How hard do I have to workout?
How often do I have to workout?
What kinds of workouts do I have to do?
What you are REALLY asking is “what’s the bare minimum I can get away with and still get the results I want?”
No one wants to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary doing something they really don’t want to be doing in the first place.
We hate doing our taxes.
So we spend as little time doing them as possible.
This typically results in staying up all night on April 14th with Turbo Tax and tweaking the numbers until we owe as little as legally possible.
People take the same approach to exercise. They want to know what is truly necessary to get where they want to get…and not a single push-up more.
First, you need to understand that every minute you sit is killing your body. Your body is made to move, and it must do so everyday or your health will decline.
Check this common fitness inspiration image out:
It’s giving us this message:
Walking is better than sitting on the couch.
Running is better than just walking.
And a comprehensive full-body conditioning routine is better than just running.
Now let’s be honest. Most people just want to lose weight, feel better, and look better.
If you fall into this category (which statistically, you probably do) the good news is that all you really need to do is start eating right and increase your physical activity a little bit every day and you’ll lose weight.
For most people, this is as simple as taking a brisk 15-20 minute walk every single day. This signals your body to burn excess fat and preserve lean muscle.
This is where the image above is somewhat misleading. It says that walking is just a little better than sitting on the couch with a bag of chips.
But if you’re trying to get muscular and crazy ripped so you can get on the cover of Muscle and Fiction or into the NFL or something crazy like that, it’s going to take a lot more than walking to get there. Weights and conditioning drills every morning. Practice every evening.
And with an intense training routine comes the risk of burn out and injury. The irony is that most New Year resolutioners get off the couch and start January 1 at the gym with killer workouts (pictured at the other end of the image as the crowning glory of fitness).
This image is the reason why the gym empties out a few weeks into the New Year… until the next January 1 when resolutioners come in as fat or fatter than when they started.
Killer workouts are unsustainable and the whole cycle leads to frustration and confusion.
…and sends people straight back to the couch.
If your goal is strictly to lose weight (and you’re not making one more last-ditch effort to get into pro sports, enter a bodybuilding competition, or rip phone books in half with your bare hands), you will get there by simply walking at a brisk pace for a few minutes every day and eating the right foods.
Weight loss, especially long-term weight loss is best served with small 365-days-a-year habits –like walking.
Things you can do every day will help you lose weight, not 14-day Kamikaze blitzes at the beginning of the year.