Despite my love for the personal training industry, the typical approach to helping people get into great shape these days is pretty poor! You only have to look on Instagram to see the unfortunate amount of bodybuilder strategies in the gym. The same can be said with their general approach to dieting. 'Just eat chicken and broccoli and keep the calories low' is the typical advice from personal trainers today.
In this article, I’m going to introduce a much better method. A method that offers flexibility with your diet and provides better energy levels to perform at your best daily whilst getting you into great shape. The primary approach is to move and exercise far more than you do now. I will show you how to get the balance to continuously exercise, live with high energy every day, and get in incredible shape in the fastest time possible!
If you already think that more exercise will make you more tired, overwhelmed, and possibly risk over-training... Seriously, give your head a shake! Let's quickly get an understanding of energy and how over-training happens.
This term has become popular over the decades as science and technology have advanced to understand our physiology. Over-training can be described as excessive fatigue and performance decline following repeated bouts of intense exercise without adequate recovery.
Although this is an obvious truism, there is no consideration that rest & recovery is 50% of your training regime. It’s not that people are over-training; it’s more they are under-recovering! Rest and recovery need to be assessed and strategised like exercise and nutrition. Neglecting sleep and rest is like trying to build a house on sand. You'll go so far, but eventually, it will fall down. Your bodily systems simply can't cope with the demand. Over time, you soon run out of steam, and before you know it, the old eating habits and lack of exercise return.
Domino's pizza, Mcdonald's, KFC, Burger King and all the other hyper-palatable foods we love shovelling down our throats are engineered to keep us coming back for more. And let's be honest, we are all going to have our food weaknesses, and to eliminate them from our lives completely, means that life is going to suck!
Michael Phelps was well renowned for eating plenty of junk food during his training cycles. Depending on what articles you read, he was consuming between 8000-10,000 calories per day! Mind-blowing, isn't it when you look at the phenomenal physique and fitness level this guy had.
Stop; before you even think about opening the Dominos app, you need to consider Michael Phelps's training routine of 6 hours a day, six days a week (according to swim pro). That's 36 hours a week of moderate to high-intensity exercise, which explains how he could sink that many calories a day and perform at such an extraordinary level.
Obviously, training 6 hours a day, six times a week, is not happening. However, doing more exercise allows you to enjoy your weekend food while still getting in great shape and performing with high energy every day.
Doing more exercise and feeling exhausted all the time isn't likely to be 'overtraining'; you are far more likely undernourished and poorly rested. Going back to our good friend Michael Phelps, along with his 36 hours of training, he also slept 8 hours every night and 2-3 hours during the day. This brings me to this article's key point. Get the balance between adequate rest and higher levels of exercise to allow you to live a more energised and enjoyable life whilst looking your best.
The nutritional aspect involved in this concept can be done in a future blog. Today, let's focus on moving you more, feeling awesome, getting great results and enjoying your lifestyle.
There should be an obvious recognition of why rest and recovery are required to perform at your best and do more exercise. I'm going to take a second to explain on a deeper level why this is important, so you've got a basic grasp of biology.
Sleeping and resting (when done correctly) will allow your body to move through the regeneration process via the autonomic nervous system. There are two critical functions of this aspect of the nervous system. First, the sympathetic branch is our stress response from stimuli such as exercise, external threats, or internal thoughts of fear that cause feelings of stress and anxiety.
This mechanism will move the body into what's known as catabolism, the process of breaking things down. It's a natural system of our biology and vital for our survival, so don't see it as a bad thing, but… If you spend too much time in this state, your body will slowly break down over time. Your cells, muscles, immune system and many other systems will decline.
The opposing side of this system is the parasympathetic branch. This is the pathway of rest and recovery. The body goes through anabolism (rebuilding), which allows for healing and regeneration responses in this branch. The same rules apply to this system. Being in it is good and vital for survival, but staying in this state is deleterious to our health. Too much time in this zone, and you'll soon become a zombie.
Monks worldwide just happen to be masters at energising their minds & bodies. They learn how to rest their bodies and control their minds, optimising their mental and physical state. Scientific research has shown how monks can quickly manage their nervous systems to create positive physiological changes healing their bodies on a cellular level. They are the masters of healing through simple but effective practices that you can implement to optimise your recovery from exercise and the stresses of life. So, heal your body, and you'll be able to take on the world!
I'm hoping you're starting to see we need a balance of both pathways to get the most out of our bodies. In the ideal world, we should have higher activity levels, with equal amounts of rest and a steady flow of good nutrition.
The focus is simple, increase your levels of activity and movement whilst also being effective at your levels of rest and recovery. If you move more, your body will look better; if you rest more, you will feel better.
Good sleep will repair your brain, immune system, muscular system, nervous systems and a great deal more if you stick to a good sleep routine, so do it!
If you want to do more without feeling terrible and enjoy the benefits of a high-performing body, apply this balanced exercise and rest cycle. This is just a simple starting point for you. As you explore this, you may find that different approaches work better. Whatever works for you is the best method. Just make sure you keep a close eye on the three critical components of fitness success:
Get to work on moving more and resting more, and enjoy the powerful benefits coming your way, my friend. When you look good and feel great whilst enjoying your life, you've hit the sweet spot… Keep it going!!
I'd love to hear from you if you implement it, so feel free to get in touch to tell me about your progress.
Catch you soon