Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Change is good!

So we've all been here before...can't seem to lose those last 10 lbs even though you've been following the same diet (or eating the same "healthy" foods) and working out each week doing the same thing (i.e. cardio and weights) - but who likes to do the same thing day in and day out?

After all, we are creatures of habits!  We don't like change - we don't want to change. We like to stay within our comfort zones.  We like doing the same thing because we know what to expect and we know how to do it and it's easy...but think of it this way - it's like driving the same path home every day and realizing that you have no recollection of even driving home because you've gotten so used to driving it that it doesn't even register to your brain that you did it.  Well the same theory applies to dieting and exercising!!

Our metabolism and muscles need change - they crave it.  Eating the same foods and doing the same exercises leads to inefficient stimulation of both your metabolism and your muscles.  What is the point of working out if you aren't getting the maximum benefits of the exercise?  And why eat healthy and cut calories if you aren't losing any weight?  Well before you give up the "diet" and cancel your gym membership, consider changing things up!

In order to stimulate your metabolism, you need to change up your food intake.  Rotate the foods you eat every 3 days - our bodies react well to change, not to mention rotating your foods will increase your nutrient intake and add variety to your meal plans.

As for your exercise regimen, it is recommended that you should work out at least 4-5 times per week to get any sort of weight loss or health benefit.  And that's not always realistic or easy to do but the important point to keep in mind is that if you continue to do the same exercises day after day or week after week, you will not reap the benefits of working out.  Why?  Because your body/muscles are "smart", they adapt and then they get "lazy".  If you keep doing the same exercise with the same weight time after time, your muscles don't have any sort of resistance or change in muscular action to react to.  So what can you do to change this?  Muscle confusion!  That's right - you need to change up your exercises and increase the tension (increase weights or resistance) to keep your muscles from adapting to the same actions.  When you use your muscles in different ways (i.e. changing your exercise routine, adding weight, high reps-low weight, low reps-high weight, etc.), you end up using different parts of the muscle and force them to work in different ways. This is muscle confusion.  If you are familiar with P90X - this is the concept that they build their workouts around.  If you constantly change up the exercises you are doing, as well as the exercise routine/schedule, you will see greater results because you are working the muscles in different ways and confusing them - making them more efficient.

Change is good!  Variety is the spice of life - change things up and make it different and new.  Try new foods and new exercises - be adventurous and you'll likely be more successful in your heath and weight loss efforts.