Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? I’m taking a new-to-me workout class today (I’ll report back soon!) and have back-to-back calls the rest of the day.
For today’s post, I wanted to share some more fitness FAQs since ya’ll seemed to enjoy the last one I did! So let’s dive into your questions about plateaus, time, motivation, where to focus our energy, and more below. Have a burning fitness question? Leave it in the comments section and I’d love to take a look!
5 more frequently asked fitness questions
11. I’ve hit a plateau – why is this happening?!
When you hit a plateau, this is a great time to access your current fitness and nutrition routine and see how it’s been going. Usually a plateau is the result of needing additional stressors (not challenging yourself with your routine), not balancing your routine (overtraining), or unsustainable fitness and nutrition methods. I see this happen a lot with extreme dieting and/or super intense fitness routines. Initially you see results, but eventually the body becomes so stressed and makes an effort to hold onto anything it can.
Plateaus are also sometimes a good reminder to switch up your fitness routine. You don’t even necessarily need to switch out the exercises (especially if you’re performing classic push/pull movements, deadlifts, squats, etc) but change up the weight, tempo, try unilateral versions of the exercises, or add in a core or balance component.
Make sure that you’re sleeping enough each night, balancing your workouts between cardio, strength, mobility, and rest (if you need help, check out this post or join us in Fit Team), and accessing your nutrition intake. Ensure that you’re eating enough fuel for your lifestyle, hydrating appropriately, and including a balance of proteins, healthy fats, leafy greens, starchy veggies, and fruits.
If you’re doing all of these things and still not seeing results, it can be helpful to have an extra set of expert eyes on your routine and see what’s going on. Also, hormone function can affect or stall your progress. We offer quite a few different testing options depending on what’s going on, so if you’re curious about learning more, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org (subject TESTING).
12. I don’t have time to exercise. Any tips?
I think it can be really overwhelming to think that you have to get in a 45-minute or hour-long session, especially if you’re busy with work, kids, and life. Instead, focus on movement throughout the day when you can, and break your official workout into smaller chunks. When you have multiple small exercise sessions, this actually increases the amount of EPOC post-session (the excess oxygen you consume as the body returns to homeostasis), leading to a higher overall energy use (calorie burn).
Remember that everyday activities count as movement, even though they’re not “official” workouts. NEAT = non-exercise active thermogenesis is attained through regular life activities, like walking the dog, gardening, a dance party with the kids, playing tag, extra walks around the office, vacuuming/cleaning, etc.
The tricky answer: they’re both important for various reasons. I think nutrition is probably more important than exercise for overall health (if I had to pick, especially since you can get in “accidental” exercise but not “accidental” solid nutrition), but exercise has such a huge impact on sleep, hormone function, immune function, bone health, heart health, metabolism, AHH. I don’t like to pick and would say focus on both 😉 Fuel your body well with nourishing foods, lift heavy-for-you weights, sprinkle in some cardio that you enjoy, take 1-2 days of full rest each week, and focus on the other health pillars (sleep, stress management, hydration, meaningful relationships with others, sunshine, etc).
14. How long should a workout be?
Go for quality, not quantity. The best workouts are the ones that leave you pleasantly sweaty, feeling like you pushed yourself without feeling depleted, and ready to enjoy the day. Maybe it takes 10 minutes to get there, maybe it takes you 45 minutes to get there. Don’t worry about the time clocked in as much as the quality of the movement you’re getting. Like I mentioned above: don’t be afraid to break it up throughout the day.
15. How do I stay motivated?
It took me a long time to learn that often, I have to create my own motivation. If you wait until you feel like doing something, it may not ever happen. (If I waited until I was excited to brush my teeth, I probably wouldn’t do it. It’s just a box I check twice a day. Fitness is the same way; I focus on putting in the reps each day.) If you don’t feel motivated, count to 3 and give it a try. Go for 5 minutes and see how you feel. Usually, getting started is the hardest part.
If after 5 minutes you’re still not feeling it, give yourself a rest day and try again the next day. A workout at 30-40% effort for multiple days in a row is less beneficial than two to three workouts per week at 100% effort.