The Truth about Eating Healthy and Exercise

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Do you ever get confused by all the guidelines and recommendations that come with exercise? With the constantly changing fitness industry and the latest and greatest workouts, it can be tough to know what you should or shouldn’t be doing and what to expect when you are exercising or deciding what “eating healthy” is.

First of all, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. I think we all get caught up in the “perfect” exercise that will give you the “perfect” abs, legs, arms, etc. The main thing you have to remember is that there is not just “one” exercise that will give you the “perfect” anything. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and it doesn’t happen overnight. On the other hand, there ARE exercises and workouts that are more effective than others. I usually recommend HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), or circuit training, for people who don’t have all the time in the world to exercise. The more muscles you work while incorporating upper- and lower-body movements at the same time, the more fat you will burn for a full-body workout. Plus, high intensity workouts are usually shorter and get the job done quicker.

The idea is to not get comfortable with the same workout every day. The word “routine” is misleading because your “exercise routine” should be anything but routine. In order for you to see results and watch your body transform, you need to change things up. Your body is amazing and is always striving for homeostasis (internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant). It wants to be stable and find its comfort zone, so you have to trick it and keep it guessing. If you do the same exercise day after day, month after month, your body will become used to the movements and find its stability. It adapts to whatever stress you put it under, unless you keep trying new things. For beginners, it’s good to stick to with very basic compound exercises with very little variety and no advanced techniques, so your body gains muscle memory. So sticking to basic exercises for a month or more is a good idea. When you are an avid exerciser and know proper form, you can change things up weekly, by changing reps, weight, and hand position on certain exercises when lifting. It’s the same idea with cardio. If you do the same run, at the same pace, you will get bored and probably quit! You want to stick with it, so change things up not only for avoiding plateaus, but so you don’t lose interest too quickly and are tired of the same old thing.

Exercise will always feel uncomfortable. It pushes your body out of its comfort zone and it doesn’t always feel “good.” It does get easier as you get stronger, but if you are not uncomfortable, you are not working hard enough. I think this is partly why some people don’t like exercising. Not everyone likes feeling uncomfortable, so they either refrain from exercising or do it at a very low level and never see results. Exercise is not supposed to be easy. In order for you to become fit, you have to be uncomfortable so your lungs, heart, and muscles learn to work more efficiently and become stronger. There is a difference between being uncomfortable and in pain. If you think you may have injured yourself, you should never continue to exercise or you could injure yourself more. You will know the difference between normal pain from exercise—like muscle tightness and burning, shortness of breath, fatigue—as opposed to pain from a sprain or muscle pull.

Just because you work out five to six days a week, doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. I do not believe in depriving yourself of anything you enjoy, but there is a difference between having your favorite sweet treat once a week and indulging multiple times a day. Exercise is only half of the equation. If you don’t follow it up with a healthy diet, you will not see the results you are looking for. I am a huge advocate of clean eating, so when I splurge on my sweet treats, it’s usually a healthier version. Sugar is sugar and it causes weight gain, so you have to keep it in check. I know many people think since they worked out today, they can eat a double-decker chocolate fudge brownie sundae. (Wow, that sound good!) But what most people don’t realize is that amazing dessert they just ate is probably twice the calories they burned in their workout, so essentially they took away all the benefits of that workout. Like I said, you should be able to splurge, but it can’t always be a double-decker chocolate fudge brownie sundae! That’s a splurge that happens less often. The idea is to see results, and if you are eating more calories than you are burning, you will never reach your weight-loss goals. Eat clean and you will not have the sweet or salty cravings you normally have and you won’t feel the need to splurge as much.

Another thing people hate to hear is the fact that they will have to exercise and eat well forever! Unfortunately, it’s true. That’s why I promote health as a lifestyle, not a quick fix. Yes, you can have goals and pick a special occasion to lose weight for, but once you hit your goal, you can’t stop! You have to set a new goal and challenge yourself in another way. It may sound overwhelming and tiresome, but once you have been doing it for a while, you won’t want to stop because you feel so amazing! When I changed my bad eating habits and began to eat clean, it changed my life. I had never felt so energetic or healthy in general. Now when I eat processed food, my body does not like it, so I refrain from it as much as possible. Food is fuel and if you put the right fuel in your body, it will work better for you. Same with exercise—when you start to see results, feel stronger, and more energetic, you won’t want to stop! Your body starts to crave it and you feel bad when you DON’T workout. I know, it’s crazy talk. But it’s true! Now you just have to do it and experience it for yourself.

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