Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
Are you headed in the right direction with your workout routine and nutrition program? I’m certain you are, but here’s 5 checkpoints just to be sure. And read through to the end where I answer the question, “Can a person be fit and fat?”
1. If you know me at all, then you know I’m all about taking a preventative approach.
Sometimes we’re all negligent. However, too often nagging pain, injuries, and adverse health effects are an issue of negligence. It is important to take a preventative approach to keeping your body healthy. There is no shortage of information on how to deal with various joint pains, or why it’s important to do “this” to prevent “that”. Taking a preventative approach will keep you on the field, on the course, on the road, or in the pool, whatever your choices are.
A common example is resistance training among older women to prevent bone degeneration. A recently published study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that younger women, in their mid-twenties, who participated in a 12-week resistance training program showed significant increases in the hormones responsible for new bone growth. The take home point is to promote resistance training LONG BEFORE signs of degeneration begin to present themselves.
Similarly, knee pain is a hot topic with active individuals. This pain can be debilitating, especially for an athlete or someone with a more active job and lifestyle. A study conducted at The University of Cincinnati found that a preventative routine using four exercises among military recruits (undergoing rigorous training) greatly reduced incidents of knee pain when compared to a control group who did not do these preventative exercises. Military personnel underwent daily physical training for 3-4 hours per day, including endurance marching, military field exercises, running, weapons and foot drills, and strength and conditioning. If as little as four exercises were able to help these individuals, imagine what they can do for you.
2. Eat more fish.
In many previous Joyinmovement newsletters we’ve covered the benefits of eating fish and Omega 3 fatty acids. Choose your fish wisely, vary the ways you cook them, and then enjoy your fish. My personal favorite cooking method is to poach fish with garlic and ginger.
3. Wear a pedometer for a day.
If you talk to a lot of people “in the know,” non-exercise physical activity (NEPA) is an often overlooked factor contributing to fat loss success (or failure). Some people just move all the time, whether it’s because of their occupation or the simple fact that they are constantly fidgeting. It might surprise you, but this NEPA can really help get you lean or keep you lean.
One quick and easy way to see how you’re doing on the NEPA scale is to simply wear a pedometer for a day. Again, pedometers are something I mention over and over again and they really are a lot of fun. I recently returned from an extended holiday in Asia and my pedometer broke right before I left home. It was the first time in many years I’ve traveled without my pedometer because I like to track how active I am when I’m on holiday. So I won’t be able to give you a trip report (like I did when I went to Italy) with my average daily mileage so you’ll have to take my word for it! Let’s just say Hong Kong is a great place for walking and hiking, and swimming when your hotel pool is on the 76th floor!
Just like writing down everything you eat can force you to consider what you’re putting in your mouth, wearing a pedometer can motivate you to take some extra steps each day. Give it a try. You may be surprised at how many or how few steps you take each day.
4. Count your blessings.
Being happy, and feeling fulfilled can be as easy as remembering all that you already have. Stop stressing about what you don’t have, and focus on the many things you do have. Take five minutes and write down everything you are grateful for. Every morning start your day by reading through your list, and add to it as you see fit. Doing so will give you a positive start to each day. Try it out!
5.Be more specific with your “conditioning.”
The term conditioning can be very misunderstood. This lack of understanding can lead to some really poor training protocols. You may not be able to run a 7 minute mile, but you still may be perfectly conditioned for your sport. In general you need to develop and condition your cardio and strength most appropriately for what you do.Let’s take me for example. I don’t need to run a 7 minute mile, but I do need the mobility and strength to hit a golf ball and swim a mile. I train accordingly. You should too. In order to make progress in your sports of choice, you need to program your training, or have your coach program your training intelligently.
If your goals are general fitness, then your approach will include both resistance training and some kind of cardio training, but don’t discount the importance of intelligent programming. Consult with a trainer or email me if you need some guidance with this.
Start with these 5 points and build your health and fitness lifestyle from there. And now the answer to the question:
Can a person be fit and fat? Even when someone isn’t asking me this question directly, it’s often in the back of their mind.
The general answer is yes. It’s true that people who tend to carry a larger proportion of fat mass have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. However, body fat or body mass index (BMI) should not be viewed independently.
It is not well known but people who are obese but active or fit may actually have a lower mortality risk than those who are classified as normal-weight, but who are SEDENTARY or unfit (LaMonte & Blair 2006).
As a general rule, people who are obese AND physically inactive or unfit have shown the highest risk of mortality. When people with similar BMI’s are compared, those with greater cardiorespiratory fitness tend to have a lower mortality risk, especially compared with individuals who are NOT physically active. Therefore, even improving cardiorespiratory fitness may reduce the risk of mortality–independent of a reduction in BMI.
Why am I sharing this with you? I think it’s important and interesting for a few reasons.
Being active, no matter what your BMI, is ESSENTIAL. I believe when someone is active it’s much easier to flip the switch and start eating in healthier ways that will produce a less fat body. Activity, besides creating fitness, is also a great stress reliever, and this often leads to making healthier food choices as well. And let’s not forget that activity is FUN. Fun leads to a fitter and healthier life for us all.
So as we enter summertime and the traditionally ACTIVE time of year, keep finding Joyinmovement and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Become a Joyinmovement activist!!
Until next month,