Why to Avoid Extreme Diets and Workout Routines
by Jake Long
We’ve all been through it, or know someone that’s been through it. Your friend is a major workout fanatic, and you want to get in shape. So one day you decide that you’re going to work out with him.
He says, “Yeah, okay, that’s awesome.” He’s not really thinking about what condition your body is currently in. He’s not really thinking about how you won’t be able to recover from his workouts the way that he can. He’s just excited that he now has a buddy to workout with him, or worse, he now has someone to share the pain with.
Diets and Workouts shouldn’t be extreme. We should have to work hard at them, but not so hard that we’re lying on the floor panting. A workout that hard should only be done every once in a while, and doesn’t need to be done at all just to see results.
The same concepts apply to diet. Extreme diets are difficult to stick with. Fitness results come from dedicating our time and effort to a workout program and a diet on a regular basis.
There are a few keywords in that last sentence. They are DEDICATING, TIME, EFFORT, and REGULAR. These are the key elements that form an effective diet and workout routine.
To dedicate is a verb and it means to devote ourselves to something. In order for us to devote or dedicate ourselves to something, this thing has to be very important to us.
If we go into a new diet or workout plan just looking for results then we’re going to be disappointed.
Results are very important, but in order to truly get the results we want, we need to have dedication.
If we set goals, believe in ourselves, and find enjoyment in our diets and workouts, then we can develop dedication.
Without effort, what’s the point? Going through the motions may give you some results, but over time your workouts will suffer.
If we don’t give enough effort to our diet and workout programs then we’ll find ourselves slacking off in the gym, or eating too much dessert.
Effort is about being proactive with our health. It works especially well with workouts.
The more focused you are on what you’re doing when you workout, the more effort you’re exerting. And when you’re exerting all of that effort over a period of time, you will see results.
Practicing anything on a consistent, or ‘regular’ basis is how we improve. If you skip more than 40% of your workouts, you’ll be lucky to see results.
Your goals will be met if you’re doing the things that you need to do on a daily basis.
Picture this. You come home from a long day of work, and you just want to sit down. Next thing you know, you’ve been watching T.V. for an hour and now it’s time to go to your nephew’s birthday, or some other event.
You may not feel like doing a cardio workout right when you get the chance, but that’s the best time. If you neglect one cardio workout then you are more likely to neglect another one. I’m not saying that you have to make every single workout for the rest of your life, but there is a reason for the workout schedule.
The same goes for diet as well. Following 50% of your diet and workout plans is not enough. Strive for 100%, and don’t give up just because you only hit 90%.
And finally, possibly the most important factor in the health and fitness world is time. In fact, it’s probably the most important factor for any worthwhile venture.
Time is extremely valuable. So many of us just want to jump into an exercise program and see immediate results. We think that if we exhaust ourselves right away and eat nothing but chicken and vegetables that we will look like a fitness model in a couple of weeks.
That’s just not how it works.
Even with the best of workout routines and diet plans, it could take years to get where we want to. Again, it’s the same with any other thing. For example, a college education takes at least 2 years to get. And most programs are at least four year programs.
Think of how much better your health and fitness would be if you treated it like another class.
Of course, some people pay more attention to working out than they do to school, but you get what I mean. Small results will come in the beginning, and as we get better and better, the results will too.
All of these four factors work together. If one of them is missing, everything can be ruined. It’s best to fix a problem as soon as you see it. And better yet, try to foresee problems.
We don’t need to plunge ourselves into marathon workouts, or horribly bland low calorie diets. Regular, and challenging workouts are best.
Push hard, and when you need to back off, back off. Light days still count as exercise. Eat fewer calories rather than just chicken and celery. Eat cheat foods here and there; it’s not going to ruin everything.
What ruins everything is to be extreme. Homer Simpson is not going to turn into Jason Statham in one day. It’s just not gonna happen. Use these four principles correctly, and you can’t go wrong. Keep working hard, and good luck in your fitness journey.
(Jake Long is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. He has been studying fitness and training personally for over a decade. Jake has also written many articles and created videos about health and fitness. He is currently working toward his degree in Exercise Science, and runs a home based fitness blog Jakes Home Workouts.)