Monday, January 25, 2010

The All or Nothing Syndrome

Happy Monday to all! Its actually been a good day, thus far. After my morning clients, I came home to receive (via email) one of Mark Sissons weekly "Primal Insiders." We subscribe to his blog and his articles always seems to catch my attention. Today's article really hit the spot for a lot of people I know, including myself and I just had to share. Cheers!

This week's Insider is yet another health challenge, but it's a little different this time. I've tailored the challenge to target the two main segments of the Primal audience - those who work out religiously, and those who like to take it a little easier. Both are good ways to go about it, especially if you're eating the right food, but there's always room for improvement.

To the ultra-dedicated gym junkies out there, I say this: take a break! I've been there, you know. I spent years running a hundred miles every week. Life was a constant state of carb-loading, training to exhaustion, resting, fighting off illness... and then getting up and doing it all over again. Of course, you might (rightly) point out that I was engaging in the dreaded chronic cardio, and that the Primal way of shorter, more intense workouts punctuated by low-level, long-lasting activity and play is far superior. I won't argue with that. I have great respect for the folks over at Crossfit, and I'm a huge proponent of lifting heavy weights and running sprints on a regular basis. But I also stress the importance of relaxation - of giving your body a rest every once in awhile. Especially if you're working out the right way (hard, fast, intense), your muscles are going to need as much rest as they can get.

To look at it from Grok's perspective, he approached fitness from a purely utilitarian, functional angle. He didn't have mirrors or marketing advocating a certain body type and nudging him toward a gym membership; he just got great exercise throughout the course of his everyday activities. For the most part, we don't have the same natural pressures forcing us to be fit, so some semblance of self-motivation is absolutely required. Just don't overdo it! Don't beat yourself over the head because you skipped a workout. On the same token, don't force yourself to workout against your better instincts. If you're feeling exhausted, worn out, and sore - take a break. Read a book. Try meditating, or check out the yoga class. Relax a little! Y! ou've ea rned it.

To the Blueprinters who maybe find it difficult to get to the gym, I say this: get out and move around! I know, I know. I'm constantly harping on the fact that weight loss is mostly about what you eat, and you're happy enough eating good Primal foods and dropping inches. That's fine. But there are other benefits to exercise, things you may not be considering.

The more lean muscle mass you have, the healthier you are.
The stronger you are, the better equipped you are to handle what life can throw at you.
Strength and fitness are hallmarks of youth; if you want to enjoy vibrant longevity, working out can help you achieve it.
Exercise can release endorphins, the hormones responsible for such enjoyable sensations as runner's high, lifter's ecstasy, and sprinter's joy (okay, I just came up with those last two, but they're still real).
As you should already know, exercise doesn't have to happen at the gym. Not every workout has to be hardcore. You should think of the world as your playground, and of exercise as play. Go for a hike, clamber over some rocks. Take a long walk around the neighborhood (remember, walks count!). If you feel up for it, do some pull-ups on a tree or dips on a park bench. Whether you're doing deep squats in the gym or just playing with your kid in the park, the important thing is that you're active.

Everyone, remember my fitness mantra:

Make your easy workouts longer and easier, and your hard workouts shorter and harder.

Marks Daily Apple


april said...

What a neat approach! I've learned that rest is important too. I've never been injured but I find I have a much better workout session the next day!

Naomi said...

love this mantra!! you are so right that not every workout has to be hardcore and intense. SOme of the best workouts I have had is when I am truly focused and doing not so high instentity moves or cardio btu really just getting in the zone and enjoying myself and my ME time!

I also saw you wrote on janethas blog that you like certain flavors of Kombucha...any rec's for me?? I have never tried it before!

James and Lindsay Cotter said...


Stick with trying any of the berries flavors first like cranberry, grape, trilogy, etc. Those are not as strong. Let me know whatcha think and thanks for your comment!


Katie ♥ said...

I love this post, what a great approach and way to be : )

I never push myself too hard and if I need rest I rest, I listen to my body!

have a great night girl! xoxo

Bekah said...

OH! I love that "short-hard workout" mantra. Soo right! Exactly what I do! Thanks for all your encouragement on my blog my dear Lindsay! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article...unfortunately moderation in any respect is something I have yet to learn :(

But thanks so much for posting it!


Anonymous said...

LOL this is a funny place. I think You dont know what You are writing about. Better see some [url=]TRUTH on Saltydroid[/url] and stop whining like a cat.