Which sounds easier?

By Brian Cole, Personal Training Associates

Walking/running 30 to 45 minutes just about every day and two workouts per week lifting heavy weights to build new lean muscle tissue and additional exercises to target core strengthening, posture, balance and joint range of motion.

Or

Vowing to make some changes to eating and drinking habits.

Which sounds easier? Right. And therein lies the lure of the massive diet industry as a way to lose body fat and improve health. Diets don’t work, of course, as everyone who has yo-yo dieted will confirm. Any of them will take some weight off fairly quickly but there are many problems with that. For one, diets take off muscle tissue, which lowers your metabolism. Second, diets reduce bone density and water, which are essential to our health. Third, the weight is regained. And it’s regained as body fat.

If you want to lose body fat and keep it off, no matter which method, from fasting to the diet of your choice to surgery, it must be replaced simultaneously with new lean muscle tissue. If it isn’t, you will regain the fat. Another way to say it is, if you want to lose body fat and be healthier, you have to work it off.

Whether they are overweight or not, people who have allowed themselves to become out of shape are lacking in self discipline. And because self discipline is necessary to produce improvement—in anything, that’s where to start.

I’m not going to outline what should and shouldn’t be consumed. That information is everywhere and is also partially a matter of individual preference.

Let’s keep it simple: The problem is poor self discipline and that’s what needs to be strengthened.

So, stop eating and drinking everything you already know is bad for you. Just stop. For 30 days.

After you’ve shown yourself you have the self discipline needed, accept more responsibility, do some homework, educate yourself and add improvements.

That’s enough about eating and drinking habits.

Actual health and increased energy and adding more healthy years to lives is about doing. It’s not about what we think or write or plan or vow or say. It’s all about doing.

Here’s some good news: being more active, even without any weight loss, reduces high blood pressure and reduces the chance of heart disease and diabetes. Ideally yes, losing body fat too is preferable but the most important factor is being more active. Doing more.

Our life is too easy. We have way too many “labor saving devices.” In our culture the physical activity necessary for survival is minimal. The result is an out of shape, overweight population. We need to do something about it. And it’s so simple.

The first paragraph in this column may sound excessive to someone who is inactive. But there are 168 hours in a week. Doing everything suggested will take about six hours. The benefits are limitless. Feeling much better, moving with less discomfort, having more years filled with enjoyment instead of physical limitations and having more daily energy. These are all achieved with some self discipline and adding activity to your day.

Eat better, sure, but be more active.

Brian Cole is owner of Personal Training Associates with studios in Newport News (Port Warwick and Hilton Village). He can be reached at 757-599-5999.

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