Today’s post is a guest post by Sara Wiercinski from Love Yourself Naked
Why do you exercise? Why do you go to the gym or health club, head out for a run, practice yoga, or lift heavy weights?
For most of us, there are two answers that work well here: to either maintain a healthy lifestyle or lose weight. With specific regard for this general readership, however, there may be a third reason: to get jacked.
With any one of these reasons in mind, I revert to my original question: why do you exercise? In my profession, I observe individuals who seem to have forgotten to ask this question of themselves and their fitness regime. I see individuals who cruise the weight room floor and pick-up a dumbbell here and there; I see individuals who perform a few poorly executed pull-ups and – viola – one’s fitness dreams will come true. Isn’t this how exercising works? In today’s world; it might seem that easy. Media outlets like television and magazine ads promise us, the consumer, “five-minutes to a flat stomach,” or “a sexy butt in three simple moves.” We are lead to believe that fitness really is that easy: that moving around and glistening with a bit of sweat will result in a skinny, healthy body.
Unfortunately, the truth that I will address in this piece is that the path to health and fitness requires commitment, work, and perhaps most importantly, an understanding of our own fitness goals. After all, if it really only took eight total minutes to gain that flat stomach and sexy posterior, wouldn’t we all be running around in our underwear? While certainly doing something is better than doing nothing, is “better than nothing,” our proud definition of time spent in action? I would hope not.
I want my readers to possess the knowledge needed to answer the question presented above. In an effort to encourage this kind of understanding, please allow me to clear up some general misconceptions that I have heard people use as reasons for getting exercise.
“I want to lose weight so I am going to run a half-marathon.”
When I listen this statement, I hear two, distinct goals that should be treated that way: separately. An individual seeking weight loss must concentrate on a fat loss regime. An individual with the desire to run a half-marathon must focus on an endurance running regime. When done correctly, both goals will look and feel quite different from one another.
“I want to lose fat and get bigger.”
Once again, as I hear this statement, I am struck by the reality of two separate goals, each with a different program for success. Research and reality will show that losing fat and building muscle cannot occur at the same time.
“I want to get bigger and stronger.”
I imagine that my readers are catching on? Even this statement presents two, separate goals. Need evidence? Search the internet for “Olympic Level Weight Lifters.” The results will show that while these individuals are undoubtedly strong, they are not always big (or at least not the kind of “big” that the general public is aiming to achieve).
Given these examples, what is the bottom line? I believe that if an individual is going to find time within a busy schedule for exercise, then the time and exercise should count and be productive. When someone does not know what they want from a workout, “desired” results are likely to be far from noticeable. When we slow down, though, and ask ourselves that important question, “why am I doing this?” we are far more likely to gain marked results.
As a reader, if you answer this question as “I’d like to be healthy,” then cheers to you; you get a bit of leeway. I encourage you to have fun with your goals: spend a few weeks and work on becoming stronger. Next, jump into a new routine where your focus is speed and agility. Work hard, have fun, and keep your body guessing! Changing-up your goals will keep your workouts fresh and meaningful. If your goal is anything more specific than general health, however, you may need to do some homework on the most efficient and effective road to accomplishment. Start by setting a time limit, as having a true timeline in mind is one of the best ways to reach any goal. Wherever you choose to begin; remember to ask questions and understand the “why” behind your actions and objectives.