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Like Life, Exercise Is All About Balance

Like Life, Exercise Is All About Balance

We talk about balance a lot at CKO.

In order to fuel your body, you need a nice balance of nutrients.

In order to execute powerful, tight strikes, you need to have a strong center of gravity.

In order to manage stress, you need a healthy work/life balance.

When it comes to health and wellness, balance is at the core. And just like your diet, your center of gravity and your life, your muscles need balance. Here is why paying attention to all your muscle groups and making sure they’re balanced is so important to a healthy lifestyle.  

Muscle Imbalance Throws Off Your Entire Body

Your body is this amazing machine. Each piece of our anatomy does its own part to make sure the body can do the simplest to largest tasks. There’s a reason why you don’t need to remember to breathe or deliberately think about every step you take. Your body already knows. That’s why, without balance, your body has to overcompensate for the weak areas. If you only work on abs and forget the rest of your core (back, obliques, hips, glutes, etc.), your posture is going to be off, which will lead to back pain. If you injured your knee and don’t rest it long enough, your other leg will overcompensate. Trust us, you will notice when something is wrong. To keep your body operating at peak performance, learn to read pain signals and understand when something is off. Work with a physical therapist to identify weak areas and incorporate exercises to strengthen them. These things will help your body be better in tune with itself and create harmony.

Your Muscles Need Time to Rest and Recover  

You may think that working a muscle every day will help it develop quickly, but that’s the last thing you should be doing. The way muscle growth works is that the strain put on your muscles creates tiny tears in the muscle fibers. In order for the muscles to strengthen, they need time to repair and recover. If you alternate the muscle groups you work, it gives every group a day to recover. Adding in three-to-four full-body workouts like the kind we do at CKO guarantees that every muscle gets equal attention. Add in at least one active rest day a week to make sure your muscles are getting the rest and recovery they need in order to get stronger.

Mapping Out Your Workouts Help with Balance

Creating a weekly workout plan will help you keep track of the muscle groups worked and give you the most balanced exercise routine as possible. Make each day’s focus a different muscle group, while incorporating full-body workouts into the weekly schedule. Sticking to a workout calendar will not only help keep you balanced, but make it more likely for you to stick with your fitness plan. There are plenty of fitness apps available for free to help you create and map out weekly workouts.

By keeping your body balanced, you will be able to get maximum results, reduce the chance of injury and feel all-around awesome.

Taking Control of Your Daily Diet

Taking Control of Your Daily Diet

Staying healthy is more than just exercise — you have to be wary of your diet, too. Though being active is an important component of maintaining a strong and healthy body, what embodies the whole of a person’s overall wellness is multifaceted.

While nothing gets us geared up like a hardcore, sweat-inducing HIIT session, we know paying close attention to diet is a MAJOR factor in a comprehensive healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t mean limiting or punishing oneself to get results. It just means making the right choices when eating – much of it is a lesson in moderation.

Meal Frequency

Skipping Meals: Skipping meals won’t help you lose weight. What it does is cause you to binge at your next meal because you’re ravenous. Instead of skipping meals, listen to your body and eat when you truly feel hungry. The body is our most important tool and by listening to it, you will better know what it needs.

Setting Satiety Points: Tied to this idea of eating when you physically feel your stomach is empty is eating to something called your satiety point. If you feel uncomfortably full, you went beyond your satiety point. Use that opportunity to think about how much you ate versus how much your body needed. To avoid overeating, slow down. Your body relies on signals that tell the brain that the stomach is full and stretched. It takes about a good 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full.

Manage these signals better by allowing yourself more time to enjoy the food you put in your mouth and perhaps to eat those smaller meals more frequently.

Portion Control

When you were a kid, were you expected to “finish your plate”? Many of us have been trained over decades to clear our plates, which established the habit of ignoring our sense of fullness. Adjusting your brain to stop at a point where you feel satisfied can reset your habits long-term, something truly important if you aim to lose weight.

