What makes a program a good one? There are millions of workouts and countless nutritional strategies…some of them awesome, and many of them bogus.
How do you wade through the junk and get to the programs that actually help you meet your goals, become incredibly fit and don’t emerge as a broken human being on the other side? (Believe me, I’ve witnessed the brokenness from certain plans. It makes me so mad.)
Here are my 5 qualifications that any good workout and nutrition program must have. Does yours measure up?
1. The workout or nutritional plan must NOT be all-consuming. If it doesn’t allow you to get in, get out, and move on with your life then it’s probably not for you…especially as a mom. You have more important things to do than obsessing over this stuff. There needs to be strategies in place that make the program automatic, especially the nutritional component. No extensive logging, journaling, measuring, prepping, or making bizarre recipes. And on the exercise side, your workouts must not take you forever, especially when there are ways to be hyper-efficient. Don’t let your plan take over your life.
2. Similarly, the program must be simple. You will never stick with a plan if it comes with stacks of notebooks. It’s just not going to happen. You’ll forget the first thing you read by the time you read the last thing. How do you implement something like that? You need something that makes complete sense from the beginning and requires only a couple of mindset shifts. Nothing drastic or foreign. "Just eat protein with every meal? Great, I can do that!"
3. The program needs to be effective. It’s incredibly tricky to find a plan that is simple and basic yet still allows you to see some major progress. In order to do this, the workouts must weed out the fluff and unnecessary modes of exercise and cut right to the good stuff…the stuff that truly builds the muscle.
Building muscle mass with your workouts is priority number one. Why? Having more muscle on your body means stronger joints, powerful movements, much higher metabolism, less body fat, more balanced hormones, and all the other things you actually want your program to accomplish. If your routine does not include pushing and lifting something heavy, then look for something else.
And your nutrition must be on-point just enough to propel you forward. It should have a little wiggle to room to still be able to enjoy your life, but some clear guidelines so you can you see the changes you're after.
4. Your plan must be sustainable. Inconsistency is the enemy of true fitness. If you’re hopping on and off diets and workouts, you won’t get anywhere. Some of this is your fault (yep, I said it), but a lot of this is the plan’s fault. If the program cannot be realistically sustained for a long period of time, long enough to create true change, then it’s always going to fail.
For something to be sustainable it must be simple like I said above, it must remove any barriers for success, and it can’t include any extras. Here are some barriers for success and the unnecessary extras I’m talking about:
If your plan requires this from you, you’ll drop it after two months, tops.
5. Your workout and nutrition plan must not turn you into an obsessive, body-worshiping freakshow. (I’m just being real.) I’ve seen it time and time again…someone discovers the thing that finally turns their health around and they’re obsessed, but not in a good way. They’re flaunting their body and their method all over the place and it’s repulsive. Perhaps it’s just me, but I only want a workout and nutrition program that simply helps me feel really comfortable in my own clothes, makes me very strong and physically capable, and also meets my heart where it already is or should be.
Some routines foster the “sexy”, and over time you'll find yourself adopting this attitude. It’s so damaging because you begin to root your identity in your image. And that is a very scary road to trot down. (Read more about my history with this corrosive mentality here.)
Not what you expected? So perhaps this list of what makes a great workout and nutrition program isn’t really what you expected. Were you expecting “these 5 exercises” and “these 9 superfoods”? Many programs will just tell you what to do, but don’t reach into the heart of the routine, digging into what makes a program work for YOU. Your plan must be effective, absolutely. But it also needs to be practical on many levels.
Double check what you’re doing and decide if your workout and nutrition program is truly the best thing for you, momma.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." Proverbs 31:30
If your current workout or nutrition plan falls flat, I have the perfect solution for you. Tomorrow, registration opens for the Strong Mommas membership, an online fitness coaching program that lays out all of your workouts for the month, meticulously guides you through eating healthy, and nourishes your soul in the process. Click below to learn more...
Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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