The ease of getting fitness results, such as weight loss and muscle gain, can vary greatly from person to person. What can be really be challenging though, is knowing the best way to hold onto those results, not just in the short term, but for life.
Why? Get ready...truth bomb approaching:
Because the behaviors that may seem the most fruitful because of the fast results they bring, actually aren’t the best choices for long-term fitness success.
Therefore, today we will examine three fitness “trends” and compare them to the “truths” that actually support longevity in fitness.
Intensity vs. Consistency
Which is better?
Option 1: Going all in, hitting the gym every single day for 30 days to do intense workouts that leave you on the floor sweating, only to develop an achy knee or back and trouble sleeping, which leads to you throwing in the towel. This may get you 30 workouts, if you survive the entire month.
Option 2: Taking a consistent approach and training 3 days a week, (which fits way better with your busy schedule), every week for a year, for a total of 156 workouts.
We like option 2 the best! When talking about your long-term fitness, consistency always wins over intensity. You want to be consistent in the number of sessions you do per week, as well as the kind of workouts you do so you can track progress. Doing intense fitness is unsustainable for most people in the long run and sees compliance fall off at a much faster rate than a sustainable and consistent approach to working out.
So rather than going “all in” on your workouts, think about what you can be consistent with for the rest of your life. The long term benefit will outweigh any short term gains you may have received through an intense, unsustainable program, and will certainly prevent the injuries often associated with unsustainable practices.
Restriction vs. Balance
Let's talk about how restriction and balance relates specifically to your nutrition. Restricting calories, macronutrients, the times you eat, or food groups can be a way to get really fast results from your nutrition. Restriction can help up lose weight in a short period of time, and would be lying if we said it wouldn’t bring results.
But what restriction can’t be is sustainable. Studies have proven again and again that restrictive diets almost always end in people going back to old habits and regaining weight, since the people didn't do anything to actually change the habits. The restriction is looked at as a short-term thing, and they can't wait to "get off" the diet.
So what is the best approach for long-term results for your nutrition (and therefore your overall health and fitness)? Balance! A balanced approach to nutrition that does not restrict any foods, but rather, supports your function, mental acuity, and purpose, is key to sustainable nutrition. Focus on quality foods in appropriate quantities for your specific goals, rather than making foods “bad” or “off-limits”.
Hard Work vs. Smart Work
Here’s the deal. In the short term, harder work will get you better results. If you take two people and have one do a balance of challenging and easier workouts, while the other one does really tough workouts every day, the “hard” approach will produce the best metabolic and body composition changes after 30 days. However, if you follow those same two people for a full year, the “smart” work approach will win.
Why? It is essential to balance easier and harder efforts for proper recovery and results for the long-term. Going hard every day will eventually cause burnout, both mentally and physically, and will see results plateau, and even regress. In comparison, smart work will give you adequate challenge to drive adaptation, while supporting technique, skill, and recovery with some easier training days.
At OPEX Franklin and all of our OPEX Gyms all over the world, we don’t only provide you with the workouts you need to get results, we also make sure that your fitness is sustainable for life!