I should start by introducing myself to all of you, as a guest blogger for Brooke and new to many of you here, I’m Adam. Blessed husband to Brooke and father to our daughter Luci. I come from a background of 15+ years in the fitness industry that includes certifications, a degree, and vast amounts of hands on experience. I have been a head strength coach, helped create and develop a national fitness brand, led dozens of live certifications, and educated hundreds of trainers. With that said, Brooke asked me to help contribute to the community on the topic of movement and why you may not be achieving the results you had hoped for.
Why Working Out isn’t Working Out
If there is one thing I have learned in my experience, it is that there is nothing more frustrating than putting in any amount of time and effort into a goal and not seeing progress. This causes a countless number of people to look for a quick fix, doubt themselves, or even quit all together. Before we get started, it is important to understand that achieving a goal is not always easy, but there should be a clear path for everyone, along with realistic expectations.
The first thing you need to know is your goal. Without an established goal you will never have a clear path to accomplish it. This should be specific and detailed (ex. lose 20 lbs, drop a dress size, finish a 5K), have a timeline (ex. by summer 2019) and be realistic. Let’s also add: realistic timeline. From there your training program can be established.
When setting a training program, it needs to reflect your goal. Example: if you are looking for aesthetics you need to be lifting weights, if you are looking for endurance you need to increase your cardiovascular output…
With that plan make sure to understand your limitations. You are coming into this goal with past injuries, imbalances, time restrictions, emotional and physical stress, along with countless other areas which can slow progress. The more you understand what areas might hinder your success, the better equipped you will be to address them with tools to continue towards your goal.
Some examples can include:
Past Injuries – More often than not this should be where you seek assistance from professionals. I am assuming since you are reading the Beets and Babes blog you gave birth to a child…? Pelvic floor issues and post-partum is one of the highest times for women to get injured if not addressed and corrected. Going to a chiropractor, massage therapist, or individual with corrective exercise experience/certifications can help to create a personalized plan for you to navigate and work on improve any limitations caused by past injuries or childbirth.
Imbalances – These items are often less pronounced than injuries and usually go unnoticed by the untrained eye. They are created by overusing one side or muscle group over another, neglect of development of specific areas, or your body’s way of guarding itself from an injury. Again, a situation that can be addressed by finding a professional that will provide you a plan to get you back to 100%.
Stress – Simply put, stress is stress – whether it is physical or mental. Majority of us have mental stress on a daily basis, when we add physical stressors (ex. working out) without recovery, we can actually send ourselves further from our goal rather than closer. This is probably the #1 cause for you to fall off on achieving your goal, miss part of your plan, or even worse…go backwards! This is an area that I will elaborate on next, but it is something that can have many different solutions. The key is to find several that you can utilize on a regular basis to continue you toward your goal.
Work Hard means Recover Harder
Many of us would rather workout hard, go for a run, or take a fitness class than we would to slow down and meditate, book a massage, or take the time to go through mobility movements before/after our workout. We are a society of “some is good, and more is better” when it comes to fitness. This has the tendency to lead to under recovering, an abundance of stress, and a lack of results.
The key is to reflect your training with equal recovery, meaning if you are working out 6 days a week for 90 minutes each you better be doing even more to work on your recovery. The understanding of the importance of the recovery tool is the most unappreciated aspect of nearly everyone I come across or train.
Look through this list of Recovery Tools and pick out several you can use on a weekly basis:
- Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)
- Quality Sleep (8+ Hours)
- Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
- Diaphragmatic Breathing or “Belly Breathing”
The quote I have heard recently, and love the most is, “self-care isn’t selfish”. You physically need to be working on and preparing your body for the next bout of training.
If you are a parent who works full time, is over committed, has kids who are disrupting your sleep consistently, and your down time (when available) consists of watching your recorded TV shows – then “crossfit-like” or HIIT programming more than 2-3x a week probably isn’t best suited for you. You need a program to balance the stressors of your everyday life.
To finish this portion, keep in mind that a program progresses. It should be building on itself in difficulty, skill, intensity, and movements. There is a difference between just following a workout, or following a program. Simply put – a program is a workout with a purpose.
Well, thats NEAT!
There is so much more to movement than your workouts. The majority of people workout 2-4 times a week and leave the gym feeling like they have punched their healthy timecard. In all reality that is 2-4 hours of the 168 hours of the week. Only 2% of your week! That lends up to 164 hours for you to hinder your goal with ineffective and possibly unhealthy actions.
The key is to create habitual movement throughout your day that can be incorporated into your routine. Movement has always been an established item in life, until convenience started to become the norm (ex. driving everywhere, delivery food, everything at our fingertips with smartphones, and the list goes on…)
A term to know on this topic is NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Yep, a lot of words that come to mean any energy (calories) burned doing anything other than sleeping, eating, or sports-like activity such as working out. NEAT has been proven to be a significant factor in maintaining healthy body weight and decreasing several causes of mortality.
NEAT can be incorporated in nearly all aspects of your day, some might be a little more creative than others, but all can be fun to implement. The following are some of the ideas that can be included:
- Post-meal family walks: This is something that adds value in many ways. Movement after eating assists the digestive process, creates a great way to connect/chat with your family, and provides the physical benefit of burning calories.
- “Stand” alarm – Newer fitness technology watches and bands are starting to have built in alerts to make sure you are up and active after a period without movement. This is something that can be simply programmed on your phone. Plan for every 60 minutes to stand, stretch, and maybe even pick a simple movement you can do (squat, lunge, lifting your child, etc).
- Make movement a Game – When you are with your family/friends make moving a game. It can be as simple as who can carry the bags of groceries further, who can carry the most laundry, race to the stop sign, who can stay on one leg longer while waiting for the crosswalk, or any other countless ideas that can make moving fun.
- Make movement personal – Get back to enjoying what YOU did, or wished you did, as a kid. Going for walks in the park, bike rides to go get frozen yogurt (instead of the car), camp-fire/outdoor games (we all remember “kick the can” “tag” and “red light, green light”…or at least those of us outside of the millennial generation)
The key to drive results with lifestyle is finding where you can create movement that you enjoy and can build value to your life. It shouldn’t feel like a burden or a chore, although it may take a little more conscious effort in the beginning to make it habitual.
Using a fitness tracker in the beginning is a great tool to establish where you are currently at with NEAT and monitor your progress as you incorporate more conscious movement.
Putting It All Together
In order to see results with movement, your program should consist of the following aspects:
- A personalized weekly training program based on your goal, limitations, injuries, and stressors.
I hope this has helped you in figuring out why you may not be getting results with your current movement plan, and gives you some tools to incorporate!