Bored of running or not feeling up to your usual strength training routine? From streamlining your workouts to exploring a more tailored approach, maybe it’s about time the quiet quitting movement found its way into your exercise routine
Be it making time for morning meditation, putting in extra effort with friends or simply eating more greens, a new year brings with it a whole list of new intentions.Sound familiar? Amping up our exercise routines is one of the most common resolutions of them all — it’s no surprise that gym memberships regularly soar in January and quickly fall come March — but what if you’ve simply lost interest in exercising, or are struggling to maintain motivation when it comes to working out? If you’re stuck in a fitness rut, it might be time to jump on the quiet quitting bandwagon, whittling it down to the sessions that count and focusing on what works for you and your body as pushing yourself too hard and too fast is only likely to end up in quitting for good.“It’s easy to feel demotivated or insecure when it comes to exercise, so it’s often more effective to introduce small, achievable goals,” Nora Hameidani, founder of Barre Effect Dubai tells MOJEH. “If you go too hard too quickly, or try to copy what someone else is doing and fail, you can crash and burn. We don’t know anyone else’s story or goals and, as cliché as it sounds, the only person we should be competing with is ourselves.”
The antithesis to your standard New York Barry’s Boot Camp jargon that encourages us to continually ramp up our workout routine with reckless abandon, quiet quitting isn’t about stopping working out altogether, it’s just about breaking those fitness goals into more manageable chunks to reap rewards without reaching burnout, or alternatively finding the most effective workouts for your body type in order to boost motivation. After all, there’s no one size fits all. If we all began the same exercise routine tomorrow, some of us would become much fitter, others would get a little more in shape, and a few may even loose fitness levels. Quiet quitting can also be a powerful way of encouraging women to try a different type of exercise, too. “We all know someone who says they just plain hate exercising, or claim they aren’t an exercise person—we buildup these beliefs from childhood and they are hard to shake,”advises Hameidani. “But there are so many different styles and types of exercise, so I encourage people to try different things and find what they enjoy the most. It doesn’t have to be at the gym or a class—it can be outside walking, hiking, swimming. Anything other than sitting down.”
In order to stick to an exercise routine it’s important to have some key pillars in place—time, motivation and means. “Sometimes it feels like we are always on the go,”says Jamal Ramsay, a UK-based sports scientist and founder of plant-based shakes brand Jrny.“It can be overwhelming when we feel we don’t have time to exercise so we often end up pushing it to the side. This breakdown of workouts into chunks of as little as 10 minutes can be just as effective and much more achievable. As for motivation, try having a SMART goal in mind,” adds Ramsay. “This refers to specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific, and could be getting stronger, losing weight or improving your aerobic fitness. Something you can clearly work towards.”
“Some people need the guidance of a personal trainer, others just need themselves and the gym, whereas others prefer a class. The point is to find something for you and, once you do, decide if it’s something you can do long term.” Constantly pounding the treadmill without seeing results is the quickest way to lose the motivation to work out, and it could be your body type that’s to blame. Dubbed the ‘somatotype’ approach, certain schools of thought believe it’s helpful to consider this in your weight loss and fitness goals because each body type reacts and responds differently to calorie intake and exercises. Knowing which approach to take will not only help you be more successful at achieving your goals, but you’re also more likely to see results which in turn will see purpose soar.
“Body type, or somatotype, refers to the idea that there are three generalised body compositions that people are predetermined to have—ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph,” Tania Kaddoura, Dubai-based sports physiotherapist and ASICS Front Runner tells MOJEH. “It can be very helpful to consider your body type in your fitness goals because diet and exercise recommendations for optimal health are different for everyone.” Considered as having a higher body fat percentile with less muscle mass, a generally rounder build and slower metabolism, endomorphs tend to be more sensitive to caloric intake and have a lower tolerance to carbs. “This means that most will respond better to HIIT workouts to build muscle mass,” advises Kaddoura. Ectomorphs, however, are naturally skinny with smaller bones, a narrow structure and may struggle to gain muscle.“The lean build of ectomorphs, combined with their naturally higher proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibres, means they tend to excel at aerobic exercise and may favour low-intensity steady-state, or LISS, cardio workouts like jogging, cycling, and elliptical trainers,” she explains. But that doesn’t mean this type of workout is ideal when it comes to reaching body composition goals and building muscle. Ectomorph body types should avoid excessive cardiovascular activity like long runs as this might have a toll on muscular development. Instead they should prioritise strength training to build muscle and keep cardio intensity low to limit caloric expenditure.” Last but not least, a mesomorph’s naturally athletic build means they can gain muscle more easily than their peers.
