Most of us have great intentions when in comes to starting a new exercise routine, especially if you’ve also included new healthy eating habits. It feels good just thinking about how working out will help ramp up weight loss, change your body shape, and improve your mood.
Let’s face it though, life is busy! Between long work hours, kids, pets, sports, friends, events, appointments, cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, garbage day,…. blah, blah, blah, it sometimes becomes a struggle to even think about exercising! All those “Calgon Take Me Away,” moments, where we’re actually dreaming about escaping life by jumping into a hot bubble bath are real!
Unfortunately, that fitness routine that started out with a bang, has turned into a flat fizzle of random and rare workouts, that you try to fit in to your schedule, here and there. At least it’s something right? Well, if your main goal was to lose weight, then the answer is NO, not even close. It sounds great, and you get an A+ for great intentions though. So how can some exercise be better than no exercise?
Let’s say that you need a high amount of body nutrients, including clean carbs, healthy fats, lean proteins, amino acids, etc., to sustain your current weight, and exercise goals, and still utilize body fat for fuel. Your beginning goal is to work out 5 days a week for 40 minutes each day. Great! Let’s say that your results are good here. You’re losing a healthy 1% of body fat each week.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Life commitments have caught up to you and you’re finding yourself skipping workouts until gradually exercise is sporadic and much more seldom. You’re still consuming that same high level of nutrients, so why has your weight loss slowed way down, even though you’re still following your nutrition plan to a T?
It’s actually pretty simple. While you were working out, you ramped up your metabolism to convert fat into energy. Now that you stopped exercising, your metabolism has slowed back down and will now need less fuel in order to continue to burn body fat. Your consumption requirements have now changed and unless you start exercising like before, you weight loss progress will probably plateau.
Now let’s use another example in reverse. Let’s say you started a nutrition plan a couple weeks ago. You’re feeling great and you want to start exercising five days a week. You might join a cross fit class at the gym, or take up strength training and cardio. You’re still on the same nutrition plan that you started two weeks ago. Once you start exercising, the weight starts to drop off at a rapid rate. Despite how hungry you are, you’re loving your new reflection in the mirror, so you continue training your body and ignore the constant hunger sensations. Unintentionally, you’re setting your body up for potential health issues. Much like a starvation diet, which we’ll discuss in greater detail in a future blog, your body will start to shut down and fail.
You’ll notice that your physical strength will decline and you’ll have less energy. Sometimes, you’re even a little forgetful and quite a bit moodier than usual. You’re having trouble building muscle mass, even though you’re putting in the effort. All of these things are occurring because you’re not getting enough nutrients to sustain proper body function. Your body has crossed over into a dangerous survival mode, breaking down muscle, and other important vital parts, just to get enough nutrients to maintain normal daily body function. Your body will keep robbing those essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals from other parts of your body, that also need them, creating a domino effect that can lead from one health issue to another.
This is why the significance of a nutrition plan that supports your level of consistent fitness training, or lack of training, is so important. A good nutrition plan is not a one size fits all, cookie cutter plan. It should take into account your specific nutrition requirements, which includes many factors, including food and and the amount and type of exercise your doing, or not doing. Nutrition plans need to be modified and adjusted according to your lifestyle. That’s the job of a responsible nutrition expert. Your job is to keep your nutrition expert informed of any changes in your routine, so you're able to reach your goals, in a healthy, high functioning manner. The word consistent can’t be emphasized enough. Whether you choose to exercise, or not, you need to be consistent. You need to have consistent input of body nutrients and consistent output of energy in order for your body fat loss to be, you guessed it, consistent.
If you're feeling deflated, because you still want to exercise, but don't have a lot of time, then create a consistent routine that is sustainable. If you can only do ten minutes a day, five days a week, than that's fifty more minutes a week than zero would have been. In this case, those ten minutes of time, five days a week, are beneficial, as long as it's factored into your nutrition plan, because they are consistent. So just find a comfortable amount of time that doesn't cramp your schedule, and go for it. You can always add more time as it comes available. Just remember to keep your nutrition coach informed.
Did this help you think differently about your nutrition plan regarding exercise? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts.