The Right Amount
There’s this misguided notion in the fitness world that you have to absolutely destroy yourself to get a good workout. Like be so sore that you can’t even walk.
Working out to that intensity, beating the crap out of your body, doing exercises that have no reason behind them, will eventually lead to injury and burnout.
However, just going through the motions and not pushing yourself a little probably is not going to lead to alot of positive changes either.
It's a delicate balance and we see it everyday at TFT as well...
There are some that are going at a super fast and intense pace and should slow it down a little.
On the other hand, there are some that don't realize how hard you need to work to see some results.
So the definitive answer is.....As with most (if not all) things fitness-related, it depends.
If you’re just starting out and new to exercise, we want you to take it slow, make sure you learn the proper form and technique on all the exercises.
But after 4 weeks or so of consistent training (3-4x per week), there has to be some level of intensity in your workouts or nothing’s going to happen.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being all out intensity, I’d say 90% of your workouts should be in the 6-8 range.
Anything in the 9 or 10 intensity is probably too much to sustain long-term, and anything 5 and below probably isn't going to cut it either.
So pay attention during (and the day after) your workouts and find that “sweet spot” where you’re making constant progress and NOT feeling like sh*t everyday.
If you have any questions or need some help figuring it out, don’t hesitate to reach out!
If I told you there was a pill you can take that will improve memory, help you live longer, make you more creative, look younger, protect you from dementia and cancer, prevent flu and colds, lower your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, make you happier, less anxious and less depressed, and improve the efficacy of your workouts would you take it?
If your answer is yes, then I have good news for you. You don't have to take a pill to get all the benefits listed above, but you do have to get the proper amount of sleep every night.
Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams is an eye-opening read about sleep and all of its benefits.
Just reading this book made me immediately change my sleeping habits.
We have been told to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, but most of us don’t know how vital it is.
According to Walker, "sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day...".
When it comes to getting and staying in shape it looks like sleep is just as, if not more, important than diet and exercise.
Walker writes, "should you attempt to diet but don't get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since most of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat."
When you don’t sleep enough, you eat more. Your body also is unable to process food like it should, causing you to gain weight and increase the likelihood of all sorts of diseases. Lack of sleep causes a significant decrease in energy as well. It’s the perfect storm for weight gain; low energy expenditure, increased calorie intake, poor nutrient absorption, and a body not capable of processing those calories efficiently.
Your workouts will suffer too because sleep supercharges recovery, stimulates muscle repair, refills your natural energy supply, and replenishes vital hormones. So if you don’t sleep enough, you won’t fully recover from your workouts, and you will have crappy energy so your following workouts won’t be as quality as they should be.
And if you're one of those people that says you can get by with less sleep than others, just know that "There is but a fraction of 1 percent of the population who are truly resilient to the effects of chronic sleep restriction...it is far, far more likely that you will be struck by lightning then being truly capable of surviving on insufficient sleep".
I’ve heard, many times, people say something like “I’m good with 5 or 6 hours of sleep”. If you are one of these people, please know you are not good with less than 7 hours of sleep. You have just grown accustomed to feeling crappy and tired ALL THE TIME. Imagine how much more you could get done and how much better you could feel if you got adequate sleep on a consistent basis.
Why We Sleep presents way too much information for me to share in one post.
To sum it all up in one sentence: sleep 7-9 hours EVERY night!
If you’re interested in learning more, read or listen to Why We Sleep.
You can also check out a great podcast Matthew Walker did here.
Now go get some sleep!
If I were to go back in time and give some advice to my younger self on how to become a “half decent” fitness coach and maybe help other coaches just starting out it would be:
𝐄𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝, 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫:
Here at TFT Eric and I have a combined 25+ years worth of experience as fitness coaches.
We both had many of the certifications while we were training at various gyms in the past, but nothing beats learning and improving from actually putting in the time to train people.
Looking back, gaining some basic knowledge from those certifications was important (as was going to fitness seminars) but not as much as getting in front of as many people as we could, testing out what we’ve learned and making the necessary adjustments.
So be patient with the process, train a wide variety of people, and always strive to improve your skills.
𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮:
Far too often, we see inexperienced trainers try to “impress” their clients by putting them through some grueling/advanced workouts, making them so sore they can barely walk the next day.
This does more harm to the client than they probably realize. That’s a shortsighted view and getting/staying fit is a lifelong journey.
Being a trainer is more than just trying to make someone sweaty and tired in one workout (anyone can do that).
It’s about educating, encouraging, and inspiring them to do their best at their OWN pace, not yours or anyone else’s!
Knowing when to push someone or when to stay back and let them figure it out on their own, asking the right questions at the right times and constantly learning and leading from the front.
Just like when it comes to getting fit, there are no shortcuts or quick fixes to becoming a successful trainer.
It takes many years of practice, consistency, and a genuine hunger to improve.
