Changing Seasons – Changing Workouts

Most find it easier to get into routines when fall comes.  Fall is a transitional time.  This is a perfect time to re-evaluate your goals and renew your commitment to yourself.  If your schedule becomes busier during the fall and winter how will you continue to reach your daily, weekly, and monthly fitness goals? How have you been doing? Here are some ideas to get you motivated to workout during our darker days.

With good planning you can make it through this transitional period with no bumps and no missed workouts. Think about your options. As the weather turns colder many find it hard to continue outdoor workouts. Where will you go? Who will you go with? What do you like to do? For some its actually changing a workout format. Maybe you don’t like walking on treadmill, but are not getting out of your warm bed to walk in the snow. What will you do to keep moving?

There are so many options it can seem overwhelming. First, what lifestyle changes do you need to make? Do you need more time, different hours, or more variety? These questions are important to ask yourself before you have the chance to talk yourself out of exercise because it is too dark, too cold, and too boring. Will you need to make different parking or transportation accommodations? What about safety issues? Clothing, especially shoes? How about motivation and mood considerations? Many find they are not as motivated, even depressed during darker days.

Our last step is to decide our workout types and places. As a rule if you want to lose weight concentrate on cardiovascular work. If you are looking for more tone strength comes first. You will need a combination of both to make this change happen. Will you be working out at home or is there a Fitness Center near by, outside or inside, there are many options. Research the best for you in your community.

Now is the time to begin your fitness planning for winter. Fall is a great time to take advantage of routines and plan your healthy activities each day. You’ve made the most important decision to get regular exercise and now you’ve done the toughest part…deciding what you really want and where your dedication will take place. If you move everyday you will get there!

Who Are You Changing For?

Many of us decide it’s time to do something different in our lives. But is this decision truly ours? Or has someone else put the idea we need to change into our head? When deciding to change honestly answer these two questions.

Once you have convinced yourself you are ready for change you must determine who you are changing for. The obvious answer may not be the real answer. Deeply look at your motivation, are you the reason for the change, or is a parent, spouse, doctor, sibling, friend, etc. Is it someone else’s idea or voice you hear?
If it is not you; commitment is likely to wane. Next determine why you want to change. As with the question of who, why is a critical factor in realizing a goal. Determine your why. Get passionate about it. Taste it, feel it, begin to live it.

Immersion into an idea is supported by research and will lead to change. In other words, find as many ways to support your new lifestyle, new activities, new thoughts, rewards, support, new ideas about how you could change your habits to support your new direction.

The more pathways you create in your brain to support this change the more likely you are to succeed. Believe with every cell in your body and it will manifest.

The Motivation Game

Motivation comes and goes. So how can you stay motivated to reach your fitness goals? It has more to do with looking inside yourself than outside yourself for rewards and recognition.

When people hear what I do for a living they tend to grab a part of their body – one they are not particularly fond of – and say, “what do I do about this?” which is then followed by, “ I know I should, but…”, which can then be followed by_________ (you fill in the blank) – excuses.
We know what to do, our bodies tell us they like to move. We watch it, read it, hear it, but we choose not to, why? We know we will feel better, we know we will look better, and we know we will build confidence, which will lead to many positives about ourselves, so why don’t we move?
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Motivation is a tricky component to reaching a goal. It can be so strong one day and absent the next. This means you must constantly find ways to motive yourself. You must be creative here… no pressure right? It can be very simple. Decide that today I am going to walk for 20 minutes, and then look for ways to fit it into your day. Can you wake up a bit earlier, walk over lunch, after work, with your children or partner, is time critical today – do you need to break it down into increments? Look at the number of possibilities you have to reach the goal of walking 20 minutes. Enlist a friend or a supportive person to help make sure you reach your daily goal. (We will be discussing goal setting next week).

If you can step outside your comfort zone, make sure you are driving the change, and determine why you really want to change. Once you have done these two activities you have created a solid start to reaching your goal. Add passion and attention to your daily habits mixed with a lot of positive feedback and you’ll be on your way. Motivation will come and go, but you’ll be ready – you are now motivated to stay motivated!

