Have you ever noticed that people put a lot of effort into making things hard when the answer is sometimes much easier? We watch shows like The Biggest Loser or infomercials about being hardcore and insane with your workouts. We read magazines that tell you this is what warriors do to whip themselves into shape in no time flat. Last time I checked, I wasn’t a warrior and I can’t say I really want to strive to be one.
LOL, does that mean I’m destined for a life of no results and an un-warrior existence? No, not in the least. You can have workout intensity without having to drag yourself out of the gym. Your results might actually be better if you leave feeling energized and aren’t sore the next day. Side note: Soreness has nothing to do with a workout being effective or progress but that’s for another post.
I was wandering through posts the other day in a Facebook group and someone asked about the effectiveness of a popular workout program. They posted one of the workouts with exercises, sets and reps. I was intrigued because the workout looked very well laid out. There were several comments that the workout was too short and only took 30-35 minutes. Other comments were that there wasn’t enough of this or that so they added on to make the workout longer and more hardcore.
Since I design fitness programs for a living and keep client schedules in mind when I lay out the workouts, I’m pretty good at gauging how long a workout should take. I did the quick math and the 30-35 minute workout would take about 55-65 minutes by my estimation. So what’s up with the time difference? Most likely the users of this program are used to pounding out reps, keeping rest times to next to nothing, and flying through to end up exhausted and in a puddle of sweat. Feeeeeel the burn!
If you’re in this group, I’d recommend giving a different approach a try. When you slow the reps down to a controlled speed, you use better form and your muscles instead of momentum and gravity. This equates to more stimulus on your body and more work to bring about changes. By resting an adequate amount of time, you give your muscles time to recover and hit the next set with the same intensity. You won’t see as big of a drop off in reps, and you’ll be able to add weight to your exercises more often.
This last part is key to results that many overlook. It’s not how fast you sling the weight or how much you sweat and get your heart rate up. Results come down to how much you can improve and increase the challenge on your muscles over time. The more weight you lift with controlled, good form, the stronger you get, the more work you put on your body, and the more metabolic stress you cause. This all pays off with increased calorie burn both during your workouts and afterwards, more muscle retention if dieting or more muscle gain if building, and more results.
And aren’t better results what we’re really after? If you could get better results with more sitting, wouldn’t that be pretty cool? So don’t rush your workouts just to end up adding more in an effort to amp things up. Take your time, stick to the basics of lifting, and enjoy your workouts without crushing the life out of your body. Being a warrior is very short lived.
Much like simplifying your workouts, you can do the same with your eating too. Just slice a few fruits and veggies, toss in a bowl with a little flavor and you’ve got a great side dish.
Mango Jicama Salad
- 1 ripe mango (approximately 100g), peeled and seed removed
- 1 small jicama root (approximately 150g), peeled
- 1/4 cup (25g) red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- Pinch cayenne pepper or chili powder
Cut the mango and jicama into pieces that you like. I made mine into julienne slices, but chunks or dices are fine. Mix the mango, jicama, onion, and cilantro in a bowl. Drizzle with the lime juice and sprinkle with the pepper or chili powder for some zing. Toss well to combine.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 36 calories each – 9g carbs, no fat and no protein.
I had this salad as a side dish the first night. The next morning I tossed leftovers onto my eggs for a great punch of flavor. I also tossed it with lettuce and salad veggies for a great addition to my salad. It’s a great multi-tasking dish that took pretty much no effort to make.
If you need help simplifying your workouts or eating without sacrificing results, let me know. It doesn’t have to be hardcore to be effective, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish by doing less. Let’s talk about what we can achieve together and help you reach your goals.