This is a very common question asked of me but the answer however always comes from you. You don’t know the answer? To help find it, think long term - think 5 years ahead, 10 years ahead. Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? At those points in time, how many times a week do you want to be working out? 3, 4, 5, 6, 7? More?

Let’s assume you decide 3-4. What now?

Build that habit now, not later, not next year, now!

One thing I forgot to mention though. When I say ‘workout’ I mean Focussed Intense Resistance Exercise (FIRE) (aka weight training) and Intense Cardio Exercise (ICE). This is the type of training that challenges the body and helps create the right stimulus for the body to make positive change.

What about walking, jogging, pilates, yoga, swimming, etc?

I love each of these, and each are very important, but they sit outside of the workout category. They are what I call LIA (Less Intense Activity), and are vital for any well balanced exercise regime.

More is not always better when it comes to exercise because working out is a double-edge sword - too much (FIRE and ICE) and the benefits fade away and are replaced with things like injuries, zero fat loss, fat gain, muscle loss, fatigue, more susceptible to illnesses, and an elevated resting heart rate - all the things we are trying to avoid in the first place!

And beside all that, isn’t is much easier to find time for 3-4 sessions per week compared to 7 - especially as a busy mum or dad?

You have to remember that the workout itself creates a stimulus for the body to do something, so the real magic from the workouts happen once you have finished and you have entered the ‘recovery zone’ (does anyone else have ‘The Twilight Zone’ theme going through their head right now?)

Too many workouts, too frequently, will only hamper recovery. Does that mean you should not be active each day? Nope. Remember LIA?

Now LIA does not have to be a structured activity like the ones listed above, you can also just get out and about and move around - play with the kids, go for a bush walk, a seaside walk, walk to the cafe instead of driving - you get the idea.

Is there a minimum number of workouts you should be aiming for each week?

Using my experience as both a coach and someone who has undergone a body and health transformation, working out (and that means FIRE or ICE) less than twice a week won’t really do you much good. Sure, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing, but you are basically kidding yourself if you think it will effectively give you any real result.

You need to figure out what sort of FIRE and ICE works for you and then aim for 3-4 sessions per week. Implement it but first do yourself a favour and get a notebook. Take some pictures of yourself and stick them in it. Also note down your energy levels, how well you sleep, the condition of your hair, nails, and skin, how happy you are, your general mood, etc. Then each time you workout (remember, that means FIRE or ICE), put a tick in there. After 4 weeks, take note of the things you wrote down at the start and see if there is a difference. If there isn’t, I’ll eat my hat!

If you can maintain the 3-4 workouts for a month, you should be able to maintain it for 3 months. If you can maintain it for 3 months, I bet you can maintain it for 9. At the 3, 6, 9 month mark, also re-take your photos, stick them in your notebook and compare. If there is no change, I’ll eat my other hat!

There you have it. Doing more is not always the best way to go when you are looking for a sustainable health and fitness regime and 3-4 is a great balance. There is one caveat though - if you are coming from a dead-set sedentary lifestyle, progressively build up to 3-4 sessions per week. Start with 2 and do that for a few weeks. Add the 3rd for a few weeks and then later add the 4th.

If you are a bit lost as to how to do FIRE or ICE, reach out to me via Facebook or the website and I’ll help point you in the right direction.

Stay Strong 💪 Stay Healthy 🍎 Stay Happy 😊

A video popped up on my feed the other day and in it the speaker posed the following questions:

“What bad mental habits are holding you back?”

“What unhealthy beliefs are keeping you from being as strong as you could be. And what’s one small step you could take today, right now?”

One of my goals when I take someone through a transformation, is to make them understand that habits beat good intentions EVERY TIME! Now remember, habits are both physical and mental.

Mental bad habits can be things like:

  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Thinking the world is against you.
  • Resenting someone’s success.
  • Putting yourself down.

I’m sure you can think of others.

Mental Strength is a lot Like Physical Strength

It's important to pay attention to these weaknesses, otherwise in the end it will not matter how strong or fit you get; it will never be enough and you will never be happy.

Just like working out in the gym, it starts with one small change. Find what you think is a bad mental habit and focus on just that one. You will often find that it will take time, but once you get that first one of the way, the others become easier and easier.

Now I’m not talking about ‘easier’ as in it’s easier to do. No! I’m talking about ‘easier’ as in you get better at it.

Confidence is what we're aiming for. Confidence in your ability to be able to deal with discomfort. Certain emotions are uncomfortable: sadness, frustration, anger, being upset. Learn to accept these emotions and deal with them, instead of defaulting to comparing yourself to others, or feeling the world is against you.

This is what becoming mentally strong is all about - where you learn to feel emotion but deal with it in a healthy way.

What’s the other option?

Often our bad mental habits promote stress, and stress is something we want to avoid, especially if you are trying to lose weight!

Did you know that the hormone released into the body when we are stressed works against weight loss?

Yes – it makes it harder and even holds you back. And what I was reminded of this week is, frustration, anger and annoyance are pretty much the same thing as stress.

So comparing yourself to others, resenting the girl on Facebook who has lost more weight than you, having a pity party because it's just not happening fast enough - these are all things that will hold you back! 

So, this week I want you to think about the questions:

“What bad mental habits are holding you back?”

“What unhealthy beliefs are keeping you from being as strong as you could be. And what’s one small step you could take today, right now?”

If you really want to kick this into gear, then I suggest you grab an accountability partner and tell them the answers. Or what about posting your answers in the Private Eternally Fit Community Facebook? Either way, sharing your answers goes a long way to helping you to become mentally strong.

Stay Strong - Stay Healthy - Stay Happy