How much is enough? How much is too much?

Approaching almost my ninth year in fitness I've been reflecting recently on the struggles and accomplishments I've seen over the years both personally and through my clients.  Health and Fitness can often times be our best friend or own worst enemy all wrapped up into one.  Often times we see extremes of not enough producing little results or far too much leading to injury or quitting all together.  Through my experience I've put together a list of tips to ensure overall success, sustainability, and longevity!

1.  Start small and build up!
One of the most common things I see when someone starts a fitness program is doing too much too soon.  Its important to start small and build up your frequency, repetitions, and resistance safely and effectively. 

2. Balance out your workouts!
Another mistake I see often is not balancing out workouts.  We tend to focus on our strengths or things we are comfortable with which leads to not being a well rounded athlete.  Its the guy who cycles 70 miles a week but never lifts a weight, or the guy who focuses on upper body lifts forgetting about the legs and cardio.  Its important to balance your workouts with strength, flexibility, and cardio.  I think you'll see an improvement in each area as they will compliment each other.

3. Knowledge is power!
In this day and age of technology the resources are endless for us to acquire knowledge about health and fitness.  One of my favorite things is listening to various podcasts or reading books.  Just make sure your information comes from a credited source as the negative of endless resources is misleading information.

4. Rest is just as important as work!
It is important to listen to the body and give it adequate rest when it needs it.  7 days a week in the gym is too much and can lead to muscle deterioration.  This goes hand in hand with balance mentioned above, keep in mind going for a walk counts as activity, listen to the body! 

5. Form is first!
Often times we can get fixated on how much weight we are lifting or the number of repetitions we can complete losing sight of the most important piece, form.  Form should be the number one thing focused on in the gym to ensure safety and effectiveness.  Often times people will sacrifice form for resistance leading to injury or targeting the wrong muscles.

6.  Build the good around the bad!
The bad is inevitable and is all around us, there's no avoiding it.  The work happy hour, the vacation, a friends bbq are just a few examples of events that can throw off our routine leaving us feeling off track.  No one is perfect and things such as these should be enjoyed in moderation.  They key is to project and build the good around the bad.  Take a look at your weekend and see where you may make some mistakes and try to build good decisions such as home cooked meals and activity around the parties and events.

7.  Fitness is a way of life!
The last and most important thing to understand is fitness is a way of life, it is a journey and not a destination.  Often times we have certain life events that motivate us such as a wedding or the doctor gives us a bad physical.  We work hard to get things on course and when we get there we slowly veer the car back off course.  Consistency is your friend in fitness and health and its important to note that comes in all forms.  Weeks and days will vary but its important to continue to strive for a balanced active lifestyle!