A couple of years ago I wrote a post about why most New Year’s fitness resolutions typically fail and how to prevent it from happening to you. It was one of my most popular posts with regards to social sharing — and for good reason — the info covered in it could save our country billions of dollars (yes, that’s billions with a “b”) in health care expenses if people would get off their butts and take action.
According to the CDC, 133 million americans (nearly 1 in 2) live with a chronic disease (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer) and more than 75% of health care costs are due to these conditions. Moreover, the CDC recognizes chronic diseases as the most preventable of all health problems and that a “comprehensive approach to prevention can save tremendous costs and needless suffering.”
So yeah, it’s kinda a big deal.
And since a comprehensive approach to health and fitness should be your first line of defense against this problem, getting it right should be one of the top priorities in life.
Yet it still surprises me even after all these years of training and working with people here in Orlando, how many guys are still endlessly repeating the same fundamental mistakes that are preventing them from truly enjoying the benefits of a strong and healthy body.
With this in mind, I present the top 6 ways you can save your body, reduce health care bills, and make the person staring back at you in your bathroom mirror a heckava lot better looking.
1. Cut out the busy work
I don’t know about you, but I hate busy work. I’d rather be doing something productive, and knowing my efforts will yield some sort of positive results, than toiling around with the small stuff. In the fitness world, working out every day is nothing but busy work to me. To be in the gym that much means you either like hanging out at the gym…or you’re very inefficient.
When people finally decide to get in shape they often think the more, the better. You know, like working out 5 or 6 days a week….getting up at the crack of dawn each morning, or hitting the gym immediately after work every night.
The problem with this approach is almost no one can stick with it. The proofs in the pudding. Ever seen how busy a commercial gym is in January? Trust me, it looks quite a bit different come March.
The harsh fact is most people quit exercise programs after a few weeks….while a few ‘survivors’ might actually last a couple of months. Most people just don’t have the energy to keep up overly ambitious workout programs long-term.
What’s the point in exercising if you can’t stick with it long enough to see results, or more importantly, maintain what you have accomplished?
To me it’s all about sustainability. Only when your exercise program is brief and productive, does it become a long term proposition. And more importantly, all the benefits derived from exercise — from looking better, to feeling better, to performing better — are no longer fleeting moments, but your permanent reality.
2. Avoid ‘Extreme’ Workouts
There’s another downside to an endless parade of daily workouts.
No one likes to talk about the I-word but it’s a reality for far too many people.
When you are just getting started with a fitness program your muscles, tendons, bones and other connective tissue are less accustomed to the forces they’ll encounter.
Over do it too much or step the wrong way, and the emergency room may be your next stop.
There are over 20 million injuries per year as result of participating in recreational fitness activities — which incidentally might also explain why the biggest house on the block is owned by an orthopedic doc.
The good doc is also grateful, no doubt, to the amount of “referrals” he gets from extreme exercise programs like Crossfit, P90X and bootcamps. While there is something to be said for the energy and spirit of these programs, let’s be honest — I doubt you could purposefully design fitness activities that could put you at greater risk.
If injury were to occur keep in mind it’s considerably harder to go to work Monday morning in a cast or splint.
Be aware also that many of these injuries are not just isolated, one-time events.
There are long term consequences that may include pain medications, doctors bills, surgeries, and arthritis that the devil himself may gift you as a result of tearing your rotator cuff, spraining a knee, or some other nasty injury.
3. See the Big Picture
I said it before, and I’ll say it again — if you can’t maintain an exercise or fitness program for the long haul, it has limited value.
In fact, if an exercise program results in injury, it pretty much has done the exact opposite of what you were looking for.
The truth is exercise is important, but you have to be clued into what actually produces results and how to go about getting them.
So what should you be concerned about? Strength; developing and maintaining it.
Properly performed strength training is the only thing to have been shown to reverse the aging process at the molecular level.
Since the dawn of time people have been searching for the proverbial fountain of youth — and we have it with strength training.
And that is what the big picture is all about, my friends. You want to be there to watch your grandkids grow up? Strength train. You want freedom and mobility well into your senior years? Strength train. You want the to feel and look younger? Strength train.
You can truly turn back the hands of time by rebuilding what age diminishes — if you’re willing to work for it.
Did you know the average person loses 5 lbs of muscle per decade past the age of 20? That means by 40, you have lost 10 pounds of muscle that is responsible for your strength, balance, coordination…the list goes on and on.
But by spending less than an hour per week with the clearly defined intent of building physical strength, you can change your destiny.
For some, increased strength will vastly improve their functionality…whether it’s carrying groceries, getting in and out of a car, or even getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom!
For others, it means delaying the inevitable slowdown of old-age for as long as possible.
Indeed, your strength plays a major role in quality of life, so commit to a strength training program!
In Part II of the Top 6 Ways To Save Your Body, I’ll be talking about the importance of commitment, why fat loss should be a priority, and how a support team is critical in helping you achieve your goals. You won’t want to miss it, so stay tuned and please share this post with anyone that could benefit!