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See How Your Brain Can Ruin Any of Your Workout or Healthy Eating Plans.

See How Your Brain Can Ruin Any of Your Workout or Healthy Eating Plans.

Exercising. You look great when you do it, you feel amazing when you get through a routine, but sometimes you just can’t muster the motivation to get moving. It’s so easy to tell yourself that you can skip a day, and pick up where you left off on the following day. But you tell yourself that the next day. And the next day. You see where this is going. After a few days of pushing it off, you’ll just abandon the work-out routine altogether.

Dieting can be just as tricky. Cheat days come so far and few between, and sometimes you really just want to eat a flippin’ cookie! With proper diet planning, there is plenty of room for cookies. But that is not the point. Just because we want something, doesn’t mean that it’s going to manifest itself. In order to get the results that we desire, we need to put the work in.

Our brains have created shortcuts to goals, that’s why we now want to burn fat instant as lightning

    Photo credit: Source

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    Social media gets a lot of heat for altering the way in which we view ourselves and how we think that our lives should be. To be brutally honest, it’s well deserved. Many of us have become addicted to the pleasure that instant-gratification illusion from social media has provided us with (instant likes, which translates into approval from our peers). Many marketers[1] use this technique to attract us to their products. This addiction to instant-gratification puts us at a disadvantage. Because now, we just expect things rather than seek ways to earn them.

    Many of us unknowingly have succumbed to time preference [2], a concept where we put a heavier emphasis on short-term outcomes rather than long-term. In the moment, we tell ourselves that it is okay not pursue a goal, because at the moment we are comfortable[3] where we are. This relates to why so many people give up on their workout routines and goals; because the “burn” is causing them discomfort, or because they are not seeing the results that they desire right away. In order to breathe some life back into our ambition, we need to kick the need for instant gratification, and focus on the big picture.

    The story of marshmallows does give your life outcome some hints

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      In a study orchestrated by Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University in the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s, studying the effects of delayed gratification.

      A group of children were given the choice between receiving one small reward immediately, or receiving two small rewards if they chose to wait. The waiting period was for about 15 minutes, where the tester would leave the room for this time and return with the two small prizes. The prizes were usually cookies or pretzels, but sometimes marshmallows were used, hence the name.

      Years later a follow-up study was conducted on the now grown up children of the Marshmallow Experiment. The results showed that a majority of the children who had chosen to wait for the larger reward achieved better life outcomes down the line. These achievements were determined by factors such as SAT scores, educational attainment, and body mass index.

      When we are willing to wait and work towards a greater outcome, we tend to appreciate it more when we finally achieve it. A personal example of this dates back to my childhood/ early adolescents. My dad always provided me with what I needed, but if I wanted something, I had to work for it. Obviously as a 10 year old I didn’t have the means or working papers to afford what I wanted, so I would offer to perform jobs around the house, or put up my birthday money to pay half the cost of a digital camera, or whatever it was my heart was after. I appreciated and cared for my possessions because I had worked for them. I wouldn’t have viewed them to be as valuable if they had just been given to me.

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      This appreciation for dedication and future outcomes are the foundation to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. You need to push passed the temptation to put it off until tomorrow, or bail on your diet, because doing so will only make you feel down on yourself in the future. Stick to your plan, and not only will you look better, but you will feel better, be healthier, and will be less likely to acquire health complications down the road.

      Keep going and you will never want to leave work-out alone!

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        As someone who tries to work out daily, I know how hard it is to get into the swing of things and make it a habit. I’ve been guilty of cutting routines short, or skipping them, only to later stuff my face with countless tacos followed by cake. But I also know how satisfying it is when you commit to a healthy diet (with prospective cheat days of course), and seeing those sexy results in the mirror. It also improves your mood and overall energy level, so once you get going, you’ll start to look forward to your work-outs! (Or at least the post-work out pride).

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        The road to health and fitness is a long and harrowing one, but it always leads to greatness. Denying the desire to give in to momentary pleasures such as cutting a routine short, or skipping it altogether will lead you to the euphoric pleasure you will get from achieving the body you want. So don’t give up. Stick to your goals.

        Featured photo credit: Eat This, Not That! via google.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Jenn Beach

        Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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        Last Updated on August 15, 2018

        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

        Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

        Video Summary

        Why is it important to train up our core strength?

        There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

        This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

        Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

        In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

        One Exercise, multiple benefits

        There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

        By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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        When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

        Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

        In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

        What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

        What will happen when you start doing planks every day

          1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

          Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

          • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
          • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
          • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
          • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

          2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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            Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

            Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

            3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

              Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

              4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                5. You’ll improve overall balance

                  Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                  6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                    Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                    7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                      Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                      How to hold a plank position

                      1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                      2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                      3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                      4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                      5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                      6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                      7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                      Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                      Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                        How to improve your plank time gradually

                        1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                        2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                        3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                        Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                        Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                        You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                        • Prolapse
                        • After prolapse surgery
                        • Pelvic pain conditions
                        • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                        • Previous childbirth
                        • Overweight

                        Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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