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Over-Indulger, Under-Estimator, or Eliminator? 3 Fitness Mentalities to Avoid

Jan 04, 2017 02:00PM ● By Becca Newell
By Becca Newell

When it comes to fitness, the one-size-fits-all approach certainly doesn’t apply. What could be an easy feat for some is a strenuous task for others. And for many, one’s mindset plays the most important role. We reviewed three different fitness mentalities, none of which alone are ideal. Like most things in life, balance and moderation are key—and combining the positive elements of each fitness mentality listed below is key in reaching your health goals.

1. Indulging After the Treadmill

Sound familiar? You run a mile—or five—and then right to the refrigerator. Perhaps your post-workout mode includes celebrating with a pizza. While it’s okay to indulge every now and then (think: treat night once a week!), stuffing your face after every workout isn’t exactly going to create the best results, particularly if you’re trying to shed those pesky pounds. This isn’t to say you should starve yourself after exercising; simply consider your source of refuel so you don’t eat back those just-burned calories.

2. Overestimating Your Workout

Experts agree that any amount of physical activity, despite its intensity, will have some sort of positive impact on one’s health, but you might be overestimating the intensity of that weekly spin class and hot yoga session, which means you might not be exercising as much as you should be. A 2014 Canadian study concluded that the majority of participants underestimated the intensity of their physical activity needed to obtain health benefits. In general, moderate activity should feel somewhat difficult, whereas vigorous activity should feel challenging.

3. Input vs. Output

Exercising to maintain a healthy weight is, of course, normal, but exercising to burn the specific number of calories you consumed earlier in the day isn’t—and it could suggest something more serious. According to the Mayo Clinic, non-purging bulimia nervosa—or exercise bulimia—uses excessive exercise to purge the body of calories and prevent weight gain. It can lead to injuries, exhaustion, and other serious health complications, like dehydration, a weakened immune system, and heart problems. Exercise should be a part of your life, but your life shouldn’t revolve around it. Establish a regular routine and try to stick to it, but don’t allow yourself to frequently skip work or social commitments to exercise!

A few helpful tips to prevent post-exercise over-eating:

  • Exercise before one of your major meals of the day
  • For workouts less than an hour, keep snacks within the 150 to 200 calories range
  • Eat in response to hunger, not out of boredom or as a reward
  • Try snacking healthily throughout the day
  • Drink water—about eight ounces— within 30 minutes of exercising

To best determine exercise intensity, follow these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Moderate Intensity

  • Breathing quickens, but you’re not out of breath
  • A light sweat develops after about 10 minutes of activity
  • A conversation can be carried, but you can’t sing

Vigorous Intensity

  • Breathing is deep and rapid
  • A sweat is developed after only a few minutes of activity
  • No more than a few words can be spoken without pausing for breath

Every form of physical activity falls into one of two categories:

Aerobic Exercise

running, walking, swimming, and playing basketball

Strength Training

weight lifting and, to some extent, yoga and Pilates

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion offer the following weekly guidelines:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity OR an equivalent combination
  • Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes and, preferably, it should be spread throughout the week
  • For more extensive health benefits, increase aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity OR 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity OR an equivalent combination
  • Perform muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or high intensity that involve all major muscle groups on two (or more) days

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