How successful were you at writing things down last week?
Did you do it every day? Most days?
What were your results, reactions? Were you surprised by how much, how little or the reality of what you were eating?
If you remember, the goal of last week was not to JUDGE what you ate, simply to make note of it. Now that you have a record of the TRUTH you have a choice to stop living in denial about how much and what you are putting in your body and actually change it…..or to keep running around on the hamster wheel of denial, blame and quick fixes.
Brutal? Yes. But sometimes the truth is brutal. That’s why you were on a hamster wheel in the first place and not getting results before isn’t it? The answer is yes if you are actually truthful with yourself.
If you’ve noticed, I haven’t mentioned exercise at all, and isn’t that one of the first things people jump into when they say “I’m going to get in shape!” Yup, and one of the first things to go because most people will start out with the mentality that “more is better” and do too much. Then, they don’t see results quickly enough (or instantaneously) get discouraged because they thing the amount of “work” they are putting in should yield instant results….and quit.
By now, you know what I’m going to suggest is neither instantaneous nor hardcore nor extreme. Just like everything else, it’s simple: easy to do, easy NOT to do. The choice is up to you:
Tip # 9: Do some sort of exercise everyday….or most days.
Getting in shape does not have to mean:
- running 5 miles every day
- joining a CrossFit gym
- doing P90X or Insanity for 30 days straight
- Doing every weight machine in the gym 100 times, every day.
There is no extreme here. There is nothing wrong with the above workouts, if you LIKE doing those, great! But the catch is this:
Do not start the above workouts JUST to lose weight. YOU WILL FAIL.
What I did say is do SOME SORT of exercise every day, or at least most days. What does that mean? It means:
- Do something you enjoy
- make it consistent
- get your heart rate up
The point here is consistency, and it doesn’t matter what you do. Let’s address these three aspects in short detail:
1. Do Something You Enjoy
If you hate lifting weights, don’t. If you hate running, don’t. If you hate yoga, don’t!
The point is not do a workout because some trainer told you to, or some person on the TV, internet, doctor’s waiting room, buddy of your best friend’s gym owner told you to. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Some examples of good fitness that make people happy, that they enjoy:
- Going for a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood or through a park, or a mall
- Ultimate frisbee
- cleaning the house (I don’t understand this one, but some people enjoy it, so whatever 🙂 )
- hill sprints
- bodyweight circuits
- lifting weights
- bike riding
Any of these are great. If you enjoy it that’s the key, you will not stick with an exercise routine you hate, so do something you enjoy!
2. Make it consistent
I cannot stress this enough. It is not the exercise that you do, it’s that you do it regularly that counts. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Not really, it’s STEADY THAT WINS THE RACE.
I’ve heard this a lot, but it really hit home when I read the book The Slight Edge.
This book has really opened my eyes to how to achieve what I really want in life. It comes down to consistency, doing the little, seeminly tiny insignificant things every day that are easy to do but are also easy NOT to do. Jim Collins talks about it in his book “Good to Great” about pushing the giant flywheel. It weighs so much there is no way possible for you to give it one giant push and it turn, no, it’s steady effort that builds momentum.
I’ll say that again.
It’s steady effort that builds momentum.
An overnight success does not happen overnight. It happened over the course of the years of obscurity, doing the tiny right actions every day.
This is the success curve. Take a close look at it and see if you can understand why consistency is key. Then make a plan for what TINY action you can do every day to help you reach your goal. Want to run a marathon but never done it before? It starts with taking a few steps every day, going for a walk every day, building your time, it doesn’t start with a 5 mile run.
3. Get your heart rate up
The key to exercise is elevating your heart rate. Do you see the people on the treadmill sauntering along? It’s not different than the pace they take to walk to their car, walk around Wal-Mart or take up the entire aisle in a mall. (I secretly want to smack these people in the back of the head. I have always moved with a sense of purpose and being in the Army just amplified that urge. Sorry 🙂 )
Any way, the point of exercise is to elevate your heart rate, this accomplishes all kinds of things including better respiratory response, increase oxygen flow to lungs, brain, blood, etc. better joint mobility, etc. If you do not elevate your heart rate, you aren’t exercising. Don’t kid yourself.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go all extreme and elevate it through the roof, I just said elevate. Anything above what it is when you’re sitting there doing nothing (called resting heart rate) is elevated. Now eventually you will want to put more effort out there, because your body adapts. It adapts to stress, to exercise and to everthing else so what is challenging for you now will not be challenging later IF YOU ARE CONSISTENT. That’s why you ladies lifting only 5 lb. weights in the gym bother me. It worked for you then….and then your body adapted and it’s no longer a challenge. You are wasting time at that point.
Sorry to get on a soap box, but as a personal trainer this is the area that frustrates me the most. If you like extreme, great, do that but please work up to it, or face injury. If you don’t like extreme, great, do SOMETHING.
This week’s goal:
So, the challenge this week is that while you are building on the blocks of consistency you’ve achieved in your eating habits, you will add one very small addition of consistent exercise. Whatever it is, commit to doing it every day or almost every day. That’s the caveat. If you are lifting weights or doing anything strenuous, don’t do it 7 days a week, your body will not recover. If you are just going for a walk, that’s fine for every day.
- Do some sort of exercise you enjoy every day
- if your exercise is strenuous (like crossfit, weight lifting, etc.) do something on your “off days” that at least keeps you moving.
We are not trying to set records here, all you are doing is building cosistency in your exercise habits and getting used to moving every day. Progression comes later.
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order. Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!