What Type of Workouts Should YOU be Doing?

What Type of Workouts Should YOU be Doing?



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How to decide what workouts you should be doing?

There are SO many moving parts when it comes to deciding what type of workouts you should be doing. The main factors to consider are your goals,  where you are in your fitness journey, and the strategy required to get you to where you want to be. 

Let’s take a deeper look.

Goals 

“Fitness” goals and ability vary DRASTICALLY from one person to the next, and so should the workout style…

You may be working out to improve health markers (lower cholesterol, get type II diabetes under control), to finally get that six-pack, or be anywhere in between. The actual goal doesn’t matter, so long as you know what it is, because different goals typically require entirely different approaches. 

Many unproductive dieters can attribute years of failed fat loss attempts to either having no specific goal (i.e. “getting in shape”) or expecting one workout style (i.e. running) to accomplish multiple –often opposing– goals (i.e. lose fat AND gain muscle/build strength AND increase endurance).

If the goal is to get stronger for example, a circuit-heavy routine just won’t cut it.  Many people looking to get “toned” would be hard pressed to define muscles they’ve never taken the time to build. Increasing your mileage on the treadmill (or pounding the pavement) may be the absolute best way to increase your endurance for that Rock’n Roll marathon – but could seriously work against your efforts to chisel out that firm, muscular, lean physique you’ve been striving for.  Even if your daily run has become a significant part of what keeps you sane – strength/muscle gains (and even fat loss!) will not come from simply doing more of the same, just because you love it.  

Accomplishing any goal will only come from incorporating the behaviors conducive to that particular goal. Whether you “love” the required behaviors or not.

Fitness Journey 

Understanding the various stages of the journey, and where YOU are in it, is the next critical piece to this puzzle.  

Regardless of what inspires you to begin the journey (doctor’s recommendations, desire to change, etc.), a person who has never really worked out before will need an entirely different workout plan than a seasoned veteran.

Beginning stages will consist mainly of learning, experimenting, and focusing on consistency (vs being completely derailed by details that simply don’t matter…yet). Your first year or two of starting a fitness regimen is a great time test out a wide variety of exercise styles, as you’ll likely get the same results regardless of what type of activity you chooseespecially in the first six months. Because your body has not yet had time to adapt to your new habit of movement, progress (i.e. “newbie gains”) will come rather easily.

Take FULL advantage of this season of the journey (don’t rush it!), because when it’s over, it’s over

A year or two into your fitness journey, you will have to start being more systematic in your approach. What “worked” in the beginning stages will slowly stop producing the results that it has been, and progress will come to a screeching halt. 

This stage of the journey is where strategy becomes essential.

Strategy

Just as college courses start off general, and become more specific as you close in on your degree – your workouts should become more goal-dependent, and increasingly strategic as your journey progresses. 

They key to seeing continual changes to your body (or increasing progress toward whatever YOUR goal is) is to consistently introduce deliberate challenge, rather than seeking THE one-size-fits-all solution. 

Notice the keyword: deliberate. This means that each workout session/style/phase builds on the one before it, compounding toward the end goal.  This is not the same as randomly changing things up, or “trying something new.” Signing up for random classes at your local gym, gathering free workouts from the internet, or having unwavering devotion to whatever on-demand workout service is currently trending does not guarantee specific “results” any more than signing up for random classes at your local university could guarantee a specific degree. 

Without a strategy, even seemingly productive actions can become glorified wheel-spinning, leaving you with little to no progress to show for the time you’ve put in, and putting you no closer to your actual goal than when you first started.  

**Side note: Strategy and a systematic approach to your fitness journey isn’t just about ditching the workouts you love to do, while suffering through workouts you may not enjoy, but rather finding a way to incorporate the behaviors your goals require into a lifestyle that still includes the things you do enjoy. **

Bye-bye comfort zone

Once you understand your goal, the strategy that it requires, and where you are on the journey – it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror.  Whether you’re just starting out, or a veteran to working out, know that you will constantly have to challenge yourself in order to keep seeing change. Be patient with yourself, and grateful for ANY results that come as you build consistency in the beginning, yet open-minded and willing to alter the approach as your journey progresses and the newbie gains dwindle. 

Why it’s HARDER for women to lose weight

Why it’s HARDER for women to lose weight

It's not your imagination.   

The female fat loss struggle is REAL.  

