As a race of people, humans have a lot of good points and a lot of faults. For one thing in the positive column, we are resourceful and persistent. But to mark immediately against that, we can be fairly terrible at knowing when to move on. It’s good that we stick to a task, but by God, sometimes we stick to the one point too long.
This is something that affects any number of healthy eating and fitness regimes. We get in our heads that we need to eat more protein, or that we must work our core muscles more. And then, before too long, we’ve either overworked those muscles to injury or we’ve neglected another aspect of our diet.
The word “holistic” is one that we should keep in mind at all times. It sounds to a lot of people like a spiritual, hippy-ish kind of word. All it means is that you look after the whole – from top to bottom, inside and out, that’s where you need to be healthy. And yes, you might need to up the amount of protein in your diet. But if it means you’re having protein shakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ve gone wrong.
To make sure that you are getting the benefits of living healthier and working out more, then, it is important to have your ground rules. Living by these will mean that you are in better shape generally, and more prepared to make any adaptations you need to. Not everybody benefits the same from the same workouts and diets. So it’s about knowing what works for you.
If You’re Not Comfortable Going To The Gym, Bring It To You
To be straight and honest, a lot of us don’t enjoy going to the gym, and not because we are shy of a little hard work. In fact, it is often because we’re just plain shy. No-one really likes to be seen by strangers wearing almost nothing at all. Multiply that embarrassment factor by a thousand when you’re also red-faced and sweating. So if you need to, buy some basic gym equipment for the home. It will pay for itself before long.
If It’s Not Working For You, Change It
We are forever seeing ads, articles and features on TV about miracle cures, power workouts and any number of solutions. Solutions for what? Usually for weight gain, cellulite and any number of other things that make people self-conscious.
Why are these miracle cures not put into place by doctors? I’ll give you a clue, it’s not because “doctors hate it!” as the ads claim. It’s because there is no miracle. Nothing works for everyone, and if someone claims something will, they’re lying.
You need to find the routine that works for you, and that may mean changing things along the way. What works for someone else might not work as well for you. It’s a balance you have to find for yourself.
If You Have Limited Time, Maximize It
Some people have time to do little else but go to the gym, and their bodies are predictably amazing as a result. But when you also have to hold down a job and a home, it’s natural that some things will fall by the wayside. Getting to the gym, even if it is in your basement, can sometimes be one of those things. The important thing is that you get some work in and make it worthwhile.
Seasoned gym bunnies know all about the benefits of rowing machine exercise, for example. It gives a muscular boost to the lower body, toning the leg muscles and the butt too. And because it is aerobic exercise, it also boosts your lung capacity which assists with endurance. Most of all, it helps with weight loss. If all you have is an exercise bike and a rowing machine, you’ve got a really good start.
Skipping Meals Is Never A Good Idea
There is a saying, and whoever coined it should be in prison. It goes “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”. What a total and utter crock. Ask an anorexic how good they feel when they pass out from malnutrition. The answer will be along the lines of “not very”. Skipping meals isn’t just bad because it deprives you of nutrients you need to stay fit. It also affects your concentration, your willpower and your endurance. All of these are essential to staying fit.
So, even if you have only got five minutes, eat something when you’re hungry. Don’t scarf down a chocolate bar or a bowl of ice cream, but do eat a handful of nuts. They keep your blood sugar right and they stop your mind from wandering to the next snack. And when meal times come around, eat something proper. Seared tuna steak, pasta salad, whatever it may be. But get the nutrients in.
Take A Break When You Need To
There are so many stories of people who exercise every day, through pain and illness, rain and shine. They do this because the idea of taking a break when they are hurting is anathema to them. They want to show they are tough. But the thing is, sometimes a break is completely necessary. Without a break, sometimes you’re doing more harm than good.
If a muscle starts to hurt sharply, stop exercising it. You may have a tear or a pull, and you don’t run those off. If you’ve got a cold, then take a break. All you are doing by exercising through it is slowing down your recovery. As a result, you are also reducing the efficiency of your workout. So you really are only hurting yourself.
If you want to get in shape, and have limited time in which to do it, don’t feel that you have to pursue some inhuman feat of endurance to get there. Getting in shape and staying in shape means changing habits and behaving well. You don’t get extra points for trying to be Superman or Wonder Woman.