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What are you doing outside the gym?

In response to committed yet frustrated gym go-ers who do not see the results they want to see, I find myself asking this question a lot.

Say, for example, you go to the gym 4-5 times per week for an hour. First, ask yourself how efficient you are being in that hour. Are you getting as much out of your time as you can?
Second, and more importantly, what are you doing the other 163 hours during the week? Typically, therein lies the issue.

How are your eating habits? How often do you drink during the week? How many drinks are you really having? How is your overall activity level? How many hours of sleep do you average? Are you taking care of your mental health?

Research has shown that both nutrition and overall daily physical activity is a better indicator of weight and weight loss than exercise alone. Sure, exercise will absolutely aid in weight loss/ weight maintenance and will largely be the cause of an increase in muscle mass, but there is much more to the equation.

Instead of constantly pigeonholing ourselves into one category of health, we need to start looking at the big picture. Are your habits counterproductive?

Below are a few examples of counterintuitive habits that I’ve come across:

1.) Sacrificing hours of much needed sleep to bang out a half-ass workout

2.) Drinking sugary drinks while exercising for weight loss

3.) Treating yourself or justifying intake because you made it to the gym today

4.) Not moving the rest of the day because you made it to the gym today

5.) Stressing over not making it to the gym and falling into unhealthy coping strategies

Ask yourself if you are doing any of these and, more importantly, answer honestly! The gym is incredible, but it is not the only thing we need to look at when we think about our health.

Stephanie Spoto, CSCS

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