How many times have you heard something like:
“30 minute of moderate exercise a day is all you need to stay healthy!”
Officially, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services recommends adults between the ages of 18 and 64 get 2.5 hours of exercise each week, which essentially amounts to about 20 minutes a day, of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. They also recommend some strength-based activities twice week.
Similarly, the well-respected Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
While many people don’t even reach those basic guidelines, others have been fooled to believe that’s all they need to do to become lean and healthy. That 30 minutes of exercise a day earns them an ice cream reward, a night on the couch, and that they can live a sedentary lifestyle the rest of the time.
The result of people adopting this attitude: People are getting fatter and fatter, and less and less healthy.
The problem comes down to this: Most people want being fit and healthy to be easy, so government and companies have marketed health and fitness in a way that presents it as do-able and not time-consuming:
- 20 minutes a day and you’re good to go.
- 10,000 steps a day and you’ll live to 100.
- Exercising on an empty stomach and you’ll burn more calories.
- Drink more water to speed up your metabolism.
It’s time for a hard truth:
Staying healthy and fit for life is NOT easy! It’s very hard and quite time-consuming. It requires work. Constant, relentless work that never ends (i.e. if you stop working on it, you’ll lose it). It requires prioritizing things like meal prep. It requires discipline. And it certainly, certainly requires devoting more than 30 minutes a day to your health and fitness.
This is especially true if you’re overweight.
If you’re overweight and want to lose weight, get fit and stay fit for life, it’s going to require acceptance: Acceptance that the road ahead of you is hard.
Going to the gym three days a week for an hour is a good start. And it’s one place where we will help you. But it’s also going to require you fixing your diet (again, a place we will help you).
And it doesn’t end there. The gym doesn’t give you the license to be sedentary during all the other hours in your days and weeks. You’re also going to have to do lower intensity exercise multiple days a week—be it walking, hiking, swimming, biking, or playing sports. And it will never end. You’ll probably need to do this week after week, month after month, year after year, forever.
Before you run away and hide and give up on ever losing weight and being fit, there’s some good news. Ready for it?
The good news is—if you have always dislikes exercise and broccoli, I don’t expect you to necessarily believe me when I say this—but eventually it will become like brushing your teeth: Just something you do everyday without thinking about or dreading it.
And as if the case for many of our clients, you might even eventually learn to enjoy it!
Now before you laugh at that thought, close your eyes and go back to childhood: There was a time when you liked running around, playing tag, going across monkey bars, feeling your body move effortlessly through space, right?
You can get that childhood feeling back again if you give it a chance a make the choice to stop trying the easy short cuts—the 20 minutes of exercise a day or the drinking 4 L of water so you’re too full to eat.
Instead, take a chance and commit to doing it the hard way. It just might pay off.