As a personal trainer, I get asked a lot of questions about fitness, nutrition, and mindset. I was teaching a spin class earlier this week and I happen to overhear a conversation from a women saying that she had gained weight and she was very upset what she noticed on the scale. Now, I looked at this women and she was quite tall, very slim, very muscular, and had very little body fat on her body. Listening to the trainer’s reply of explaining to her that her weight gain is most likely from muscle gained due to her increased weight training, I could hear the disappointment in her voice when she heard this news. It made me start thinking, why are we so obsessed with numbers when it comes to fitness an working out? I get how we want to gauge our fitness goals with some type of measurement system such as the scale, body fat measurements, BMI, or how our clothes fit etc., but doesn’t it take away from what truly matters in our life; having fun & living in the moment? If your health is at risk, then tracking your weight and measurements is essential, but for others, it’s not always necessary.
For those wanting to lose weight, decrease our body fat levels, and drop dress sizes, wouldn’t it make more sense to just enjoy the moment and have fun with your workout? I see so many people of all ages and fitness backgrounds get upset because they can’t seem to lose the weight, increase the number of sets or reps, or fit into those ‘skinny’ jeans. Having goals when it comes to health and fitness is important and one way to ensure that you are on track with those goals is by some type of measurement. But what if there is a way around tracking measurements to reach your goals instead?
When it comes to my workouts, I’m all about challenging myself and having fun. Yes, I do time my workouts sometimes but it doesn’t always have to be measured down to the last second. We have to look at the big picture of our health. Instead of breaking fitness down into quantitative measurements of times or values, why don’t we just enjoy the moment and love how it makes us feel? For myself, I so enjoy challenging myself with a new exercise that I haven’t tried in months or years. It could be anything from climbing or performing a push-up on a couple of stability balls. That sense of accomplishment you feel when you do a pull-up again or climb a tree or run to the end of the street. Does it really matter how fast you ran to the end of the street or how many pull-ups you did? Our times and measurements don’t define who we are as human beings.
I guess the message I’m trying to get across today is unless you are training for something specifically like a race or an event where you nee to track your time and measurements, why not simply go for a run outside to enjoy the scenery or create your own workout with fun activities? You don’t have to do this for every workout but learn to love the simple things in life like the company of a friend when you are working out, or making a game out of a workout with your children. Watch them laugh and smile and take a note from them living a care-free life away from all the numbers and scales.
So this is what I want you to do for the next month and hopefully you continue with it into the future. Most people have time constraints with jobs and families so whatever amount of time you have set aside, this is what I want you to do:
1. Select one workout per week to dedicate to not using any type of measurement with the exception of your watch or phone to track the time. Regardless if you only have 10 minutes or 60 minutes, it’s important to learn to have fun.
2. If you weight yourself every day or every week, put the scale away or give it to someone for the next month. Get CREATIVE!
3. Forget the FITBIT! You don’t need it for this workout. No measurement tools.
4. Write down a list of all your favourite activities. Only put activities on this list that you enjoy doing.
5. Go to a place to do your workout, preferably outside of the gym where there are no distractions. Remember you don’t need a gym or equipment to get a workout in.
6. When you do your workout, I don’t want you to count reps or look at the amount of weight you are lifting or time each exercise (this is not a timed circuit). Instead I want you to do each activity to either exhaustion, until you get bored with it, or simply want to try something different.
7. Remember what it was like to be a child to climb a tree, jump over a stream, chase your dog around in circles.
8. Change your mindset to that of living in the moment and no one is judging what you do. There are no rules when it comes to working out or a fitness routine. It’s what you make of it that counts.
9. Don’t stop unless you are completely tired or your alarm goes off.
10. When you’re finished, note how you feel. Did it feel like the time went by quickly? Did you enjoy it? Are you wanting to do this type of workout again?
The whole purpose of this type of workout is to stop measuring everything we do in life. If working out is a hobby or something we do in our spare time, then shouldn’t we treat it as having fun?
Up until the new year, I wasn’t training for anything specific. I went out for runs and simply just enjoyed the run, the scenery, and getting lost in the moment. I would incorporate some circuit workouts where I would perform some functional style training and not count how many repetitions I did or for how long. When my timer went off, my head was more clear and I felt amazing. It was so nice not to look at a program where I had to accomplish so many reps and sets of weights or worry that I wasn’t increasing my interval speeds on the treadmill. It was simple and fun. It’s not to say that following a program isn’t fun, because it can be sometimes and I do enjoy it, but sometimes it’s nice not to focus on the numbers. Let go and have fun!
Until next time,
Art & Maureen