Sticking to a whole foods diet is 90% of the fat loss equation. The other 10% is your dedication to an active lifestyle. Getting strong and earning a fit physique doesn’t require all day and all night in the gym, but it does require transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to an active lifestyle. Most people in western society are living sedentary lifestyles and seeing the negative side effects impact their abilities to live happy, fulfilling lives.
Many Americans are chained to a desk for 5-10+ hours every single day (and then they get in the car, and then they sit on the couch, and then they get in bed). That is not how the body was meant to be used. If you are in a job that forces you to be at a desk, you may want to consider a career change, or at best, request a standing desk. And if you can’t get a standing desk, then you need to stand while taking calls. You need to move as much as possible – your employer can’t force you to sit – all they can require is that you get your job done. Also, if your job is considered sedentary, then you need to make a promise to yourself: you will use the rest of your free time outside of work to live an active lifestyle.
What Is the Definition of an Active Lifestyle?
According to the government, an active lifestyle is considered working out for 150 minutes per week (30 minutes a day, five days a week). That is a bull shit number and will not get you fit, nor will it keep you strong. We consider an active lifestyle to be 3-5 hours of movement every single day. That does not mean exercising for 3-5 hours. It just means being on your feet, walking, cooking, playing with your kids, riding a bicycle.
But What If I Can’t Commit to 5 Hours of Exercise?
We understand that many of you can’t just stop working and go walking for 5 hours a day. To counteract the constraints of your daily schedule, we recommend strength training workouts that take less than an hour to complete. We also recommend walking at least 5 miles daily. No running for hours on end -- but for this to work, you will need to find a way to walk or hike 5 miles per day.
To get your five miles a day in, you should see how far it is to the grocery store, work, school, or anywhere else you visit regularly. If they are less than 3-5 miles away, then you can get there in under an hour and use those trips to get your mileage in each day. If you can’t walk to work, then create a few routes around the area that you can walk while on lunch or after work. The best part about this lifestyle is that you are doing low intensity steady state walking, which encourages more fat loss and puts less stress on your body.
Here are a few other ways to incorporate active movement into your day:
Getting Started on an Active Lifestyle
If you are really out of shape, this lifestyle change might be hard at first, but you have to make a promise to yourself that this is for your health. It’s not about looking good, although that’s a nice bonus, it’s about feeling great. From now on, your body is your main form of transportation.
To get started, you need to create a walking radius. For example, for the first month, promise to walk anywhere that is within one mile of your home. In month two, extend it to two miles. By month three, you should be able to walk up to three miles one way without a problem. Aim to get to five miles, but that may not be possible if you live in a rural area (get a bike)…but if you live a big city, it’s doable. Don't be afraid to combine walking/cycling with public transportation either.
I know what you must be thinking: it’s going to take SO MUCH LONGER to get anywhere. And you’re right, but with that time, you are going to find that life on foot reduces your stress levels and your waist line, and increases your happiness. Walking takes longer, but it also teaches you to be patient and be more aware of everything around you.
Do I Need a Gym?
Nope. Never, actually. This lifestyle is for folks who want to work out at home or in the park. We recommend that you have two sets of dumbbells – a beginner might have an 8-lb. set and a 10-lb. set, while somebody with more strength might use a 15-lb. set and a 20-lb. set. I recommend walking to a store and picking them up. If you can’t buy them right now, don’t worry. Body weight workouts are just fine. And if you have kids (little ones), just lift them!
Now that you've read about fitness, make sure to read our nutrition protocol or go back to the Start Here page to see what else to do. Thanks for being part of the Nutrition Feminist army.