If you're anything like me, you've had at least one experience of spending an inordinate amount of time recruiting a male accountability partner (“hey let's do this diet together…please…please”) – only to end up frustrated when he finally agrees, and seems to get ALL the results.  

Sure you start off strong, and have WAY more willpower, but eventually you hit a plateau and he…doesn't.  Of course this is an oversimplification of gender (not all men lose fat super easily), but men definitely have a few advantages over us. 

In this episode, we discuss the 5 reasons why fat loss is harder for women:

(alternatively, you can read the two part series on the female fat loss struggle here).

PS. I'd love to chat with you!! Wanna interact with me LIVE next time to ask your questions? Make sure you’re following EM2WL over on Facebook to get notifications the second a new broadcast is scheduled!

How to Diet Without Killing Your Metabolism

How to Diet Without Killing Your Metabolism

You want to lose weight, but not at the expense of metabolic damage.  Such a simple request that, unfortunately, most weight loss methods just can’t seem to deliver on. Here are three main things to focus on when attempting to lose weight that will help maintain a healthy metabolism:

#1 Make sure you’re eating enough!

Under eating is the number one reason for metabolic slowdown from dieting.  Eating too little leads to your body adapting to the lower calorie intake (read: the “deficit” becomes “maintenance”) and ultimately slowing down your metabolism. This is counterproductive when it comes to weight loss. The key is to keep your metabolic rate as high as possible by eating enough food, with a sufficient macronutrient intake for your goals. Key Takeaway – Be sure to eat enough calories (consisting of high amounts of protein and fiber) to allow for fat loss but also maintenance of muscle mass.

#2 Lift Weights.

Muscle mass is a critical part of your metabolism, so you’ll wanna preserve every ounce of it.  Resistance training will help you to maintain as much muscle mass as possible while losing weight. When you focus your exercise efforts on building (or at least maintaining) muscle, your metabolic rate will remain high, and your body will know exactly what to do with the calories you consume. It’s important to note that just because your training involves a dumbbell, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re building muscle. Group classes or training with super high reps is often cardio-based and not conducive to muscle building. Key TakeawayLift, but do so with the intent to build or maintain muscle. Stick with weights that you can do 8-12 reps of in any particular exercise, but that fatigue you by the end of each set.  Muscle = metabolism! 

#3 Give Yourself Enough Time.

Don’t tackle weight loss with a tight timeframe! You will likely end up putting your body in a position where you may end up damaging your metabolism. Plan for diet breaks every 4 or 8 weeks to take time off from eating less and go back to consuming maintenance level calories. Key Takeaway – If your fat loss is happening too fast and seems too good to be true, it probably is. Weight loss of one pound per week (for women) and two pounds per week (for men) is a good gauge to use.  The best kind of fat loss is permanent fat loss! By using the guidance above, you will be on your way to losing as little muscle mass as possible, all while keeping your metabolism burning and healthy and losing fat as well!
Newbie Diet and Exercise Mistake

Newbie Diet and Exercise Mistake

When you suddenly stop losing weight, or results appear to be getting worse, it’s flat out frustrating. You can’t help but wrack your brain (and pound the google pavement) searching for THE answer.

Should I add more cardio?

Take a special supplement?

Maybe I’m fill-in-the-blank intolerant?

Fill-in-the-blank always worked in the past…I just need to stick with it…

The DIY Dieter’s Downfall – Allowing nostalgia to override the science

Past Diet success leads to incorrect assumptions about how dieting works
Too often DIY dieters reflect back on tactics they’ve used in the past, and use it as a measuring stick for how to move forward. If a certain diet or workout plan done for a short period of time gave them some “success,” they tend to assume that any plateau, or lack of visible progress can be fixed by going “back to” or doing more of it.

Wrong.

Unfortunately, there is no magic diet pill, calorie level, or workout plan that will help you achieve permanent success. At least not in the way that most people believe.

The diet industry has sold discouraged DIY dieters on the dream that if you just keep searching for that one, perfect-for-you style of eating or exercising, that you can “set it and forget it.”

Plateau Reality #1: The human body will adapt to ANYTHING that you do repeatedly.

Remember that first time you took up running/did that infomercial workout/cut carbs/tried Slim-fast? Whatever the thing is that gave you that first real taste of results? You got so focused on the results, that your brain made an immediate, long-standing (and incorrect) connection:

This is what it takes to get me results.

