Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Key To Fitness And Weight Loss Success Is To Keep Challenging Yourself

Health and fitness are simple to achieve, not easy, but simple. This distinction is the main reason why so many Americans are over weight. We all know what to do or have more than ample resources to find out. Yet many of us don't do it because it's work. It takes discipline. The results are not immediate. All things that make the lure of quick fixes so appealing.

The truth is that old school healthy eating and exercise are a sure bet. No pill or gadget can take the place of the basics.

Working out is hard. At least when it's done right! For example, I'm a big P90X fan and one thing that I began to notice, once I was in good enough shape to notice anything other than how hard it was, was that the people in the DVDs were working hard too. They are out of breath. They're sweating, grunting and struggling through the workout just like I am. These are super fit people. Many of whom have done these workouts before. Yet, they are still working hard, still pushing themselves. The workout is not easy for them because a workout should never be easy.

You need to push yourself no matter how fit you get. Can you imagine Olympic athletes coasting through their workouts? I don't think they'd win any medals that way. Even the fittest people in the world find ways to make their workouts challenging.

I've worked with people who get frustrated because the workouts never get easier. Once we discuss it they understand that the reason it never gets easier is because I keep changing the workouts to push them at their new levels of fitness. It helps to have them think about the ways in which their daily lives have changed as their fitness increases. All kinds of daily activities become much easier including getting dressed, because their clothes fit better. The workouts are always hard but a lot of other things are now easy. The real frustration with exercise comes for people who don't push themselves during their workouts and don't get results.

The reason that our workouts must continue to evolve in order to be challenging is that the body is an incredible machine which adapts to our activities and becomes efficient at them. This means that the same workout over time will burn fewer calories. When you challenge the body it takes more effort, burns more fuel, and you get better results.

Once you accept that your workout is a time of physical challenge and not something that should be easy you begin to reset your brain. You create an expectation of what your workout should be. Over time you will also begin to create new associations. You'll associate challenging workouts with getting leaner, stronger and fitter. You may begin to think of your workouts as a stress reliever and a mood lifter.

Whatever workout you're doing, regularly check-in with yourself. Ask yourself if you feel like you're working at a good intensity level or are you coasting. If you're coasting then find a way to make it harder, change it up whether it's a new twist on an old activity or something brand new.

Keeping your workouts challenging benefits your body and gets you better results but it also benefits your mind as it keeps you engaged and connected to your body. Make your workouts something worth your showing up.

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