Meal Prep: An effective way to pay attention to portion control is to read labels. Nutrition facts will list serving sizes, so if you pack a lunch, fitting containers to portions is an easy way to keep you from eating more than necessary and packing just enough.

Eating Out: One of the biggest challenges when it comes to portion control is knowing how much to eat when you’re at a restaurant. Many restaurants serve portions that are much bigger than what’s needed for an average meal. We suggest asking for a to-go box when your meal comes out and immediately putting a portion in the box. Out of sight is truly out of mind.

Dieting Don’ts

Avoid Crash Diets: There is always another popular diet popping up. Some are legitimate indeed, and those which are grounded in science are likely going to offer a well-balanced plan. On the other hand, typical fad diets will often promise instant weight loss without evidence or scientific support. Ultimately having a comprehensive understanding about your specific body’s relationship with food provides a healthier map for overall wellness.

3,500 Calories = 1 Pound: It takes about a 500 daily calorie deficit in order to lose one pound per week. For example, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola is 140 calories. Decide to drink water instead of soda and you knock down calories in no time. If you particularly have a sweet tooth, replace candy and sugary processed foods with a handful of berries or other fruits and you’re making a healthier yet still satisfying trade. Tuning into the little things adds up.

The overall lesson in eating is to eat real food, not artificial, processed or out-of-the vending machine foods. Some additional key takeaways:

  1. Fuel your fitness by stocking your gym bag with healthy snacks which include good sources of carbohydrates and protein for an energizing pre-workout snack.
  2. Schedule meals with other people, so you’re talking and eating. Read the news or just take a break every few bites. You’ll feel more satisfied and more comfortable if you slow it down.
  3. Mindful eating will help you establish your satiety point, training your brain to push your plate away at the right time. This will in turn help you with eating only when you really feel a hunger pang.
Fitness = Overall Wellness

Fitness = Overall Wellness

A lot of people start a fitness routine because they want to look better. (You look great, by the way.) But fitness is more than just how your body looks. Sure, it’s awesome to love the way you look, but fitness not only helps you achieve that, it also helps you love the way you feel.

That photo of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps may be the thing which gets you into the gym, but your overall wellness will be the thing which keeps you going. When you think about it, an hour a day for three days a week isn’t taking up much time at all. And for all these benefits you get, a regular fitness routine is more than worth it.

Changing the water cooler is no longer a hassle

Let’s start with the most obvious. As you train your body and muscles, you become stronger. That’s just a simple fact. So don’t let soreness deter you from pushing forward. As you sculpt and tone and your body gets responds to the work its doing, the constant or intense soreness will fade, which is a testament to the amount of strength you’ve gained.

Your mind will thank you

We all know about endorphins, the “feel-good chemicals” in our brain. Exercise produces endorphins, which can give you a mood boost, increase brain function, reduce stress, and relax your mind and body. So if your job is giving you extra stress, a morning or lunch-hour workout might curb those stressful feelings.

Tired by 3 p.m.? Not anymore! 

The more your heart adapts to working hard during exercise, the less it needs to work while it’s resting. This helps your body to conserve energy and leaves you less tired throughout the day. Just like the muscles you see in the mirror, the heart needs to be worked and strengthened, too. Like your heart, your lungs are conditioned to be more energy efficient. Think about walking up a flight of stairs when you haven’t exercised in a long time. Out of breath, right? Now think how much easier it is when you’ve been exercising consistently.

Your confidence goes through the roof

Confidence doesn’t just come from your superficial body transformation. It comes from your full-body transformation. By feeling better and even looking better, your confidence levels increase dramatically. You walk with a little more swagger, you’re more likely to speak up, you feel good about the work you do at your job, etc., etc. You find confidence in aspects of your life you never expected.

If you’re not already in a regular fitness routine, starting up and getting momentum can be a challenge. Just take things slow and remember that progress big or small is good progress. Over the course of a few months, you’ll be able to reflect on your achievements and affirm how fitness has shaped you for the better.