Sometimes, more isn’t more. In our harried world of to-do lists, burgeoning inboxes, traffic jams and a driving need for more productivity productivity productivity, the common advice on making time for a healthy lifestyle is to schedule it in. “Set your alarm for 5 am and get your workout done.” “Respond to emails by dictating to Siri on your run.” ( For real?!?). “Blog while you’re on the elliptical.” “Text while planking on your mat.” It gets crazier.
Please. Stop. This is why people plateau.
It’s easy for us goal-directed Achievers to get caught up in the need to be MORE productive, to do more in less time. You’re successful, you get sh*t done, you make things happen, you get results…BAM. When it comes to your body however, you have to slow down. You have to.
Recently I’ve noticed a trend in class with people zoning out in class. These folks usually arrive a bit frazzled and late (perhaps from horrendous Toronto traffic) and set up with their smart phone on their mat. Shoulders are tense, breathing is shallow and movements are rigid. They’re not mentally present. It’s almost like they needed to check “exercise” off their to-do list but feel guilty for stepping away from work. So, their mind stays racing in work-mode and their body just copies the group class choreography, not really feeling the movement.
Sometimes (often) they’ll start doing a completely different version of an exercise from the rest of the group. They’re literally just going through the motions.
One of my fav yogi sayings is: “If you’re not here now, you’re nowhere.”
When it comes to exercising our bodies, we need to show up, be present and stop multi-tasking. Your brain cannot properly connect with your muscles when you’re thinking about too much other crap. Just as you can’t deliver an excellent presentation while thinking about your ass (try it – it’s really hard), you can’t get a kick-ass workout while thinking about that presentation.
Bottom line – think about the muscles you’re working as you’re exercising. Put down the phone.
Hitting a plateau with your training results is always a sign there needs to be a change. Recently a client’s steady 25 lb. weight loss tapered off, still 10 lb. away from her goal. She asked if we should meet for an additional 4th session each week, or if she should cut more foods from her otherwise super clean diet. Perfect example of the more more more productivity mentality.
The answer I gave was no. How was she sleeping? How much stress was she experiencing at her job? How was her digestion? I sent her to get checked out by a Chinese doctor friend. It turns out that her liver and kidneys were not optimally functioning and after a week of TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) supplements and only two training sessions, she was down another 4 lb.
Moral of the story, you need to reconnect with your body. Listen to its signals. Never underestimate the power of sleep. Support your internal organs ( especially if you have high stress!) Lose the phone during workouts. And when you’re exercising, think about your muscles and bones to get the most out of your precious time!
Your body deserves it.