Many of you are training with the goal of 2021 being a new year and new you. First, we applaud your decision and effort to improve your health and fitness, it’s not easy and can be intimidating. We are hopeful that you enjoyed your experience whether it was your first time inside a gym or you are returning after a season away from exercise. We also love seeing our current clients returning from the holiday season and the gym being full of energy again!
I wanted to talk to all of you that are looking for improved fitness. Fitness is a process, and that process looks different for each individual , but there are some truths for everyone. It does not matter what your specific goal is: weight loss, fat loss, muscle gain, improved conditioning and cardiovascular strength, etc. All of them are a process and take time to achieve.
The number one factor in your success is consistency. When we are full of motivation and great intentions there is a tendency to rush that process. Folks new to exercise want to go all out and workout as hard they can as much as they can to speed that process up. While this is a great intention, it has drawbacks and those drawbacks can derail your efforts before you have a chance to see change. I have made this mistake numerous times, even to the point where my arms were so sore I could hardly brush my teeth! Not fun!
If you are new or returning to exercise from a long layoff, your body doesn’t need the same amount of stimulus as someone who has been consistently training for weeks, months, or years to affect change. If you have been working out and have hit a plateau, more is not always the answer either. You may need to evaluate your sleep habits, nutrition, or recovery protocols to ensure you are reaping the reward of your hard work. Strength training and conditioning do not actually build our bodies up, in fact they tear them down. We see improvement from that exercise through recovery and improved strength via new muscle growth or a stronger cardiovascular system from the strain of conditioning. If you neglect your recovery: SLEEP, stretching, foam rolling, low intensity steady state movement on off days (walking, hiking, biking, stair stepper, etc.), nutrition, etc. You will eventually burn out or become injured. The most important recovery protocol is SLEEP. Deep Sleep, usually 1-2 hours a night is where the body repairs itself.
Exercising regularly and failing to get quality sleep is akin to putting money into a bank account with a negative interest rate. You end up going backwards. Below are some tips to make sure you are maximizing return on investment.
“Do your job, trust the process” Nick Saban
Basically, do everything within your control to make sure you are making your workouts. Schedule a makeup, ask for an outside the gym the workout you can do to keep your routine. We are here to help!
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep.
Prioritizing sleep over social functions, tv binging, or other fun activities isn’t an attractive decision. Don’t rely on will power. Set a schedule and stick to it. Naps are a great way to get in some missed sleep. 20-30 minutes will go a long way toward your recovery efforts.
Aim for 30/60 minute of low intensity exercise/movement on days you do not train at the gym.
You will increase blood flow to sore muscles and fascia, build a routine of movement and improve recovery efforts.
Ensure you are replenishing your body with quality nutrition.
Focus on whole, minimally processed sources of high quality fats, carbohydrates and protein. Eat slow and stop when you are satisfied, not stuffed. Don’t restrict your body with too few calories. Your body needs nutrition for repair.
Keep a bottle handy and drink whenever you are thirsty. Try to drink water throughout the day. Muscles are predominantly water and water helps deliver nutrition and eliminate waste products that build up during exercise.
“We do not rise to our goals, we fall to our systems” James Clear Atomic Habits
Have a system and follow it, refine as needed.
“Rome wasn’t built in day, but they laid bricks daily” John Heywood
Lay your bricks, and then rest. Rinse, repeat. Progress will follow!