written by: Rocky Dauden
I heard this one from Dr. Oz on Oprah, he said the goal is not really to get fit but to feel better. Simple statement but incredibly profound. Here’s why I think so. If the goal of working out were to build big strong muscles, what if you don’t want them? If the goal was to run faster or lift heavier, what if you don’t compete - or just don’t care? But if the goal was to feel better, who wouldn’t want that?
So assuming I have sold you on my opening statement and you too want to feel better, how do you do it?
When it comes to dieting, go for the food that you love. If you are a chicken person, go without the skin or shift from dark to white meat, at the end of the day, it’s still chicken. If you love ice cream, go for the low-fat variety or try a whey protein shake or smoothie, this should taste and feel almost the same without the extra calories. If your diet calls for sweet potatoes but you are a rice person, go for brown rice. The point is, you gotta stay close to what makes you feel good. Drastically deviating like going from chicken to tofu steaks or from ice cream to unflavored oatmeal will only make you dread your diet. In the end, you feel deprived and chances are, you won’t stick to your diet and instead, rebel and stuff your face in the end reversing all the progress you made in the previous days.
Same principle applies to your workouts. Are there exercises you just hate? Like crunches, squats, lunges - uhh! Feel free to substitute. If heavy squats scare you and you don’t have a spotter on hand, try the leg press machine. Use a smith machine for your lunges so you don’t fear falling over or the abdominal machine if you have trouble reaching your toes during crunches. Doing what you love makes your workouts more enjoyable and if you like what you are doing, you have a greater chance of coming back the next day as opposed to fearing the exercises even before you enter the gym.
I took this a step further and decided to wear my favorite colors to the gym. I realized that when I wear certain clothes that emphasize my assets, I workout harder. If you have love handles, please don’t wear a body-hugging shirt that will force you to keep you stomach in at all times and make it hard to breathe and perform the exercise.
On cheat days, reward yourself with a treat. I discovered that eating a slice of cake takes away all my cravings and helps me stick to my diet because I feel so guilty afterwards that I try to go back to eating clean right away. I also look forward to cheat days which makes all the dieting during the week much more bearable.
I tried this the other day. I normally workout in the morning and box at night. This time I decided to skip boxing and went home straight and instead opted for a massage. After all the beating my body was taking, I felt I needed a break to recuperate. After the massage, I slept like a baby which I haven’t done for a very long time. The next morning, I skipped gym and instead had a nice breakfast at UCC Cafe. I had garlic fried rice, fried eggs, chicken adobo ( a famous Filipino stew) and a cup of Japanese syphoned coffee - and yes, a slice of chocolate banana cake. I ate leisurely while reading a book by Lance Armstrong entitled "It’s Not About The Bike, My Journey Back To Life" for inspiration and motivation. This really helped my body relax and get ready for another beating. Come nigh time I was back in the gym and amazingly, I was stronger, my muscles were harder, as if they had missed the metal so much that they were jumping up and down with joy! I did it! I felt better! In fact, I felt so good that apart from finishing all my sets, I had enough leftover in the tank to do some extra sets trying out new machines and sort of dancing to the background music as I walked to the locker room. There was a sudden spring to my step and I was smiling at everyone as opposed to the usual post-workout get-the -hell-out-of-my-way look because I might collapse anytime from fatigue.
So maybe I didn’t check the scale for a day and maybe I gained a pound or two but my muscles were harder, I was stronger, more confident, smiling, friendlier and even bounced as I walked. I felt better. Isn’t that what really matters? I radiated a positive glow that could be felt by the people around me. I was happy and they knew it. I felt like a winner.
So I guess when it comes to feeling better, it really doesn’t matter what the scale says as long as you like what you see in the mirror and other people like it too. Have you ever seen an arrogant self-indulged gym rat who does nothing but admire himself in the mirror and walks out of the gym alone because nobody can stand his company? Do you think he is happy? Working out is supposed to result to wellness. Wellness means being well, feeling well, feeling good.
Are you feeling good now? Are you over-trained and working too hard? Are you cranky? Try to take a mini-break like I did. Focus on feeling good. Get a facial, a massage or foot spa, have your nails done by a professional, get a good tan going, floss your teeth and flash those pearly whites. Remember, looking good and feeling good are the end results of all the hard work. If it were not, then why do it?
Enjoy your life. Live to the fullest. Carpe Diem!