How many times have you thought about starting, or have started a new fitness program? If you are like 80% of society, I would guess the answer is every year. Each New Year that rolls around people continue to tell themselves that this will be the year they truly get healthy. Most of the time it becomes a regimen that I like to call “The Two monther”. This is a program, resolution, or new regimen that a person starts with good intentions, but only lasts for a short period of time. Usually this short period of time never lasts longer than two months, and most times not even that long. That is why I call it “The Two Monther”.
So why do people only last the two months or less when starting out on a new health and fitness program or regimen. You may think the answer is quite complex, but honestly it is quite simple. They start the program without truly being prepared. As with anything that you do, you need to be prepared. Would you go on a camping trip without the proper equipment or with no knowledge of how to camp? Would you cook a seven course meal for 20 without knowing how to cook or with no recipes? If you answered no to either of these questions, I will assume you understand the importance of having knowledge and a plan.
You have now answered the question of why people only last a short period of time on a new fitness program or regimen.
Starting a health and fitness program may be one of the best things you could ever do for your health and well being. Physical activity can reduce your risk of 90% of the chronic diseases, improve your balance and coordination, help you maintain or lose weight, improve flexibility, improve sleep habits and patterns, and improve your self-esteem.
To start a health and fitness regimen and make it a lifestyle can happen for you if you start off on the right track. The right track consists of five simple steps. These steps will help you gain knowledge, help you develop a plan, but most importantly it will help you get a starting point and learn how to build on that starting point. You cannot build a house without a foundation. Well, you cannot build a healthy lifestyle without taking the proper steps either.
The first and most important step is to have your fitness levels tested and your body analyzed. If you don’t know where your current fitness and body levels are at, how can you properly develop a plan to become healthier? The answer is you would not be able to develop a plan, and you would fall into that “Two Monther” category.
The best way to have your fitness level and body analysis tested is to contact a local personal trainer. They will have the tools and test modalities to properly put you through the tests and provide the most accurate results. The fitness assessment should include a muscular strength and endurance test, a flexibility test, and a cardiovascular test. The body analysis should include girth measurements, and body composition testing. Many trainers will also test your blood pressure and resting heart rate.
The second step to developing and staying on track with your lifestyle program is the design of your program. Personal trainers can design programs that will help you stay on track and continue to implement practices of a healthy lifestyle that will keep you moving toward your goals. If a personal trainer is not something that fits into your budget, here are a few things you need to consider when developing your plan. Consider your goals by developing a long term goal, and then short term goals that will keep you moving in the direction of the long term goal. Create a balanced routine. Most adults need to strength train 2-3 days per week, and spend 150 minutes doing moderate cardiovascular exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise per week. Build physical activity into your daily routine. If it cannot be completed in one session, make it two or even three sessions throughout your day. Schedule it as you schedule other appointments. It should be as important as any other appointment you may have. It is your health after all. Your plan should include different activities. This keeps you from getting bored, but also keeps your body from adapting. This helps keep your body from hitting a plateau. Allow time for recovery. If you can’t put in 45 minutes of cardio in one stretch, go as long as you can and then build from there. Make sure the exercises and days you do certain parts of your regimen are spaced out correctly to keep you from injury and help the joints and muscle recover. The last thing that is important for developing a plan is put it on paper. Develop it on paper and log what you actually do on paper.
The third aspect that will help you with your healthy lifestyle is equipment. I don’t just mean dumbbells and treadmills. I mean everything from your clothes to the treadmill. Having the right shoes and clothes for the activities are just as important as knowing what equipment you will use for each workout. Write everything down. Plan, Plan, Plan!
The forth step is getting started. There is a progression that needs to take place to help prevent injury, keep you motivated, and keep you from being so sore you cannot participate the next day, and so on. Start out slowly and build up gradually. This is important for each workout, and the entire program. For the program, work your way up to longer times, heavier weights, more reps, greater intensity. As things become easier for you, increase those things previously listed. Each workout should also program, starting with a warm up, and then the exercises themselves and finishing with a cool down. Break things up. If you want to put in the full time but cannot in one shot because your body just cannot handle it, split the session up. Be creative with your routine. The greater variety of activities you do throughout the week, the less sore you will be, you decrease your chance of injury, and you will have more fun. Listen to your body. Let me say that again, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Now with that said do give into something just because it is difficult, but listen to it. Your body will let you know when a break is really needed if you feel nausea, dizziness, extreme shortened breath, or actual pain. This means take a break. If you can start again, go for it. If not, oh well tomorrow is another day. Be flexible. If you are truly not feeling good, give yourself a break and take a day off. Of course just because you are a little sore does not constitute a day off. You will actually feel better in this instance if you do workout. It makes the soreness decrease.