So, you either stopped doing it once you got to your goal, and pledged your undying devotion to it as your go-to from that moment forward…

Or…
You kept doing it religiously, thinking that the results could only get better from there.

But things didn’t quite pan out as you’d hoped. Eventually the results stopped, or started going backwards.

This is because your results are never based on one specific workout program. Results come from a compounding of multiple actions, including actions taken before, during, and after the program. This is known as periodization in the strength and conditioning world.
Results viewed out of context can lead to an extremely messy situation for DIY dieters. Years are wasted chasing the onestyle of eating, the one calorie level, or the one workout plan that will solve all of their problems. If only that’s how it all worked…
Diets are meant to be short term

Plateau Reality #2 – If you want something to keep working, take a break from it.

Ok. So how the heck are you supposed to navigate this new reality that no matter what you do, your body will adapt and it will stop working?

Short answer: quit while you’re ahead.

Longer answer: know and accept the fact that anything works short term, but nothing works forever. Then you can strategically step away from something when (or preferably just before) it stops working.

Do you have to let it go forever? No. But don’t let your addiction to the short term “benefits” override the science: once your body has adapted, diminishing returns are on the horizon.

If you have a favorite workout plan, style, etc. you can still do them. But decide upfront if you’re doing it for the love of it, or because you want a physique-based result from it.

If it’s the former, then do what you love, as much as you like, for as long as you like. #noregrets

If it’s the latter, you’ll want to set yourself some boundaries. Decide ahead of time on the season, phase, or circumstances that you’ll be adding it in (ex: you love running in the summer time, or Thursday night Zumba with the girls).

But most importantly – set a designated time frame for when you will start, stop, and take a break from it so that you don't experience diminishing returns on all your hard work. (For example: 3-6 weeks, or only ONE round of a 12-week plan, etc).

Remember, most “stubborn weight loss” plans are meant to be done short term.

You can either choose to accept this, and plan accordingly.

Or…

…stay in denial and keep trying to find the one solution to ride off in to the sunset.

The choice has always been yours, and I’m not here to judge.

Just to help you make an educated decision that you can unapologetically own.

5 ways to take home workouts to the next level

5 ways to take home workouts to the next level

**How to avoid the biggest mistakes that most home exercisers make**

I've always been an advocate for having a home gym setup in case of emergencies.  But for some people, working out at home is the reason why they DON'T see the progress they want.

With more of us working out at home than ever before, there are even MORE options for the home exerciser than everrrrr before. Nearly every gym is offering “on-demand” options online, and every fit pro on IG is providing “quick and easy” moves you can do with little to no equipment from home.

IF you're working out at home for only a week or two, then feel free to take FULL advantage of testing any and every idea or option available right now.  Use this time for getting in YOUR movement any way that you can, and discovering styles of exercising that you didn't know even existed to see if you find something you like. Give yourself the gift of variety at some point of your journey, it can be just the thing you need during high stress periods, or for a quick break from your usual (more strategic, less variety) workout plans.

However, physique adaptations can happen in as little as 3 weeks, so plan accordingly.  Rest weeks and planned downtime can be an amazing gift if you've been running yourself into the ground – OR – it can be the nail in the coffin of your goals.

IF you will likely be working out from home for LONGER than 2-3 weeks, have a back up plan.    

To make the best of your at home workouts, and assure you get continual, compounding results even during the quarantine, avoid these 5 mistakes most home exercisers make: 

1) Not taking your workouts seriously. Just because you're home, doesn't mean you get to slack off/do laundry between sets (ok…so I'm talking to myself on that one! 🤣)

2) Being Random. Workout with a purpose. Once you're out of the newbie phase, random Pinterest/homemade, etc. workouts won't have the same effect that they used to.

3) Not progressing. When a workout gets easy, or you can lift heavier, etc…do it! Just because you sweat or can still “feel the burn” doesn't mean it's “working” in the way you think. The only way to keep seeing changes is to make an effort to progress in your workouts.

4) Not changing it up. Doing the same exercises/workouts/videos is not going to have the same results in Month 6 that it had in month 1. Don't be afraid to move on (even if it's just for a little while) when the workout is no longer serving you (or… if you can quote the video word for word.)

5) Not giving yourself room to grow. Make it a point to purchase heavier weights, incorporate new videos, or other equipment that allows you to make the exercise harder over time.  Don't stifle yourself by refusing to equip yourself for the next level.

Remember, if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you! 

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