When Healthy Living Becomes Obsession
In clients I deal with two very different issues almost every day –
1. The people who can’t get started and make excuses as to why they can’t create a healthy lifestyle.
2. The people who become OBSESSED with eating well and working out every day to the point that they almost can’t take a day off.
And trust me, neither is really HEALTHY.
When I say OBSESSED, I’m talking about mentally and physically overtraining. I’m talking about never giving yourself a break and doing as much as you possibly can every single day with no break.
I’m talking about training way too often for way too long because you feel like you NEED to do a certain amount each day.
I’m talking about never letting yourself indulge in a treat and/or restricting your calories as low as possible to force weight loss.
I’m talking about the MORE IS MORE ATTITUDE when as I’ve stated numerous times recently MORE IS ACTUALLY LESS.
Yes, it can be good for periods to do MORE, but those periods should all have an expiration date and be used to KICKSTART your program or break a plateau.
You simply shouldn’t workout every day.
RECOVERY IS WHEN YOU REBUILD! Days off are KEY TO GETTING RESULTS.
When you don’t take days off, you are basically hindering yourself from getting the results that you should be getting from your workouts.
And two a days?!?!
While as I said, I can see using them for a few weeks to create big changes, they shouldn’t be used in the long run!
Exercise breaks down our body. We only regrow stronger with more muscle and lean body mass if our body has the change to RECOVER.
So while going hard for a few days, a few weeks, can be a great push in the right direction, YOU CAN’T MAINTAIN IT!
Going that hard leads ultimately to you falling off your program – either due to injury or due to the fact that you’ve created something that is truly unmanageable long-term.
Same goes for obsessing over eating cleanly.
I won’t go into a whole rant here, as I already have numerous times recently, but IF YOU RESTRICT YOUR CALORIES TOO MUCH YOU WILL COMPLETELY STALL YOUR WEIGHT LOSS!
Not to mention you will PREVENT LEAN MASS GAINS! Aka…all those workouts will be for nothing because you aren’t fueling them properly.
Plus, most people can’t eat 100% clean day in and day out without it eventually leading to a complete, uncontrolled binge, which in turn leads to them giving up on their healthy eating program all together. We just don’t have that much self-control especially with all the other life stressors we have to deal with each day.
Just think about how much self-control you are expending by trying to go so intense and PERFECT your diet and exercise program. Self-control isn’t infinite. And trying to control ever last detail is STRESSFUL!
Think about how much you STRESS over not missing a workout. Over eating cleanly even when there is no healthy food around.
STRESS can negatively impact our progress. It can negatively impact our healthy. Heck if you are trying to lose weight, STRESS can prevent you from getting the results you are working so hard for!
Geez…Cut yourself some slack, people!
I know many of you don’t want to believe it, but LESS IS MORE. Working out every day and eating 100% clean really aren’t going to get you greater results.
Actually they may get you WORSE RESULTS.
So stop obsessing.
Don’t stress over miss workouts.
Don’t stress over a treat.
STOP OBSESSING and try ENJOYING.
Seriously, stop bragging about how you workout EVERY DAY. Or do two-a-days. Stop bragging about how you don’t eat ANYTHING BAD EVER.
There is no pride in being stupid and wasting your time!
Trust me…I want people to get results and if I’m saying there is such a thing as too much…THERE IS!
The Benefits of Walking
People often act like WALKING isn’t really that great. They act like it sort of doesn’t count.
But walking is an important part of any healthy lifestyle.
Actually I think walking is often overlooked as an essential part of being healthy because of our belief that we have to do MORE to be healthy or lose weight.
But as I’ve repeated almost every day recently, “More isn’t always better. Sometimes LESS is actually MORE.”
In a society where we are constantly told to do MORE when it comes to a healthy lifestyle – diet more, workout more – could the push to do MORE actually be causing us to get worse results?
I think the answer is a big, “YES!”
I mean think about it. You are told to eat fewer calories. To cut out more foods. To DIET MORE.
But sometimes doing more, cutting out more, when it comes to diet can actually hinder your results.
Just this week I talked about the importance of fueling your activity level – about eating more and dieting when your body needs it. Restricting too much can hinder your results just as much as doing nothing can. Again…More isn’t always better.
Same goes for working out.
Overtraining isn’t some myth. It is actually easier to overtrain than you would even think. And more people than you would expect are actually training too much!
Exercise is meant to improve health, aid in fat and weight loss and reduce injury, aches and pain, and fatigue…Yet when you do too much, you do exactly the opposite!
So often you read about how you have to exercise more. Or you see your weight loss progress stall and instantly think you need to put in more hours at the gym. Or up your intensity.
TOO MUCH CAN HAVE NEGATIVE EFFECTS!
Often we find it easier to do more than to reassess and try something simpler. I find a lot of clients need to feel a certain way after their workout to feel like they “worked.” They need to be out of breath. Or feel like they are going to puke. Or have sweated a certain amount to feel like the did ENOUGH.
