I was chatting with a client one day who had joined our program a few days earlier. For a bit of context, I sit down with every one of our members early on in their journey to get them on an exercise routine tailored to their lifestyle and their goals. It’s one of my favourite calls and generally speaking one of my favourite things to talk about because I just love exercising so much.
Now, I wasn’t always this way. When you’re out of shape and lacking motivation to get moving, the last thing you want to do is workout. And sometimes I forget that I, too, once felt this way.
So when she said “I just don’t feel good after I workout. I don’t get the same endorphin rush that everyone else I know talks about!” I’m not joking when I say that I actually was a touch lost for words in the moment. It was the first time in my coaching career that I came across someone who really, truly, disliked working out and not just because she felt out of shape or her motivation was lacking. She just didn’t enjoy it.
In response I ended up saying - “Well, do it anyway.”
Now, I still stand by my advice. At the end of the day, like it or not, we have to do things we don’t necessarily love for the betterment of our health and wellness. Do I love going to the dentist? Absolutely not. Do I like even brushing my teeth or flossing? I get zero enjoyment out of doing these things. Yet, we do them no questions asked.
However, I should have been a bit more prepared in guiding someone who doesn’t get any joy out of exercise, to exercise.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- The differences between movement vs. exercise vs. workouts (in our expert opinion)
- 5 ways you can incorporate more of each into your life
Movement Vs. Exercise (Or Activity) Vs. Workouts
How we approach this topic is the same way we approach anything in our coaching practice, from the ground up. Why we do this is very important - likely one of the most important things in our methods - we prescribe women tasks that are right outside their current level of comfort or zone of capability, but not so far out that it becomes overwhelming or unsustainable.
This is important because of the all-or-nothing mentality and behaviour that we know all too well. If you’re reading this knowing this about yourself, this section is going to be extra important for you.
If you’re currently sedentary i.e. sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day, and/or get under 3000 steps daily, your goal may not be to throw yourself into the gym right away. Instead, let’s find ways we can incorporate more movement into our day.
- Cleaning/tidying the house
- Running errands
- Playing with the dog or kids
- Dancing to your favourite song in the kitchen
- Standing and walking on the spot while working
- Stretching, rolling out muscles
- Walking up and down the stairs
- Taking a gestural painting class, a sculpture-making class or improv class
The amazing thing about adding movement to your day is that if you focus on doing these smaller things, your quality of life automatically improves. Since we’re coming from a place of holistic improvement, contributing to relationship building, trying new things and feeling productive all play a massively important role.
Now, let’s say you already have a good amount of movement in your day but you’re looking to increase exercise or activity. Let’s remember that leading an active lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to be spending all your time in the gym. As a matter of fact, if your priority is living a long, happy and healthy lifestyle, you’re able to accomplish all that and more by simply increasing the out-of-gym activity in your life.
- Rock climbing
- Horseback Riding
- Biking/Mountain biking
- Youtube workout videos
In my opinion, the key thing that differentiates exercise from movement is the increased intention and focus on actually moving your body. Exercise also will get your heart rate up more and challenge your muscles, coordination and balance - all things we need to age gracefully.
Ready to take things to the next level? If you have specific body composition goals, want to gain strength and/or muscle mass, or are looking to lead a life rich in fitness, not just wellness (See our article on the sickness, wellness, fitness continuum here), then workouts are where you should bring your focus.
The key thing that differentiates workouts from exercise is the specificity in goals, and the desire to increase fitness levels.
At BODZii, we slowly bring all our women up to a level where we increase fitness by getting them to complete workouts specific to this goal. Why? Because reaching towards a fit life will build your hedge against sickness. And that’s the ultimate goal.
- Strength training (Dumbbells, Barbell, Kettlebells)
- Spin class
Notice there’s some crossover between exercise and workout - the difference between the two is the structure, intention and most importantly intensity. It’s one thing to swim leisurely or bike to work, and it’s another to test your mile swim time or go on a 50km cycle.
How to incorporate these into your day-to-day life
Now that we have a showcase of how many different options, varieties and levels of intensity there are when it comes to increasing our energy output, you have options. And if you’re still looking at all these saying “Nope, still don’t want to do it”, here are five ways to help you make it all seem a little less overwhelming.
1. Take the pressure off
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re being dragged into doing something you just really don’t want to do. I’m all for building discipline and pushing yourself, but there’s a difference between having an off day and fundamentally disliking something. And so if the gym is just not your cup of tea… Don’t go!
