I’ve been asked a few questions about working out and CF over the past few months, so I thought I would do another Q&A bloooooog to share them:
1. EVER HAVE DAYS WHEN YOU JUST DON’T HAVE THE ENERGY OR WILLINGNESS TO WORKOUT? WHAT DO YOU DO TO OVERCOME THEM?
I sure do. There will always be days where you either don’t have the willingness to workout, or you don’t have the energy to workout. I see a difference between the two. Not having the willingness is to just not have the will to do something…..to just not want to do it. For me, a cloudy and/or rainy day can cause me to not want to or not be willing to workout. Something about the dark, gray, and dreary colors depress me. How do I overcome this? I just go. I don’t think about how I feel, but I think about why I’m going. I know working out is something I love, and I focus on the benefits that come from it. Not only that, but once I get going with my warm-up, I start to snap out of the unwillingness and I begin to want to continue. This has happened so many times now that I know that this is what will happen whenever I feel unwilling to go to the gym or for a run. This expression has been quoted a lot, but it’s “mind over matter.” When it comes to a mental lull, you just have to put off how you feel and go. Motivation is not a feeling….it’s a reason. Find your reason and focus on that whenever you feel unwilling.
Not having the energy can be a different thing. This is unlike having the willingness or unwillingness, in that it can be something physical with your body that is effecting your workouts. “Mind over matter” can help sometimes, but there are other times where it can be the worst advice ever. Not having energy can be linked to unhealthy eating or dehydration, or even lack of sleep. Some good old preventative maintenance can solve this problem: Proper nutrition will fuel your body properly and give you the energy to workout. Drinking water will keep your body hydrated and energetic to workout. Getting the right amount of sleep will give your body the rest it needs for the next day and the next workout. Are you lacking the energy to go to the gym or to the hiking trail or to the running trail? Check and see how your eating, what you’re drinking, and how much you’re sleeping. If any of these areas are lacking, change them and watch how your energy levels will change.
2. DO YOU HAVE ONE STARTING TIP FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO CHANGE THEIR LIFESTYLE?
The very first tip I would give someone who wants to change their lifestyle is: be consistent. Consistency is the key to everything. If you are going to start with exercise, then be consistent. If you are going to start eating healthier, then be consistent. If you realize how much in your life needs to change and it seems overwhelming, then pick one thing at a time and be consistent. When that one thing is consistent and becomes part of who you are, then pick the next thing and be consistent with that.
For example, if you want to eat healthier but it all seems overwhelming, then pick one thing. Start with water. Drink water with your meals. When that becomes an easy habit and eventually just part of who you are, go to the next thing. Eat vegetables with your meals. When that becomes part of who you are, you now have veggies and water in your nutrition. Move on to the next thing. Another example is exercise. Start with 3 days per week devoted to the gym. Pick your days and your time and stick to the schedule. After a few weeks you will develop a habit and that will lead to a lifestyle. It takes consistency to get there.
3. DO YOU HAVE “CHEAT” FOODS, OR IS THAT A NO-NO?
In the words of The Macho Man Randy Savage: “Oooohh Yeeeaaaahhhhh.” Let me tell ya, Friday nights in our house is pizza night. Barbecue chicken pizza from pizza hut is inevitable. I’m addicted to it at this point. Sundays are more relaxed on my eating as well. I think eating healthy 24/7 is almost impossible. It’s not, but it is. Whether or not cheat foods is a no-no….that really depends on you and your goals. The more disciplined you are, the better the gains. If you want to be a meathead with no neck, eat all the junk you want and weigh train. If you want to be shredded with .0000342567485% body fat, then you need to eat none of the junk and only healthy all of the time. It’s everyone’s own responsibility to figure out what they want and how to eat to reach what they want. The more lean you want to be, the better you need to eat. For me, I’m happy with where I’m at, but I want to be leaner. I know I will need to be a little more disciplined with my eating, and I’m working on how to do that…..but there will always be a cheat meal or two in my week.
4. WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTHY EATING, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU HAVE DONE THAT HAS LOWERED YOUR SYMPTOMS?
The first thing that comes to mind is water. Drinking water instead of pop and other sugary drinks helps me stay hydrated, and for me, it keeps me from coughing so much. My lungs aren’t dry and junky. The difference is very noticeable. Water also helps with my digestion. When I drink pop or other sugary drinks my digestion is out of whack. Water is important for everybody, but it is especially important for anyone with CF.
Cutting out junk food and fast food has really made a difference as well. Sticking to fruit, veggies, lean meat, good healthy fats, etc. has done a part in lowering my symptoms, especially with digestion. I’ve stayed away from the “eat all the junk you can to get those calories in” for several years and my health has only gotten better…….and I can easily still get those calories in with healthy food.
5. CAN EXERCISE SUBSTITUTE THE USE OF THE VEST EVERYDAY?
I believe it can. I don’t believe that you can substitute exercise, but I do believe that you can substitute the vest. I’ve been working out for almost 23 years. There is nothing like it. It has done more for my lungs and overall health than I am able to put into words. When I tried the vest for the first time a few years ago…..there was no comparison. I wrote a little more about that in a blooog titled THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME. Weight training and various forms of cardio will work the lungs far beyond what the vest can do. I would rather go run sprints or swim laps than sit down and have a vest shake my chest. Have you compared exercise to the vest? What do you think? If you can change your life to include weight training and cardio, please do it. Your lungs will thank you for it.
Thanks to those who asked me these questions. I hope the answers were helpful. I will do more Q&A when I get more questions over time. So until then, keep the questions coming. I enjoy them.
Until next time,