I’ve been trying to get my head around what type of exercise regime I’d like to incorporate into my journey. After much research I’m not sure I’m any closer to an answer….
There are a truly mind boggling array of training and exercise options available out there. As with so many other things within the field of fitness advice every one of them claims to be the single greatest exercise on the planet, and if we’re not incorporating them into our routine when starting training we can never expect to reach our health goals.
As a result when starting training it’s so easy to get bogged down in the finer details. We’re told we need to get in cardio to help shift the fat, we need to lift weights to make sure there’s muscle to show when the fat drops, core work for that six pack we’ve maybe never had and mobility and stretching because we’re hunched over a desk all day and our posture’s terrible. The worst part of this information overload is not that we can choose what to do, it’s that we have to choose the things we’re not going to do. So you can be slim but not strong, strong but not slim, great joint health while sacrificing progress on anything else.
The Big Secret
If like me you have a significant amount of weight to lose and you currently don’t exercise, ANY exercise is going to massively benefit us and our goals and a little goes a long way particularly in the beginning. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to promise ridiculous results and it certainly doesn’t need to be expensive. Just getting moving is the key. In simple terms we didn’t get ourselves into this position by choosing the wrong complicated training system. We got into this situation by neglecting to make exercise a part of our lives and routines.
So What Is The Most Important Exercise
The most important exercise we can do when starting training is whatever exercise we can make a regular and consistent commitment to. Failing to stick with an exercise plan doesn’t feel great and its easy to become demotivated and blame ourselves. I’ve been in the same situation, but I genuinely believe as with so many challenges associated with lifestyle change it’s a question of going to hard to soon. By overreaching we’re really setting ourselves up for failure before we’ve even started.
To that end its worth asking a few questions before starting training on a new fitness plan:
Do I Enjoy It
Exercise and training is supposed to be challenging. That being said there is little to be gained from trying to run ourselves into the ground every single session, unless of course that’s genuinely what you’re into. I think many of us get hung up on benefits of training plans without really considering their implementation. Additionally, consider the training or activity environment. Is that particular gym or class right for you, does it take emotional energy just to get you to the class.
As an example lets say you’ve heard great things about Yoga. Perhaps however, particularly in the early stages of your weight loss journey you don’t feel particularly body confident and quite self conscious going to the class. You feel you need to be doing something so you force yourself to go. As a result of the effort taken to put aside your body issues you’re already working harder than anyone else in that room due to the emotional energy expended on getting yourself through the door?
Does It Fit With My Schedule / Lifestyle
You’ve got a young family and your morning’s are already pretty packed so is that 6.30am spin class suitable for you? Perhaps you’re thinking if you can pack up a bag the night before, get up at 5.30, do the class, get home for 7.15 to make breakfast. While all of this is possible, it is a huge change to make to your lifestyle and to try to commit to such a huge change numerous times a week will likely be a stretch for most people, particularly if you don’t already have an established base of training. As a result its too easy to find an excuse to not train!
Is the Program Too Restrictive
Lets say you currently don’t exercise regularly and you’re super keen on starting training on a new program. Its three times a week (sounds reasonable) performing some activity that you enjoy. You start and over the first few weeks because of life etc you miss some training sessions. Have you failed? Well you may well feel like you’ve failed at that program, but just by getting out and moving you have done phenomenally well and you should give yourself credit for that. I think all too often we take a missed session as absolute failure and a reason to stop completely. Or worse still an excuse to “start Monday” and throw out all of good you may have achieved.
So when you’re starting training with a new program to follow ask yourself. What does success look like? But more importantly how will I keep perspective if I don’t attain 100% perfection.
Give Ourselves Easy Wins
Easy wins doesn’t mean we should slack off and not push ourselves. What it means is that a brisk 30 minute walk that leaves you breathless, once a week for two months is better for body and motivation than a difficult to arrange emotionally draining gym session 3 times a week for a fortnight. Small but regular changes that you celebrate, are more useful than big transformative changes that are hard to adhere to.
Build Up Your Successes
What it means that every month, we just have to do a little better than last month. With a little perseverance and self awareness, over time (and our journey will take time) these easy wins build up into s substantial life style change and surpass that which you could achieve by doing it all at once. For instance if we were to add just one form of exercise per MONTH for a year, at the and of the year we would be achieving that much sought after 3 times a week goal. These small, subtle but deliberate changes coupled with a sensible approach to nutrition will see huge benefits to both our our waistline and general well being.
Next Step To Starting Training
The most important thing you can do today is to just go out and do whatever it is that gets you moving and makes you happy. Do it at a time and in such a way to minimise the impact it has on the other important areas of your life. Whatever exercise sport or activity try and find the joy in the doing and then let that joy spur you on to make more of it. Ultimately exercise and training is about feeling good, not about punishment for our lifestyle choices, I think we all would do well to remember that.
I hope you found this post useful, feel free to leave me feedback in the comments section or if you prefer contact me direct through the Contact Us page. You can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter be clicking here: Subscribe.