How many times have you made this statement? "I'm sick of the same old training." "I'm sick of having to watch what I eat!" "I'm sick of not getting the results I want!" "I'm sick of being sick!" Oh, I'm sure we could fill pages with lists of things we're sick of: bad drivers, whiny children, rude people...but I digress. In regards to health, what are you sick of? And more importantly, why? I was recently talking with a friend of mine who is in phenomenal shape. We were discussing some of the struggles that occur when you progress your weights with willing muscles, but unprepared joints and connective tissues. It's tough when parts of you are ready for more, but others are still lagging behind, trying to catch up. It takes me back to the fundamental question of "Why". I asked my friend what her training goals were and she wasn't sure. Then she turned the carpet on me and asked me the same question. I had the same response. There are times when we are training for an event. At those times, everything is quite simple. We have a beginning and ending date. We have a purpose. We have a game plan. Sometimes, we're stuck in the middle. Sure we could over-analyze and say, well I would like to be an 8 instead of a 10, or I'd like that "Ken doll" curve in my abs, or I'd like my genetic cellulite to turn into sleek, toned muscle. I'd like to offer a reason to train physically that transcends the physical body.... work out, eat healthy, and sleep well for your mental health. I recently sat in on a lecture from a psychiatrist, Dr. Trent Holmberg, where he was discussing mental health. I was so happy to hear him focus some of this time on preventative measures that fight against a decline in mental health. At the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to be happy. I want the same thing for my family, my friends, my clients, and co-workers. I want to offer a focus that doesn't have a start and finish date, can't be measured with physical ideals and one that you can succeed at every day AND feel the benefits every day.
These are my 5 suggestions:
1) Do something physical 6 days a week. Don't worry so much about what it is. If you have to be home bound, run the stairs, do push-ups, and tricep dips. Walk the dog, briskly. Actually play with your kids...tag, soccer, hide and seek.
2) Eat better. Count calories, measure your protein, check in with your fiber, drink more water, cut out processed foods and sugar---overwhelmed? Of course! So, start with one thing. Pick something you can do. Be successful, then move on to the next. Think lifestyle change, rather than quick fix. Remember that quick results also have a quick departure!
3) Find some sunshine. Even in this winter freeze, the sun still comes out. Drive to the top of the mountains and breath the air in...even for 15 minutes. I guarantee it's worth the trip. No time? Then simply step outside, bundled up if you have to, and take in the scenery.
4) Sleep! If you are training hard, you have to sleep hard. I'm talking 8 hours minimum! You will NOT see or feel the rewards unless you give your body adequate time to repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate. Take naps, go to bed early, turn off the tv and grab a good book. I have found that most of my worst food choices happen when I am tired. Choose bed over the pantry!
5) Manage stress. If you can't make it to a yoga class every time your stress levels go up, then practice the art of breathing. Try 10 deep breaths. Honestly, I find myself needing to breath deeply most of my waking hours. I find when I do, my responses are kinder and more what I would have intended if I took time to think about it. Most stress won't go away with a deep breath, so it's important to find a way to detach from whatever is troubling you. Read, walk, write, paint, drive, call a friend, attend a class, go for walk, lift weights or watch a film. You're worries will wait and perhaps some time away will give you perspective.
This list certainly could be longer, but this is a great starting point. Start today. Be successful today. The beauty of this kind of focus is that everyone around you benefits from it! Have a happy, healthy day!