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Relaxation

Why can you eat more if you work out regularly?

Eating equals life-quality. Especially if the meal is well prepared. Many people rather listen to their palate than to their entire system. This often results in gluttony. I used to eat 4-5 times a day. My excuse: “Well, these are only small meals. Plus I’m training like a beast.” Was I right or wrong?

What happens in your body during physical exercises?

Motion requires energy. One source is nutrition. Focus on the appropriate food quantity at the right mealtime. Especially if you move every day. In case you want to get in shape through strength training, work every day different muscle groups. Also, you want to consider days off every now and then. Why’s that? If you exert muscles, you put them under stress. This causes growth since your body “thinks” it need to lift more weight or more often than before. Muscles can only increase their volume during relaxation. That’s why tension and relief or sports and relaxation always need to be well balanced. During your work-out your body transforms food in energy and thereafter it builds muscles. The higher your body’s muscle percentage in relation to fat, the higher your metabolic rate. The harder you train, the bigger the gain an the more your can eat. Yet burning fat and building muscles is a science and dependent on non-dietary factors too, such as the intensity of your training and regeneration. So you want to push your physical limits carefully. I found out that strength, balance, flexibility and endurance components in a very special relation work for me best.

Find the right training mix!

My daily program contains calisthenics, yoga and cross-fit elements. I usually train 10-20 minutes and always different muscle groups in alternating sequences. Slow-motion-style, which means maximizing the strain time. Though I do incorporate high-intensity pieces, such as burpees. What do you want to consider?

  1. Define your training goals. Do you want to become a lean leopard or a bulky beast? Your diet, exercises, weight, speed as well as number of sets and repetition is a function of your personal objectives. I recommend you to find a balance rather than going into the extremes. Believe me: I’ve been at both ends.
  2. Create a training plan. Your program needs to be divers and makes you move your boundaries. Humans are habitual beings. Yet if we don’t vary, we get bored. If we don’t push ourselves mentally, physical adaption sets in. The resulting plateau will dissatisfy you and lower your motivation.
  3. Take action and follow through. No matter how heavy you are. No matter if and which disease you’ve. No matter how busy you think you are. No excuses. Start where you’re, use what you’ve and do what you can. It takes 3 months or 100 days to cultivate a new routine. The earlier you begin to work out, the easier it is. The more you delay, the harder it is. Those are the ExperienceZone truisms we live by every day.

Does working out shorten your life?

Some months ago, one of my trainers said that exercising makes me die earlier. “How dare you, civil drill-instructor?” Either he wanted to go broke, smoked crack or discovered something I didn’t know. Latter is almost impossible. Yet his bold statement got me hooked. So I dived into research like we do at ExperienceZone.

There is no evidence for either school of thought

After an hour of stalking google, I concluded with disappointment that he was neither right nor wrong. Argh, how much I hate grey zones, white spaces and black boxes! On the other side they enable me to shed some light on a subject. Unfortunately this time not based on my own experiences, since your smart-ass author is still here.

Life is all about balance. You have to find your own. Once you know where your sweet spot or – in broader terms – comfort zone is, you can make deliberate escapes into your experience zone. You can push limits, which accelerates growth yet increases risk. Or you can step on your tippy toes just outside your luke warm area, which brings decent progress and calculable risks.

Sports & Relaxation are just two ends of the same scale: Physical engagement. If you work out moderately and take Sundays off to chill on your couch, you’ll be just fine. No significant life span prolonging or shortening effect. In case you train like a beast and relax like on tranquilizers, you’ll either live longer or shorter.

So, what is the secret sauce of rejuvenation?

Scientists found out that “endurance athletes don’t necessary live longer but do die healthier”. What a great outlook! Let’s combine it with a second knowledge snippet though: “The length of you genomes determine your life expectancy.” These are the tiny ends of your DNA strings (the colorful garlands in the biology book, which contain your unique blueprint). The longer the genomes are, the more days are left to enjoy on planet earth. Usually, they’re shrinking over time. Slower if you’re relaxed and behave zen-like a turtle and faster if you freak out everyday. Physical, mental, and emotional stress makes you age quicker and die sooner.

If we combine my admittedly superficial pieces of wisdom, you want to engage in the following behaviors:

  1. Work out regularly. Best case on a daily basis. Find your optimum between strength, balance and flexibility exercises. Ideally outside at the fresh air and with exposure to sunlight.
  2. Don’t stress yourself. If you’re not into competitions, don’t sign up for them. I know, social pressure is a bitch. I recently ran a corporate half-marathon which almost killed me after an exhausting week and a short night. If you’re not feeling well or do have muscle ache, don’t work out that day. Listen to your body and follow your intuition.
  3. Take time for relaxation. Passivity is no time-waster. In contrast, it clears you mind and regenerates your muscles. For my bodybuilding buddies: Days off training actually make your muscles grow! Zzzzz…

Give it a try! Learn through trial-and-error. Then feel your genomes shorten and watch your body rejuvenate as if your name is Benjamin Button. Even if you don’t add days to your life, you’ll add life to your days. Even if you don’t want to do it for health, do it for vanity.

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