We’ve all seen it: someone is so buff and fit and when we ask them if they work out they say “Oh, just some pushups from time to time…” Meanwhile Person B is puffing away at the gym every day for hours and they complain that they get no results! Why is that?!
Workout results are partly due to genetics, but there are many factors in our appearance that can be “controlled” (in as much as the mind can control the body). Really, when results in the fitness department are concerned, it’s about 75% diet and only about 25% the actual exercise. I think you can get good results and look fit and slim doing just about ANY exercise you enjoy. A key factor is the enjoyment part. The more you stress about doing an exercise you detest, the more stress hormones your body creates – insulin and cortisol – and the more your body holds onto fat!
Here are my top 3 tips to getting awesome fitness results:
1. Get into the flow…be mindful of what you are doing. Don’t think about what you were doing before or what you’re going to do after. “Just do it.” There’s a Buddhist saying I like “Eat when it’s time to eat and sleep when it’s time to sleep.” In other words, focus on the present! By staying in the moment, you will get a more intense workout. When we drift off into “la-la-land” we lose our focus and intensity.
2. Have fun doing it! By all means do not use exercise as punishment. Using fitness in this way is setting you up for increased stress and fitness defeat. Find a way to play in your body. Just enjoy the movement itself. Don’t worry if you’re doing it right or wrong. Again, “just do it!”
3. Reward yourself with nourishing foods and bodywork: immediately after an intense workout have a small protein-based snack. If you don’t do this your muscle tissues will not be able to grow. Your muscles need to “feed” after a vigorous workout and need protein. If you neglect this fact, your body will actually get the energy it needs post-workout from your muscles (meaning you lose muscle tissue). For fat loss, you want more muscle tissue because it burns more calories (and you’ll look better in your bikini too!).
Don’t downplay the importance of regular bodywork: schedule a massage; see your friendly local acupuncturist; get a good chiropractor… When you are building new muscle groups, you will feel soreness. Depending on the intensity of your exercise regimen, you may need bodywork 3 times a week or maybe just 1 time a month. Have a professional help you work it out – before it gets too bad. The sooner and more regularly you get bodywork, the faster your body responds. I have treated professional athletes within 2 hours of a major muscle pull or strain. Their recovery time is about 1 to 2 weeks compared to the 1 to 2 months it would take without body work.