel and look better, be engaged with and enjoy your life. The most effective training is SMART training.