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Commandments of Fitness

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Commandments of Fitness

For most of us, exercise is an activity that can be used to increase ones fitness, shed some body fat, decrease stress, meet new people or maybe all of the above! Regardless, there are some basic fitness tips that apply to all but a select few and in this blog I discuss the most important ones.

  1. Less is more- basically this means just what is says that doing a shorter duration workout goes a lot further than spending a long time exercising. Unless you are training for a particular event that requires hours and hours of exercise, from a ROI standpoint you should be able to accomplish your goals in an exercise session that takes 45 minutes at the most. MOST people will start to suffer negative hormonal consequences by exercising any longer than that and counterproductivity will start to ensue.
  2. Efficiency- Unless you are prone to blood sugar problems, your best strategy for exercising is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Not only will this allow less food prep time before you exercise, but it will also help to maintain proper body composition. The most successful and sustainable exercise routines are done in the AM.
  3. Stretch and foam roll after- Unless you are nursing an injury, the best time to stretch is AFTER your workout. Study after study has shown this to be the most effective strategy for maintaining flexibility. I personally like to stretch and foam roll after dinner in the evening for about 15 minutes to help me unwind and get into a relaxed state. For those that have a hard time being consistent, I recommend to make this a priority just as important as their exercise ( I put on my calendar!)
  4. Do your own thing- I see this happen to people all the time. They are following a fitness plan based on their own individual needs and suddenly they pivot, change direction and are doing something entirely different. Having a fitness goal is all about YOU. So make sure to keep it individual and not get caught up in what others are doing.
  5. Frequency- This one is related to number 1 on my list and for good reason. An example would be you are better off exercising 6x a week for :30 each time vs. 3x a week for 1 hour each time. Some of the reasons are-easier to maintain fitness, more productive going to your job, maintain ideal body composition, more likely to stick to a program, keep hormones functioning optimally.
  6. Nutrition is king- If sleep is the queen, then nutrition is the king. Nothing is more important than a good nutrition program. You can exercise all day, get 10 hours of sleep, not have a job, be an ex professional athlete but whatever the reason you can’t “out” exercise a bad diet. People have tried and failed many times and end up with bad blood lab results, poor performance in a sport, less energy, increased body fat, decreased cognitive ability, preventable diseases, or possibly all of the above.
  7. Mix it up- I know I have been guilty of this myself in the past, but at some point your body will plateau with a fitness goal. The catch is you need to switch things up before your body gets bored. I have always said if your mind is bored, than your body has BEEN bored. In order to not let this happen you need to constantly vary your routine whether it be increase the reps in your weights, increase the intensity, try a new sport, maybe even take more days off. Whatever the change, make sure to mix it up, embrace it and prepare for a breakthrough.
  8. Listen to your body- This has been a real advantage as well as disadvantage with the use of metrics today. My opinion is that most people should focus on internal cues of listening to their bodies instead of what the number on the gadget or workout plan says. Just because the schedule call for a hard workout doesn’t mean you should attempt it. What if you got less sleep than normal? Are feeling sick? Have an achy knee that has gotten worse. The idea here is listen to your body and know when to let it rest, rather than push through and end up worse than before. If you are not feeling up to par, you most likely won’t have a good workout anyway so listen to your body and respect it!
  9. Rest periods- This one can relate to number 8 on the list, but the difference is that everyone should incorporate rest periods in their fitness plan. Often life gets in the way and the rest periods “just happen.” It could be the holidays, sick child, new job, etc. Regardless, at a minimum every 1-2 months a rest period  of decreased exercise should be incorporated into ones fitness plan. If you are training for a particular event that that rest period should be even more frequent (every 3 or 4 weeks.) The rest period should be a week long and training should cut back 75% of current weekly volume.
  10. Sleep is queen- Sleep ranks high on my own personal list as far as priority. I strive for 8-9 hours every night to be at my best the next day. Maybe you don’t need as much as I do (or you take naps like my wife:), regardless you should be creating optimal sleep patterns based on your own energy output on a daily basis. Chronic sleep deprivation is an epidemic these days, and can only lead to decreased health in the future so do yourself a favor and get the proper amount of shut eye.
Mahadi Munna