Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Workout Won't Change Your Body.

First, the bad news. One workout won't change your body. You'll likely burn between 400-600 calories, which is about the same as a burger from McDonalds. Not the fries, too, just the burger. It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to burn a single pound of fat, so unless you ran a full marathon, your one workout isn't doing much for your body.

Like I said, that's the bad news. Now for the good news. Changing your body isn't the goal of a single workout. The goal is to change your attitude, your heart and eventually, your soul.

Lofty goals for a single workout, right? Sure. But it's possible. It's not only possible, it's inevitable. And here's why:

Your brain has triggered a rush of the mood-elevating hormone dopamine. And that adds to your already good feeling of accomplishment from working out. So it's a two-fer, both chemical and emotional. You feel good. And feeling good means that your attitude about everything around you gets better. You are more likely to smile at those around you, to hold a door open for someone, and even to greet a stranger with a friendly, "good morning."And those people around you are likely to respond to that kindness with kindness of their own, making you the recipient of smiles, courtesy, and friendly greetings.

So your workout has changed your attitude, which has softened your heart, and improved the world around you. And that is what heals your soul.

Wow. That's a lot from one workout, right? Okay, maybe that doesn't happen exactly like that just because you ran a 5k or pushed some weights around in strength training. But some variation of it will happen. And that's a great thing.

Another benefit of working out? Because you feel good and proud of yourself, you are more likely to make good, healthy decisions about eating all day long. You know what it took to burn those calories, so you will be mindful about all the calories you take back in.

And the best news? With enough of those workouts and those days of purposeful eating, your body WILL change. You will see and feel results. So get out there and make it happen!

Me, post 5k run and proof that a little exercise is great for your mood.