I’ve been doing some form of exercise since I can remember. I played all kinds of sports throughout middle school and high school, I’ve been a member of several gyms for my entire adult life, and I’m now a certified CrossFit coach and weight lifter. Full disclaimer, I’m not very good at either, but I enjoy them so that’s what matters. Over the years I’ve heard the same questions from friends and family who really don’t exercise and are intimidated to start. I thought I would answer some of those questions below.
*Please note, you should talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen
If I’m not trying to lose weight, why even bother with exercise?
Well, everyone knows that exercise is good for your health, but do you really know why? I recommend weight lifting to everyone, especially women, for 3 main reasons.
1. Lifting weights increases muscle mass, which increases your Resting Metabolic Rate, which means you burn more calories throughout the day, making losing fat easier.
2. Lifting weights not only strengthens your muscles, but also vastly improves the strength of your bones and bone density.
3. More muscle mass helps improve hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.
(The same benefits also apply to men; these are just the usual problems the women I deal with want to focus on).
I understand that it can be very intimidating to get into, especially when you see nothing but dudes in the weight area of your gym. If you’re nervous about starting, consider hiring a coach to show you proper form and technique. Or, you can be like me, and walk into a CrossFit gym and have them coach you. Just be sure to pay attention to how the coaches are treating you as a newbie. If they’re dodging your questions, not going over the movements with you or pushing you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing, then that’s not the right coach for you.
Also, just to add, one of the biggest deterrents for women when it comes to weight lifting is that they “don’t want to get too bulky”. I’m going be honest with you, that’s not a thing. Unless you are intentionally training several hours a day, eating a very specified diet and you’re genetically predisposed, you WILL NOT get too bulky. I’ve exercised along hundreds of women for years who are significantly stronger than I may ever be, and they’re not bulky by any means.
Who should exercise?
Everyone! Every person on this planet should figure out a way to move their body every day. But it doesn’t have to be a strenuous, “I’m going to pass out or throw up or both” kind of workout. Actually, you definitely should not do that, at least not every day. Maybe limit those kinds of workouts to once or twice a week. But you should move. Your body was designed to move around, and the more you move it, the easier it gets.
What should I do for exercise?
You don’t need to limit yourself to a gym or fitness classes in order to incorporate exercise into your life. There are many simple things that can be done that will still give you great benefits. Go for a walk, swim some laps in your pool or at your Rec center, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks while watching tv, do body weight exercises on your patio, join a sports league, follow along to a yoga video on YouTube; just do something. And mix it up. You don’t have to do the same thing, every day, from here to eternity. Variety is the spice of life.
Now if you read that list and thought to yourself, “I can’t physically do any of those things”, no worries! One of the many things that I have learned from being a CrossFit coach is that everything can be modified. Meaning that if you have trouble doing something, we can figure out a way for you to work around that. You may not be able to do a push up, but can you do it on your knees, or maybe against the wall? You can’t do an air squat, but you can sit down and stand up from a chair. You don’t have weights to lift? What about random objects from your house, like a gallon of milk, or the bag of pet food, or a basket full of laundry? You don’t have to limit yourself just because you don’t have the traditional equipment.
When is the best time to exercise?
The hardest part for me when it comes to exercise is figuring out when to do it. My schedule is really flexible and can change daily. Normally, I will exercise in the evening before dinner, but lately I’ve been enjoying getting it done earlier in the day. And my preferences have changed over the years, from afternoons, to evenings to mornings and all around. But one thing I don’t like, is exercising really early in the morning. Unless I’m doing something very simple, like walking, I don’t like it and I will likely skip it. This is something you’ll need to figure out for yourself as well. Take some time and really assess your habits and when you feel best getting your exercise in. And honestly, the best time to do it, is when you know you will do it consistently. If you find yourself skipping your workouts more often than doing them, you need to reassess your schedule and possibly your exercise regimen.
Some key take-away’s for exercise are 1. Don’t over think it. Doing something is truly better than nothing. 2. Don’t worry if it’s not traditional exercise, it’s still movement. 3. Consistency is key.
I hope this encourages you to get moving a little more in your life.