The last piece or step to creating a regimen that you can have become a part of your daily life is to monitor your progress. Every 6-8 weeks have your fitness levels and body analysis done. This will show you the results you are obtaining from your work, but also can be a great indicator that you may need to increase certain things about your program to continue to move forward. Monitoring yourself can also help you to continue to create and recreate as you start losing motivation. Other ways to continue to have motivation is hiring a personal trainer, working out with a friend who will push you, taking fitness classes, or registering for an event.
Starting a health and fitness regiment is an important decision, but it does not have to be overwhelming. Through careful planning, preparation, education, and pacing yourself, you can begin a program that you can establish and have them be healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Everyone will feel aches and pains after a tough workout. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can make you feel the burn while your muscles recover and rebuild. DOMS can be less if you take the right steps after your workout. Here are a few things you can do to help less the DOMS effect.
Post-workout Stretching: Stretching is the most important thing you can do after every workout. Training causes the muscles to contract, and get shorter. Stretching and lengthening them will promote mobility, and will help provide a more thorough recovery. Another benefit is that post-workout stretching helps increase your overall flexibility.
Nutrition for Recovery: It has been found that a post workout drink with between a 3:1 to 5:1 carb-to-protein ratio helps reduce muscle damage and decreases the time it takes for the muscles to recover. A tough workout depletes blood sugar, as well as the glycogen stored in your muscles. A recovery drink with some sugar helps get the protein to the muscles faster to help speed up the recovery process and replenish the muscle.
Ice: Icing after a workout can help keep inflammation at lower levels. This is why professional athletes will take a quick ice bath right after their workouts.
Changes to Your Daily Nutrition: If consistent muscle soreness and inflammation is a problem after workouts, a change in your daily nutrition may be needed. To help reduce inflammation, add foods that are rich in omega-3s—such as salmon, free-range meat, flax, avocado, and walnuts. These foods can help relieve some of the soreness after overexertion. Amino acid supplements can also be added to help reduce muscle soreness.
Massage: Massage can be a big help in aiding in muscle recovery. Myofascial Release, which targets the connective tissue covering the muscles, has become a popular method for recovery. If you cannot get this done by a massage therapist, you can hit these areas by using a foam roller—put the roller on the floor, use your body weight to apply pressure, and roll back and forth over the sore areas for about 60 seconds. Of course you don’t want to foam roll or get the massage until you have brought your heart rate back down and have properly rehydrated.
Heat: While ice is wonderful immediately after a workout, heat can help once your muscles have returned to their resting temperature. Heat can help increases circulation. This is wonderful once you have completely cooled down and your heart rate is close to resting. Hot Tubs are great to get deep into the joints.
Movement: Not exercising until the aches and pains subside it not the answer. Circulation promotes healing. Raising your heart rate and getting your next session of exercise in aids in recovery. The key is to keep the intensity a little lower during the next workouts. The suggested recovery workout is to keep the heart rate around 50% of your max effort, and keep your heart rate below 140 bpm or so.
Take a Painkiller: If you find it absolutely necessary, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen can help relieve pain. If properly using the above methods for recovery, this should be rarely used.
Sitting at a computer and desk most of the day can cause a lot of pain in the Trapezius muscle. This is the muscle that sits on top of the shoulders at the neck region. You can relieve this tension and pain throughout the day with 15-20 reps of the following exercises every hour. Plus you get the benefit of burning a few more calories throughout the day.
Sitting with an upright posture, perform 15–20 reps of the following exercises.
1. Scapular Pinches. Roll the shoulders back, and pinch the shoulder blades together.
2. Shoulder Shrugs. Raise the shoulders up toward the ears, then lower them back down.
3. Neck Side-Bending. Tilt one ear toward the shoulder, and hold briefly. Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Neck Rotation. Look over one shoulder, and pause briefly. Repeat on the opposite side.
If you feel tight or sore in the upper trapezius after the above movement-oriented exercises, perform 1–3 reps of the following static stretch, holding each rep for 30 seconds.
