Cutting Out the Unnecessary: Simplifying Your Life

When it comes to health and fitness, there are MILLIONS of options and choices of complex routines, diets, and exercises plans out there. With this multitude of regimens we may find ourselves jumping from one complicated workout and diet plan to the next, just so we can feel like we are, at least, accomplishing something. Whether we are wanting to get bigger muscles or lose fat, we may be finding ourselves spending countless hours scouring the web, reading article after article, clicking on whatever page that has the most appropriate headline promising to help you achieve this look or that, BUT…to no avail.

So let us discuss a simpler plan that we all can adhere to, as well as be excited about performing. If you are trying to get rid of that stubborn fat or tone up a certain part of your body, start by simplifying. Simplify your exercise and diet plan. Throw away your chaotic plans and start fresh with a simplified version.

But, how…? You may be wondering. So let’s break this thing down into its most simple form, let’s start with our caloric intake and diet.

If you are wanting to lose weight, we need to consume less, and if we want to gain weight we must consume more. So start by tracking your calories for a few days so you have an estimate of what you’re eating and how many calories you’re putting into your body.  Use a free app like MyFitnessPal to keep things easy.  Once you know how many calories you are eating, it’s simple: consistently eat more or less depending on your goal.  If you want to lose weight, you need to eat LESS.  If you want to gain weight, then you need to eat MORE.  Step on the scale once a week and then adjust your calorie intake depending on whether it’s moving in the right direction. Try to stick to no more than a weekly variance of 1-2% of weight gain or weight loss, depending on what direction your goals are. Small increments of changes on a consistent basis will be better for us physiologically as well as mentally. By not making huge changes we are able to reassess and make gradual adjustments as needed.

Now let us move into talking about exercise. For those that are not training for the olympics or for specific physical events, we are able to fluctuate our weight according to our goals by adhering to the previous mentioned diet simplifications as well as a nice moderate to light, weight-training program. For the most part, health maintenance can be done with only a few days of quality exercises a week, but you’ve got to make sure you’re getting into the gym or finding the time to do a home workout.

You’re busy and you’ve got plenty of things that can distract you from your training on any given day. Obligations come up or on some days you’re just too tired; there will always be another excuse between you and your next workout. But there’s one thing that will dictate your success in your weight training above all else. Consistency! You must be consistent in your training to continue making progress and getting stronger. When the rest of your life gets complicated use these next ideas to simplify your workouts and focus on what’s most important.

When we are thinking about our exercise routines and programming, always remember your ABC’s. NO, not just the alphabet song from grade school. The ABC’s for fitness are Aerobic exercise, Building strength exercises, and Care exercises that give quality attention to the soft connective tissues.

Our Aerobic exercises are going to be the movements that we can do for extended periods of time with minimal rest. We should be careful with this type of training to not rely on the incorrect views of our culture that believe this is the best way to lose weight, as it is not always true! But it is an integral part of our personal health and fitness, benefiting our circulatory, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.

Next is the Building strength part of training, which is the number one way to manage your body composition. This means strength training is regarded as the best type of exercise whether we are looking to lose weight or gain muscle. This type of training will be the workouts that are done with body weight as well as weighted movements. This type of exercising has some of the most misguided information on types, movements, times, and the numerous amounts of other variables.  

Don’t worry about reps and sets in this range, but just listen to your body and keep the movements to a timed limit. When performing a strength exercise always try to keep the time-under-tension, meaning the full amount of time required to move the weight through eccentric and concentric phases or the full range of motion for that movement, under 60 seconds, 30 second, or 12 seconds. Try alternating these amounts of times, adjusting the amount of weight used: 60 seconds will be your light weight, 30 seconds a moderate weight, and 12 seconds your heavier weights. This will allow your body to enter into different metabolic phases and benefitting the muscle in a variety of ways.

Next is Care. Caring for our connective tissue is probably one of the harder things to remember to do because it requires less movement and more mental fortitude of consistency.  Care for your muscles, joints and soft tissues through regular movement and daily stretching is essential for feeling agile and energetic. Yoga, foam rolling and stretching exercises along with getting up and out of your chair to move every 30 minutes are simple ways you can care for your body.

Now you are set for following your ABC’s of fitness. For more information on movements and medleys reach out to a health and fitness professional. You can also contact us through [email protected], or directly by phone at 314.210.2680.