Year 6 Day 214 - Take the complicated out of your workout

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The latest AT&T Ad campaign hits my funny bone as the little kids sitting at the table show the grownups that things don’t have to be so complex. And, their slogan and message bring up a good point that you can apply to healthy living (and your smartphone): “It’s not complicated.”

I love these ads so much because after all, that’s my mantra when it comes to getting people eating well and moving: “It’s not complicated.” It calls for commitment and sometimes hard work. But complicated? No, it doesn’t have to be!

Just eat a little healthier; move a little more; and you will improve performance. The problem is, it’s easy to make things more difficult and elaborate than they need to be. Perhaps you remember the early days of step classes. When I first started teaching step, there were five basic choreography moves everyone was doing.

Then step patterns got really crazy! People were going “over the top” and “boomeranging” over their steps. I sometimes practiced for hours just to teach one really elaborate choreographed class – that’s how complicated it was.

Then people realized something: They didn’t want – or couldn’t do – all that complex stuff. Now step classes are back to basics again!

When Simpler Is Better
Here’s another example: Squats and lunges. They’re great for getting your heart pumping and strengthening your lower body. Simple. But go to any gym, and you’ll see people doing really complicated variations on these two otherwise simple moves. Why? Well, advanced exercisers might need it and want it. And that’s fine.

But if you’re struggling just to do an exercise the right way without all the “fancy,” then simpler is better. And if the basic feels too complicated, make it even more basic! Modify.
I always say there’s no shame in modifying, only quitting. And, honestly, quitting is complicated because now you have to add “get in shape” back on your to-do list!

When you modify exercise so it feels manageable, you cut the “complicated” out of the exercise equation. That’s why you start with just a lunge, for example. Nothing more. Learn great lunging form first. Basic technique trumps everything else because it lays the foundation for working your way up from there. Oh, and it saves your knees, back, hips, etc.

Step back and take a look at the workouts you’re doing now. If they feel like a burden and not a welcome part of your day, perhaps re-evaluate how you could make them less complicated.

In other words, there’s no need to “tape a cheetah to your back” to achieve the results you want. (Don’t get that last line? Watch the AT&T commercial.)


Chris Freytag is a fitness expert, public speaker, contributing editor to Prevention magazine and an author of several books, including her latest, a healthy cookbook titled, CHOOSE THIS! She appears regularly on QVC, and her latest workout DVD is called the 10lb Slimdown Xtreme, including 13 comprehensive circuit training workouts. Chris Freytag has been training, teaching, and educating in the health and fitness industry for more than 22 years. She is passionate about helping people take better care of themselves and their families.

Top Fitness Expert Chris Freytag Motivates and Empowers You to Lose Weight and Live Healthy: Find out more about Chris Freytag or contact her on her website at on Facebook, Pinterest, or on Twitter.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon I love to keep things simple!
    2998 days ago
  • MAGA99
    emoticon here is to keeping it simple

    3004 days ago
  • TLG71567
    I started to take a step class for the first time in early January. I was completely lost and was a little frustrated. During the break, the instructor came over and told me to modify the steps so that they were comfortable and doable. Another student suggested leaving out the arm movements until I was comfortable with the step part. It was really nice to know it was okay to modify. Nobody looked down at me, quite the contrary, everyone was very encouraging. Thanks for posting this.
    3004 days ago
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