Are You A Calorie Counting Addict??? I have to be completely honest with you, I quiver a bit when I think of the direction that many gyms are approaching fitness these days. It seems as if the current trend for a lot of places is to get as many people in the door and then beat them to death on a daily basis with brutal cardio workouts that are designed to burn as many calories as possible. Rest? What rest? You just work the entire hour for the end result of telling others that you happily burned 1,000 calories or that your name was posted on the leaderboard ahead of everyone else in the class. When all we are concerned about is how many calories we burn that day or what our fitness status is compared to those around us we miss the entire point of living a healthy lifestyle.
I completely understand that we all have aesthetic goals in mind that we are striving for, whether it is to be summer shredded or to be able to slip into those new skinny jeans with ease, but if we stop only at that then we don’t envelop the entire fitness picture. There is so much more to being healthy and it’s not just about mere calorie burnage.
With the above in mind I am encouraged by the survey results we received from you this month. Topping the list, one of the things you felt was most important to you as to why you come to WIP for your workouts was not to burn calories but it was to build muscle and feel strong. Many of your goals that you have posted on the chalkboards at each gym speak this similar message as well. Now this is a great goal to strive for! The benefits of building muscle (not talking about looking like a bodybuilder) and gaining usable strength not only provides ideal shape to your body image but it also fortifies the connective tissue around the joints, helps reduce the muscle loss of ageing, cuts your risk of injury, and increases bone density which is super critical to your longevity of health. The interesting thing about building lean muscle tissue is that it actually burns a good amount of calories just being at rest throughout the day.
Now I do not want you to think that I am knocking cardio/conditioning as we do a good amount of this as well. Conditioning is very important to have great cardiovascular health, prevent certain diseases, and improve work capacity (the ability to do more work in less time with less effort) but if that is all you are primarily focusing on then you are missing the bigger picture. I believe that you need to have a good balance of strength and conditioning in order to experience the benefits of a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.
So with all of this said I come to my main point and that is that WIP programming is not designed to be just a calorie factory. Our coaches do not sit down and write out programs with a specific calorie number in mind that they want you to hit for each workout. Rather, we construct a variety of programs built on a foundation of functional movements that will help you build muscle, improve your conditioning, and feel great. Yes you will burn calories. Some days more than others but that doesn’t mean that one workout is more important than the other. It just means that there is a different goal and purpose in mind for the workout that day that will be beneficial to you. This means that there is no need to be holding planks during the instruction time or doing extra credit high knees during the rest break to reap the benefits of 5 more calories burned (Believe it or not, rest is your greatest friend when working out since it allows you to work harder each round... #mindblown!).
One last thing to get off my chest and then we can move on :). Do not allow your heart rate monitors and calorie counters on your wrist or your phones to distract you from the task at hand. I catch people all the time looking at their watches and stressing out over hitting certain numbers that they often miss out on parts of the workout and/or the entire workout experience of being present and together with everyone else in the class.
If you are one whose end goal is weight loss then it’s more important for you learn good eating habits in conjunction with a balanced fitness approach which is a sustainable method rather than just trying to rely on high calorie burning cardio workouts. (If you need help with a good nutrition plan check out the nutrition add-on to our challenge this upcoming up this month- http://wipfitness.com/wip-challenge
Now I am not saying that we are the perfect end-all-be-all fitness system (btw there is no perfect system) but I’d say we are a pretty darn good one. Our workouts are always being fine tuned and improved to make sure you not only “enjoy” them but to also make sure they are balanced and that you are getting the benefits of both strength and conditioning each day no matter when you come. It’s just that some days will lean toward a certain focus a bit more than others. Many of the choices for the workout focus areas are a direct result of your survey responses so we definitely hear you WIP Nation! Without further adieu here is what your daily focus will be for April:
Tuesday: Metabolic “Tabata timing”
Wednesday: Core and Conditioning
Thursday: Strength Friday: 1st and 3rd
Friday- Endurance; 2nd and 4th Friday- Partner Workout
Saturday: Coaches Choice
To muscle and more,