Hope that helps a little bit, now time to get out there and start gaining that experience!
Also, we love to talk shop, so if any aspiring trainers want to chat about any and all things fitness (and beer!!), feel free to contact us!
I’ve been meditating inconsistently for a few years. I’ll do it a few days a week, then not for a few weeks. Or every day for a week then nothing for a month. I’ve always known that there are many benefits to mediation, but I never truly committed myself to it. The Coronavirus and shelter in place order changed all of that.
Not being able to live how I was used to was screwing with me mentally. I went through a wide range of feelings from anger to sadness to anxiety to indifference. The uncertainty of TFT as a business and my professional future was driving me nuts. My mental state would change day by day. With all of the extra time on my hands, I started meditating at the same time every day. It became a ritual that I looked forward to.
My original goal was to do 30 days in a row. Once I reached my goal, I didn’t want to take a day off, so I charged on. Shelter in place was lifted when I was at around 50 days straight. My schedule changed, so I didn’t have the same luxury of time I had before, but I still made time for my meditation. The time of day I meditated couldn’t be the same as before, but I made sure it happened, even if it was only for 5 minutes at the end of the day. On August 16th I hit 100 hundred days straight. It wasn’t my goal, it just kinda happened. I enjoy my quiet time so much, that I don’t care how many days in a row I can go. The practice itself is my goal.
I know that the word “meditation” can have a stigma attached to it. When I hear the term I get visions of a guru leading a cult of desperate, gullible people. I don’t even like calling it mediation, so I refer to it as my quiet time. There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with you and you don’t need a guru to practice meditation. The rewards you get from consistently practicing is well worth the effort and will dispel any stigma that may be attached to it.
The list of positive things you receive from meditation is very long. According to this study, the health benefits of meditation include improvements in stress, anxiety, depression, pain (physical and mental), memory, blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol levels, oxygen utilization, and blood flow to the brain. The list of benefits goes on and on too. All of these great things are yours to be had by just sitting in silence for a small portion of your day.
I am not an expert in meditation by any stretch, but I have gained some insights from my 100-day streak. So here are some takeaways from 100 straight days of meditation:
Meditation is a skill just like any other. You have to practice to get better. Some days go smooth others do not.
Your mind is constantly creating thoughts. Even if you don’t want it to, it’s still going to do it. While I’m meditating, the thoughts don’t stop.
I am in control of how I react to each thought. Your mind will throw some random thoughts your way, but you decide if you’re going to follow them. You can follow thoughts that create all sorts of internal turmoil, but it’s not necessary. I’m not saying that it’s never going to happen and that I’ve risen above it, but I know that I am in the driver’s seat when it comes to how I react. I have the choice of which thoughts I want to pursue. This takeaway is huge for daily life.
The more I do it, the more I enjoy it. I started with 10-minute sessions and now I like to go much longer if I have the time.
To get better at anything, in this case, meditation, you have to practice. The better you get at something, the more enjoyable it becomes. When you get better at a skill, the less cognitive effort you have to exert while performing that skill. Once you’ve reached the point where your subconscious can take over and perform that skill more automatically, the longer you can do it. A good indicator of whether you enjoy an activity is if time goes by fast while you’re doing it. When I’m in a good meditation groove, 20 minutes feels like 5 minutes. The more I meditate, the better I feel afterward.
My quiet time is not a chore or something I feel obligated to do. I genuinely enjoy it and look forward to it. My day does not feel complete without it. As of the time I’m posting this, I’m on day 117 straight.
If you’ve never meditated and don’t know how to get started, worry not, I got you.
I have been using the headspace app. It’s a great product. The courses on it teach you how to meditate. They have a bunch of specific programs for things like sleep, anxiety, happiness, sports, pain, and much more. There are plenty of similar apps out there, so if you’re looking for one, there are many that will assist you well.
If an app or guided meditation doesn’t sound appealing, and the book is more your thing, there’s a great one called Innercise. The author, John Assaraf, doesn’t use the word meditation in his book, but that’s exactly what he is referring to. Assaraf views mediation techniques as exercises for the brain for self-improvement. The book as a lot of techniques to help deepen your meditation practice. I use a few of them regularly.
I leave you with a simple mediation technique you can use right now. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Take in 3 slow, deep breaths through your nose and out your mouth. On the third exhale, close your eyes. Continue breathing at a normal tempo. Listen to the different sounds in your surroundings for 30 seconds or so. Next focus on your breathing, specifically the rising and falling of each inhale and exhale. Count every breath with a 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale, 3 with the next inhale, and so on until you get to 10. Now start the count over with 1. If your mind wanders, and it will, just gently bring the attention back to your breath and resume your count. Continue doing this until your 10 minutes is up.
Now pat yourself on the back for completing your first meditation.
Pretty simple, right?
Now go start a streak of your own, and enjoy the ride!