I love working out.

Since I first picked up a dumbbell at age 15, working out was just something I did. Consistently. The confidence, focus, and camaraderie the gym gave me are things I cherish to this day–some thirty years later!

As much as I love lifting heavy, pushing the limits of my cardiovascular system, and reaping the benefits of intense exercise, sometimes you need to back it off.

I realize a statement like that goes against the general “more is more” attitude, but I’d like to think I have gained wisdom in my age. I now think about playing the “long game” when it comes to my fitness. How about you?

I’ve spoken many times about stress and the constant barrage we are under. This year has been incredibly challenging. I’ve also mentioned that we MUST be able to recover from those stresses to become better versions of ourselves. Mainly leaner, stronger, and more vibrant.

In case you’ve forgotten–exercise is also a stress. It stresses our muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system. It’s how well we recover from our workouts that determine the results we get. 

If you recall from my past ramblings, the Bodysmith philosophy is built on a synergy of three things I refer to as the Three Foundations of Health & Fitness. They are:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Recovery
  3. Exercise

If we are constantly flooding our body with high-intensity exercise and ignoring the other two Foundations, we may reach the point of diminishing returns or worse. As stress builds, our energy falters, we become run-down and open ourselves to a great possibility of injury or other health issues. Those injuries can impact our function for a long time. Even permanently. 

That’s why I propose another famous “Bodysmith Mindshift”!

As the name implies, a workout takes something from you. Depending on the kind of training you are doing, you expend energy and even create minor trauma to the muscle tissues you exercise. If you have the other foundations of health & fitness in line (nutrition and recovery), you are set to make progress. Unfortunately, this is where we can run into problems. Most find it much easier to pound out more rigorous exercise than to eat and recover in ways that are supportive of their goals.

On the other hand, we have a work-in. A work-in is meant to recharge and invigorate you. It will add energy to your reserves when too many stresses have tapped them. If you are the kind of person who hates missing a workout, it can fill the gap and allow your next workout to be even better.

The good news if you are a Bodysmith member, you have a team of professionals at the ready to assist you :). We build these practices directly into our customized programs. If you haven’t joined us online OR in person, I still want to help. What can I say? I love to help people reach goals.

Work-In Ideas:

  • Walking. I was recently a guest on a podcast where the host asked if walking is worth it for fitness. MY answer. “Hell yes!” Not precisely how I put it, but besides burning a few calories, being outside in the fresh air is AMAZING for the mind.
  • Yoga. I’m glad the rest of the fitness world has FINALLY come around to the link between mind and body. A yoga session can be invigorating without draining you. There are many styles of yoga practiced nowadays, and some of them are designed to be of higher intensity. This is not the sort I am referring to for your work-in, so choose wisely.
  • Foam rolling or stretching. Nearly everyone should spend time addressing the soft tissues of the body. Daily stretching and foam rolling helps the body heal and helps with poor posture.
  • A deload workout. We build lower-intensity workouts into our programs at the Bodysmith. They bridge the gap between training phases and allow a brief pause in exercise intensity before we ramp it back up. This fluctuation of workout intensity actually enable the body to rebound stronger and more fit. Yay science!

Next week I’ll share an example of how yours truly had to substitute a work-in on a particular day. Tune in next week to see how I did it.

–Coach Brad

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