I run two online group fitness programs that regularly generate email inquiries.
Nearly every would-be participant who reaches out to me wants to know how deviating from the planned workouts and nutrition approach will affect her results. And whether the program will still work for her if she does it a bit differently than everybody else.
This program sounds perfect for me. However, I will be travelling for two weeks in the middle (won’t be able to get to a gym) and also have a Dragonboating competition coming up that I need to practice for. Can I still join in even if I won’t be able to do all of the workouts?
My answer almost always includes the reminder that every single participant in my programs has different goals, different obstacles, comes from a different fitness background and is at a different fitness level.
We are all balancing on our own unique tightropes and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.
As such, I design my programs so that each and every member can find her own perfect exercise balance; the frequency, intensity and type of workouts that promote better fitness and health, improved sleep and higher energy levels and can be adhered to for years and years to come.
For some women, that means strength training four days a week.
For others, two days of strength and two days of distance running work.
Still others need a mix of solo gym days, a group fitness class or two and an evening yoga practice.
And I’ve had many clients who regularly substitute family cycles, kayak trips, mountain climbs, golfing and trampoline fun for their workout ‘proper’ without seeing any negative effects on their fitness goals.
The variations are as unique as the women following them.
What isn’t unique is the magic that happens when each finds her own personal perfect exercise balance.
All of a sudden, everything becomes easier. Missed workouts becomes less frequent. Movement becomes an integral part of the day. Struggles over finding time to exercise diminish. And ‘have to’ becomes ‘want to’.
The perfect exercise balance: how to find yours
- choose a program (any program) and get started; finding your perfect exercise balance is a trial and error procedure. If you don’t try (and err), you’ll never know what elements yours needs to contain.
Initially, you’ll want to follow the directions your coach, trainer or group fitness instructor gives you. Pay attention to how it feels to do things their way. Notice any ‘push back’ feelings (for example, ‘you want me to run again tomorrow?’) and contemplate the reasons for them.
Commit to following the program for several weeks, jotting down your thoughts and feelings about the activity itself (you do keep a fitness journal, don’t you?) , your energy levels before and after you perform it and any mental barriers to getting the workout done. Your perfect exercise balance will consist of both things your like to do and things you need to do.
- modify the program to make it ‘easier’ to follow; by ‘easier’, I don’t necessarily mean less intense 🙂 . Rather do what you need to do to reduce any resistance or barriers you have to following it.
If that means shortening the strength workouts from 3 to 2 sets, so be it. Using the rowing machine for intervals rather than the treadmill, go ahead. Replacing one of your gym session for some time on your yoga mat, relax away. Exercising at home instead of the gym, good for you.
Just make sure the choices and substitutions you’re making are consistent with what your body needs to feel good and your long term goal of integrating regular exercise into your schedule for many years to come.
- acknowledge that things will change and you’ll need to adjust; just when you think you’ve found your perfect exercise balance, something in your life will change and it will no longer be the combination you need.
Maybe your workout buddy moves away. Or your favourite group fitness instructor goes on a long vacation. Or you experience a tragedy in your life that leaves you craving softer, more gentle forms of exercise.
Rather than feeling discouraged about this disruption to your perfect exercise balance, consider it an opportunity to try something new. Find a new workout friend. Or brave the gym on your own. Try a new instructor’s class. Or join an online fitness group.
When I was too sad to continue training on my own, I joined a strength and conditioning class where I was unlikely to know anybody. Together, the combination of great coaches, not having to plan my own workouts and the camaraderie of small group training helped me to rediscover my own perfect exercise balance.
Are you ready to find your own perfect exercise balance?
Not sure what components to include and how much of each your body needs to feel good? Looking to connect with like-minded midlife women who are still motivated to work towards their health and fitness goals despite the hormonal challenges of peri-menopause?
I’ve got two great online programs to help.
Fight the Fluff V2.0 is a 12-week, online, gym-based fitness and nutrition program for midlife women who want to build some muscle, lose some fat and have a whole lot of fun. While the program prescribes 3-4 days of strength training and an extra day of cardio, participants are encouraged to find their own best way to implement it.
Whether that means cutting back on strength by a day per week or substituting a group fitness class for one of their workouts, my goal is to help each participant figure out how to make the most of her exercise time. Ditto for the approach we’ll be taking to nutrition.
You can read more details about the program (and the dates of the next session) here >> Fight the Fluff V 2.0.
My Monthly 40+ Fitness Program continues year-round and is always open to new membership beginning the first of each month. The workouts are designed to be performed at home, with very little equipment other than a few pairs of dumbbells, a stability ball, a resistance band and a yoga mat.
It’s a great program for those new to strength training because it includes multiple levels for each exercise AND a private YouTube video library where you can watch me performing (and cueing) each and every exercise.
You can read more details about the program here >> 40+ Fitness Online Training and email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly if you’re interested in joining us next month.
Questions about either program? Hit me up in the comments below or send me an email and I’ll get back to you just as soon as possible.