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“Variety is the spice of life”


I am sure we have all heard this quote before.  I have heard it used many times, both in a positive and negative manner.  I have heard it used to explain how to improve things, and I have heard it used to justify bad actions.  But when it comes to health, I believe variety can keep things exciting and help us grow. 

Let’s look at a couple ways variety can spice things up!!!

When Exercising!!!

In the movie Dodgeball, one of the main actors says, “I’m gonna shock the biceps later, finish up with some cardio.  You know.  Change it up.  Keep the body guessing.”  The character who said this was a little bit goofy, but he makes an excellent point.  We CAN’T become stagnant in our workouts.  We know we need to hit the major muscle groups when exercising.  Whether that be lifting weights, stretching, or body weight exercises, we have to mix it up.  No, I am not saying that you have to do something different every single day.  You just have to mix things up regularly.

I like to change my weight lifting program every 4-6 weeks.  Sure, I like to hit the same muscles groups all the time, but I switch up the exercises hitting those muscle groups.  For example, I will perform barbell presses one month and then dumbbell presses the next month.  One month I may have a heavy focus on weight lifting, but then spend the next month focusing on body weight exercises.

The point here is that variety can help your muscles grow and “keep the body guessing.”  You body will adapt to what you are doing.  If you focus on the same exercises all the time, you will not see the gains and improvements you want to see over the long haul.  Stick to a specific routine for 4-6 weeks and then change things up.  This type of variety is the spice of the weight lifting life.

When Eating!!!

Variety is also great in your diet, as long as the variety is the healthy stuff.  I am not saying that you have to go 100% healthy food 100% of the time, though that is not necessarily a bad thing.  I am suggesting that you focus on healthy food as often as you can, at least the 5and2Guy way.  When eating healthy foods, try to switch up the fruits you eat, the protein shakes and bars you eat, and the supplements you use.  By mixing in different, healthy choices, you can experience something different in your diet and find some foods that your body really responds to, not to mention the joy of different flavors and variety.  Sure, you want to have some typical things in your diet that you can count on that you know are great for you, but mix in some different healthy things as well.

As the 5and2Guy I focus on the 5and2Guy way.  I do my best to eat as healthy as I can during the week, avoiding junk food and things that are not so great for my health.  I pretty much eat the same lunch, pre-workout meal, and post-workout meal Monday – Friday.  The variety I experience during the week is with dinner.  My wife cooks a variety of healthy dinners during the week, so this keeps me guessing and satisfied!!!  On the weekends, I am a little more loose.  I try to eat healthy when I can, but I also mix in some junk food.  This may not be ideal for everyone, and I am NOT saying this is best for you.  I am simply saying that I like my body to experience a tiny bit of bad sometimes so I am reminded why I eat so healthy.  For me, nothing reinforces my healthy eating habits better than feeling like crap after eating a big stromboli or a bunch of hot wings.  This variety on the weekends reinforces my resolve to diet and also allows me to “live a little.”  I have learned to eat healthy on the weekends and mix in some things like ice cream and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups as a treat for eating so healthy all the time.

Final Thoughts

Variety is the spice of life and we need to mix in both good and bad variety at times.  Of course we want to mix in more good variety than bad variety, but even the bad can be helpful in their own way.  There is nothing wrong with taking a day off from exercise because you feel lazy and it is raining outside…but this CAN’T happen all the time.  There is nothing wrong with eating some foods on the weekends that health professional would frown upon…but this HAS to be limited.  Figure out what works for you.  Figure out what keeps your body guessing plus adds some spice to your life.  No one said being healthy can’t be fun and spicy.  So spice things up a bit and keep your body guessing!!!

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