10 Things Nobody Tells Us About Exercising

In today’s episode of the Inspiration2grow podcast I am talking about the 10 things nobody tells you about exercising.  Whether you are a newbie to exercise or maybe you are returning after a longer break, there are a few things you should be aware of before diving in.  Number 8 & 10 are my personal favourites, so be sure to listen until the very end.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, so I’ll say it again…

Everybody starts at ground zero by learning the bare basics, stumbling along through successes as well as mistakes, setbacks and having to overcome hurdles but eventually coming out on top.  It’s normal and it’s part of the process.

Even peak performers and top-notch athletes, runners, cyclists, swimmers, gymnasts, figure skaters, tennis players – all were once upon a time true beginners at their sports.  Just like you and me, they started from the beginning having to learn the fundamentals.

Keep this in mind as you push forward toward your fitness goals.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  All good things take time.

So, for those starting out for the first time with a brand new exercise routine or the seasoned few who have been there, done that – but a long time ago, here are 10 things you need to know.
1.       Gyms are fantastic, but you don’t need one to be successful in your fitness journey.
There are countless reasons why people, and women in particular, don’t like the thought of going to the gym.  Sometimes they feel intimidated and terribly uncomfortable doing a workout whilst surrounded by sweaty folk or the noises some gym rats make when lifting heavy weights.  Oftentimes the machines themselves cause uncertainty – how to use them, how to adjust them, the gym etiquette.  Other times, people find gym memberships expensive.  All valid reasons, I will admit.  But you don’t need to set foot in a gym or even leave your home to get a killer full body workout.  All you need is your own bodyweight, dumbbells or resistance bands plus sneakers.

Do some research online to find YouTube videos made by women who show you the exercises, demonstrate and explain the do’s and don’ts of the various exercises and find what you enjoy most.

2.       Don’t stress about devising a workout for different areas of your body aka body part split.
Beginners are best advised to start with a total body workout.  These programs include compound movements, i.e. ones that exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time such as: squats, dips, push-ups and lunges.  They will build your body evenly while torching lots of calories.  An added bonus:  if you do these movements in quick succession (that means without lots of rest time in between them), the workout also becomes cardiovascular, giving your heart a workout at the same time.

3.       Create a concise cardio session.
Many people believe that cardio is the way to go for better, increased levels of fitness.  Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying you shouldn’t do cardio.  There is definitely a place for long, slow and steady cardio workouts especially if you’re a marathoner OR have medical issues.  But if neither of those scenarios apply to you, keep your cardio sessions to under 30 minutes per session and go at it hard.

Research shows that higher-intensity workouts burn more total calories, while improving endurance and maximal oxygen consumption.  At this higher intensity level, fat is burned in half the time it would take with lower intensity cardio.

This is one of the many reasons why I love spin classes so much.  It gets my heart pumping, mega amounts of calories are burned, my leg muscles become more toned and it only takes less than 30 minutes.

There is a definite bonus to high-intensity workouts -> they boost the production of muscle-making and fat-burning compounds such as growth hormone, keeping you feeling and looking younger inside and out.
4.       Save static stretching for the end!
Many people don’t realize this but static stretching, which means you assume a stretch and hold it, should NOT be done at the beginning of your workout.  This has been my husband’s big beef for years.  Far too many times, you see fitness instructors have the class warm up with static stretches, which could potentially cause damage.

Instead, dynamic stretching should be done at the start of your workout to loosen your limbs with active range-of-motion movements.  Examples of these would be leg swings and arm circles – performed pre-workout. 

Save the static stretches for afterward when you are warm and want to relax and lengthen your muscles.

5.       Your hunger levels will increase.
Truth be told, you might become ravenous but don’t worry.  This is a good thing.  It means your body is changing in ways you want it to ->  growing muscle and shedding fat <- and in order to do that, it needs FUEL.  So, be sure you feeding your body (or machine) with lean protein such as grilled chicken and fish, complex carbs like oatmeal and brown rice as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables.

