How to Get Fit Without the Stress
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Fitness is essential for a healthy, happy and long life. That being said, it’s all too often a stressful pursuit that has a way of feeling a lot more like self-punishment than self-development. How often have you watched “motivational” videos that say things like “you give to spill your blood for this, rest when you’re dead, success only comes to the dedicated”. The prevailing message in the fitness world is that intensity is the be-all end-all.
If you find yourself struggling to pick up good fitness habits and stick with them, without feeling an urge to quit every step of the way, you should know that there are better alternatives.
Here’s a look at some things you can do to get fit without all the stress.
Set a routine too easy to fail at
The first thing to be aware of is that fitness is a lifelong pursuit, not just something that you achieve in a short burst of effort and then get to hang on to forever. For that reason, you’ve got to be willing to take a long-term view on your fitness practices.
It’s not about sudden bursts of motivation, it’s all about habit. And the best way to form habits is to set yourself incredibly easy standards, and meet them every day without fail.
“Easy” may not be doing it justice. You want your routine to be too easy to fail at.
Examples include: “I will do one pushup a day”. You may scoff at the thought. “No one can ever get into shape doing one pushup a day!” you exclaim.
No, but anyone can become used to exercising on a daily basis if they start that small. And on the days when you feel extra motivated, there’s nothing to stop you doing dozens of pushups instead. You can always do more than planned. But you must never let yourself fail at sticking to your habit.
So make it ridiculously easy. Intensity can come later.
Make fun the main focus, rather than fitness
When you’re exercising for the sake of fitness, you’ll also remain very conscious of what you’re doing and why.
When you’re playing a sport, practicing a martial art, or running around with friends, however, you’ll be focusing on having fun while getting fit at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone is a fantastic tip in many instances, including this one. Take the stress out of your workouts by having them not be workouts at all, but games that you enjoy for their own sake.
Never “go to failure”
Workouts often seem daunting because we’ve been conditioned by the fitness industry to think that we need maximum intensity at all times for our training to mean anything. That’s why weightlifters will often brag about not being able to walk up a flight of stairs after leg day. But what if it turned out you didn’t have to book yourself in for a rehab trip at Ferrell White Medina after each training session?
Training to failure is not necessary, however, and it’s often harmful. Strength and conditioning coach Pavel Tsatsouline has shown with extensive references to studies conducted in the former USSR, that remaining fresh after a workout is the best protocol for safely and effectively developing strength and conditioning long-term.
Finish each workout with something in the tank. You should feel energised when you’re done, not drained.