The importance of versatility

For my new commute to work these past couple of weeks, I decided to bust out an old habit of mine. Podcasts! From the fabulous Jillian Michaels, no less. I’ve been catching up on all I’ve been missing, and somehow listened to three separate episodes where she discussed one important piece of advice that I happen to vehemently agree with. Callers would ask her about this diet or that – Paleo or South Beach, etc. She said the same thing to all of them. Restrictive diets are difficult to maintain and often rob your body of certain macronutrients needed for optimal performance. Of course, she always stresses that everyone is different and people are free to make their own choices, but I happen to agree with her.

I find it difficult to cut things out of my diet completely – partially because I’ve heard the saying “everything in moderation” just a few too many times. I don’t eat a lot of sugar, but I definitely have some on occasion! Dan and I generally don’t eat a lot of meat, but it has it’s time and place in our lives. I’ve certainly tried such things in the past. Once, I was a vegetarian for a week. Then someone tempted me with a shrimp. Another time, I followed the Atkins diet to a “T” for a whole summer. These types of deals never work out for me because I can’t sustain the lifestyle forever, and when I finally started eating carbs again … my body revolted and gained an instant and humongous amount of weight, and my metabolism was off for quite some time.

This line of thinking applies to my workouts as well. Sometimes I get a one-track mind with weight lifting, running, yoga or whatever my current obsession is. It doesn’t take long, however, before I’m burned out on it altogether and need to move on to something else. Having learned this about myself over the years, I’ve perfected a concoction of strength, outdoor workouts, games (tennis, raquetball), all-terrain (hiking, biking, rowing), gym workouts, etc. to keep myself going. Of course, when life gets hectic, I have my favorites to fall back on, but over time, I’ve tried to make more of an effort to mix it up, not just for the sake of my boredom, but to give different muscles a chance to work and keep my body guessing.

I suppose the moral of the story is … variety is the spice of life. And also, I’ve used far too many cliches, so I should probably just quit now.

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