How To Workout Smarter…Not Harder

Are you working too hard? In the first part of this series, I may have alarmed you that it is possible you or one of your loved ones is over-exercising and working harder than you need to in order to achieve your finest fitness.

Over the past two decades many fitness methods – and gadgets — have developed around the concept that the harder you train, the more you measure it on a screen or your arm, the more weight you’ll lose, the more tone your body will become or the stronger you’ll become…and, the happier you will be.

The notion of working harder to achieve continues to pervade the fitness culture in our country. I am convinced it is not only rife in our fitness culture, it is our lifestyle culture in America. We can all fall prey to the “work harder” model to achieve better grades, more money, more people liking us or to gain more influence. I know I have.

Yet, intuitively we know “working smarter” is the recipe for success.


How Your Body Works

So here’s your physiology lesson for the day…this is how your body works. It has a certain amount of energy, it uses up energy in many ways, and exercise is just one way you ask your body to produce energy. Your brain’s first priority is to keep your body alive and functioning (and that is no small feat). Its second priority is to fuel the daily activities you ask from it, and the last is to help you achieve the fitness and physique for which you aim.


Your Body and Stress

When you are in a stressed out state – your 24/7 world, stress is everywhere state — you want your body to be able to handle stress. Whether it is a scrape on your finger or a tussle with a friend (yes, both cause stress), these things — on top of 100 other stresses — can make it tough for your brain to do its job of keeping your body alive and functioning AND giving your body the energy you are asking for your morning boot camp, two-hour tennis match, or swift evening walk. It can only handle so much.

Intensity Mindset

Coach and Performance Architect Joel Jamison says, “While the need for energy is obvious and something most people understand, what’s much less clear is how training, stress and recovery are all directly related to energy and the results they see in the gym. It’s because of this relationship that the intensity mindset is always destined to fail…”

And it is also why so many continue down the deprivation, over-working, lack of sleep model with really-nowhere-to-go – but back to the gym or fitness class…to “work it off.” Then measure it on your device which is likely not able to tell you how many calories your body is burning.

Next week, we’ll take on this intensity mindset and help you understand how you too can achieve the wellness you’ve always wanted – whether you are 18 or 88!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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