“But don’t I need to go to the gym if I want to lose weight?”
Short answer: No.
If you want to lose weight, you have to create and sustain a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit is created when you expend more energy than you consume. And I just gave you a multitude of ways you can do that above.
And if you take the pressure off, you may just find yourself wanting to do more than you thought. Oftentimes in my personal life and in my coaching practice, if I or a client go through a period where we just really dislike exercise, I say “ok then don’t exercise!”. After a couple of days of lesser activity, you may just find yourself craving to move your body again.
If and when that happens, you'll know you’ve really built a sustainable foundation because your body and mind now crave activity and healthy movement!! And that’s a huge win.
2. Take movement snacks
If the idea of exercise overwhelms you because of the time commitment, consider movement snacks instead.
My father is the king of movement snacks.
With a set of dumbbells beside his stand-up desk, every hour or so he’ll stop what he’s doing, pick up the dumbbells, do a set of 10-20 squats and then get back to work.
He does this in his work clothes, without breaking a sweat, gets his heart rate up just enough, and then is right back into focus mode. The amazing thing about this is that it can actually increase our focus and productivity throughout the day. As a busy woman, your mind is likely being pulled in many different directions and oftentimes at once. Decision fatigue is a huge reality in the life of someone like you. And what that means is that by the end of the day, your focus and ability to make good decisions becomes less and less. Cue cravings and snacking.
Movement snacks bring you back into focus.
The best time to do a movement snack is when you feel yourself staring at the computer lost in a train of thought. If you’ve gone longer than an hour or 2 without a movement snack, it’s likely time. Studies say that our brain can really only stay in focus for 4-5 hours a day. If you’re working an 8 hour day, that’s 3-4 hours of our brain out of deep focus anyway. So let’s take advantage of it!
If you’re worried that movement snacks may eat into your work time, remember that a) they take less than a minute and b) they’re actually helping you get more done in a day.
3. Find a friend
Almost anything in life can be made more fun when done with a friend. Find someone who will try new things with you, meet you for a weekly walk to catch up, or even get to the gym with you.
Exercise is a wonderful time to be social as well so hit two birds with one stone and get social while getting active.
4. Try something else
Ever heard of Spinga? Or Goat Yoga?
With the rise of personal trainers, online coaches, and fitness boutiques, the need to stand out in order to be a profitable business is increasing each year. While it may not be something you want to do every day, these wacky ideas to get active are fun, exciting, and unique.
Try a class where you do 30 minutes of Spin followed by 30 minutes of yoga!
Get in a downward dog surrounded by baby goats.
Does BODZii have a bit of a bias towards strength training and functional fitness? Yes. But at the end of the day, we care that you move your body. Period. And we are going to work with you to find the best option for you while lowering that barrier to entry.
5. Take advantage of your errands
One of the easiest ways to incorporate movement into your day is to take a look at what you already have going on and enhance it!
For example: Need to get groceries? Park farther away in the parking lot. If you can, take a backpack and walk to the store. While in the store, walk up and down the aisles on your way to the next thing on your list to get some extra steps.
Taking the kids to swimming lessons? While they’re there, take a walk around the building.
Opt out of the cleaning lady this week and tackle the house on your own to save some money and also increase your movement!
Increasing movement throughout your day comes down to getting creative and making it a priority.
We need to find the tipping point where we’re doing enough to move us forward, but not too much that we’re dreading it.
When talking about goals and weight loss, a client once said to me “…But I just don’t want to spend hours in the gym or all my time meal prepping. I feel like I have to sacrifice so much in order to get to my goals.”
Another week, I had someone say “…I’m so frustrated I’m not losing any weight at all. I’ve been adding chicken to my lunches and I went on a walk yesterday.”
While both of these statements are totally understandable, they’re both equally misleading.
While we don’t need to be crushing ourselves daily and eating chicken and broccoli for breakfast lunch and dinner daily, we also need to recognize that our body requires a certain level of consistency and intensity to see results as well.
This is not to discredit anyone's effort, this is to showcase the balance we need to create in our life.
Get slightly outside your comfort zone regularly, really outside of your comfort zone sometimes, but remain within a level that you can maintain consistent.
If you need help finding that balance and would like to explore what we have to offer in terms of courses and coaching, we’d love to chat with you. We’ve helped 1000+ women achieve balance, weight loss, increase energy, lower body fat % and overall better health. We’d love to help you do that for yourself. Book your discovery call today.