There are endless rules and laws related to the fitness industry dictating how, what, and when to eat, exercise, sleep, stretch, meditate, sit, stand, defecate and BREATHE. Enough to make your head spin. And if that’s not overwhelming enough you can find 2 equally reputable sources making completely opposing claims both of which will have scientific studies and research to prove their point. But HOW? How can science prove 2 completely different things simultaneously? Well my lovelies it’s quite simple, EVERYONE is different. All of our bodies are unique and ever changing. So the exact same study done on two different test groups will yield different results, in fact the same study performed twice on the SAME test group a year apart will also yield different results. Now you’re overwhelmed I know, how are you supposed to figure out what’s right if nothing is guaranteed to succeed or fail? The simplest route is to hire a professional, an alternative is simply trial and error my dear. The latter has been my approach given that I am the professional, and I’ll tell you a little secret, I’m still constantly learning, I still fuck it up sometimes and I don’t follow all the rules.
So let me tell you AAALLL the things I do completely wrong that just happen to work for ME!
My workouts are WAY longer than 1 hour!
That’s right, my workouts usually hover around the 2hr mark sometimes even more! And I have miraculously yet to experience my muscles falling off, crazy talk I know. Now let me explain before too many off you think you have to devote several hours a day to the gym because nothing could be further from the truth. There are specific reasons this works for me and why I see progress doing this. One very important thing to keep in mind is I’m not going hard for 2 hours straight, I would pass out mid workout if I tried that. My rests between sets are relatively long (60secs or more), I take my time and listen to my body. If I feel that I need rest then I rest and I finish my workout when my body feels done. As you can imagine you have to be pretty in tune with your body and fatigue levels to do this safely but it’s certainly possible. This works for me primarily because I LOVE working out and I enjoy the freedom of not having to rush through to stay in a 1 hour window. My workout is like my recess and I like the ability to play when I’m in the gym, if I want to try a new workout or exercise I’ll throw it in the mix and know that I have plenty of time to do so. When I was attempting to stick to 1hr I felt so rushed I never did anything new for fear of going over my safe “window” and for that reason I wasn’t really challenging myself during my workouts. Longer workouts like this make me feel that I’ve accomplished something and give me the motivation to stay on track with everything else.
The good news here is that either way works! If you aren’t exactly the gym rat the 1hr workout is more than enough. In fact you can see noticeable results with even shorter workouts as long as you stay efficient in your programming. (If you feel that this is an area you need guidance on feel free to contact me regarding online personal training at firstname.lastname@example.org) And for those of you that could spend the entire day in the gym and feel paralyzed by time constraints don’t stress it. Your workout should be fun regardless of duration!
I eat ALL the soy plus carbs and gluten OH MY!
Like seriously all of it, I empty the tofu and edamame sections when I go to the grocery. And this is ok because I’m NOT allergic to it and guess what if you aren’t diagnosed with an allergy/intolerance to soy nor breast cancer it’s ok for you too, yes even if you’re a man. If you don’t believe me I suggest researching phytoestrogen so this doesn’t turn into a science article. For me soy has yet to have an adverse affect on my health, and it’s a phenomenal low fat source of protein with minimal sodium. I also enjoy the occasional bowl of pasta, stack or waffles or PB sandwich. Now I of course stick with only whole grain and multi-grain options but this rampant fear of bread and gluten is insanity. Grains are listed in the food pyramid for a reason and gluten is simply the naturally occurring grain based protein, and an important one at that. It is often found in other foods simply because manufacturers extract the gluten to add to their products both for it’s protein density and it’s binding properties. Yes of course some people truly suffer from celiac disease(1% of population), gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity (6%), but not nearly as many as there are people blindly cutting it out of there diet. So as my little PSA please if you believe you have a sensitivity to gluten I urge you to get tested prior to simply eliminating such an important component of a balanced diet.
I eat processed foods!
Blasphemous I know! But the bottom line is there’s a huge difference between strict and restrictive diets. It’s ok to be a little strict on yourself especially amidst a lifestyle change, after all a large part of my job entails helping people learn to be stricter with their health early on. However being restrictive will make you miserable. Simply put it’s the difference between “I’m going to reduce my soda consumption” and “I’ll NEVER have a soda again for the rest of my life!” for most people the second declaration is a little scarier. So it’s best to stick with phrases closer to the first when setting lifestyle goals for yourself. All that being said yes I eat processed foods, not daily of course and certainly not at every meal but a few times a week. Now to clarify simply because of my dietary preferences, processed doesn’t mean fast food but more frozen and convenience foods. Why? well one because life fucking happens! I have busy days, I forget to meal prep or sometimes feel downright lazy and you know what works in a pinch? Protein rich frozen food! And second because I like to enjoy a social life and I’m a bit of a foodie so I enjoy the freedom to go out with friends and have a whole damn plate of sweet potato fries if I so choose.
I drink, and sometimes pretty heavily
Because it’s fun dammit! Now how often do I drink heavily? at most once or twice a month usually. How often do I consume alcohol? Well I had a beer with a friend yesterday…normally 1- 2 alcoholic beverages a week, and of course there are often weeks when I don’t drink at all. What I’m getting at here is enjoy yourself don’t limit yourself. Being healthy and active is wonderful but what’s the point if you live your life in a bubble, you don’t have to be perfect, no one is. As long as your health falls somewhere near the top of your list of priorities, you’re happy and you feel comfortable with yourself and your body you my friend are winning at life!