5. Neck Side-Bending/Rotation Stretch.
- In a standing or seated position, place the right hand on top of the head and let the left arm rest at the side.
- Gently pull the head toward the right shoulder with the right hand.
- Rotate the head down and look at the right hip. (The stretch should be felt on the left side of the neck/shoulder area.)
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Just adding these exercises to your daily routine can truly help decrease the tension.
The provide link is an article about a HERO that I have had the opportunity to work with. He is a daily inspiration for me, and I know he is for others as well.
Just like anything in life you need to develop a strong foundation. We have all heard the saying you don’t build a house without first building a strong foundation. That statement rings true with a healthy lifestyle. If you have been sedentary you can’t just jump right in and become fit and eat healthy. You have to take the proper steps to build that foundation. When you properly build a foundation you are building for a life long journey of success.
To start building your health and fitness foundation, you must build it on the following five elements; Prioritization of fitness and healthy living, Mindfulness, Confidence, Passion, and Support.
Prioritization of Fitness and Healthy Living:
Many of us spend our lives giving to others so much that we forget to give to ourselves. Though giving to others and helping others is important and a good trait to have, it truly cannot be fulfilled if we are not taking care of ourselves. We are only our best, when we take care of ourselves and be our best.
To be our best we must prioritize and make ourselves important. This requires effort and time that is spent every day on self-improvement. Just as basic things like hygiene, sleep, work, and other things in our daily lives are priorities, a healthy lifestyle must become just as important.
Taking time for the act of fitness, consciously making the decision to put healthy food in your body, writing down goals, ridding your life of toxic people and things, these are just some of the things that can help you begin to create healthy living. Taking time every day to put some focus on this will begin to build that foundation.
This is being aware of you, your fitness, and your life. It is more than just paying general attention. This is truly being intimately aware of your actions, decisions, body, and surrounding. This is taking the time to work at truly building a mind-body connection that creates more awareness.
An example of mindfulness follows this question. How many people to you see go to the gym day after day and really never get anywhere? I can tell you the reason why this is…Lack of Mindfulness. If you go to the gym with a friend and just carry a conversation while working out you are not being mindful. Being mindful is going to the gym with a friend and pushing each other. If you are mindful, you will be to out of breath to carry on a conversation. This continues outside the gym. Be mindful of your nutrition decisions. After all, nutrition is 75% of a healthy lifestyle.
Truly being present and focused on your nutrition and workouts will turn your routine into success.
Confidence is derived from positive inner affirmations. You need to tell yourself you are worth it, you can do it, I can make it, I want to live longer, I want to look and feel younger. When you can begin pushing through and providing positive affirmations when you want to give up during a workout, choose a bad food, or make it through a rough patch in life it will resonate into creating success.
Confidence comes from reminding yourself and knowing that for every miss-step or failure is a learning experience that you must become engaged with to learn to move forward and succeed in the next attempt.
Passion Fuels Action! There are two types of decision making. Making a decision for instrumental reasons – thinking the decision will lead to something else, and fundamental reasons – doing something because you really want to do it and make a difference.
Those who succeed make their decision for a healthy lifestyle based on fundamental reasons and passion. When things you do have worth and meaning, you tend to get excited and pursue with more passion.
Find physical activities that you enjoy, then push your enjoyment into passion, which will in turn allow for more success and results.
Use this same premise for food. Find foods you love and learn to make them work in your life, whether it’s changing the recipes to make them healthier, finding alternatives to the food, learning how to cook, and learning about new foods.
Whatever it is do it with PASSION!
Social support and networks of people are important. If you are trying to succeed and everyone around you is attempting to sabotage you intentionally or unintentionally, you will hit a road block. Hire a trainer, join a group training class, or sign up for an event. These are just a few ways that you can build a support network.
Align yourself with people that have reached goals you want to reach or are working toward similar goals. This will help keep you motivated, educate you, and provide you support.
You never see an athlete training with someone who is not as good as them. They always train with those who are better than their current fitness level. That is because this makes them push harder, instill more passion, and become better.
True support will make you stronger!
A healthy lifestyle has no end. It is a journey. It is something you must strive for, work at, and continue to perfect over time. Even top athletes continue to set goals and continue to strive and work. Whether you are new to this or on a steady path, keeping these five principles in hand will help you continue your healthy lifestyle journey for life and with success.