6.       You might gain weight in the process.
Don’t panic or get discouraged if the scale doesn’t tip in your favour all the time while exercising.  In reality, muscle weights MORE than fat but, here’s the great news…muscle takes up less space than fat.  Consider that weight is only a measure of how hard gravity is pulling you toward the Earth’s center.  It doesn’t take into account your percentage of fat versus muscle, your height, the time of the month for women or any other factors that could very well affect your physical weight from day to day.  A much better way to measure progress is how your clothes fit.  If things are getting looser, even if the scale gives you a heavier reading, you’re on the right track.

The message here is not to let the number of the scale dictate your success and be your only marker of progress.
7.       The “Golden Rule” is 80/20
We all need our comfort foods now and again.  Perhaps a chocolate bar, or plate of cheesy nachos.  For me it is a bag of salt & vinegar chips.  But if you eat healthy and clean 80 % of the time, you can be a regular human during the remaining 20%.  Allow yourself an indulgence from time to time.  This will definitely make eating clean and sticking to your program easier, and ultimately will get you the results you want.

Let’s put this into perspective though.  This doesn’t mean indulging every day.  The way I interpret or practice this rule is eating clean and healthy for 4 days and allowing for a small treat on the fifth day.  I don’t let this little treat sidetrack everything though.

8.       Exercising is a great way to boost your confidence.
Many times self-esteem issues are closely linked to body perception.  Exercising regularly helps build your confidence by improving your body image.  You’ll gain strength and tone your body bit by bit, and seeing these results can help you feel better about your appearance and give you a much-needed boost of confidence.

Additionally, the fact that you are showing up for yourself and making genuine efforts to improve will fuel your inner feelings of self-esteem.  Sticking with a program provides a sense of achievement and creates intrinsic motivation and momentum to keep going.

Not to mention the compliments and positive feedback you will get from family, friends, and colleagues ->  that will most definitely boost your confidence.

9.        Some days you will be weak.
Whether it’s from a lack of sleep the night before, being dehydrated, feeling stressed, boredom or one of a hundred other reasons why your workout went poorly, it happens to all of us.  Just know it’s not a reflection of anything deeper.

Some days you will feel super strong and on top of the world, whereas other days, you’re dragging your body around not sure who you are going to get through your workout.  It’s normal and everybody experiences it at some point.

Listen to your body and maybe decide on a lighter workout on such days.  Sometimes after a bit of a warm-up, things turn around for the better and you feel more energized.  Don’t push extra hard on the days when you feel weak.

10.   Commit to the long-term when it comes to exercising.
Most people who begin an exercise program only think of short-term goals and focus on achieving those. But I challenge every one of you to start looking a health differently…

If your goal is to lose 25 pounds over the next 12 weeks.  Shift your thinking to -> I want to regain my health for the rest of my life. 

How much more powerful does that sound?

Instead of wanting to lift heavier and heavier weights at your workouts. Shift your thinking to -> My goal is to be the gal who NEVER misses a workout. 

Now, that’s something worth striving for indefinitely.

Maybe you have set your sights on being the fastest in next month’s race.  But let’s shift your goal and focus on being faster next year than you are today.  And faster in two years that the year before.

Ignore the short-term results.  Learn to embrace and love the process of becoming healthier, stronger and fitter. 

Shift your thinking completely about living a healthy life and stop acting like it is a big deal.  Exercising shouldn’t be a sacrifice; it shouldn’t be an obligation.  It should be normal for you. 

You should celebrate your body and all that it can do for you.  Honour your body and pledge to do everything in your power to keep it well oiled, moving, fuelled properly and working at peak performance.
And that’s my message for today, friends.
My only hope is that you start to implement some of the ideas, tips and strategies that I talk about and I would love to know which ones have been beneficial for you personally.

I would also like to invite you to become part of the Inspiration2grow community on Facebook.  The group name is: Inspiration2grow for Female Goal-getters.  It is meant to be a community of like-minded women who want to grow strong from the inside out.  There will be daily journalling prompts, nutrition and fitness tips, exercises to try, encouraging conversations among the community and lots more.  So, be sure to join this group for support, new ideas and the necessary rocket fuel to propel your health and wellness to new heights.

You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself, show up for yourself and become the best version of YOU.

In case you haven’t heard it yet today, let me be the first to tell you…

You are incredible, capable and your potential is limitless.  Never forget that I believe in you 100%.  Now, go out there and show the world what you are truly made of.

I hope to have inspired you to grow.

Til next time,

Lisa xoxo



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