Our bodies are like these little mini ecosystems… this is adorable right?
/ˈēkōˌsistəm/ | noun: a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
Ok, seriously though: throughout school I have learned that every element of the ecosystem/ecosystems around us play a vital part in making our own habitat, and the world as a whole, work completely and to its full potential.
Sure we have crazy storms and natural disasters but our bodies are very similar in that way. Are you catching my drift? Our bodies can function at many different potentials, and for the most part we can choose (leaving margins for genetics, of course) how high of a potential we function at.
I’m not just talking about our physical bodies — I’m also talking about the mental, spiritual, AND physical wellbeing all working together to make our teeny tiny personal human ecosystem work to its full capacity.
We talked in our last post about how there is no need for extremes when it comes to balancing a healthy lifestyle within our every day routines. That being said, it is important to set aside a time to relieve stress, rebalance ourselves, and optimize our “ecosystems” everyday. This does not mean a workout everyday, but rather a moment that you can set aside for YOU that is beneficial to your body as a whole.
Let’s start out with the importance of the muscular system:
Outside of the muscles’s aesthetic appeal, they are much more useful than we give them credit for! Muscles help us regulate our metabolic system, help with bone strength, assist in weight management, and actually help with resilience from diseases and sickness. And a bonus: the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn!
In the last segment we talked a little more about diet/lifestyle, and we will delve more into that in the next segment. That being said, I think it’s important to discuss that food is FUEL! Our muscles rely on protein and carbs to grow, and our hormone system relies on fat to keep everything balanced and working properly. The easiest way to lose body fat is to have a good regimen of weight lifting and moderate cardio, as the muscle built will KEEP the fat off better than any cardio routine you could have!
The thing I want you to focus on for the next little while is setting up a routine. Routines make habits, habits make lifestyles.
We have been programmed to believe that we can get everything we want almost immediately; from the invention of the microwave, to fast food, to online shopping. However, achieving immediate results pertaining to health and fitness is not possible. It takes patience, hard work, dedication, and a faith that you will achieve what you desire as long as you continue to make the necessary strides to reach your goals. This is an area in our life where we should implement and practice longevity with the realization that “these things take time!”
Winging a working out (either at the gym or at home), sporadically, or without a plan is a setup for failure. You wouldn’t miss a date with your best friend, right? Why miss a date with your workout time?
To delve even further into optimizing your workouts, split up your days of working on muscle growth and cardiovascular efficiency. Have specific days to work specific muscles –yes, even including your heart.
I have a very simple three-day split that I can repeat twice in the week if I choose to, or do a full cycle and only repeat an extra day or two. The point is that if I at least get those three days in, I will have completed a full-body cycle in my workout week. This allows for maximum effort in the workout AND maximum recovery for those muscles since they aren’t being pushed every day.
While time and space do not permit me to go into much depth of workout details in this particular post (though we will cover more ground in future posts), here is the basic breakdown of my personal schedule:
- Monday: Legs (includes calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and typically hip-flexor movements)
- Tuesday: Biceps, entire back, and abs.
- Wednesday: Triceps, shoulders, pectorals, and any extra accessory work that needs to be done. (wrist/ankle strengthening, et cetera)
Keep in mind that your schedule does NOT have to look like this. You can use this schedule but use it for Monday/Wednesday/Friday instead… whatever works for you! The point is to have functional muscle that will help you in everyday life.
Set your own personal goals for aesthetic reasons, but functionality is key. You can also use apps or different internet resources for ideas and creativity on how to work on a particular muscle group and to keep your workouts interesting.