Accountability equals success! This is true in all facets of life. It is definitely the factor that rings most important when it comes to health, fitness, and wellness.
There are two types of accountability in the health and fitness world; workout accountability and nutrition accountability. Both are very important to your success, whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain your weight, or work toward a fitness or exercise event or goal.
There are several effective ways to be held accountable and establish accountability. You can hold yourself accountable, have a friend hold you accountable, work with a personal trainer and nutritionist, or use an online program or app. Of course when you are using yourself or the app on your own, you must make sure that you are being honest with yourself. Having a friend or trainer help you adds a higher level of accountability since you have to answer to someone else.
When deciding to make lifestyle changes, you have to be fully committed to changing your nutrition habits, and establishing a proper workout regimen. Before you begin, ask yourself if you truly can hold yourself accountable for workouts that are on a schedule and with changing your nutrition. If for a moment you think this may be a problem, then you know it is time to add in the higher level accountability by having friends, family members or a trainer be in charge of keeping an eye on your goals and checking in with you.
Of course, having a personal trainer is the most effective way to reach a health and fitness goal or goals. Personal trainers, like me, not only provide you with proper progressive workouts, but they hold you accountable to show up, get you through the workouts without quitting, and keep you on course to change your nutrition habits into ones that you can maintain for life. All of my clients have many different ways that we keep in contact when they are not training with me.
It takes an average of 21 days to develop a habit, but it takes on average 21 months to make lifestyle changes a part of your daily life. Make working out part of your daily routine, the same as you have other things as a part of your daily routine. Would you skip brushing your teeth every day? So why skip working out or eating correctly? Your physical health, fitness and proper nutrition are very important. Your health is something that once it goes bad, is very difficult to get it back and sometimes you can never fully get it back. Maintaining your body is just as important as the maintenance you do on your car. Why would you take better care of your car, then you do yourself. You only have one body, so take good care of it.
It’s easy to NOT workout. It’s easier to sit on the couch and watch TV, than to take 30-40 minutes to get a workout in. We all have busy lives, and we are all are given the same amount of time each day. You have to CHOOSE to be healthy.
There is always something that motivates us. You need to find that something that motivates YOU. Whether it’s a dress you fit into 5 years ago, or a picture of the body you want. Keep that goal in mind and remind yourself of it often. Try hanging the dress you want to fit into somewhere you will see it every day. Take pictures of yourself now, and every month take new pictures every month and hang them side-by-side. Always keep your goals in mind and let it motivate you to succeed.
Accountability can be tough, but you can hold yourself accountable. Whether you have to hold yourself accountable through the use of a friend, a trainer, an app, or a combination of ways, it is the key to success. Stay focused on whatever goal you have and don't stop until you achieve it. All it takes is your hard work, dedication, and true accountability.
You will achieve your new attitude, motivation and personal power!
Taking responsibility for all of your actions, reactions and non-actions, while becoming conscious of, and consciously utilizing your power to choose will enable and empower you to create and experience a more harmonious and authentic life.
Though we have all been born into different families and circumstances, we still all have the power to choose our paths. The power of that choice is an incredible gift.
Unfortunately it is a gift that many choose to not utilize, or unconsciously utilize at best. This only serves to produce “undesired” or mediocre results at best.
This is why so many "perceive" themselves as victims or creatures of circumstance rather than "creators of circumstance."
This Power to Choose on the surface can be quite obvious to most, as we utilize this power daily as we make choices about where we work, what we eat, the clothes we wear, when we go to bed, etc. These common on the surface "external" examples of how we exercise our power to choose individually are the obvious conscious choices that we each make on a day to day basis.
Most overlook the fact that the vast majority of our choices made are being made "unconsciously", below your conscious awareness. Every minute of the day, both on a conscious or subconscious level we choose and there is an inevitable outcome that follows. Although we are well aware of the "conscious choices", it's more times than not the "unconscious choices" that lead to producing our "less than desired" results regardless of how badly we may "want" something.
With each choice that we make, comes the need for accepting responsibility for what we experience in our life, in relation to each of the choices we make.
If we are unhappy in our work, we have free will, or a choice to change our profession. The choices we make concerning the kind of foods that we eat or whether or not we workout, will determine our health to a great extent. What time we choose to go to bed at night determines how we feel the next day.
