How does that make you feel?
Fitness research; one article will support a finding and another will disprove the same finding. In my 20+ years being in the fitness industry, information on fitness has changed and evolved and it’s hard to stay on top of the latest trends.
Should I spin? Should I run? Should I lift weights? Should I do Yoga? Should I do Hot Yoga? Should I do them all?
I get these types of questions from clients all the time. “What exercise is the right one for me?” My answer is: “It all depends how it makes you feel”. So what does that mean?
In my experience, knowing how your body functions i.e. how it responds to nutrition and physical activity is essential in determining what your body needs.
We need to get in tune with how our body feels when we eat and move.
One of the most basic forms of feedback we practice in life is associating emotions to events. For example, if something happens where we feel good, we remember that memory. That memory remains in our mind and we recall it over and over. For example, someone completes their first 5km race. That person feels a sense of accomplishment and remembers how it felt crossing the finish line. They can remember specific details like the weather and how they felt nervous. They may also have a photograph of that event. Every time they look at that picture, the memories are brought back to those emotions.
The same thing happens when we eat. Our body sends us signals based on the food we ingest. We may remember having a meal where we ended up feeling unwell. This feeling may influence our decision the next time that same meal is served.
So how do we get in tune with how our body feels with food? Track it. There are so many apps that can help. My favorite is myfitnesspal.com. You can load whatever you eat and it calculates every number you need (cals, fats, carbs, etc) AND you can add notes. This is a great place to add in notes about food and if it you made you feel good or bad. After a few weeks, you will start to notice trends.
If you start connecting how food makes you feel, you will become more in tune with your body. There are hundreds of theories on food and its effect on the human body and performance. I am not saying, go out and learn them all. Start simple, with tracking what you eat and how it makes you feel.
Maybe you have a food intolerance? How would you know unless you track it? For example let’s say you eat bananas and every time you bananas, you feel crappy. My doctor used to say, “If it makes you feel crappy, don’t eat it.” So Step One is: Start tracking your food = see how it makes you feel.
Same goes for fitness. What exercise is best for you? Our bodies our different. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Some of us love cardio! Some of us love the quiet serenity of Yoga. This is where you need to start listening to how your body feels and reacts.
A good workout should:
- make you feel good,
- have made you sweat ,
- put you out of your comfort zone
after a period of time you should see results.
A workout that results in:
- no sweating (other than Relaxation yoga)
- you find your mind wondering during the workout
- not challenging enough
means you need to keep looking for another workout.
So how do your workouts make you feel? Track it! Step Two: Track your workouts and how you felt during and after. Your body will react differently to each work out. Through trial and error you will find the right exercise for you.
The great thing about exercise is there are so many options to choose from. This is where a lot of people get it wrong. They stick to a routine that is convenient and comfortable. Just because you joined a gym and they have treadmills doesn’t meant that is best exercise for your body. Or just because you have a bike in your garage, doesn’t mean that biking is the activity for you. You need to find an activity that makes you feel good, has made you sweat and is challenging.
You need to feel invested in your physical activity. You need to listen to what your body is telling you. The scale is not the only number that matters. It is how you feel that really matters. And the stronger you start feeling the better you will start becoming.
I hope this article has provided some insight into connecting with your how you feel. If you would like to keep the conversation going or have any questions. Send me a message.