Thursday, May 15, 2008

Getting High From Exercise, Naturally

Why is it that so many of us are always tired, lethargic and really don't have any energy at the end of our day of work. The last thing we want to do is head down to the gym, or pull on our jogging sweats and do a workout!

It seems a complete contradiction when you hear about people doing a workout GIVES them more energy, when all you are actually doing is burning lots of calories (ie. ENERGY!!!)

Having once been a desk jockey, spending 8+ hours a day sat in front of a screen, it is as if that computer monitor, telephone and my boss was sucking all that precious energy out of me.

I was not alone!

You could see it in the faces of the men and women working around me, by the time 6 O'clock came by they would wearily pull on their coats and jackets, trudge down to the car park and set off home ready for the sofa and TV remote.

The problem with this energy drain is we would always be looking for the quick "pick-me-up". Normally this comes in the form of snack machine fare, soda drinks packed with sugar, the post work alcoholic drinks and a visit to the curry house or fast food outlet on your journey home.

Coupled with your levels of inactivity this causes the inevitable weight gain, lowering of self esteem, energy and enthusiasm, in a horrible vicious circle...

Thankfully there is a solution, but it does require your first step, luckily we do have a naturally occurring chemical on our side to help us on the way once we do get going, beta-endorphin.

This chemical gives us a natural high after doing a workout, that kind of feel good glow. What's more it is possible to become addicted to this feeling, making the decision to pack a bag for the gym easier and easier!

It is important to understand under what conditions you need to invoke a flood of beta-endorphin, there is an easy way and a hard way...

It may seem strange to learn that the hardest way to get the rush is the most common method of workout that is adopted. When you jump on to your favorite cardio machine in the gym, or pull on your trainers for a jog it can take in excess of 50 minutes, according to clinical studies, in the "fat-burning zone" to get a decent kick of endorphin. The problem is it takes an awful lot of motivation to stick out a long and slow workout for a bit of a high.

Now I suppose you don't really want to know about the hard way!!

The easy way comes in the form of short-sharp bursts of physical activity, the studies show that this style of workout normally brings about a bigger endorphin hit in less time than the long, slow, steady state cardio workouts.

The workouts can take the form of quick 25 minute cardio interval routines, where the most tedious part is the warm up and cool down.

Another option is your traditional circuits style routines, a series of exercises done intensively, each one for 30 seconds, then taking a short rest as you move on to the next exercise. Not only are these workouts fun, you'll burn plenty of calories during and after just a 30 minute workout.

The third option comes in the form of bodyweight, multi-muscle, multi-dimensional exercises done at an intensity and tempo that will exhaust the muscles in your body quickly. Exercises like squats, lunges, step ups, push ups, bodyweight rows and pull ups (Notice I didn't say crunches or sit ups, avoid wasting your precious workout time on exercises that really don't help that much. The reasons... OK that's for another article)

You can set yourself a great workout that is done in 40 minutes with these exercises, all giving you the endorphin rush to boot too!

Many of our clients report a rush of energy and actual enthusiasm when they come to do their workouts! One such client, a particularly stressed and sedentary IT contractor, who really despised the thought of working out at the end of the day, started appearing in the Gym more and more frequently, until I started seeing him there EVERY evening! I questioned him on his new found enthusiasm, he said "I still don't relish the thought of coming to do my workouts, but I get one hell of a kick out of finishing it!!"

So you see there is a solution to your lack of energy and motivation, there truly is a "natural" high from getting short-intensive workouts done. Yes it is tough making the first step, but get yourself in your local gym from tomorrow and get a safe and legal chemical high from a quick and hard workout.

Tim Goodwin is a fitness professional specializing in help the busiest people achieve more with their amateur sporting interests, and at the same time ridding them of excess body fat. Visit to get a free 18 page report "How to lose weight even when you are really busy" containing a full 4 week program which you can start today!


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