Don’t exercise? WHAT? When everyone else is trying to convince you to get off the couch and get into the gym, I intend to challenge that widely thrown around point of view. I mean do you really, really, really need to? Maybe not. At least not right off the couch. Maybe it shouldn’t be your 1st priority if you want to feel better and look better.
So what am I talking about? I’m talking about preparing for an exercise program with a detox beforehand. Being able to do 100 push ups and 100 burpees are fine and good, and there’s time to work up to that. But what I am proposing is to actually work up to even beginning to work out.
So first things first – is there a difference between following a detox plan and following a workout plan when it comes to looking and feeling good? The short answer is Yes – there is definitely a difference. And second, when should you do one or the other?
Since the purpose of a detox program is to assist your body in releasing stored toxins so it can function at its best, it just makes sense that detoxing the body is always a good idea whether you exercise or not. In fact as you may have already suspected, exercise is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain a detoxified system. However, even the most physically fit among us could still have some level of toxicity within their bodies and could benefit from a detox. And further still, there are instances where it is more beneficial to follow a detoxification plan before diving into a workout:
So let’s explore three good reasons to do a Detox instead of Exercising.
1. You don’t feel strong enough. Everyone has heard the disclaimer at the end of the commercials about “consulting with your physician before beginning any exercise plan”. In this instance, it does make sense, except you will be your own doctor.
If you are very lethargic, lack energy, have continuous skin issues (toxic sweat from exercise can make skin conditions worse before getting better), suffer from food hangovers, or have swollen and painful joints – these may possibly indicate a clogged colon and congested liver. These symptoms typically cause medium to severe detoxification reactions when an exercise program is started before easing the toxic load. A two to four week easy detox would be the perfect way to prepare for an exercise plan in this case. For example, this general 7 day detox could be repeated as necessary. You can learn about detoxing the liver and colon and other detox plans in my monster detox post.
2. You want to be Slim more than you want to be Healthy. This thinking is pretty slippery and screams of caution before proceeding. The dilemma here is that although there is nothing wrong with being concerned with how you look, getting healthy should be your first priority. Think about it another way: do you want to be slim and sick or not so slim, but have an overall feeling of good health? This is a trick question because it should be a no-brainer. And if you paused a little too long thinking about the “slim and sick” option, then, my friend, consider holding off on the exercise program until you’ve fully evaluated if you are ready. After all, when you focus on healthy detoxification, the weight loss will come.
As an example here’s a mistake I personally made. A while back I asked a personal trainer friend for advice on how to loose 5-7 lbs in less than two weeks. Not impossible, but a very, very tall task. Because I used to be a workout warrior years prior, my friend prescribed 2 hours (yes, I said 2 freaking hours) on the treadmill 5-6 days per week, lots of water, and eating low/complex carb, protein filled meals every 2-3 hours.
Now, I was already feeling sluggish and chronically tired and had been eating too many spicy fried fish sandwiches and DQ dilly bars. After two or three days of trying to do a 2 hour treadmill walk/run routine, I was zonked! Not only did I breakout in unpleasant places (and I mean real unpleasant!), I also felt like a zombie – complete with red eyes (from pre-existing adrenal exhaustion) and rubber arms. Although I used to do triathlons and such years before, my body was in no way prepared for that type of sudden stress. I had to drop back to 30 minutes/day and settle for missing my unrealistic goal. A good 7-14 days of clean eating and flushing my system with water would have made all the difference in the world.
Even something as simple as adding more water in your diet will detoxify you by relieving fluid retention caused by too much salt, sugar, alcohol, etc. Instant slimming. Then if you wanted to take it a step further, you could add a little lemon or lime just to help de-gunk your bloodstream. The result? Easy-peasy weight loss without changing your diet or adding exercise.
3. You have Bad Eating Habits. One of the great benefits of a Detox plans is helping to reset your relationship with food. The hardest part to getting healthy or any exercise based weight loss plan is the eating. There’s no amount of working out and exercise that will help correct your bad eating habits. You can exercise forever and a day, but if you are eating two double whoppers with cheese afterwards, you are probably in desperate need of a detox.
If you tend to overeat or eat a lot of sweets and processed foods, I find that an exercise plan actually can encourage the behavior. “Oh, I’ll just run an extra 45 minutes on the treadmill after work” or “I’m going to add a sixth day this week to zero out that whole meat-lovers pizza I ate last night”. But guess what? If you end up working late, or have unexpected plans over the weekend and can’t fit that extra Sunday workout in, those bad eating habits and justifications will catch up with you really quickly. (Come on, I know I’m not the only one guilty of this)
Beautifully, a detox plan should inherently include modification of your diet for the necessary rest of the digestion system. This allows the elimination of toxins and helps regulate eating parameters. Meaning, when you’re getting the right amount of nourishment and at the same time resting the digestion system, not only do the taste buds get readjusted to appreciate real food so that over-salted and super sweet treats are not appealing, but the amount of food required to satiate is regulated. Those are the subtle tweaks from doing a detox that help you say “NO” to things that nutritionally set you back – like overeating and candy.
So there! Hopefully, three good reasons NOT to exercise. Okay, okay, yes – I tried to use a little reverse psychology here, because these reasons are not intended as excuses to ignore your health. I really just want you to objectively access your physical and mental states prior to exercise. Exercise is absolutely a great way to get slim and feel great. However, if you take time to gently detoxify before beginning an exercise plan, you’ll comfortably reach all of your physical goals a lot easier and faster. If you are a newbie to exercise, have been eating a not so healthy diet, or have suffered from nagging illnesses, consider following a gentle, simple detox plan to help ease you into an exercise plan that’s appropriate for your age, weight, and medical condition, if any. It will make your workout and your body feel so much better.
Not sure if you need a detox? Take a Detox Assessment.