After my short primer on food from last week, we’ll continue with the second letter in my FEW-abbreviation: the e of exercise. So, slip into your running shoes and do some lunges, we’re getting physical!
Remember how I preached that food is so important for a healthy lifestyle? Well, guess what: exercise is too! However, if you think it’s hard to adjust your eating behaviour, try getting into active exercise if you’re not used to it. You will hate yourself and your training at the start, but if you adhere to the following three little rules, it will be a bit easier.
Do something you like
Look, you’ll already hate your lack of stamina and fitness when you start exercising, so why do it with a routine or sport you hate? Just because people say that sport X is the healthiest one, or that exercise Y is the best for goal Z, doesn’t mean that they’re the ones that get you to your goal. You will torture yourself enough during your training, so do it while doing something you enjoy.
If you never did any kind of sports before, try out different ones. Most clubs offer free trial lessons, so shop around and see what your town has to offer. You might even like a sport you never even heard of. Once you find something you really enjoy, make that the focus of your workout. It might not be the “best” choice, but it gets you moving. And moving, dear readers, is always better than slacking on the couch while watching a Supernatural re-run.
Do something that pushes your limits
Alright, you found a sport or workout routine you like, and that’s good. However, here comes the bad news: just doing it “casually” is nice and fun, but if you take a break the moment a single drop of sweat is on your forehead, it won’t help you. When exercising, go hard. Jason Statham, the star of the Transporter movies and experienced martial artist, once said the following:
“Your body’s like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you’ll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer, bang!”
Based on my own experience, I have to agree with Statham. Make sure that your workouts have enough explosive and really exhausting moments. Unleash all the energy you have, and go for broke. Sure, it will feel like you’re killing yourself, but you’re not. You’re just pushing your boundaries, fighting against all the bad habits you have acquired during a lifetime of comfort and laziness. Show all of those habits what your made off, and you’ll reap the rewards of it. Find out what your ideal rhythm of explosive and more “laid-back” exercises is, but always try to do that one rep more.
Take a break
This might sound funny, but an important part of working out is resting: the short rest in between repetitions, but also the long rest in between workouts. Your body needs time to regenerate, to rebuild muscles and to prepare for the next session. Make sure to give your body that time. No matter how hard you go and how much you start to enjoy physical activities, give your body the chance to get used to it. Many inexperienced people start out extremely enthusiastic, training four times a week, just to end up with all kinds of sores and pains after just two weeks. That’s because you don’t have an athlete’s body, but that of a lazy newb! That’s not bad, though: you’re getting there, step by step, but take small and careful steps. Start with two, maybe three, really exhausting sessions every week, and then grant your body good food and a good night’s rest. When you keep training regularly, you will notice that your body will be able to handle more and more. Keep pushing your limits then, but never forget about a few days of rest!
Well, that’s it for this week. So, go out there, find something that gets you moving, and see for yourself how awesome sports can be. Next week, we’ll talk about the willpower required to change your lifestyle. Trust me, if you’re still busy changing your eating and exercise behaviour then, you will need the advice!