It’s often thought that exercising alone is enough to reach your health and fitness goals. Of course, it’s important and great that you’re choosing to get your hit of endorphins from taking a run outside or having a great workout at the gym. However, don’t overlook how much stress you’re putting on your body. You may be doing more harm than good and moving further from your health and fitness goals as a result…
To efficiently achieve your fitness or health goals, there are three considerations of proportional importance. Rest, nutrition and training. In that order, each is a prerequisite to the next.
“How tall is a pyramid?.. .As wide as its base.”
Think of these threes important faculties of health and fitness as a pyramid. The bottom layer, Rest; is the broadest and most important. It is the foundation on which both nutrition and then training can truly flourish. If you fail to address how much rest you are getting then your road to achieving you goals really will be an uphill struggle.
When we say rest, we mean sleep, of course. And yes, you probably need more hours than what you’re currently getting. Sleep is the ultimate rest that you can give your body, remembering that it’s the quality of sleep rather than the quantity. Put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’, turn off the telly and sleep all the way through. Another form of rest that is often overlooked is taking time out from a stressful day. Spend some time to yourself to recharge your mind, not just your body. Step away from the computer, sit in a peaceful area, go for a walk, sit in the beautiful spring sunshine we are being blessed with at this time of year. Making sure your mind is clear and able to function at its best is just as important before you embark on a new healthily eating regime or psyche yourself up for your next workout.
Trying to make any change to your body, be it losing weight or toning up through training. These changes can only take place in times of rest that is when your body builds and repairs muscle and considers the stresses you have put on it through the day. When you’re not resting as much as you should this important process can be impaired which will, in turn, be severely detrimental to you achieving your health and fitness goals.
Without adequate rest and recovery, everything from energy levels and motivation to your metabolism will be effected. According to an October 2010 article in the journal “Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.” Not sleeping enough also increases your levels of ghrelin, which increases your appetite and makes you want to eat more.
The second tier, Nutrition, compliments Rest and Training. If you aren’t following a nutrition plan that suits your goal, your training will make very little difference to your results.
“You can’t out train a bad diet”
Your goal should always be at the heart of what you are fuelling your body with. It is not a ‘one size fits all’. If your goal is to add muscle, the nutritional advice and plan would be different than if your goal was to lose fat. Nutrition usually comes down to balancing what are called macronutrients. Macronutrients are 3 main food groups, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. If you were looking to increase muscle it may be advised that you increase your protein intake. If you’re looking to decrease body fat, it may be advised that you reduce your carbohydrate intake. Your diet can be perfect, but if you’re not achieving adequate rest and have high level of overall stress, then the impact nutrition will have on your overall goals will not be where you might expect
Lastly, at the top of our pyramid we have training. Much like nutrition, your training is very dependant on your goal. Some training methods are scientifically proven to best burn more fat over time, or increase your metabolism, so you burn more when resting. Others are designed purely to help you get stronger, by doing small sets of heavy weight training.
“Without the right effort, you will create the wrong result”
Following vague online programmes or programmes that you may find in magazines will more than likely not be the right training programme for you. The health and fitness goal is the aim, and to have a programme that is tailored to you is key. A fitness professional can gauge a good understanding of your goals, needs and lifestyle. Without this, you may be taking a step backward before you ever move forwards. No matter how good your training programme is, how diligent your Personal Trainer is, how much you sweat, how good a workout you feel you’re getting, without adequate and enough rest and adequate nutrition the whole process will more than likely end with your disheartenment at the amount of effort you feel you’re putting in and the lack of results.
So, if you’re thinking about getting your health and fitness back on track and dusting off your health and fitness resolutions, to get the most out of it, you need to be considering all three of the elements, and not just one.