How You Should Work Out On The Whole30

Photo: Christine Hewitt

With benefits like more energy, better digestion, improved sleep, and stable blood sugar, it only makes sense that people gravitate toward Melissa Hartwig's Whole30 program in January. With an indulgent, often stressful season behind us, it's hard to argue with the logic of kicking off the year with a meal plan that will leave you feeling better than ever.

But with new meal plans often come new exercise regimens, which raises the question: How should you work out when you're on the Whole30? Here's Hartwig's advice.

There's no prescribed workout routine, but you may find you have a lot more energy.

While some diets have an exercise component, the Whole30 isn't one of them. "There is no exercise component to the Whole30—working out is not a requirement to see life-changing results," explains Hartwig.

Further, if you've already been exercising regularly, expect to see some differences in energy. "If you've been exercising, continue to do your normal training—but don't be surprised if things are lagging the first two weeks, as your body adjusts, particularly if you're used to eating lots of sugar," she says. "Taking a rest week or half-intensity week here is often a good idea. If you get partway through your Whole30 and find you have so much energy that you want to start exercising—go for it! This is a common side effect of the Whole30."

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Don't kick off an exercise regimen when you start the Whole30.

Exercising during the Whole30 is a good idea, but Hartwig cautions against throwing yourself into a new workout routine while changing up your diet. "We generally recommend you not start a brand-new highly structured exercise program at the same time as the Whole30 if you haven't been exercising," she explains. "The brain can only successfully prioritize one big-picture goal at a time, and I've found working on your health, habits, and relationship with food offers the most bang for your buck."

If you've already been exercising, don't be afraid to take things up a notch.

Whether you want to incorporate more walking and light yoga into your fitness routine or you're craving something with higher intensity, Hartwig notes that it's hard to go wrong as long as you listen to your body. If you've been exercising regularly and want to continue during your Whole30, now's a great time to mix things up," she explains. "Try adding some yoga or bodyweight moves, or picking up heavy stuff if you've been doing mostly cardio."

"If you've never exercised before but your Whole30 program has you energized, try walking or hiking, plus a few TMAC20 Beginner Series workouts," she adds. They're 20 minutes long, require no equipment, and are a great place to start, even if you're only doing them once a week."

Intrigued by the benefits of the Whole30? Here's why the Whole30 is the diet for people who hate diets. And if you want to give Todd McCullough's workouts a try, check them out here.

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