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What Exercise WON’T Do For You

April 11, 2017 0 Comments

Most would agree that exercise is good for them or would at least subscribe to the idea that they need to be doing more of it. Often times that thought process spawns the idea that if something is good for you then more must be better. Exercise, more specifically physical activity, is in fact an integral part of a healthy lifestyle but like most things too much can be counterproductive. Today, the options to exercise are almost endless yet many still do not participate or quit after getting started because exercise “failed them”. Lofty expectations and the mentality that “something is better than nothing” with regards to exercise often lead to a negative mindset and subsequent poor relationship with getting and remaining physically active. To create a more positive and productive outlook with exercise, one must also appreciate what exercise won’t do for them to truly respect and understand its power.

  1. Erase mistakes in short order. A weekend of binging or holiday meal enjoyment (Thanksgiving always come to mind) is not miraculously burned off the next day(s), week, etc. with a monumental sweat fest. The body processes, stores, and utilizes calories at different rates and not at the rate you feel or presume it should. Better approach: Enjoy your dinner parties, holidays, etc. with more awareness and keep physical activity at a level that is consistent with your current regimen.
  2. Magically fix your weighty concerns. Just as in number 1, exercise won’t automatically make right in the universe AND be the only area where focus needs to be made. Weight loss, more specifically fat loss, requires a lifestyle change that includes exercise AND a focus on nutritional intake AND lifestyle choices among other things. Better approach: Commit to the long term; there is no real success in the short term. And for those that promise the short term successes, understand they’re counting on you to fail.
  3. Grant you pardon for missed/skipped workouts. Regardless of the physical shape you think you’re in, you simply can’t “bank” workouts to get you through missed or lapsed time. The longer or more frequent the lapse, the greater the uphill battle. Better approach: Plan and schedule workouts. Life happens and things arise but be diligent about giving exercise the importance and regularity it needs and deserves, otherwise it will fail you.
  4. Mold you into the Adonis you see on TV or magazine covers. It goes without saying that ads are only trying to sell product. But the fitness industry is rife with lies and deceit and leading many into a false sense of security. Consistency, hard work, and proper progression are the keys to success in any program, not the program itself. Better approach: Be clear on your goals and march towards them with purpose, not blindly following the recommendations of a trendy program, guru, or protocol. Understand everything works for 6 weeks. Again, focus on long term over short term.
  5. Gives you permission to eat whatever you want. This one is a biggie as is often the thought of many who do or do not exercise that the “exercise” group can afford to eat whatever they want. Wrong! Most people who work out with the intention of losing weight do not exercise nearly enough to grant them amnesty from the post workout mocha latte. Unless you are an athlete or partaking in an athletic endeavor like a marathon or ultra-physical endeavor where you will burn more calories in a few hours then most will burn in an entire week, consuming extra calories because you feel you have “earned” them is counterproductive. Better approach: Feed (i.e. fuel) your body only what it needs but still creates the surplus/deficit you need to accomplish your goal.
  6. Make you invincible. Having strength and confidence is a very good thing but do not let that be superseded by your ego. Injuries in exercise are always operator error, not the exercises themselves. Learn proper form and technique with whatever exercise you choose and respect the activity. Better approach: Think of your plan as an evolving continuum. Start at A, progress to B, and so forth. You’ll be moving mountains in no time but you have to be patient and trust the process.

Exercise does not exist in a vacuum. It’s a very important component of a healthy lifestyle but it serves no good to be done inconsistently or haphazardly. There is no perfect workout, program, or protocol out there. There are better choices to make with regards to your goal but that is what you must decide before beginning any exercise program – the goal. Exercise will not determine that for you. You must decide on the goal first and then select the exercise that is best for achieving that goal. Most important of all, you find an exercise plan that you can adhere to realistically on a consistent basis.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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