It makes me happy to see that we have an overload of information out there about nutrition and fitness. Quite frankly, it’s everywhere you go; the TV, the news, the magazines and most recently, all over Social Media. There’s dozens of health and fitness companies selling shakes, containers for meal planning, offering workout videos, motivational coaches and various diet programs. There’s so many to choose from and it can be overwhelming and confusing. So, why does it make me happy? Well, the opposite of this abundance is indifference and the plethora of availability demonstrates that we are at least on the road to making a dent in self-induced obesity, health problems and disease. The issue, however, lies with finding out what nutrition program and fitness regimen is right for YOU.
Here’s a summarized guide of factors that you can use to help you make your choice.
Your AGE: For some people, this might seem like common sense, but I see 40+ year olds doing a workout that is designed for 20 year olds all the time, being sold as an “everyone can do it” package. The truth is, our bodies change drastically as we age and the needs for our muscles, joints, heart, brain and hormones is drastically different. It doesn’t mean that these programs aren’t effective, it just means that a long duration of doing these programs at a certain age can really cause a lot of health problems and injuries. The movement patterns you choose can be the difference of injuries, depressed immune system, adrenal fatigue and overall your LONG-TERM success.
Your BODY TYPE: This is often very overlooked by the general programs out there. While, we now know that your exposome (or environment) does have a lot to do with your genetics, there’s no denying the genetic role in your body type. If you have a lean build and long limbs (ectomorph), then your health and fitness program will look very different than someone who has a thick rib cage, wide hips, and shorter limbs (endomorph) AND different from someone has wide shoulders, a narrow waist and thin joints (mesomorph). Giving a fitness program designed for an ectomorph to an endomorph (and vice versa) could be ineffective at best and detrimental at worst.
Your GOALS: Once you’ve established your age and body type, you should analyze your goals. These will be another factor in designing your program. Do you want to lose weight? And if so, what does that look like to you (it varies from person to person). Do you want to gain muscle? How much? Do you want to feel better? Detox? Sleep better? ….the list goes on and on! THEN, most importantly, what’s your WHY?
Your STRESS LEVEL: Let’s face it, we are all “stressed” to some degree, but stress summates and is not just what you think stress is. Stress can be defined as what you eat, when you eat, how you sleep, digestive system health, how your body detoxes and of course workload, schedule and your relationships, both with others and with self. If these are NOT taken into consideration…well…WATCH OUT! A large number of people with high total stress should likely be doing a slower paced, lower load (weight), anabolic, energy building fitness programs, like Yoga, Tai Chi, ELDOA or Zone exercises. The truth is many people are addicted to the adrenaline and cortisol rush and aren’t willing to give up the now popularized catabolic work outs.
Your SCHEDULE: Your schedule plays a part in your stress level, but quite often there’s nothing we can do to change it, at least for the short term. Here’s the thing, what you design must be realistic for your schedule, your life, your family, your job, etc. If you have to wake up at 3:30 am to get your workout in, how exactly is that serving you, or vice versa, if you must work out at 7:30 pm, that will lead to more stress. Sometimes this becomes analysis of your priorities and career and being authentic to yourself with what you want in life, and well, that can’t be bad either. 😉
The BOTTOM LINE: The overall message with the factors above is to be cautious with programs that are a one-size-fits-all program. YOU are YOU! And you can’t fit into a generalized “box” of a program. Just as our hair color, eye color and body types are different, your organs, brains and lives are just as different. Be authentic and true to yourself, be open to exploration and tune into whether what you’re doing is for YOU. Once you’ve analyzed these factors, truly listen to your intuition as well. The body always has the answers, it’s just whether or not we are listening.
Coach Seana is Exercise Coach, CHEK Practitioner and Holistic Lifestyle Coach offering various services out of her EarthFIT Personal Training and WholeFIT Studio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.