I am often asked, “Why is exercise the last Foundation you talk about?” The answer is simple yet, in my experience, accurate. We should spend the least amount of time on exercise because it has the least impact on results and is the easiest part of the puzzle.
I can almost hear people’s heads exploding now. “You’re a personal trainer and own a gym! Are you crazy?”
Don’t get me wrong exercise benefits us in many ways. Off the top of my caffeine-drenched brain a partial list includes:
- Muscle mass
- Bone mineral density
- Heart health
- Quality of life
- Blood sugar levels
- Stress levels
These benefits, as significant as they are, become greatly reduced if we are eating in a way that doesn’t support our goals or are under-recovered. Most people fall into both categories.
You see, when you dial in the first two Foundations and add effective exercise, you will see major results happen.
Oh, and when I said exercise was easy, I didn’t mean it would always be comfortable, convenient or even fun, Although I hope if you are doing it with us it’s at least bearable. In our gym, you just have to walk through the door 2-4 times a week and we will make sure the exercise happens. 🙂
I firmly believe in a well-structured exercise program but when we get down to the essentials of looking and feeling better some simple truths hold for us all. So here’s my list of things to include in your exercise routine:
- Lift heavy stuff. Moving some real weight is key to making you stronger and fitter. If we aren’t challenged, we aren’t improving.
- Get that heart rate up. Should we always do high intensity (HIIT) style training or go out and run for 5 miles a day? We can debate ideal versus improvement but let me just say that variety is good. I’ll leave it at that for now.
- Stay active in life. Every day doesn’t need to be an intense workout. Daily low impact activity like walking or light stretching is fantastic. Look for creative ways to add more activity in your daily life. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a simple way to up your game.
- Train don’t strain. I’ve said it too many times to count but, listen to your body when you exercise. If something hurts, it’s not a good choice for you. Try something else or see the final bullet point.
- Hire a professional. We hire a professional to fix our cars, plumbing or do our taxes. Fitness and nutrition should be no different. A professional can hold you accountable and make sure your workouts are the safest and most effective possible.