Top Six Ways To Save Your Body
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about why most New Year’s fitness resolutions fail, and how to prevent it from happening to you. It was one of my most popular posts with regards to social sharing — and for good reason: the info covered in it could save our country billions of dollars (yes, that’s billions with a “B”) in health care expenses if people would get off their butts and take action.
According to the CDC, 133 million americans (nearly 1 in 2) live with a chronic disease (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer) and more than 75% of health care costs are due to these conditions. Moreover, the CDC recognizes chronic diseases as the most preventable of all health problems and that a “comprehensive approach to prevention can save tremendous costs and needless suffering.”
So yeah, it’s kinda a big deal.
And since a comprehensive approach to health and fitness should be your first line of defense against this problem, getting it right should be one of the top priorities in life.
Yet it still surprises me even after all these years of training and working with people here in Orlando, how many folks are still endlessly repeating the same fundamental mistakes that are preventing them from truly enjoying the benefits of a strong and healthy body.
So its with this in mind that I present you the top 6 ways you can save your body, reduce health care bills, and make the person staring back at you in your bathroom mirror a heckava lot better looking.
1. Cut out the busy work
I don’t know about you, but I hate busy work. I’d rather be doing something productive, and knowing my efforts will yield some sort of positive results, than toiling around with the small stuff. In the fitness world, working out every day is nothing but busy work to me. To be in the gym that much means you either like hanging out at the gym…or you’re very inefficient.
When people finally decide to get in shape they often think the more, the better. You know, like working out 5 or 6 days a week….getting up at the crack of dawn each morning, or hitting the gym immediately after work every night.
The problem with this approach is almost no one can stick with it. The proofs in the pudding. Ever seen how busy a commercial gym is in January? Well, I'm not the first to notice that it looks quite a bit different come March.
The harsh fact is most people quit exercise programs after a few weeks….while a few ‘survivors’ might actually last a couple of months. Most people just don’t have the energy to keep up overly ambitious workout programs long-term.
What’s the point in exercising if you can’t stick with it long enough to see results, or more importantly, maintain what you have accomplished?
To me it’s all about sustainability. Only when your exercise program is brief and productive, does it become a long term proposition. And more importantly, all the benefits derived from exercise — from looking better, to feeling better, to performing better — are no longer fleeting moments, but your permanent reality.
2. Avoid ‘Extreme’ Workouts
There’s another downside to an endless parade of daily workouts.
No one likes to talk about the I-word but it’s a reality for far too many people.
When you are just getting started with a fitness program your muscles, tendons, bones and other connective tissue are less accustomed to the forces they’ll encounter.
Over do it too much or step the wrong way, and the emergency room may be your next stop.
There are over 20 million injuries per year from recreational fitness activities — which incidentally might also explain why the biggest house on the block is owned by an orthopedic doc.
The good doc is also grateful, no doubt, to the amount of “referrals” he gets from extreme exercise programs like Crossfit, P90X and bootcamps.
While there is something to be said for the energy and spirit of these programs, many of the activities are an all out assault on your joints.
If you get hurt, keep in mind it’s considerably harder to go to work Monday morning in a cast or splint.
Be aware also that many of these injuries are not just isolated, one-time events.
There are long term consequences that may include pain medications, doctors bills, surgeries, and arthritis that the devil himself may gift you as a result of tearing your rotator cuff, spraining a knee, or some other nasty injury.
3. See the Big Picture
I said it before, and I’ll say it again — if you can’t maintain an exercise or fitness program for the long haul, it has limited value.
In fact, if an exercise program results in injury, it pretty much has done the exact opposite of what you were trying to accomplish.
The truth is exercise is important, but you have to be clued into what actually produces results and how to go about getting them.
So what should you be concerned about?
Strength -- developing and maintaining it.
Properly performed strength training is the only thing to have been shown to reverse the aging process at the molecular level.
Since the dawn of time people have been searching for the proverbial fountain of youth — and we have it with strength training.
And that is what the big picture is all about, my friends. You want to be there to watch your grandkids grow up? Strength train. You want freedom and mobility well into your senior years? Strength train. You want the to feel and look younger? Strength train.
You can truly turn back the hands of time by rebuilding what age diminishes — if you’re willing to work for it.
Did you know the average person loses 5 lbs of muscle per decade past the age of 20? That means by 40, you have lost 10 pounds of muscle that is responsible for your strength, balance, coordination…the list goes on and on.
But by spending less than an hour per week with the clearly defined intent of building physical strength, you can change your destiny.
For some, increased strength will vastly improve their functionality…whether it’s carrying groceries, getting in and out of a car, or even getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom!
For others, it means delaying the inevitable slowdown of old-age for as long as possible.
