15/15 seconds for 7 rounds ~ no rest
- Push-Ups – between 2 steps
- Mtn. Climbers
- Kettlebell Swing
- Ball slams
Getting Physical: Underlying Beliefs That May Be Keeping You Unfit
As the holidays begin, many of us are resolving to get up off the couch and get our bodies into shape after New Year’s. But if we don’t examine our underlying attitudes towards exercise, then we may end up facing some mental barriers to getting physical.
Changing your mind might just be the first step to changing your body. Here are a few common notions – and their truths – that I have witnessed as a personal trainer:
Grueling Conditioning vs. Pleasurable Movement
On television shows like the “Biggest Loser”, the media often portrays exercise as suffering. The reality is, the “no pain, no gain” approach actually creates a huge psychological hurtle to just getting started. If we associate the gym with punishment, we’ll be less inclined to go, and unlikely to consistently return.
Conversely, finding an activity that you enjoy – a dance class with a dynamic instructor, a compelling training event or a beautiful, nearby hiking trail – will ensure that you will repeatedly go. Exercising can, and should, be both challenging and pleasurable. Finding a sense of joy while exercising will ensure that you look forward to your next workout, and will eventually help you increase your intensity.
Short Term Results vs. A Lifetime of Health
If you are working out to obtain six-pack-abs or a “bikini body,” then you might resort to extreme routines. Onerous fitness programs, like extreme caloric restriction, may lead to rapid weight loss, yet are virtually impossible to maintain.
Instead of toughing out the routine to achieve a perfect body, consider exercise as lifelong practice of crucial and feel-good self-care. Regularly breaking a sweat serves as very potent medicine regardless of your weight, age, fitness level or body type. To reap the benefits of fitness, we need to take this medicine for the rest of our lives, instead of administering it for a quick fix.
Spot Reduction vs. Functional Fitness
When I worked at a women’s fitness center, I often heard women list a litany of hated body parts like their abs, upper arms, or thighs. They have come to expect that they can “fix” individual body parts by using specific pieces of gym equipment that isolate individualized muscles groups.
Unfortunately, the fitness industry has fueled the idea of “spot reduction” with infomercials for gizmos called “ab-blasters” or “thigh masters”. The fact is, depending on your genetic disposition, you may or may not be able to sweat your way into a visibly muscular physique.
My rule of thumb is: “If it looks like a chair, then beware.” Getting out of chairs develops our core muscles and trains the muscles to effectively work together.
Practicing integrated, full body movements (also called compound exercises) can drastically improve posture, build balance, boost athletic skill, address back pain and increase energy. Exercise your body as an integrated, functional whole instead a fractured, conglomeration of flawed parts.
Working Out vs. Working In
Too often, exercise becomes pigeonholed as an atonement for dietary transgressions. Instead of using it as self-punishment, a movement practice can be a form of self-determination. Beyond burning calories, training can provide emotional balance, foster introspection, and increase creativity.
The conscious movement of our body opens up mental blocks and soothes our inner self. One of the reasons that yoga and other mind-body approaches have become so popular is because they engage the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of a person.
If you find yourself giving up on exercise, then you might recognize some of these attitudes. If your workouts are no fun or you are just trying to squeeze into a smaller dress size, you might get stuck in an “all or nothing” mentality.
But you may be less apt to throw in the gym towel if you reconsider why and how you are working out. So whether you choose swimming, hula-hooping, or rock climbing, do something that you love and will do regularly. We can exercise to condition the body as well as refresh the mind and enliven the spirit.