Since we’re starting off a new year, maybe consider setting a goal that focuses less on fitness experts, who have a tendency to overcomplicate things, and more on your mind and body and what they’re telling you.
When it comes to fitness there shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach. There are simply too many variables that impact our health and wellness to waste time obsessing over the right mix of workouts and what workout we should or shouldn’t be doing.
Just as importantly, keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between working out for overall health and working out to achieve specific fitness and performance goals.
In my past life, when I used to run on a regular basis, I routinely put in 30-40 miles a week. If I was training for a marathon it would always be 50+ miles. For professional level runners, weekly mileage can exceed 100 miles a week.
Most of those miles though are meant to improve fitness levels and to improve performance, not necessarily to improve overall health. The health benefits are simply a biproduct of the miles logged and after a certain point, it’s a law of diminishing returns.
In fact, you could argue that in my case all of that activity was in some ways unhealthy. It wasn’t balanced and it neglected the rest of my body. I was way too thin, had no muscle to speak of, and my diet was all about carbs.
Now, years later, I’m at a much healthier weight and I have a more balanced diet. Having replaced running with a combination of weight lifting and walking, I feel my overall health is much better. Just as importantly, I feel much better, which is something that often gets overlooked.
Instead of focusing so much on extreme levels of activity, try to simply stay active and consistent. The best workout in the world won’t do you much good if you only do it for a week.
One other point worth mentioning: Shut out the unrealistic messages being sent by shows like The Biggest Loser and by many of the military style fitness personalities. What works for ratings or followers doesn’t always work in real life. Being yelled at during your workouts, puking in a garbage can, and being shamed for having some wine is simply unsustainable in the long run. Humans just aren’t built for a life of depravation.
Physical activity is very important to our overall health. That’s one thing most of us can agree on. But it doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to make us miserable. Find something you enjoy; yoga, walking, running, biking, and make sure it makes you feel good physically and mentally.
Once you find your niche, you’ll be well on your way.