It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do — whether it’s lifting, running, yoga, or competitively shoving 74 hot dogs down your gullet…
You’re likely missing out on something.
And it could be preventing you from getting in shape like you want.
Is It The Warm Up?
I hate warming up.
I prefer to go straight for the barbell when I workout. I wish I didn’t even have to waste time getting the stupid weights out and putting them on the bar myself.
If I could afford it, I’d hire a “gym butler” to do my warm up for me.
After he does that, he can get my workout all set up for me so I can just walk into the gym, step up to the bar, pick it up, throw it down, then look around at everyone else and yell, “Are you not entertained?”
(Sometimes I do that anyway, but my gym is in my basement, so the only person who hears me yelling is my dog, and he’s surprisingly unfazed by my antics.)
Since I don’t live in a modern gladiator dream world with my own gym butler, I know it’s important that I warm up.
If you skip your warm up, you’re not doing yourself any favors. But it’s not the missing link. There’s something even more important you may have overlooked.
What Is It?
I give a friend of mine a hard time for saying his workout is “training for life.”
It sounds a little douchey.
But the concept is solid. He’s referring to the missing link, which I’ll define as: all physical activity (or lack thereof) that happens outside the gym.
If you exercise regularly, but the rest of your day is spent reinforcing bad patterns, your workout can only do so much to help you.
A deadlift teaches you how to pick things up in a way that keeps your back healthy and strong. But if you don’t use that form anytime you pick something up outside the gym, the health of your back is still at risk.
Cardio is good for your heart. But do you take advantage of that training by getting out and doing something active? Or do you spend your free time sitting on your butt in front of the TV?
Experts are now realizing just how many health problems are caused from sitting all day (it’s about the same as smoking).
Speaking of sitting, certain back exercises help combat the hunched over position a lot of us are stuck in working at computers. But the exercise isn’t enough on its own.
If you strengthen the right muscles, but sit at work all day, and then go home and sit some more, your workout will have a hard time competing with your lifestyle.
Heck, your workout might even exacerbate the problem if it doesn’t take your individual lifestyle into consideration.
This isn’t about just sitting too much. It’s bigger than that.
It’s about treating exercise as a means to a healthier lifestyle, rather than an end in itself.
Saying that you need to get off your butt and watch less TV is the easy part. But what should you do?
It doesn’t have to be complicated:
Go for a walk — even short walks a few times a day.
Go for a hike — if there are good paths nearby, hike 3x a week.
Play a sport — it doesn’t have to be highly competitive, just fun.
Do big crafts — it only counts if it keeps you off the couch.
Take mobility breaks — do easy mobility exercises throughout the day.
It can be any combination of these ideas, or something different entirely.
These activities don’t replace your workouts. Your workouts are what should promote the extra activity which, in turn, supports your workouts.
There are other factors outside the gym that contribute to your overall health. Like…
Diet — eat better
Stress — manage it
Sleep — get enough
Community — participate
Your entire life and lifestyle affects your fitness.
These are a lot of things to consider, but you can start by making one small change at a time.
In fact, that’s the best way to do it.
If you came to this blog hoping for advice on how to exercise, go download our ebook, Home Workout for Beginners, and start there.
Just remember you’re not exercising for the sake of exercise. It’s your first step toward a more active life.