How Long Do My Workouts Need To Be?
You may be spending way too much time trying to get fit. It’s not that fitness isn’t worthwhile. Obviously, it is. The problem is, your strategy might not be the most efficient, anatomically speaking, and so you may be working out for much longer than needed and getting a fraction of the results that you desire.
These days, the universal fitness strategy is based on looking fit, which means it all comes down to appearance. If you’re lean, taut, muscular, etc., you’re perceived as being in shape though, in reality, you may not be. Scientifically, we know the real key to fitness is the following formula, in order of importance: nutrition, hydration, and activity. What you eat and drink really does affect how you look more than what you do. How you work out impacts what you eat and how much you drink. When it’s in the proper balance your workouts don’t need to be that long.
When most people exercise, they are not utilizing a full range of motion. In other words, you may not be compelling your load-bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees and ankles) to move in all directions. When you go for a run, walk, or bike ride, your hips move in only one direction (forward), while your shoulders generally don’t move at all. At the gym, you may do an array of exercises and a multitude of reps, but how often do you lift your arms above your head or rotate your torso in either direction or move your body sideways?
When you move your load-bearing joints in all directions, as they were designed to do, you increase your basal metabolism, which helps the body generate heat internally. One result of that is thirst. Strange as it may sound, many people who exercise often suffer from dehydration. They’re not drinking enough because their thirst mechanism is malfunctioning, and that’s happening because their bodies, especially the lymph system, are retaining fluid.
Those fluids are the reason why you can’t get rid of those saddlebags on your hips and pudge around your gut—no matter how many miles you run. By generating internal heat from an increased basal metabolism, you break down those fluids, releasing them from your body and achieving a leaner look.
More importantly, once you get rid of those fluids, your body’s thirst mechanism returns to normal, enabling you to reach adequate hydration levels, and that has a manifold impact on your appearance and fitness. Parents often ask the strength and conditioning coach at Stanford University football, Shannon Turley, what supplements their high school children should be taking. “Water,” he says. “It’s the only supplement they need.” He’s right, but the body has to be prepared to receive that hydration properly.