THE THIRD METABOLIC FITNESS TIP TO AVOID FITNESS SABOTAGE
Listen to your body
On the diet side of things it is critical to listen to your body. No matter how you gauge how many calories you should be eating, we fluctuate on caloric need a little bit each day. The key part is to listen and eat early. This will help us to avoid hunger. Hunger leads to cravings which often make us often overeat. It is important to be able to make decisions about our diet instead of reactions to food. When we are hungry, we make reactions instead of conscious decisions. By listening to our bodies and eating 100-200 calories as soon as we start to feel hungry, it curbs our hunger and allows us to go into our next meal ready to make decisions.
Another decision helper is to listen to our body while eating. Slowing down and taking the time to notice when we are satisfied with a meal. Too often we eat until we are full. We eat big meals and then feel guilt afterwards about how much we ate after the reaction was already made. Take the power back by trying to notice during your meal when the hunger ends. Take a second, have a drink of water and give yourself a few minutes. If you’re still hungry, keep eating. If you’re really not hungry and you’re satisfied at that point, then you are probably good to stop. We often listen more to cues like “clean your plate” or “don’t let it go to waste,” than we do to our bodies. This causes us to eat mindlessly and eat more than we want to. Instead of being able to make a decision, we just react.
With exercise, listening to your body is also critical. One of the things I often see encouraged, which I personally struggle with, is watching people shoot for the last few reps on a set. I get the idea of wanting to push yourself and see what your body can do. What I’d rather see is that you take it a little easier on your body today so that you can be consistent with your exercise every day. Fatigue and injury which often result from pushing yourself too much sabotage your fitness efforts and make it more difficult to stay on track and make long term progress. Listening to your body and stopping at rep 8 today even though you got to rep 12 last time may be the thing which helps you avoid injury and be able to do rep 13 next time. Always watch your form! Stop the second you are fatigued and your form breaks down. If you can’t do it with perfect form, then there is no sense in doing the rep or exercise. You won’t be accomplishing the primary target of the exercise and you dramatically increase your risk of getting injured. Pushing for the last rep is like ski accidents, you always get injured on the last run of the day.
Listening to your body so you can make consistent progress with your workouts is crucial. Often times we lose patience and want to be fit in 30, 60 or 90 days. We start these über-aggressive challenges which last for 2 weeks and result in tight muscles, tweaked shoulders, sprained ankles and injured backs. I often hear patients tell me how 10 or 15 years ago they used to bench 325, or run 5 miles every day, or about their previous athletic prowess as a college or high school athlete. The next words out of their mouths usually are, “I decided to get in shape again. So I started…(running again, lifting again, etc.) like I used to and then I just started noticing that my …(shoulder, knee, back, neck, etc.) started really hurting.” It's like taking an old hot rod out of the garage that has been parked for a decade and running at full speed for a week or two. Eventually some valve or gasket is going to blow. We may want to be in shape now, but overcoming our minds and listening to our fatigue levels will help us to stay on the road.
Instead of trying to get fit today, put in the work so you can be fit for your entire life. This requires that you progress slowly and make the lifestyle changes necessary to make fitness a part of your daily routine. It isn’t just about 45 minutes on a treadmill or throwing around heavy objects for and hour and then sitting at a desk or in front of a TV for the rest of the day, or week, or year. Fitness is about the long haul; it's about consistently getting up and moving. It's about finding activities you can do with friends and loved ones; it's about keeping your body in good enough shape that you can actually participate in those things. Bottom line: Fitness is more about how hard you work to be consistent, and not how hard your workouts are.
If you’d like to more tips on how to “Listen to YOUR Body,” feel free to contact Cameron Garber, DPT at 801-479-4471 (call or text) or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to like my Facebook page to stay up to date with my latest posts.