But that attitude is exactly what gets people into trouble. That attitude is what makes people ignore some of the best diet and exercise programs and activities out there for them!
That attitude is what causes people to end up struggling a lot more to become healthier, fitter, stronger, and leaner than they need to.
And one of those activities that is often overlooked as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle is WALKING!
Many people skip walking in favor of activities like running that burn more calories and help them FEEL like they’ve gotten a workout.
They skip walking because they don’t realize how much bang for their buck they really get with walking. All they consider is calories in vs. calories out or working out as hard or as much as they can.
But walking is a great exercise and an important part of a healthy lifestyle and even a weight loss program.
Instead of keeping it simple, people do two-hour workouts. They include 15 different exercises and do 100s of reps. They take themselves to the max every single workout.
But if you break your muscles down every day, you aren’t going to reap the benefits of your workouts! Workouts break your body down so you can become stronger. But doing MORE breaking down, if you don’t take enough time to rebuild, is really just wasted effort.
And rest is when you REBUILD.
Your body can’t go at 100% every single day. You can’t lift heavy or run hard every day. Your body needs workouts of varied intensities. Your body NEEDS easy days.
Walking can be a great lower intensity activity you can use as active recovery. It can be a great way to MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY recover!
And we’ve all heard that if we move more, we will be healthier.
This doesn’t mean going and doing longer workouts. And it doesn’t mean doing hours of intense cardio.
Guess what is a great way to move more though!?!
Walking! It allows us to move more without wearing our bodies down and overtraining!
Walking is one of those activities that we see as “less bang for our buck.” But it is truly one of those exercises where LESS IS MORE.
Yea…maybe you don’t get the same calorie burn as an hour of intense exercise. But walking means less stress. It means better sleep. It can enhance your move. It can help you fight against disease. It allows your body to recover and rebuild. It can mean a lot of great health benefits not only because of the activity, but also because you can be relaxed and social with it while even soaking up some sun!
And all of these things lead to better health. All of these things mean that you will get MORE out of the time you do spend doing higher intensity workouts.
Walking is often overlooked as EXERCISE but trust me, it is the one exercise that EVERYONE needs to be doing no matter their age or fitness level.
Right now too many people suffer from the attitude that MORE IS BETTER – more restriction, more intense, longer workouts.
But if you want great results, LESS IS MORE.
Do you go for walks? Maybe you should go out this weekend and soak up some sun!
How bad do you want it?
I’ve been asked this question numerous times recently when I’ve been lifting and have wanted to give up.
It always manages to amp me up just enough to push hard until the end even when I thought I had nothing left to give.
It even got me through my workout on Friday – and I literally almost skipped the workout because my body was just so tired.
I was bruised and beaten down. Just about every muscle was sore. I was on the verge of being completely overtrained.
And I talk a lot about NOT overtraining. But there are some points where you just have to give everything you’ve got and more.
There are going to be the rare times, like when training for competition, when you might have to overload your body to really get the results you want.
This overload isn’t prolonged. At most it is a couple of weeks. But still…those weeks leave you feeling destroyed and sometimes even emotionally drained.
But you push through knowing that the harder you work, the bigger the payoff in the end.
You push yourself because you know this isn’t the norm.
You fight even when you want to give up.
You prove how bad you want it.
Now I ask you, when is the last time you wanted something so bad that you fought through sweat, blood and tears?
When was the last time you pushed until you really had nothing left to give?
Well than maybe you just haven’t yet found something worth fighting for.
In my opinion though, being fit and strong and healthy is sometimes worth the pain. It is worth sometimes feeling like the odd man out because you aren’t indulging in junk food at the party. It is worth sometimes going to the gym even when you just want to go home.
It is worth a little sweat, blood and tears.
0-60 in less than 1 second
Who doesn’t want to floor the gas pedal and go from 0-60 in less than 1 second?
Who doesn’t see a motivating fitness picture or read a success story and not want to start working out right then and there?
Who wants to take it slow when they first start a new workout program?
But unfortunately, unlike some of the race cars out there, our bodies aren’t built to go from 0-60 in less than 1 second!
If you try to workout too often and do too much too soon, you aren’t going to see results any quicker. Actually, you will most likely slow your progress or even keep yourself from progressing AT ALL. You also risk getting an injury that will stop you from doing anything for a while.
I’ve seen it happen all too often. Especially around this time of year.
People get all gung-ho about their New Years resolutions. They have their goals and they want to accomplish them right now!
They start up a gym membership and may have never worked out before in their life, but they are now hitting the gym at least 5 times a week. They start logging in millions of miles or jump right into lifting heavy weights.
Their bodies aren’t prepared for either activity. They’ve haven’t taken the time to create an aerobic base or get their bodies ready to handle heavy loads. They haven’t worked on their mobility or form and haven’t really even taken the time to develop a specific program/routine that can be monitored to see if it is working.
