Today I want to talk about the different aspects of fitness. There are so many types of exercises out there now, which is great ’cause it keeps it fresh and exciting to try new things. It’s important to switch up your routine at least every 3 months so your body doesn’t get used to doing the same thing all the time and plateau. Plus it would sure get boring doing the same thing every day for the rest of your life anyway right?! I’m always trying out new things, it’s fun! I really feel that working out should be fun, so if you aren’t having a good time while you’re doing it then maybe you should find something else. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it, so you won’t get results and then you’ll get frustrated and give up! Has this happened to you?
Of all the many different workouts you could be doing, you should include all of the 4 pillars. You don’t need to be even in each one, and you can obviously favor one more than another, but to be truly fit you should dedicate a little time to improve in your weak areas.
So what are they?
Each one plays an important role in your overall health and fitness.
*this is my opinion from personal experience
I was talking with a friend one day and she said she thinks that exercise should be functional. That really struck me and has stayed with me. I truly believe that now. Let me give you some examples by telling you a little bit about what I have done and how I’ve experienced this.
Last year when I decided to get back in shape I was doing a lot of full body work outs. Working multiple muscle groups at one time with light – medium weights. This increases your metabolism, endurance and forces you to work your core. It worked really well for me. Then I wanted to take it up a notch so I started doing a little bit of cross fit and running. I noticed that the cross fit workouts were really giving me endurance and stamina for runs and when I went hiking.
After getting more intense with it though I decided it wasn’t for me with my line of work. Being a massage therapist, how am I supposed to make other people feel good when I’m extremely sore all the time? So I stopped. (No disrespect to cross fitters it just wasn’t practical for me. If it works for you, then great. More power to ya!) So I started doing a program called Chalean Extreme and I loved it. It focuses on teaching you to lift heavier working multiple muscle groups in one day, 3 days a week on non-consecutive days with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in between. This with some yoga added in a day or two is ideal. I got great results. I loved my new muscle and wanted to keep building more definition so after that program I moved on to one where I lifted 5 days a week, focusing on working one muscle group at a time going as heavy as you can go. This also worked great to give me that sculpted look I was going for, however there was little to no cardio. That’s pretty standard for body builders who are trying to put on muscle. Then I went for a hike on day and an easy one at that but I was dying! My lungs were on fire because I wasn’t used to doing cardio anymore. So that to me is not functional. I’m normally a great hiker and rarely need to take breaks, so this was no fun for me! I had to decided what was more important to me…looking fit but being out of shape? Or being in shape just without the ripped look? I mean what’s the point in having huge muscles if they don’t work properly?
On the other hand you could be doing tons of cardio and no strength training or flexibility work. Unless you plan on running all day everyday how is this functional? You need strength and flexibility for everyday life. Whether it’s bending down to tie your shoes, picking up kids, putting the groceries away, getting something down from over head. The workouts we do should prepare us to make things in daily life easier.
Then more recently I messed up my neck and shoulder so I wasn’t even able to anything but walk for 2+ weeks. (I’ll get into that another time) Anyway, I’m able to start toning again but still can’t lift. (Even 5 lbs. makes my neck shake. It’s a gross, scary feeling.) So I decided to do pilates and barre again. I used to love it and should’ve never stopped. As I’m doing some of these core moves that used to be a cinch for me, they are a little more difficult now since I haven’t done that kind of focused movement in a long time. I’ll have to work my way back up again to a strong core and flexible hips. You need a strong core to protect your back. This can be another problem if you’re only lifting and not stretching enough or doing anything like yoga. You become so tight and stiff and lose flexibility which can lead to injury later. (Which is obviously what happened to me.)
So what’s my point after all this rambling? I’ve come to realize that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Don’t focus so much on only one area of fitness and neglect others. Create a balanced routine therefore creating a balanced body by incorporating strength training, cardio, flexibility and of course clean eating. Which I think goes without saying you can’t out exercise a bad diet! So make sure you’re eating right to really show all the hard work you’re doing. I’ve always liked working out but it wasn’t until I started eating right that I noticed results. I believe in the 80/20 rule: eat clean 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time. I used to do 90/10 but I think it can get a little obsessive and doesn’t leave room to splurge, which can lead to guilt.
If you make a conscious effort to do this you will see results and experience true fitness and balance.
If you need help coming up with a plan, I’d be happy to help!
Do you feel like you’re balanced in all these areas?
What areas do you need to focus more on?
What’s favorite workout?