Focus on the process, not the result.
I was asked recently, “What are the best exercises to get rid of my ‘lovehandles’?”
My response…”There are no secrets, just consistent hard work.” There are so many opinions out there about which exercises to do, how much to do, and when to do them in order to get “the results”. Let me clarify that results come from consistency and hard work, and it is worthwhile to focus on the process of having an activity centered lifestyle, and the results will be a consequence of your body’s adaptation to that lifestyle. I’ll suggest some ways to focus on the process…
Make exercise and activity a part of your life, not another addition to your lifestyle. Your body has a certain expectation to physical demand and exercise load when you invest in having activities be a consistent part of your life. So keep the ball rolling and establish the necessary momentum that will make training consistency a normal part of your life.
Challenge your routines. Your body stops adapting when it stops being challenged, both mentally and physically. Routines are necessary to build momentum, but will reach a plateau that leads to overuse injuries. Rather, have several routines that can be alternated every couple of weeks to keep your body guessing what’s next!
Use your time effectively. Spend less time talking and more time working, and you’ll complete your workout sooner, giving you more time to socialize afterwards. Strength training with weights in combination with short resting periods will produce a strong cardiovascular component to any strength program.
Shorten distance and increase speed. Whether you are a walker or a runner, try to reduce overall impact from time to time by reducing your distance but increasing your pace in a way that is reasonable for your body.
Pay attention to range of motion. There are valid reasons to limit your certain ranges of motion during rehab, injury, or to protect a joint. But don’t simply limit your range of motion during exercise simply to make it easier, or because you’ve gotten lazy! Your body will adapt negatively to disuse over time, so pay attention to subtle loss in your range of motion.
Examine your posture. Gravity has a compressive effect on your posture over time, and accelerates it’s effect when bad form is reinforced during exercise. Make the gym mirror be a tool for self examination.
Earn your recovery days. Resting days can consist of activities other than gym or training in order to use different muscles or movement skills. Recovery is just as important as training especially if training is challenging. Overuse injuries can be subtle, but avoided altogether when recovery consists of nutritional support, manual therapies, and rest on those off days.