They are perpetually sore, but don’t slow down. They may develop some slight pain in their hips or knees or muscles, but rehab and prehab are only given a fleeting thought as something they should be doing, but just don’t have time for now.
And they just keep pushing. They’re up there at 60. And they may have seen results right at the beginning.
But guess what?
They can’t keep up that pace. Their body gives out. Little injuries become chronic pain. Their numbers and miles slowly go down because their body is stalling.
They weren’t patient. And in their rush to achieve their goals, they’ve actually delayed themselves from reaching them.
I know it’s so tempting to start lifting heavy 4 times a week, always trying to hit your max. I know it’s tempting to workout more and more as you see your body become slimmer.
I FULLY understand the desire, the drive, to work as hard as you possibly can to achieve your goals NOW!
But if you really want your goals that bad, you need to rest too. You need to be patient. You need to outline a long-term program and you need to learn to enjoy the ride.
Learn to love the workouts themselves and enjoy each and every part of improving your health, even the rehab/prehab and rest days.
Constantly remind yourself that when your body rests, that is when the muscles are actually growing – that is when you are actually reaping the benefits of all the time you spend in the gym!
Honestly, if you can remind yourself to be patient now, you will reach your goals a million times quicker than if you try to rush to reach them now.
Don’t let your drive to reach your goal (be it a weight lifting competition, marathon or even just weight loss) make you push yourself too far too fast.
It’s all about the ride! Enjoy each and every moment of it!
Man Bicep – Weekly Workouts
Recently, I’ve gotten a ton of questions about workout routines. People have asked for advice about what exercises to do, how many reps and sets to perform, how many times a week they should train.
While there is no one workout program that will work for everyone, I can offer guidelines.
And my first suggestion is: STOP OVERTRAINING PEOPLE! Too many of you aren’t giving body parts enough rest especially if you are lifting heavy. Light full body circuits are fine to do 3 times per week. But if you are lifting super heavy that body part is going to need a lot more rest!
Second suggestion: Keep track of your workouts! Don’t just randomly throw together some moves for that day! Plan and record!!
Now my third suggestion is try the Man Bicep workouts of the week! These workouts have helped other people gain strength while getting lean. So they definitely work especially when adjustments are made to your individual goals (if you email me I can suggest adjustments). They are a great starting point for anyone looking to create a program that will help them get strong and lean!
Feel free to keep emailing me all your workout questions! Here is just a little extra weekly supplement to my answers!
Weekly Workout #1
Strength Deadlift and Leg Day
Stretch and perform mobility exercises for hips and such.
Deadlift 5 sets of 2 reps – Perform warm up sets before beginning the 5 rounds. Start heavy. Try to either maintain the same weight throughout or increase as you move through the sets. If your form breaks down, lessen the weight. Rest a couple of minutes between each set.
Auxiliary lifts: Lighter weights should be used, but they should still be challenging!!!
Step ups 3x10ea (hold weights)
Balance lunges 3x10ea (hold weights)
Kettlebell swings 3×20
Jumping forward lunges with weight vest 3x10ea (So you move forward by jumping and switching legs.)
Hyper extensions 3×10 with weight
Bosu abs 3×20 no weight
Stretch and foam roll after walking for 10 minutes.
Check back next week for another workout! In the meantime, try this one and let me know if you have any questions.
The Benefit of Time Off
Anytime there is a holiday or I have a vacation planned, I always start thinking about how beneficial the time off will be. I actually wrote another post about Rest right before my California vacation.
I’m bad about taking more than one day off a week BUT sometimes your body really needs more recovery than that. So vacation/holidays are a great time to take a few extra days off!
When you workout, you break down muscle tissues. You create mini tears, which when they heal, make your muscles stronger.
BUT for your muscles to rebuild the layers that were broken down and become stronger, you must take some time off. YOU MUST REST!
For me its sort of hard to accept how important time off is – even though I know that it is just as essential to a workout program as the lifts you design.
I just want to believe that all the work I’m doing in the gym is all that matters, BUT the time off that I take is just as important (if not more so!).
Rest is about more than even muscle repair. If you never rest you are probably overtraining and overtraining has consequences:
- Your energy level will drop and you may regress in how much you can lift or how far you can run.
- You can actually lose some of your leanness if you are overtraining. Working out too much can actually cause muscle wasting and fat deposition. You’re burning calories but those calories are coming from predominantly glucose/glycogen and precious muscle tissue.
- You are unable to sleep soundly. If you are working out too much, you won’t be sleeping well, which will hurt your workout intensity.
- You’re getting injured more often and have lots of aches and pains. Uhm injuries prevent you from hitting your lifting/weight loss/workout goals. So if you are training so hard you get injured, you need to take some time off because injuries won’t help you progress!
- You’re getting sick more often. Yep..overtraining can cause a lowered immune system. And getting sick…well that doesn’t help you workout hard!
So next time you think about skipping that rest day…DON’T!