We’ve all heard it before: “No pain, no gain!” What does that even mean, anyway? Do I actually have to hurt myself if I want to see results in the gym?
Um, no thank you!
Growing up playing sports, including collegiate volleyball, and now as a fitness professional, I have no doubt heard it all. As great as it is to be on the receiving end of fitness advice and well-intended motivation, it’s clichés like, “No pain no gain” that often turn people away from the exercise room.
So what guidance should you listen to? Here are the best pieces of fitness advice that I have ever received:
1. Use it or lose it.
Seriously sister! Why go through all that effort if you’re just going to let it go? If you never stop being active, than you never lose it. Aside from an unexpected illnesses or injury, this really does ring true. Let your fitness carry you through your lifetime and keep you active, functional, and healthy.
2. Nutrition is the hardest part.
Working out is the easy part. It’s eating healthy that often throws people for a loop. Clean up your diet by incorporating real, whole foods. I would recommend finding a gym that facilitates nutrition challenges on a regular basis to help you get started and learn more about healthy eating. Eating healthy does not mean restricting the amount of food we eat, but rather the types of food we eat.
3. Recovery is key.
You can make the most of your time and efforts in the gym by recovering properly. This doesn’t mean that once a week, you go to the nearest smoothie stand and order an extra large bodybuilder shake. Sure, you can incorporate a quality protein shake into your post-workout diet, but it has to go beyond that. The rest of your day must include balanced meals made up of whole foods and a lot of water. Equally as important is the amount of sleep you get. You will not see the results you want if you are up partying all night and eating junk food all day. You have to take your recovery seriously.
4. Routine is the enemy.
Falling into a routine and being consistent are two different things. Yes, you must stay consistent with regard to your time in the gym and your willingness to make it a part of your lifestyle. But it’s what you do with that time in the gym that will make or break your fitness success story. Avoid doing the same workout every day. If you need to, find a gym that will program workouts for you. At CrossFit Omaha, we keep our workouts constantly varied. Not only does this help us achieve a more balanced level of fitness, it also keeps us from getting bored.
5. Find a support system.
As is the case with most experiences in life, support from friends, family, and loved ones is crucial in your fitness journey. Without it, people often fall off track before they really get started. It has to go further than your inner circle, too. Find the right gym, fitness program, training partner and coaches to help keep you motivated.