The Importance of Exercising Consistency
More than anything, consistency of healthful behaviour will determine your state of wellbeing. The human body doesn’t act like a bank – you can’t store the time you have spent eating well and exercising regularly and live off it for the long term. The importance of exercising consistency cannot be underestimated.
It doesn’t matter if you lived the life of a professional athlete for two decades – if your activity level reduces and quality of your eating drops, the fat will accumulate and very quickly there won’t be a single physical trace of your athletic past. Look at many former sportsmen and women on the TV for proof.
The boom and bust approach to diet and exercise means many people spend their lives in a cycle of lifestyle improvement followed by a sharp and significant health drop. This cyclical approach to health has long term effects that go beyond alternating between your larger and smaller clothes – a blunted insulin sensitivity, decreased skin elasticity and increase in adiposity to name but a few. By creating new fat cells when you increase your level of adiposity (accumulated fat), you will increase the amount of fat that the body is capable of storing.
Put simply, chances are if you yo-yo diet, you will increase the speed at which you store fat and the amount of fat your body is able to store.
So why do people take such an inconsistent approach to their health? It could be argued that there are psychological issues surrounding their weight gain and loss. In some cases this may be true, but in my experience over 10 years in the fat loss field, this behaviour pattern is down to a combination of lack of strategy and a simple lack of activity.
Without turning this into a ‘back in the 50’s the average citizen burned x-number of calories’, take a look at your life and identify the amount of time you spend in your day being active. For most of the people I interview ahead of an exercise intervention, their typical daily activity look something like this…
- Drive to work
- Work at a desk
- Eat lunch at their desk
- Drive home
- Relax in front of the TV all night
Now it could be argued that the people I interview ahead of fat loss help aren’t typical people with typical activity levels, but the facts are starting to state the opposite. With various studies telling us 50+% of UK adults are now overweight, the truth is these levels of activity are typical of the UK adult population.
Have a think about your own day and think about how active you really are. If you are going to include housework in your activity, be honest and ask yourself how active is housework nowadays?
With modern conveniences making clothes washing, dish washing and carpet cleaning easier than ever, I can’t think of any household takes that take genuine physical effort. Evening gardening has electric tools that make the job so much easier!
My point here is we are no longer as active as we used to be, which means a more focussed approach with regards to diet and exercise is required. Adopting a nutritional approach that helps you burn energy and use body fat as fuel more consistently will help you stay lean.
Regular activity doesn’t have to mean 45 minute CrossFit style metabolic conditioning workouts either – a walk in the park, a bodyweight session on your lunch break or a TRX workout at home are all suitable.
You don’t have to get sweaty with the masses in public gyms. Just do whatever you like, but make sure you are active. I have made no secret of my bias towards resistance training so this is my go-to exercise advice, but the if the options are cardio or nothing, do the cardio. The importance of exercising consistency cannot be underestimated.
To the average person, if you can get 2 hours of good quality activity over 3-4 sessions per week, coupled with a diet low in refined carbohydrates and simple sugars, but high in quality protein and healthy fats you won’t trouble your doctor too much.
Keep your alcohol consumption low, get plenty of sleep and try to relax when possible. Regardless of what anybody tells you, stress shortens lives so reduce it where you can.
So, how do you keep your healthy behaviours consistent?
Walk/cycle to work if you can – cheaper, greener, healthier.
Take a packed lunch – make it (link) Handy Plan friendly. No temptation to eat crappy canteen food.
Get away from the office at lunch. We are outdoor creatures – nature didn’t design us for artificially-lit, air-conditioned offices. Move outside.
Do something you enjoy.
Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t been active today, go out and do something. Sky+ whatever you were watching. It will still be there in 30 minutes when you have finished.
Take this advice, fit it into your life and check the improvements. To the majority of the population, they will be quick and long lasting! Just don’t forget the importance of exercising consistency cannot be underestimated.