Indeed, your strength plays a major role in quality of life, so commit to a strength training program!
4. Stick With It
“It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein
Einstein was probably talking about a different kind of problem then the topic at hand, but the sentiment remains.
Losing body fat and gaining strength can be tricky proposition for some.
Although the mechanics behind the process is relatively straight-forward, getting an individual with his or her unique emotional and mental makeup in-sync with the process can be challenging affair.
What works for one person, may not work for the next.
Some things may work instantly, while others require the ‘ole carburetor adjustment, as I like to call it. In short, it can take time. So here’s a question to ask yourself:
What if realizing your fitness goal doesn’t happen in the timeframe you think it should happen? How long should you stick with it? When does throwing in the towel make sense?
I suggest you answer this question before you begin a fitness program.
The reality is I almost NEVER see someone in better shape after quitting a structured fitness program than before they quit.
They may have quit because they didn’t see the fat loss they were hoping for (which, by the way, has very little to do with the exercise, as I’ll explain in a minute)…but what they failed to appreciate was that even without dramatic weight loss, their body composition is still radically changing.
In fact, in many cases, they were able to successfully stop further weight gain. Few consider this, but it’s evident by the sudden gain in fat they experience when they stop working out.
Do you see what I’m getting at? When it comes to health and fitness there is never a good time to stop cold turkey.
You should always be doing something to progress and maintain your strength.
5. Make Fat Loss a Priority
There’s a saying amongst knowledgeable fitness professionals:
“You can’t out train a bad diet.”
What it means is no amount of training will play a significant role in helping you become slim, fit, tone, etc. — if you eat too much.
Your general physical appearance is governed by three things — bone structure, body fat, and musculature.
Since your bone structure is unlikely to change, we’re left with body fat and musculature to work on — with your body fat level playing a far more significant role in your appearance than your musculature.
That’s not to say your musculature is not important. Musculature gives you shape, and with enough body fat loss, will improve the look of your arms, legs, and everything else.
The best way to improve your musculature is to strength train, of course.
Body fat, on the other hand, is best manipulated through diet. People often ask — what percentage of fat loss is diet versus exercise? Is it 50/50? 80/20? 90/10?
Well, let’s put it this way: forget the numbers and accept the reality that if you are going to lose body fat, you will most likely need to reduce your food intake.
You need to make conscious decisions about how much you eat otherwise your body will see no reason to release body fat if it’s kept padded with additional food.
Many try to go nuts with the exercise in an attempt to burn fat off with making little change to their diet, but this approach is difficult.
Why? It’s just plain hard to put in countless hours doing what amounts to manual labor, all the while building up an appetite…and then trying to hold back at the dinner table.
It’s just too easy to eat more than you have burned off during a workout.
It’s for this reason the most efficient and rational way to improve your appearance, performance, and health is to figure out how much food you need to consume to each day to encourage fat loss and then build your muscle mass through strength training.
6. Don’t Go At It Alone
A lot of people think coaching is only for athletes or the well-to-do. In particular, they think fitness coaches are for celebrities, doctors, or high earning business owners.
My view is understandably different.
I believe if your track record shows that you have been unsuccessful achieving what you desire — then coaching is not only warranted — but absolutely necessary.
And this goes for anything you want in life, not just fitness.
If your emotions are getting the best of you, you would work with a mental health counselor. If your business is suffering, you would hire a business coach.
Fitness is no different. If you feel you’ve tried, and tried, and tried to achieve your goals — and it hasn’t happened — then it’s time to get help.
If success alludes you, it generally boils down to three things. First, you don’t have the knowledge of how to put a complete game plan together. Second, you lack a workable plan-of-action that integrates everything required for your success. Third, you lack the support system required to not only achieve your goals, but also maintain them.
You see a good coach provides knowledge that is conveyed in a useful manner — as well as perhaps the most important thing — accountability. This is why working with a coach is unquestionably the most important thing a person can do to achieve their goals.
And yes — it costs money.
But what doesn’t? What are the financial consequences of being in emotional turmoil, seeing your business fail, or being in terrible shape?
The money is only an expense, until you see the payoff — and then you realize it’s not an expense, but an investment.
Noted sales trainer and success coach, Tom Hopkins, says 10% of your income should be devoted to self-improvement. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty good number to begin with when we consider how we spend our money and what we really value in life.
So I suggest you seek out the most qualified coaches with the best track records you can find. Make the decision to work with them until you can consistently do what you need to do -- on your own!
So there you have it — the Top 6 Ways to Save Your Body! Armed with this information you can leave behind the frustration of old, and begin forging your way to a new healthy you. If you follow these steps to the letter, I promise you’ll achieve the health and fitness you deserve.
Don’t wait, get on it and take action now!