Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Losing Weight and Being Healthy.....It's Not Just About the Exercise!

Today was another great day for me.  I am so thankful everyday that I have a job that I love.  I worked training people from 5am to 7am.  Then I had a break so I ran 9-miles on the treadmill.  I had to teach aqua class from 9 to 11.  Then a little break to go home and check on the dogs.  Back to work to teach spin then go for a swim with Michael and Hollie.  After my swim one more client to train then home to the dogs!  I must say that was a good day.  I had people around me that made me laugh.  I have my dogs around everyday to make me smile. 

You might ask why I am telling you about my day.  Well my job wasn't always this great.  My life wasn't always this stress-free. I worked in the corporate world for almost 20 years.  I worked in retail as a district manager and supervised at times up to 30 stores.  It did not matter how many hours I worked, there was ALWAYS work to be done.  Lack of sleep and stress were always a battle.  I trained for 3 Ironman events while trying to manage my work, training, and life.  I finally came to the conclusion that there would always be work to be done, no matter how many hours I worked.  I stopped killing myself and still was able to perform within my bosses expectations. But eventually I gave it up to be a trainer and do what I really love!  Not everyone can do that. 

Many people begin exercising to become healthier, be fit, feel better, and lose weight.  The first thing they do is begin an exercise program.  That is a great start but there are MANY other components to leading a healthy life.  If all you do is start exercising you may be disappointed at your results.  If you are sleeping less to get up earlier to exercise you may be negating all your hard effort in the gym.  Lack of sleep could cause you to feel tired and could lead to weight gain!  Lack of sleep could affect your cortisol levels which is a hormone that if elevated could cause weight gain.  Cortisol also causes muscle breakdown.  So if you are going to the gym lifting weights to gain muscle you may be sadly mistaken. Lack of sleep and stress increase cortisol which causes muscle breakdown defeating all your hard effort weight training. Not to mention if your diet hasn't changed and you are not eating enough protein you will have a hard time putting on muscle. If you begin exercising don't sacrifice your sleep! 
So lets recap......you decide to workout because you want to become healthier. So you give up some sleep.  You still are stressed at work, haven't had time to really commit to eating healthy but are trying to make better choices.  You are frustrated because you are spending time exercising, your more tired, and not losing weight.  Sound familiar?
I see some of the same people in the gym working out everyday for hours.  Some of them come to my classes (aqua or spin), they do weight training, spending up to 2-3 hours at the gym each day.  I am amazed these people are overweight (seriously) for years....nothing changes.  All the time they spend in the gym and NOTHING!  If you are spending more than an hour in the gym and you are overweight, not losing weight, something is wrong with your program.

Becoming healthier, feeling better, and losing weight involves many things not just exercise.  We all have very busy lives but no matter how busy you must make being healthier a priority.  If you don't make health a priority and live at your job, there may be a point where you are forced to take time off due to a health related illness. You need to focus on all of the aspects of being healthy NOT just exercising.  Here are all of the important things you must do in order to be healthy:
  1. Eat Healthy
  2. Exercise
  3. Flexibility
  4. Get 8 hours of quality sleep
  5. Drink plenty of water
  6. Take essential vitamins
  7. Reduce stress (yoga, meditation, relaxation)
  8. Surround yourself with positive people that make you laugh....remove   negativity as much as possible
  9. Time management and don't live at your job
I am sure there is more that I am leaving out but these are some of the important ones.  Take time to focus on all areas of your health rather than just exercise.  It is all important! 

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