Having been in the health and exercise industry for over 12 years now I see the same trends new year after new year. People get back to hitting the gym hard. They exercise incessantly, and make elaborate plans to ‘do big things’ with their health. Whereas this type of mentality is well and good, I don’t always think it’s sustainable. Because at the end of the day if you just keep pushing yourself to feel the burn, and continue to grunt groan and gasp through your life…you won’t achieve health. I don’t even think thats what health looks like. Exercise is a validation for our incompetence. We use the word, ‘exercise’ to compensate for the fact that we don’t move our bodies the way they were intended to be used. ‘Exercise’ is a fad at the end of the day, and I see a direct correlation between dysfunction and how much people work out.
A new body, or a new surge in your health has less to do with cramming in more gym time and more with doing the right kind of quality work. Herego, “train intentionally, not habitually.” Sure, for some of us it may be going to the gym three days instead of one or two. For others it’s simply finding a trainer and starting to meet their body for the first time in a long time. But the moment we swing the pendulum from one extreme to the other, we overload our nervous system. And what is more problematic, is that since exercise is a fad, and a business model, people sell it like hotcakes! Orange Theory, yoga, CrossFit, bootcamps, spin, TRX, kettlebell, they all have a different name but typically the experience across the board is one and the same. So it’s not even like we take our precious body and slowly dive into its’ intricacies, instead we just throw it into the lion’s pit demanding it give us what we want; fat loss, muscle tone, aerobic capacity, no more pain, etc.
This is not sustainable. Its not. Eventually overuse of muscle groups will set in. One day the inflammation accrued from high repetition movements will show up. The unnecessary friction of your joints and spine will one day have to say, “I’m done. You put me through too much.” Its because modern day humans are not living healthy lifestyle. We like to take the high road and say we are, but we aren’t. We’ve got to admit that before any new progress can be made.
Some of my suggestions for ways of getting something new out of your body:
1- Sleep. Are you getting 6-8 hours a day? This has to be goal #1. Our body repairs itself when we sleep, that and our cerebrospinal fluid gets to move. Sleep is the place where you get to recover and restore.
2- Disconnect. Get away from technology more often. Take a walk without your headphones. Stop watching TV right before bed. If you live somewhere warm, go walk barefoot as often as possible. We did not evolve to wear shoes, looks at screens, and blare loud music into our ears. Look into ‘grounding’ online, and expose yourself to nature often.
3- Start to cook, and stop being so fixed in how you do it! I’m so sick and tired of people saying they can’t live without certain foods. Quit eating flour, wheat, grains, and sugar, understand that it is a form of poison. It’s 2018, do your research and get with it. Scientists have shown us that a lot of the items grocery stores sell us is complete garbage. Not only that, but a lot of the treats you grew up eating are also not beneficial to your long-term health. Eat veggies 2-3x a a day, and learn to make them yourself. Salads, steamed variations, and if you need any recipes try typing it in on google. In the meantime, for your meats buy grass fed beef, pasture raised pork/chicken, and wild caught fish. You’ll receive the benefits of eating animals that also have more natural diets, opposed to factory meat which is fed corn, grain, and other inconceivable items. Plus, your efforts will help slow down profits for factory farmers.
4- Learn about your body, movement, and biomechanics. Take the time to understand your inhibitions, weaknesses, and how to overcome them. Biomechanics is physics applied to your body. You live in gravity each and everyday. Gravity is a constant force on your body, and if you don’t know how to unify with gravity, then you’re going to have some dysfunctional mechanics issues. We only get one vessel in this lifetime, learning how to move it, restore it, and give it what it needs will give you the best chance of being able-bodied and healthier long-term.
5- Cut back on the beer and wine. Cut back on the dessert. These habits will catch up to you in the long game.
6- Get bodywork, or if you’re not open to it, learn to self-massage and perform self-care on your most found up body parts. Our bodies are meant to be touched, loved, and held. If you’re not constantly having interactions with your tissues, they end up getting cold, stale, and stiff.
7- Breathe more. Develop a mindful practice of some sort. It could be sitting and meditating for 5 minutes or 20 minutes. I’d highly suggest you do this if you haven’t already. Take the time to be with yourself, in silence, and with your breathing. Warming up your breathing is a way to give yourself and create energy in your body. Working out is a way to expel energy. Each day breath should be warmed up to ensure your body functions optimally for whatever you’re planning to take it through.
So these are some of my tips going into the new year. Think of them as 7 guides to a better functioning you.