When it comes to fitness it’s easy to get stuck in the “more is better” mentality. Especially when you enjoy exercise and love a challenge, it’s easy to get used to the idea of multiple workouts a day or pushing yourself really hard every time you workout. But, if you start feeling unaccomplished at the gym unless you leave exhausted, dripping sweat, and feeling like you need a nap–then, you may want to pay attention to this advice.
According to Anna Rahe, celebrity trainer, wellness expert and founder of GST Body in Los Angeles, there’s one question you need to ask yourself about your fitness routine to evaluate how much damage you could be doing in the long run: Can you do your current workout routine when your 70? According to Rahe, if you don’t think you can do the current workout routine you do now when you’re older, then you may want to rethink it.
What is “sustainable” fitness?
Rahe encourages adopting a fitness routine that is “sustainable,” meaning something you can carry through different phases of your life. If not, then you may be prone to injury risk, pain, and other problems that can impact your quality of life. “You want to think about how what’s valuable to you at any given decade of your life won’t be the same in another decade. A sustainable workout means first, talking about having a long-term perspective and realizing that your goals have to start being holistic in their nature,” Rahe explains. That means not focusing on one goal at a time, like to lose weight or tone your arms. “You have to expand the idea of what a holistic workout routine looks like-and figure out the components of a workout routine that really take care of your body holistically.
How to make your workout routine more holistic:
First, Rahe says it’s important to having a more compassionate view of your body—and avoiding “punishing it,” to get the outcome you want. After you can view your body in a more compassionate way, and prioritizing longevity and overall health instead of one physical trait (like a 6 pack) then oftentimes, you will end up feeling (and looking) better.
If you want to evaluate how much your current routine fits in line with this philosophy, then there are a few questions you can ask yourself. “Things to consider include: am I only focusing on one aspect of my fitness and health (i.e. cardio, strength.) and what are my priorities?” Rahe explains. Another way you can evaluate your current routine is by considering how well you recover from your workout. Acording to Rahe, not being able to recover is a key sign that the systems in your body aren’t handling the activity well.
To really take things to the next level Rahe suggest evaluating how your circulation, digestive, and metabolism is functioning. “Workout affects all of this. Metabolism equals vitality,” Rahe says.
What to focus on:
Other things Rahe suggests against when it comes to sustainable routine are over isolating specific body parts in a workout, doing high repetition and frequent high intensity workout sessions.
“I try to teach principles so people can own their own health. Rather than give you a list of things to do, I like to teach people to learn to listen and have a relationship with their body. If you are completely exhausted and fatigued, then your workout is not working for you. Do not mistake burning your adrenals for burning off stress,” Rahe cautions.
So how exactly should you feel when you’re exercising in a way that works for your body (and your longevity?). “After you workout you should feel a sense of ease and that you have the energy to go out to dinner, play with your children, or take a walk around the block at night.”
“You want to follow a feeling—find a workout routine that feels good. It’s not about a strict formula—chase the feeling. You have to consider, if I’m going to do this long term my body has to feel good and feel right. And I’m going to have to teach my body what feels right,” Rahe says.
GST Body is located at 7562 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. Visit GST Body for more information on in-studio workouts in LA, or for online streaming.
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