Making the Most of it: Exercise

All over the internet, fitness tips and methods are plastered across ads and newsfeeds in an attempt to convince us that there are shortcuts to keep our bodies healthy. From “yoga that’s as good as sleep!” to “Cut belly fat with this one trick!” the media have figured out that we all want to keep our bodies in top condition, without really putting in the effort.

The thing is, there are no shortcuts. There are short and long workouts, and a thousand different dieting strategies, but at the end of the day keeping yourself healthy takes effort and time. The kind of endurance and dedication it takes to really make it happen requires focus, especially to make the most of the time spent at the gym and in the kitchen.

From Greatist to PopSugar, and everything in between, there are lists and how-to’s about making the most of your workout, and what they all boil down to is focus. Focusing on your workout while you’re doing it instead of lounging on the bench when you could be pressing, chatting and socializing when you could be stretching further, with better form. Focusing on the food you eat before and after to keep your body well fueled. Focusing on how to get the results you want: strength training for building muscle, strength training and cardio for weight loss, yoga for flexibility, etc. If you want strong arms, spin class probably isn’t going to do it, and if you want to do the splits, lifting weights won’t do much for you.

Although it looks different for everyone, there are a few things you can do to really zone in on your exercise while you’re getting it.

  1. Eat something beforehand. Workout out on an empty stomach can leave you dizzy and not doing your best.
  2. Keep free access to water, even if it means you have the biggest water bottle in the room (like my 32oz). Drinking in sips during the workout can help you feel refreshed, and helps you reach the amount of water needed to stay hydrated.
  3. Be mindful of background noise. If you do better while listening to a podcast, find one or two you love to listen to during. If you love music to get you up and moving, make your own playlist or radio station custom to what you know works for you. If you do best in silence, don’t be ashamed to pop in a couple of earplugs.
  4. Reward yourself after, healthily. Don’t reward yourself with soda or junk food, but rather, a healthy food you love (like a fruit smoothie or veggie curry), a shower with a favorite soap/shampoo/other nice product, some extra time later for something else you love — the options are endless, just stay away from that McDonald’s drive-through.
  5. Be mindful of the exercise you are doing, how it will affect your body, and why you’re doing it. For example, don’t do leg day the day before going to a theme park with family, don’t skip yoga if you’re feeling stiff.
  6. Remember that your body is a temple and you want to treat it as such: with love and respect.
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