4 things you need to unlearn about fitness | Blackmores

4 things you need to "unlearn" about fitness

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Our knowledge about health and fitness is constantly evolving. What seemed like the best approach in the past may not be the best approach today. Exercise physiologist Andrew Cate reveals 4 outdated fitness beliefs that could be holding you back from getting results.

1. Motivation is the key

There’s no denying the fact that motivation is an essential component of any long-term fitness journey. 

However, the way we look at motivation needs to be flipped on its head. 

Fitness is easy when you’re motivated. You want to get out of bed, challenge yourself and strive to be fitter than before. But it’s a lack of motivation where the problems start. 

What happens when you’re tired, bored, or simply not seeing results? The real key to long-term success in fitness is to stay on track especially when you’re low on motivation

In practice this means having a plan for when you’re not motivated. This may include inspiring play lists, friends to work out with, personal best markers to equal or better, and variety in your training routine that can be adapted to suit fluctuations in mood.

2. You need to exercise for a set amount of time

Have you heard that it’s important to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, or that you don’t start burning fat for 20 minutes? 

The need to provide these types of rules and guidelines can sometimes have the opposite effect, discouraging people from starting in the first place. 

Let’s make this perfectly clear. Any exercise is better than none, and you can still achieve health and fitness benefits with short “hits” of activity. Yes, you will need to step things up as your fitness improves, but intensity is just as important as duration.

Think quality, not quantity. It's not how long you exercise for, but what you do during that time that counts. 

Make the most of the time that you have to exercise. As you build up to a solid base of fitness, increase the intensity.


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3. You will continue to improve

Expecting continual improvement in your fitness levels will lead to guaranteed disappointment. The human body simply doesn’t work like that. 

The rapid rate of improvement that you might see in the early stages of a fitness program is a false dawn. As your fitness builds, the rate of change will slow down, and it’s normal to endure periods of time where there will be no noticeable improvements at all. This is known as a plateau, and can be a real test of your motivation and commitment

Have realistic expectations about your rate of improvement, and understand that there will be plateaus in every fitness journey. 

Focus on the process, and gradual progression of your training program over the long-term. Any short-term focus on results will most likely lead to disappointment.

4. Swimming is the best form of exercise

General statements cause a lot of confusion when it comes to health and fitness, because they can be true for some people, but false for others. 

There’s no doubt swimming is a great activity that works both the upper and lower body with minimal impact. It’s a great way to build cardiovascular fitness, and an ideal activity if you are recovering from injury. 

The best form of exercise is the type you enjoy, and are most likely to stick to over the long-term.