Back to the Exercise Basics
Being in the fitness industry, I am overwhelmed on a daily basis with the abundance of information on the internet and social media- from professionals and non-professionals alike. There are new fitness studios popping up every day and new blog posts on the “right way” to workout. Figuring out how to navigate all of the information can be extremely difficult and confusing. On top of that, the global pandemic has drastically increased the fitness and nutrition content on all media sources. If you ever find yourself unsure of where to begin or where to go in your fitness journey, here are a few pointers to getting back to the basics:
Increase your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
NEAT is all of the energy expended outside of structured exercise, sleeping, eating, and the energy needed to keep you alive. NEAT is dependent on many factors including lifestyle, occupation, metabolic differences, and even genetics. If you sit at your desk for an extended period of time without moving and then workout for 30-60 minutes each day, your NEAT is still likely very low. Although working out is incredible, integrating movement into all daily tasks and activities is important to maintaining an active lifestyle. Increasing your NEAT is an easy way to promote general health and prevent chronic disease, such as diabetes (Loeffelholz & Birkenfeld, 2018). This could be as simple as parking your car further away in the parking lot, walking to the store instead of driving, or adding dancing to your favorite song as part of your morning routine! For more information about NEAT, you can visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/.
Find the workout that you enjoy the most
Have you ever forced yourself to start running (or any type of workout), and after two days, you decide to quit because you hate it so much? I have been there! There is no doubt that effective exercise programming is incredibly important if you have a specific goal you are working to reach, however, the key to any workout program is consistency. The type of workout that you enjoy the most is likely the workout you will stick to long-term. If you love group fitness classes, then it will be far easier to create a habit and stick to it than dreading going to the gym by yourself everyday. For overall health and longevity, some movement is always better than no movement- no matter what it is! If you do have a specific fitness or body composition goal, it is best to work with a health professional.
Remember that you are a unique individual!
You are a unique individual with a unique body type and exercise needs! Just because one type of exercise works for one person, does not always mean it will work for you. There are many different factors that play a role in the best kind of exercise for you, including sleep, stress, muscle imbalances, goals, etc! Especially with the amount of information we are inundated with on the media, it is important to know where you are getting your information and that your needs are likely very different than the fitspo that you follow on Instagram. So the next time you are scrolling on social media and see someone promise you a 6-pack with their 30 minute ab circuit… remember that they have a different body type and training/nutrition history than you, therefore, will likely yield different results than you. Embrace your bio-individuality!
Written By: Annie Seiler, BS in Exercise Science, NASM CPT
Von Loeffelholz C, Birkenfeld A. The Role of Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis in Human Obesity. [Updated 2018 Apr 9]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/
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