I’m a big fan of sharing cool information I learn from books so this blog post is inspired by my latest read, a book written by a personal trainer in Nanaimo. Her name is Gillian Goerzen and her book is called The Elephant in the Gym. If you’re looking for a body-positive approach to fitness that is well-balanced, grounded in science, and with a lot of concepts that make sense, I highly recommend that you check out her book!
The concept I’m going to share with you today is called the Health Zone – a new approach to your health and fitness that’s incredibly simple and that will make a lot of sense once you hear it.
To better understand this concept, let’s set the stage:
You committed to waking up earlier to hit the gym. You wanted to skip on the office sugar. You wanted to have less cheese with that wine. And less wine for that matter. You said you would exercise every day starting this week…starting today…but it didn’t happen.
Translation: you set some ambitious goals (because that’s what you’re supposed to do), and when it didn’t happen you feel like you failed.
The result? You feel crappy about it.
But what if your goals didn’t have to be so…fixed. So binding. And so restrictive! What if your goals could have some leeway? And what if your perceived failure was because you just didn’t set yourself up for success to begin with?
Cue the Health Zone!
Meet your new best friend: Your Health Zone
Let go of fixed and specific goals for a minute and begin to imagine your health and fitness as a range.
A range that has a lower limit, and an upper limit:
Your lower limit is your non-negotiables: habits and routines that you maintain no matter what. It’s not a free pass to do nothing. It’s the minimum you keep doing, if nothing else. This is the health & wellness equivalent of brushing your teeth every day
Your upper limit is the maximum that you commit to doing for your health and wellness. This upper limit still takes into account your life – it’s not the:“I should be doing bla bla bla”…which never happens. This is that doable and realistic lifestyle that you know you can achieve under your current life circumstances.
Here’s an example: Me
For me, my lower limit is walking. If I have a day when I don’t feel like doing much re:exercise, or life/work stuff is happening, I stick to walking everywhere and I count that as a win.
My upper limit is doing 5 workouts per week, in whatever combination they happen to be: spin class, gym, stuff outside, home workouts, etc. I know that’s doable because I’ve done it many times and it’s a regimen that works well for me without leaving me feel overwhelmed.
At any point in time I am somewhere in between my lower and upper limit. There’s usually a combination of walking days and workout days. That’s my range, and as long as I’m there, I feel pretty good. There are lots of time when I hit my upper limit and I’m happy about it. There are also lots of times when I’m closer to my lower limit, and I’m ok with that too because my lower limit still means I moved.
Why a Health Zone makes sense
I love the idea of a “zone” because our lives are not constant. Things get thrown at us all the time and we need to act on them. Sometimes life is slower, and sometimes it really picks up. It’s normal and it’s how it goes. So why shouldn’t our health and fitness follow the same logic?
By switching our mindset to think of our fitness as a zone, we can allow ourselves that same flexibility when it comes to our fitness.
Your Health Zone is yours and no one else’s
The other piece about the health zone is that it’s personalized to you. It’s not about what your co-worker is doing, or what some Facebook friend is bragging about. This is about you – and being honest with what will and won’t work for you.
There are as many ways to achieve “health” as there are people. There is no “right” or “wrong way” – there is only the way that works for you!
Your Health Zone can change
Your life today is different than 5 years ago, and your life 5 years from now will be different than it is today. Heck, your life next week might be different than it is today! Your health zone can change accordingly – and it should!
A few years ago my hubby and I were doing P90X workouts every day and we were loving it. But also our daughter was going to bed at 6pm, and we both had pretty regular jobs. Now we are both self-employed, our evening commitments have increased, and our daughter goes to bed at 8:30. Our fitness health range has changed dramatically since then.Reflect on where you are in your life now and note if your situation has changed – make sure that is reflected in your health zone.
Homework: try it!
Over the next week or so, pay attention to your own habits when it comes to health and fitness. Can you set a lower and upper limit for your own Health Zone?
Let’s work together!
My super power is helping individuals create a fitness regime that fits their lives, and that they can stick to long term. If that sounds like something you want to work on, I would love to work with you! Reach out to me through my website, or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make some long lasting changes together!