“They are generally considered to be the most genetically gifted of the three,” concludes Kaddoura, adding they will be most responsive to strength training focusing on total-body workouts or even isolated muscle groups. “I have to be transparent and declare that this approach isn’t fool-proof, but it definitely helps customise your body composition goals, making it easier to attain them in the long run. It’s important not to neglect the basic training principles that are universal across all somatotypes, however. Just because an ectomorph has a higher metabolism, for example, it doesn’t mean they are immune to gaining weight and body fat if they consume too high of a calorie surplus. Not sure of your body type? A quick Google search of somatotypes should help clear that up or, if you’re still unsure, consult a trainer at your local gym.
Then there are those who believe DNA testing could be key to understanding why people respond to certain forms of exercise in different ways to others by equipping a person with information on the variants of their genes, as well as how they metabolise macro nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Why people crave the foods they do, their weight loss journey, their endurance capabilities and more can potentially all be discovered this way. Variations in the ACTN3 gene, for example, have been linked to how a person responds to exercise—if the response is low, you may need to focus more on diet to maintain your weight. Research has also shown that following a genetically-matched workout plan can deliver up to three times better results because your genetic makeup determines which type of exercise you respond best to, and how prone you are to injuries. Piquing your interest? Downtown Dubai’s The All England Practice offers a ‘DNA Sport’ test reporting on endurance and aerobic capacity, muscle fibre type, energy released during exercise and more to help identify which type of workout or training regime will be most effective for you.
“These tests are relatively new and need to be researched more to determine whether one does experience better psychological adaptations when performing exercise suited to their gene expression,” explains Ramsay.“It’s great to be informed on what may be better for you, but these are not definitive tests. It depends on what works and is realistic for your training and diet.” We’ve all been tempted to skip training in favour of an evening of Deliveroo and Netflix, so taking a more effective—even if that means more relaxed—approach to fitness could easily mean the difference between continuing with the bare bones of certain workout routines and stopping them all together. “There is no easy way or short cut: staying committed to a routine is hard work mentally, physically and emotionally, so of course sometimes you will feel fed up with it,” concludes Kaddoura. “But being realistic and accepting that it takes time to see and feel results will help you be patient with yourself and celebrate the small wins. And more often than not, those wins are actually anything but small. We are all on our own journey, and you are already winning versus the person who stayed in bed.”
What Else To (And Not To) Quietly Quit This Year
As a wave of viral Tik Toks are inspiring employees to ‘quietly quit’ their jobs, here’s what else to tone down to reap both mental and physical rewards
The trend that started it all, quiet quitting at work refers to doing the bare minimum instead of going above and beyond to progress. Seen as the antidote to generation burnout, it’s all about working smarter, not harder, to break cycles of toxic workflow behaviour, and was born in response to people working beyond their physical and mental limits and receiving nothing in return. While not for everyone, if a work/life balance is your priority, experts contend that it can work wonders.
Your skincare routine
We’re all guilty of using one too many beauty products, being inconsistent with routine and over-cleansing sometimes, so it’s no surprise that dermatologists have been seeing a huge increase in inflammatory conditions as of late. As such, stripping back your routine and only using the products that your skin actually needs is set to be the next big thing in beauty. By taking things back to basics, you’ll not only save money and avoid waste, you’ll also help your skin to strengthen and repair itself for some much-needed TLC. Rather than spending money on 10 products, try narrowing it down to three or four, focusing on protection in the morning and hydration at night.
Relationships are one area of life where quiet quitting is never recommended. Be it a partner or a friend, it refers to the act of making the minimum amount of effort after you realise the relationship is unlikely to last. While the desired result is to avoid conflict or awkward conversations, the end result will inevitably be hurt. Instead, try being honest about your feelings so the other person can move on in a healthier and more positive way by having closure.
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