Menopause Fitness Moment: Don't Overcomplicate ExerciseMay 13, 2022
Tips On How To Keep Exercise Simple & Effective
It is impossible to avoid marketing that promises you the ONE workout that will finally show you the way to a better body or a new piece of equipment that will revolutionize your workout routine. But the basic truth, backed up by decades of science, is that what works for fitness (and nutrition, but that's for another time) is embarrassingly simple. You don’t need a fancy piece of equipment or a workout plan as long as a CVS receipt (why are they so long?). You also don’t need to keep changing your workouts so that your body is constantly “surprised” (hint: your body is way more intelligent than you give it credit). But just like we have the impression that the $50 bottle of designer shampoo is better than the off-brand “basic” shampoo, we tend to think that the more complicated a workout, the better it must be. NOPE! Exercise can be super simple and effective (and fun, of course). So here are a few tips on how to simplify your workouts:
Limit The Number Of Exercises In A Workout
This is one of my current favorite ways to work out. I used to get bored by doing a specific exercise more than three times, which led me to change things continuously. Changing this can be fun but exhausting, especially when your brain is not firing as efficiently as before (hello, brain fog). So I’ve started to pick four total exercises that I will do in a workout but do them for 6-7 rounds each. It has been a game-changer for me! Here’s an example: on lower body strength days, I’ll pick these two supersets (more about that in tip 2) and perform each set for 6-7 rounds with a weight that lets me do 5-6 repetitions for maximum strength benefit. Then, when I’m done with set one, I move on to set 2.
- Leg press + plank shoulder taps
- Romanian deadlifts + kneeling ball slams
With just these two sets, I end up with a 40-45 min workout. You can read about why I prioritize 40 min workouts here.
Supersets Are Your Friend
Superset training is a form of training that consists of performing two exercises back-to-back with little to no rest between exercises. There are two main ways to combine exercises: (1) opposing muscle groups, (2) same muscle groups. Working out this way allows you to keep things simple and fast. I like to keep workouts short and efficient. Here are a few easy ways to pick exercise combos:
- Combine pushing movements (example: bench press) with pulling movements (row)
- Combine upper body (shoulder press) and lower body (squat)
Pick Technically Simple Exercises
Exercises don’t have to be technically complex or have a 10-step choreography to be effective. Here are five excellent activities that don’t require equipment or fancy additions.
- Squat (use a chair to squat onto if you don’t feel strong or balanced enough yet)
- Lunge (start with partial lunges to work up your strength)
- Push-up (begin with a wall push-up if you’re not quite at the full-push-up level)
- Plank (high or low)
- Glute bridge
If You’re Just Starting, Focus On Starting
The sheer number of options can be paralyzing and intimidating for someone just starting. Don’t get overwhelmed by the options. Instead, focus on including any movement regularly. The magic lies in consistency, not complexity.
Here are a few examples:
- Add five squats when you get up from your couch or chair
- Go on a 5-minute walk
- Walk in place while watching your favorite show
- Do some yoga while on a call (maybe not a video zoom call, but you get what I’m saying)
The most important thing to remember is to find movement that you enjoy and want to do most days. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it!
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