Some of you may be asking yourself, “Why is a massage therapist blogging about fitness?” Well, to answer your question, all of us at Zenful Massage believe that massage is just an aspect of wellness. Our first and foremost concern is the health of our clients and we firmly believe that fitness is like massage, a preventative prescription for body health and overall wellness.
Those closest to me would label me a “gym rat,” but I look at it as a doctor’s appointment; I’m merely preventing many conditions that could potentially develop without a dedication to body health. But friends do ask me, “How do you stay so fit and motivated all year long?” After being shocked at the question, I began to evaluate what keeps me going. Below are my few tips of the things I do to keep myself moving, in shape, motivated and geared up 365 days of the year.
1. Establish Your Goal
Before beginning a strict workout routine, you need to select a goal. Whether that’s to lose 10 pounds or become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, you need something to strive for. However, don’t select a goal that seems to be unattainable – baby steps to your big goal will keep you motivated, that way you have little wins on the way. Once your goal is established, stick to it! It won’t come immediately, but you will soon begin to see results.
2. Mix It Up
The biggest mistake I made when I first started working out everyday in college was a lack of variety – I only did cardio. While this is good for your cardiovascular health and endurance, it will soon take a toll on your body and produce results few and far between.
For example, I used to run miles every single day due to an unwarranted fear of the weight room, and I soon began to experience a lot of pain in my lower back and knees because of the constant impact my body was taking from hitting the pavement day after day. I quickly realized that mixing up many different types of workouts will provide the most results and faster.
It’s important to create a variety in exercises to allow specific muscle groups to rest and recover. You don’t want to perform the same ab workout every single day, this will only break down your muscles instead of building them.
Looking for a variety in cardio outside of running? Try spin classes, agility training, swimming or other sports like soccer or basketball.
Doing too much cardio? Try weight lifting, crossfit or plyometrics.
3. Strict Diet
It’s true when they say that the majority of body appearance and health is based on diet. There is no validity in the argument “I work out, so I can eat whatever I want,” I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work, it just wastes energy. Eating well goes hand in hand with good fitness – it helps produce results (no pun intended). However, my diet has to be a little more strict than most, but it pays off. Stick to the real stuff. What I mean by this is AVOID ALL PROCESSED FOODS whenever possible. If it doesn’t grow in nature, it probably shouldn’t be a piece of your diet. Throughout the day, I strictly stick to raw fruits and vegetables with the occasional gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free protein bar. Many foods that are not natural only clog up your system making it harder to pass food through your intestines, causing bloating and discomfort, or making it challenging to lose weight and stay lean.
Not only that, but I try to avoid consuming large portions in one sitting. It’s easier on your digestive system if you give it small portions of foods throughout the day and frequently. Here is an example of what I stick to during the work day:
Veggies: Cucumbers, bell peppers, celery
Fruits: Bananas, oranges, apples, grapes
4. Supplemental Health
Probiotics. That’s all I’m going to say.
Okay I’ll say more. Probiotics are a blessing in microscopic form and I take them every single day; they help me stay lean, free of bloating and keep my digestive system performing top notch. In addition to probiotics, I also stay on top of taking Fish Oil to make sure I consume necessary amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s important to keep your body chemicals in balance to keep you performing and feeling your best!
After a hard workout, it’s extremely important for you to let your body recover so you can get up and do more tomorrow. And when I say “recover,” I don’t just mean get a good night’s sleep – although that’s important too. What I mean is this, let muscle groups you worked out that day take a breather the next day so they aren’t overworked. This will give them the opportunity to build as you work toward your goal. Worked out triceps and abs on Monday? Great, don’t touch those muscle groups again until Wednesday.
In addition to letting your body rest, make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and to flush out any toxins.
6. Don’t Give Up
It’s pouring down rain and my co-workers are looking at me like I’m crazy as I stand in front of them with my water bottle ready to hit the gym. I cannot emphasize it enough – DON’T GIVE UP. I know it’s hard, because there are definitely days where I have no desire to workout – I’m too tired, I’m sore or I’m in a bad mood. But like Nike says, just do it. I promise you that you’ll feel better and you’ll be so proud of yourself for getting it done. There is nothing easy about fitness; it hurts, it’s uncomfortable and brings a lot of sweat and tears, but your body will thank you.
Summer is on its way, are you motivated?
*Comment below with any questions or workout routine requests.