It's difficult to sell things that aren't flashy. When was the last time you saw a commercial for roofing nails? Or a full-color magazine ad for an extension cord?
Likewise, it's difficult to sell ideas and concepts that are mundane. Even the idea of brushing your teeth relies on fancy ads for super technologically advanced toothbrushes and stronger than ever toothpastes.
It's no surprise, then, when everything that comes our way about health and fitness is both flashy and extreme.
30-day transformations, challenges, bootcamps, high-intensity this-or-that. Burn, gainz, something-something X. More is better, go go go!
Some of today’s most popular weight loss methods might be effective in the short term, but eventually something is going to quit working. It might be you, it might be the program, but one thing is for sure: it won’t last.
As it turns out, this actually isn’t a bad thing. When you get past the novelty of a new program (or realize that the promises you’ve been made were a complete farce), you start to realize one very important aspect of lifelong health and fitness:
It doesn’t have to be that hard.
As I’ve said before, nothing in health and fitness is permanent. The only hope you have for lasting outcomes is to use sustainable methods. If you can’t sustain what you’re doing over the long haul, then your results don’t stand a chance.
Everyone's journey will be different. We all start in different places and have different histories and goals. But I want to share with you some examples from my own life of when the less intense option turned out to be the far greater one.
We’ll break it down as it applies to the 4 Tenets of Health.
Back when I was into running [shudder], I got to the point where I didn’t feel as though I’d done anything until I was running for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Every. Single. Day.
And the kicker was, that minimum time kept increasing. It started off with 10-minute jogs. Then it was 20 minutes, then 30...it never really stopped! And the inconveniences kept racking up, too.
- It’s raining? No big deal.
- The sun is blazing? That’s fine.
- My knee and/or hip hurts? So what?!
The point is, the ol’ strap on a pair of shoes and go for a run method of losing fat was NOT working. Did I mention that this was happening every day?! And to boot, it wasn’t even really giving me any results!
Nowadays, I can get in a really great workout in about 20 minutes. It’s sometimes a little longer, but I often get done lifting weights, right in that sweet spot of worn out and invigorated, and I look at the clock to find that barely any time has passed.
I have energy, I’m happy, my body fat percentage is low, my muscles are strong, and I just feel good.
Oh, and now I’m only exercising 3-4 days per week.
That I can keep up with.
Take a look at your own workout routine. If you’re involved in something overly intense, or with a built-in end date, or that requires you to work out 6-7 days a week, is that something you can do forever? Is it even working? Does it need to be that hard?
Think about it.
I used to follow the traditional food dogma of eating six small meals a day, eating only minimal fat, and avoiding dietary cholesterol at all costs.
Want to grow? Eat more. Want to shrink? Eat less.
My hunger signals were all whacked out (I couldn’t go more than 90 minutes or so without getting hangry), I hated almost everything I ate, and, much like the running mentioned above, it wasn’t really working, anyway.
By escaping this dogma, I now eat 2-3 times per day. My hunger signals have completely changed for the better (hunger now is simply a signal that I might want to eat rather than a cramping, nagging pain), I don’t experience any large swings in energy or blood sugar.
And the best part is, I don’t spend all day thinking about (re: obsessing over) food.
Are you starving yourself to lose weight? Are you severely restricting your food choices in order to completely avoid a certain macronutrient? Is the blandness getting to you? Does it need to be that hard?
Sleep and Stress Management
Unlike the two previous Tenets of Health, sleep and stress management go largely un-talked about. Unless the object is to push a new drug on the general public, these topics rarely make their way into the limelight.
As such, I’d like to take these in a slightly different direction. Rather than discussing how your sleep and stress management methods don’t have to be that hard, I’m going to flip the equation around:
Are you constantly stressed or tired? Not seeing results in the gym? Anxious, flighty, forgetful, irritable?
Luckily, LIFE doesn’t need to be that hard.
All you have to do is make sleep and stress management a priority!
While most people like to think that these things are a waste of time or for the weak, what they fail to realize is that, even with less time on your hands, you become much more efficient and effective when your sleep and stress are under control.
I now make sleep a priority. I meditate on a daily basis. I make these things a priority, and I’m much better (and happier!) for it.
Want to see some major changes in your life with minimal effort? Get some sleep and control your stress!