There are times in life, when we come across obstacles, which stand between us and our aspirations. The obstacles can look so intimidating, that we can begin to contemplate giving up on our dreams. Any time we turn back and give up on our dreams, because of obstacles, we deny ourselves the opportunity to experience victory. But when we go forward and leap over those hurdles, we build strength and courage for a better future.
Whether we prepare for them or not, obstacles do show up. How we deal with them is what makes the difference between success and failure.
In our journey to better health and fitness, we will meet obstacles. Situations that make it difficult for us to eat healthy, factors that make exercise undesirable. But we must learn to go pass all of them, if we must experience our desires.
We all have different issues that make it difficult for us to follow an exercise or a nutrition program. For some, it is a busy schedule, for others, it is unavailability of fitness facilities. Some are daily exposed to environments that push their resolves, while some can't tell the difference between a healthy and unhealthy meal. Some have physical challenges that make certain activities painful. Others have health issues that require medications, which affect their body weight.
Your challenge is your challenge. My challenge is my challenge. I may not know what obstacles you are facing, in your quest to a healthy and a fit life. What I do know is that, we can all use our obstacles as a ladder to better health, and fitness.
To overcome our obstacles, we must first understand what they are. And device strategies to overcome them. Let me explain this statement by using these examples.
Let's look at a working lady, who leaves her house everyday at dawn, and does not return, until late in the evening. Let's assume she lives in Ikorodu, and works on the Island. From Monday to Friday, our lady has definitely kissed home-made breakfast and lunch goodbye. She has to rely on fast food, five days a week. This is not healthy. It's a major obstacle to getting good nutrition.
To overcome this obstacle, our lady must learn to choose, healthy alternatives. She may want to go for a sweet sensation vegetable soup and rice, instead of fried rice and chicken, or pastry and soft drink. She may also want to choose a TFC's 'swallow' and local soup instead of Yamarita and chicken. She may need to pack some healthy meal to work, which will require planning ahead.
Let's also look at another person, whose challenge is making time out for exercise. This fellow may need to take a closer look at her daily schedule, and see where and when, she can fix in short burst of exercise.
The point I am trying to make is that, there is always a way out, if we look well. We can always find a way round it, if we so desire. We may want to wait, till everything is equal, but the truth is, that time may never come.
Do what you need to do to your obstacle. Walk over it. Leap over it. Whatever it takes, JUST DO IT and overcome.
You may not be able to run a Marathon. You may not be able to eat like a 'Super Model'.
But you can leap over these obstacles that are challenging your aspiration for a healthy living. Now, that's true VICTORY!
I really don’t like it when guys try to outrun me in a race just because I’m a woman. I am a very competitive person, but I don’t run or lift weight to compete with another human being. My training goal is to beat my last performance.
But last weekend saw a change in that goal for a brief moment. About fifteen minutes into my race, a guy dashed pass me. Like I said before, I don’t usually train to compete with anyone, so it really didn’t border me. Then I saw another guy speeding up from behind to overtake me. He did overtake me, but for a brief moment. That second awoke the “bad” competitor in me, “It’s time for some high intensity interval. That is the only way to outrun these fellows”. Ignoring my music beats, I Increased my speed. I passed the second guy, he also increased his speed and dashed pass me. Okay, Game on. I’m in.
From that moment on I ran at my maximum speed and stayed there for about thirty seconds, which gave me a very good advantage over “my competitor”. He tried to outrun me again, but he didn’t last for ten seconds. By the time I got to him he had quit the race and was on the floor catching his breath. That felt so good, because by then there were about thirty plus guys on the field-I was the only woman- everyone was now looking at both of us. I continued running at my normal pace and outlasted my competitor for over forty minutes. VICTORY!!!
And if he had tried to outrun me again, I’ll still outrun and outlast him, because all I need to do was to continue to alternate high intensity run with moderate intensity run. A training format I noticed my “competitor” knew nothing about.
Welcome to interval training. A training format that allows you to perform greater volume of exercise, at higher intensity by breaking up your exercise into smaller segments. One thing I like about interval training is that, it gives you options to manipulate many variables, and it can be adjusted for any fitness level.
Your fitness goal should determine the kind of exercise training you do. I have seen people who are looking to reduce body fat, exercise without a specific goal in mind, because they think every type of exercise achieves the same result. Wrong!
The principle of “specificity” states that; the benefits you get from an exercise program are specific to the type of exercise you perform. If your training goal is to reduce body fatness, you need to choose the right type of exercise that will help you achieve that goal.
Interval training maximizes your exercise time. And increases your metabolic rate. It keeps burning energy even after your workout. Incorporate one or two days of interval training into your routine, to turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Try the sample interval workout below. It works great for first time interval exercisers. But don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance.
By the way, my encounter with the “guys” ended on a good note. I took them in 5-minute circuit training. We then shook hands and exchanged names.
Aerobic interval training
Warm up for 10 minutes then perform the following intervals:
- 1. Perform 10 minutes warm up at pace that is right for you
- 2. 3 minutes walk at pace that is hard but you can handle
- 3. 3 minutes recovery walk at a pace that is right for you.
Repeat sequence 2 and 3 above for five times. Finish your workout with some stretches.
Till I come your way again next week. I remain Your Partner in Fitness
Not too long ago I appeared on a live television show to discuss excessive weight gain in women. Having learned that I was once overweight, the producer asked if she could show my 'before picture' during the show. Of course I agreed.
Lights on, and we were on air. Then came the moment I have never really paid much attention to since I lost about 23kg of my former weight; I was looking at my old picture on the screen, and for a moment I thought 'wow’ that was me'. I couldn't help but laugh at the lady in the picture. She was the fat me. But I didn't detest her. Even now as I write I still don't detest her, because out of her came something beautiful. For, had she not existed, I wouldn't be here today. I'm therefore thankful for the Lady in the picture.
Looking back at her reminds of that singular decision I made in December 2007 to treat my body with RESPECT so that it can serve me well till old age. The decision to eat right and exercise was the birth of the body I have today. The lady in the picture also reminds me of my early days in the gym, those early days when even a 30-minute workout was a tall order… I have indeed come a long way, it has been a journey from being fat to being fit, a progressive journey to physical endurance and strength. Above all, this journey has shown me that I can achieve anything I apply my mind to.
This is a journey of continuous improvement, so I follow the saying of a wise man...'I do not consider myself to have arrived, but this one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind and I reach for the things that are ahead'. So I try harder everyday to beat yesterday's performance. Many times people ask if I'm ever going to stop, my answer is, ‘I can’t stop, because when I stop growing I start rotting’. It is not easy to keep going, but it gets easier day after day because fitness has become my lifestyle.
Although I have come a long, I still have more lands to possess. Therefore I press on and the journey continues…and it's on that note that I welcome you to Fitness By Design, my Blog site.
My objective for creating this blog is to encourage my readers to activate their body's innate ability to achieve optimal fitness. That's why I’m inviting you as you read this to join me on this journey by subscribing to my blog. I will be publishing a weekly article aimed at helping my readers achieve fitness and wellness.
Till I come your way again, I remain Your Partner in Fitness