Whether you are a total exercise newbie, or have been working out for a while, figuring out your approach to fitness can be downright confusing.
Differentiating leg day, from back day, from runday, to the latest Instagram challenge…there is a ton of information out there and it can be hard to cut through the noise. If you aren’t aspiring to be a fitness model but want to feel stronger and develop healthier habits…here are a few ways you can cut through the noise and simplify your fitness routine to get real results.
Set the right goals.
When it comes to fitness, like most other things in life, setting the right goals can be the hardest part. Fitness can be very visual, and often times we can be overstimulated by what we see others doing. Just because you follow yoga accounts on Instagram that can do crazy poses, doesn’t mean you need to do them too. Just because a blogger you love swears by Crossfit, that doesn’t mean you have to join your local box. Essentially, don’t do something only because you see other people doing it. Your fitness routine should be built on a foundation of goals that feel right for you. To create sound fitness goals that truly serve what my mind and body need, I like to ask myself the following questions:
1. What problem am I trying to solve? – If you have a specific health concern you are trying to address, now is the time to identify it. If you have a previous injury that you want to rehabilitate, now is the time to understand what the problem is so you can address it. If you have bad habits when it comes to taking care of yourself, make sure you understand what you are doing, and identify how fitness can help. This is your “why” and it is key to setting meaningful goals.
2. How do I want to feel? – Do you want to feel stronger, faster, more energetic? Identify the positive feelings you want to experience from your fitness routine and set goals that will help you get there.
3. What obstacles are in my way? If you know there are specific factors in your life that serve as obstacles for helping you get (and stay) fit, identify what those are. Do you have a demanding schedule, and have a hard time making the time for fitness? Set a goal to move for 10 minutes per day. Does the snooze button get the best of you, causing you to miss your workouts (guilty)? Set a goal to fit in afternoon sweat sessions if you just can’t get out of bed. Your goals should be able to address and disarm your excuses.
Keep things balanced.
There are three main pillars of fitness: strength training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility training. Your body needs aspects of all three to remain healthy, balanced, and to move efficiently. Strength training is vital for keeping your bones strong, your metabolism revving and for protecting you from injury. Cardio is essential because it serves as strength training for your heart and lungs – you need them to be strong. Flexibility training is also crucial because flexible muscles have greater strength potential, and being able to move a muscle through its full range of motion will also help protect you from injury. How much of each you incorporate into your routine will depend on your goals, and on what you like. If you hate running but love lifting weights, there’s no shame in that. Just make sure you get enough high-intensity movement to really get your heart pumping a few times per week. If you love running, but get bored on your yoga mat that’s ok too. You just can’t skip strength and flexibility altogether. Devote a majority of your routine to the type of activity you enjoy and include at least one to two sessions dedicated to the other elements of fitness each week.
Focus on quality, not quantity.
This one is huge and is often where fitness tends to get really complicated. It can be incredibly easy to focus on numbers. As humans, we have a tendency to want every mile to be faster than the last, every lift to be more powerful than the one before, and every workout to burn as many calories as possible. However, operating this way doesn’t make our bodies very happy, and when we are constantly treating our physical self-care like an SAT math problem, we can burn ourselves out pretty fast.
That is why it is so important to listen to your body. While I am all for incorporating as much movement as you can into your day, not every single workout needs to be balls to the wall. It is more than ok to take a step back, and give your body the rest it needs so you can come back stronger for your next sweat session. Our bodies care more about the quality of our movement, not about how many reps we can complete, miles we run or burpees we can bust out.
If you are curious what a workout from me looks like, I’m sharing a full-body circuit workout that I love to do when I only have a few minutes to work up a good sweat. This workout combines elements of strength and cardio!
If you are interested in working out with me, I would love to have you join my Elevated Movement online boot camp. We will be completing a six-week fitness program of body-loving workouts similar to the one below beginning September 12. You will get a new workout plan each week, along with video demonstrations of each exercise from yours truly. There are still a few spots left – I would love to have you join us! You can learn more at this post, or sign up here.
- What are some must-haves for your fitness routine?