Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Limiting Factor

Why is it that sometimes we settle for less? Why do we view others as “lucky” or just “born that way”? When it comes to our bodies, our lifestyles, motivation, or just fitness in general, why do we allow ourselves to settle for the bottom of the barrel? Well, it doesn't have to be that way.
If you Google 20 minute workouts, you will see a never ending list of routines that swear you will lose all the fat and gain all the muscle you want if done four times a week (despite the infamous “**results may vary**” small text). Do the same Google search for 10 minute workouts… then for 5 minute workouts. Same thing!! What does this message send to us? Is it really OK to rely on just 20 minutes (let alone 10 or 5 minutes) of activity a few times a week for our total health and well being?
It isn’t a coincidence that the Fitness Industry brings in billions of dollars every year, yet America is still obese!! We shouldn’t be allowing industries that profit on people being overweight to set our standards. Is 20 minutes of physical activity, a few times a week acceptable, especially if you have significant goals to reach? NO! It is not. Fad-diets count toe-tapping as activity! Working out for 20 minutes isn’t nearly enough time for our bodies to warm up, train, cool down, and stretch - which are all vital complements to a complete training routine. A complete resistance training session should last as long as your glycogen storage, which is typically 45- 60 minutes. Cardio sessions don't even put you into a fat burning zone until after the first 10 -15 minutes.
Our bodies were meant to move. Studies have shown that we live longer, sleep better, reduce stress, and even release endorphins! There is a reason why our bodies only respond positively to exercise… We were meant to do it, and the more frequent, the better. It should be a number one priority in our lives. Not because we are selfish- More importantly, how can we help or better others around us, if we can’t even take care of ourselves?
This doesn’t mean that we should all look like supermodels and workout like super athletes. I believe it’s very important to stay clear of outside pressures (magazines, celebrities, etc.) to get in shape and feel good. I also feel it’s imperative to be secure with your body and yourself. However, I don’t think it’s ok to be secure with being clinically overweight or obese. It’s unhealthy and sets a scary standard of living for children (Type 2 Diabetes is no longer called Adult-onset Diabetes!)
I’ve been fortunate to be the co-owner of a wonderful personal training studio. Not because of myself or my partner. It’s because of our clients, friends and community supporting it. They are amazing, inspiring, and humbling. The first thing we tell a new client is that “this isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be tough, and sometimes even grueling. But you’ll do it. And when you’ve reached your goal, you will have the privilege of looking back at all of your accomplishments and know that you earned each and everyone of them”. A good friend of mine (Rob Longert, who just lost 60 lbs and will be guest blogging shortly!!) loves to use this quote from our high school lacrosse coach. “Bricks are a dime a dozen, but pillars stand few and far between… Which one are you?”
So stay away from the media, fad-diets, and corny workout schemes… Be that pillar you deserve to be and stand tall.

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