Measurements and other signs of progress.
Measurements, progress photos, and maybe scale weight are typically taken as measures of progress. They can be useful for gauging whether or not your actions are leading you in the right direction, or if you might need a little course adjustment to get you back on track. The thing with measurements though, particularly after Christmas, is their potential to highlight a bit of a backwards slide on the progress you’ve made up till now.
But here’s the thing, that’s ok. It’s expected even. And it happens to us all.
Measurements, weight and photos can be a tricky thing to navigate at this time of year. We’ve taken our foot off the gas, eaten a bit more than normal, exercised a bit less and we don’t want our measurements to remind us of our self-perceived failings. But you haven’t failed at anything. You enjoyed yourself, you relaxed, and with all that’s going on in the World just now, there should be no guilt associated with that.
Now that you are in the post Christmas period, you’re getting back on track, you’re doing what you need to do to get closer to the goals you’ve set, and you’re noticing the differences again. But there’s still that bit of fear that you’re not where you were 4 weeks ago. But you need to remember a couple of things:
- Your measurements show short term fluctuations, but are better for showing longer term trends. And it’s these longer term trends that are what matters. If your weight went up a little over Christmas, that’s only an indication of what went on over the last few weeks. Taken as part of the bigger picture, you’re probably still ahead of where you started.
- These measurements and pictures are only part of the true progress you’ve made. You’ve changed how you eat, and have a better relationship with food. You’ve changed your approach to exercise and are stronger and fitter than ever before. Your sleep is better and manage your stresses more easily. You’ve made a lot more progress than just changing the number on the scale or what the tape measure says.
So use the measurements to help you course correct if you need it, and focus on staying consistent with all the other great work you’re doing.
Undoing the seated position
We all spend a fairly large part of our days seated, particularly now that most of us are working from home. We no longer have any type of commute other than from the kitchen to the spare bedroom that’s now an office. But how much exercise do we need to undo the negative adaptations associated with extended periods sitting on our derrieres?
There is a strong association between more time being sedentary and increased mortality risk. But this can be offset by taking part in moderate to high intensity exercise, and a recent meta-analysis of 9 studies measured physcal activity via accelerometers for between 4 and 14.5 years. The main objective was to study the associations between all-cause mortality and different combinations of activity levels and sedentary time. They found that on average, people were sedentary for between 8 and 10.5 hours per day, not including sleep, and their activity levels in the moderate to intense ranges was between 8 and 35 minutes per day.
What they found was that those in the upper third of the range had reduced the association between sedentary time and mortality. This suggests that 30-40 minutes per day of moderate to intense exercise can offset the sedentary time we each spend. This could be a brisk walk, a short workout or full training session.
But the overall message is clear, move more, particularly if you have to spend a lot of your day seated.
Hollow body progressions
The hollow body (aka the waterslide) is a great alternative to a plank for anti-extension core work. It offers more stability for beginners as you are in greater contact with the floor, and a tough progression for more experienced folks.
The set up is always the same, make sure your low back is pressed into the floor by tilting your hips back, raise your chest and shoulders off the floor, then find the right position to test your abs without losing your low back position.
If you want a further progression, try the hollow body rocks shown at the end of the clip to really challenge your core strength.