We have been given the power to choose and decide these things for ourselves, and each and every one of these obvious "conscious choices" is a direct reflection of the outcomes that we experience on a day to day basis.
Our lives, the events, conditions and circumstances in our lives are nothing more than a mirrored reflection of the predominant mindset that we choose to hold. The choices which we make, have, and continue to make will produce our future results. These go much deeper than the day to day choices relating to the physical activities that we engage in, which most "perceive" as being the ultimate cause of these outcomes. This requires a deeper look without fail at the quality of our consciousness which in turn reflects in the day to day choices that we each make, and the outcomes that we experience.
If we have "less than desired" outcomes, whether physically, financially, relationally, emotionally or spiritually, making the choice to enhance our level of awareness and responsibility for our choice of action, reaction or non-action allows us to start becoming more aware of our "conscious choosing" to "apply" what we discover to change the end result.
Contrary to the majority mindset, life is not a random and chaotic unfolding of events, conditions and circumstances. For every effect, there exists a cause. Most just choose not to look deeply enough to discover the "true cause."
When we take responsibility, take a moment for self-reflection, and truly look deep within ourselves we can change the results and outcomes. Sometimes this can be done on our own, and other times it requires a personal lifestyle fitness coach, a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a therapist or others to help use out.
Whether we do it on our own or with the expertise of others, we have “The Power of Self Responsibility and Choice!”.
You have finally got yourself on track and being consistent with regular exercise, good nutrition, and logging/tracking everything to hold yourself accountable. Now it is time for you to go on vacation. Does this mean you throw in the towel and let it all go down the drain? Absolutely NOT!
If you are on a weight loss journey, then you need to stick to your guns while on vacation. This will keep a set back at bay. Can you indulge once or twice while on vacation? Yes, but you need to still keep track and keep moving.
If you are not on a weight loss journey and just maintaining, then tracking is really important. Excess calories can get the best of you really fast without accountability. Yes you can indulge here and there, but don’t throw it all away for a too many hot fudge sundaes.
So how can you maintain those health and fitness goals you’ve finally arrived at and keep from over splurging, even while on vacation? The answer is the same way that you do when you are not on vacation.
Here are your vacation tips:
1. Be prepared
Know where you’re going and what kinds of food will be there. If you’re going to a barbecue and you’re expecting there to be a lot of fatty foods, like potato salad, bring your own food, or eat beforehand so you’re already full.
Also, before you go out of town, do your restaurant research.
2. Plan activities that involve movement
Every environment offers ways to stay active.
If you’re going to the beach, sign up for a surf lesson. Go for a hike if there are trails nearby, or just go for a walk around the boulevard.
3. Visit the hotel gym
Most hotels have gyms for their guests to use. Make time early in the morning or late at night to make use of it and you won’t have to worry about exercising during the rest of the day.
4. Keep track of your calorie intake
It is okay to indulge and treat yourself, but keep track of how many ice creams cones you eat.
Keeping track, keeps you mindful.
5. Keep the right mind-set
You’re never going to enjoy yourself if you think of healthy living as torture.
Remember food is a fuel. Think of what your body needs to be properly fueled so that it has energy to go to that museum or amusement park all day.
6. Pack light hand-weights or resistant bands
Packing these items will allow you to do some exercise before leaving the room
Make time in your vacation plans for exercise.
7. Do little exercises in the water
Most vacations have some form of water available, whether it is a basic pool, glorious lagoon style pool, or at the beach. While you want to relax by the water, every half hour get in the water and do things like leg raises, jump up and down, or even do a few laps. The resistance the water gives you will intensify the workout, and have no impact on your joints.
8. Find a quote that inspires you
Having a daily or weekly mantra helps. Find a quote that inspires you to stay healthy and fit, even while treating yourself.
1.Make it YOUR goal - not someone else's expectation of you. In order to succeed, YOU have to be convinced that this is something you really want to do.
2.Create a plan. Take the time and effort to figure out HOW you'll succeed. Certified personal trainers and credible books and articles are your best sources of help here.
3.Expect failure…and then get over it. Life happens an...d you WILL have setbacks. Just get back on your feet as soon as possible.
4.Get support: Get a workout buddy or trainer; and tell your family and friends about your goal-they will encourage you and help you stay on track.
5.Break your main goal into smaller steps and focus on those day to day steps.