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The ‘Something is Better Than Nothing’ Approach to Weight Loss: How to Make Progress When Life Gets in the Way

One of the most common mindset problems I see when people try to lose weight is an all-or-nothing approach. While dedication, urgency, and drive are admirable qualities, this approach can be unstable and place a lot of pressure on the individual. My antidote to this is a “something is better than nothing” approach. This is especially helpful when life gets in the way and you can’t make it to the gym for your usual hour-long workout. A 30-minute full body circuit with just your body weight is much better than not making it to the gym at all.

 Breaking up your workouts into smaller “mini sessions” throughout the week is an effective way to still get the same amount of work in, while still progressing. Scheduling three one-hour training sessions per week (156 hours of training per year) is a great goal, but it’s understandable that busy parents may not always be able to make it to the gym for their full hour. That’s why the “something is better than nothing” approach is so important. With that being said, if you hit three thirty minute training sessions per week, that is still 78 hours a year of dedicated physical activity. Is it as optimal as hitting three one-hour sessions? Nope, but you are still sticking to a schedule which is better than having weeks where you have zero activity and weeks where you have five hours of activity.

While doing shorter workouts may seem like a waste of time, they are not. The time you spend on your health and fitness is never wasted. Simply taking the time to get a workout in has more positive benefits than just the workout itself. For instance, after completing just a short workout you will feel more inclined to eat healthier, so you don’t feel like you “wasted” your workout. You will also feel less stressed, after triggering your Endorphins you will go about your day in a more positive headspace. All of these tremendous benefits that a quick workout can have are larger than the workout itself.

So if you can only squeeze in a 20-30 minute workout, you better do it. Your body, mind, and future you will be happy you did.

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