With the nearly infinite media outlets telling you how and when to exercise, the advice, although with good intent, can be endless! Not to mention frustrating.
So then the question is: What do I need to do to be “fit?”
After years of training and investigation, here is what I have come up with:
- Do what you wanna. There is a famous New Orleans song by Rebirth Brass Band titled “Do What You Wanna!” And you should definitely stake this stance when it comes to exercising. If you aren’t doing what you enjoy, then you won’t stick with it. Try different modes of exercise, join a group exercise class or a sports team. The point is to just do something!
- Workout every muscle. Always include exercises into your workout routines that work your upper and lower body, preferably at the same time. Also, do not forget to work your abs and your back! The key is to be balanced and you will be grateful down the line. A major source of muscle and joint pain is secondary to alignment. Similar to a car’s alignment, keep it straight and you will not get any imbalanced wear and tear.
- Workout hard. HIIT, high-intensity interval training, is the direction that exercise is headed for optimum benefit. In a nutshell, HIIT involves exercising at maximum intensity for a few seconds (up to 30 or so), followed by a period of recovery (30 seconds to a minute or so). Of course intervals can vary. But the point is that there should be “maximum effort,” AKA periods when you “go all out’ in your workouts. Research is showing tremendous benefit that is summed up well in this article. Benefits extend from better fat burn to improved sprint and long run endurance.
- Keep yourself accountable. I use an app for iPhone call Lift, which tracks the number of days that you complete a particular goal, in this case, working out. I have a pretty nice streak going on, and this makes me not want to miss a workout. This simple feedback alone has helped to boost my motivation to complete my planned routines. If you don’t like apps, you may try the ole’ school way of marking large X’s on a calendar.
Sometimes you just have to block out the media and distractions and do what’s best for you. Find a way to make it work so that you will stick with it 🙂