Have you ever wondered where the infamous 10,000 steps ever came from?
Is 10,000 steps really enough to change your health, fitness and physique?
FACT: The 10,000 number originally appeared in the 1960s when a Japanese company started selling pedometers called manpo-kei, which literally translates to “10,000-step meter”.
More recently, some researchers have suggested that 15,000 steps might be a better target.
In fact in Canada, it’s recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week, with no mention of a specific number of steps.
You HAVE to put in some effort and intensity of you want to improve your fitness level!!!!
Intensity matters. Taking 10,000 slow steps isn’t the same as taking 10,000 quick ones. Just like going for a long walk isn’t the same as doing interval sprint training. The affect on your heart rate, energy expenditure and output are drastically different and will elicit quite different results.
Walking 10,000 steps a day can be great in addition to training, a great place to start or perhaps a form of stress relief, but it’s just not enough to improve you overall health and fitness.
Often times we find that people come to see us because they are frustrated with their results. Usually this is because of the intensity and quality of their exercise program. Trying to figure out fitness on your own is super challenging and can be extremely frustrating. The key to your success is working with the right program and enough intensity to affect change with your body.
What is enough intensity? If you are out of breath and sweating then you are working out with the right intensity. That’s right, even if you are doing a body weight program, you should be breathing hard and sweating. While heart rate monitors can help you assess your energy output, we will be super honest, with our decades of experience getting people stronger and in the best shape of their life, we all know when we are working hard! (ie. sweating, breathing hard and maybe even a tad shaky after a good set!).
Have you found yourself ever saying, “I just don’t sweat.” Here’s the thing, sweating is a physiological response to increased body temperature. If you are not sweating then your body temperature is not rising, which means your muscles are not working very hard, which means your exercise intensity is not high enough.
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I lift weights to tone and sculpt, I don’t do cardio.” If you are not breathing hard then you are not making your muscles work very hard either. Your muscles need oxygen to function. When they start to work harder they require more oxygen to maintain that level of exertion. You breath hard in order to get more oxygen into your body in order to fill that need. So if you are not breathing hard it means you are not creating a demand for oxygen in your body. You are not working with enough intensity.
Why is this even important? Because if you are not working harder than your body is already capable of working then you will not give your body any reason to get stronger and more efficient.
The majority of fitness goals are usually based on making changes to your body including improved cardiovascular health, decreased body fat, and an overall increase in strength. The only way to achieve any of these health benefits is to ask your body to accomplish something that it currently can not do.
Ask yourself this: Why would your body make changes to the way it functions if there is no need for it to do so? It doesn’t want to get stronger, fitter, and leaner because that takes more energy to maintain and your body does not want to have to increase its energy output, in fact, it is always attempting to minimize energy expenditure (#survivalmode). So if you are not challenging your current levels then you will not see any change.
Anyone that tells you workouts should always feel easy is most likely trying to SELL YOU SOMETHING. They are playing on your desire to have a quick, simple, and easy program that will change your life. It wont.
For exercise to be truly effective it needs to push you out of your comfort zone sometimes and it needs to be challenging. It needs to push your limits and challenge your current capabilities. The truth is, if you are not working at that level you are not going to accomplish your goals.
So up your intensity level. Push a little harder, and challenge yourself, but do so with quality, challenging, progressive, interesting and smart programming. Don’t waste your time. And no, you don’t have to do it alone. You need to find a community to support you and coaches who you can trust. Because it is true, we find most people don’t know how strong they are, but MORE importantly, how strong and fit they can become.