Tag lines like ‘lose 10k’s on us’, ‘body transformation’, and ‘ideal body in 6 weeks’ are to engage and attract people to buy the product. Many programs offer the latest research and amazing results. The reality of these claims is generally short term, painful, extreme and unrealistic, which may not be sustainable in supporting long term health and wellbeing.
Below are some suggestions that may help you make a considered choice of health and exercise program. For long term health and vitality, the program will ideally support, sustain and integrate simply into your lifestyle.
- Be realistic with your current fitness and physical wellbeing and chose a program that supports where you are at, rather than where you really want to get to. E.g. if you haven’t been exercising for a few years or have some health concerns, an extreme conditioning program may be unwise to begin with. If you want to feel fitter, then perhaps chose a walking program rather than yoga. This is because yoga is not cardiovascular/aerobic and is more flexibility and movement.
- Do you honestly and realistically have the time required for the workouts being offered? E.g. 2 hours a day! Exercise is only 20% of weight loss; the other 80% is food choice/diet. Look into your food choices and spend 5-30mins on your movement programme, yes that is correct - 5 minutes! As I say to all my clients “anything is better than nothing”. Get this into your daily rhythm so it easily becomes a way of life, like cleaning your teeth.
- When undertaking a new exercise programme, read and ask more questions to see if it really is for you? E.g. Why would a 40 year-old woman who has had 2 children consider taking up an exercise programme that is purposely targeted for 20 year olds and is made up of plyometric and high impact movements?
Even if you are in your 20’s consider the nature of the exercise that you are doing to take care of yourself when you are older.
Strict and Restrictive
If a health program is restrictive or overly strict in any way, it will never last. Why? Because it cannot be brought into a daily rhythm or become a long term lifestyle.
When there is an overly strict and restrictive program, it can make many people obsessively think about the things that they can’t have or do anymore E.g. Promising yourself you will work out for an 1.5 hours everyday is too much for most people who have a normal, full life. What can be dangerous is that this pressure can add to stress and be overwhelming, so a person tends to stop all exercise. Stopping can then bring up guilt and self-esteem issues, which is not supportive to anyone.
Trainers talk about ‘will power’, ‘mind over matter’ etc, all of which are short term and not at all supportive to building an honouring, loving and supportive relationship with your body.
Take the time to listen to your amazing body, and respect what it is saying, it will show you the way.
Remember, there are NO quick fixes and NO body to ‘get’. Our ideal goal would be to connect to and care for your own body.
Or is it sustainable and endurable only for a few short weeks?
If you can only live the health programme for a few weeks, then generally it will be a quick fix (weight loss) and the weight lost will quickly return and the exercise regime will cease. Consider that a loving lifestyle change that you can maintain is more supportive and sustainable in the long run.