Charting Your Fitness Without Using Body Weight

Many people come to me and say, “ I want to weigh…”, I always ask why. This usually frustrates the client and their response is something like, because that’s what I should weigh or what I did weigh. What I would like all of you to know is…stop using weight as the ultimate measure of your success. Get off the scale!
How then, you say, am I supposed to know how I am doing? The best way is to ask yourself:

Do your clothes fit better
Have I lost inches
Do I feel better
Is my stress level down
Am I sleeping better
Do I have more energy
All of these will be great indicators of your commitment and your success. However, if you’d like more feedback on your fitness and your progress, its more effective to measure body fat.

See the blog posts on What is Body Fat and When to Weigh In for more information on this fitness component.

Failing To Success

Have you ever experienced sighs, rolling of eyes, or underhanded “not again” comments when you announce to those closest to you that you are embarking on a new fitness goal? Well, take note.

When trying to form a new lifestyle it is important to go after your dreams. Some dreams may be weird, or hard, or nearly impossible, and those that know you best, know it will be a rough, if not, wild ride before you are done, but do it anyway, and for god’s sake quit listening to them! I am not suggesting you quit your day job, move to a faraway land, and forgo all responsibilities.
If you are dealing with a friend or family member who is working hard toward a goal and failing, or if you are the friend who continually tries, but are having trouble getting it off the ground over and over, take note. Failing is reaching for success.

By repeating an activity even if it seems we are not reaching our goals, we are creating pathways in the brain that reinforce our goal. These pathways become stronger the more they are used and soon it becomes second nature.

Today look back and take stock of the failures you’ve had. Can you see a pattern? Can you see progress (remember to look at the big picture)? Can you see where you may need work? If these questions seem daunting, hire a professional in whatever area you are working to change who can help you sort through your ideas.

Once you’ve got your track record you can limit your obstacles based on past experience, draw new confidence based on what you have been able to overcome, and begin again armed and ready when your best buddy rolls their eyes and exclaims, “Not again!”

Be Happy, Lose Weight

How often do you think about being happy with your life and yourself and as a result you lose weight?

How often do you think about being happy with your life and yourself and as a result you lose weight? A recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research makes the point that being happy can help us see the big picture. Participants were better able to think abstractly therefore enhancing their ability to reach their goals and stay motivated.

Laymen terms – if you are happy you will see beyond crisis right in front of you. You’ll be better able to hold the vision of your desired weight, running time, speed and the efforts it will take to get you to your desired point.

If you are happy you will be able to focus more effectively on what to do in the short term to reach the larger goal. A direct result of being able to hold the big picture of what you ultimately want in your mind when taking smaller steps toward completion of the goal.

You’ll train harder and maybe longer and definitely more consistently if you are focused. When you examine the contents of the fridge you are more likely to choose healthy options if you are happy than if you are looking for emotional comfort in your foods.

So start today and take steps to make yourself happy. Surround yourself with activities, things and people that make you happy to reach your fitness goals.

References:

Labroo, A. A., & Patrick, V. M.(2009). Psychological distancing: Why happiness helps you see the big picture [Abstract]. Journal of
Consumer Reserach, 35(5), 800-809.

Pawlik-Kienlen, L. (2009, March/April). Happy pictures on the fridge will help you lose weight. Spirituality & Health, 30.

Self-Responsibility – Its Your Health and Up To You!

Each year millions of Americans decide to lose weight. They jump on the treadmill January 1st and find out its hard. Really hard to change their lifestyle. So what do they do? They quit. They throw up their hands, shake their heads, turn around, and give up. This cycle creates multiple issue for the individuals; not to mention loss of confidence, happiness, and a lower sense of accomplishment. Who is the primary person at the center of this process? Who is the one person who controls the outcome? Who is the person with the power? YOU.

Each year I see many individuals who come in excited, ready for change only to leave six weeks later exhausted, defeated, and disgusted. Hmmm… seems to me we may have misunderstood the work effort involved. Who told you lifestyle change is easy? If the process is going to work you must take responsibility for yourself. No one else is going to do it for you. You can become healthy, you can take the time to take care of yourself. You can do this. You just have to start somewhere. Why not start by walking right now. One foot in front of the other, moving toward your goal of better health.

A Look at Heart Disease

Cardiovascular health is incredibly important. With February drawing near I thought it appropriate to discuss heart disease, today. Heart disease is the number one killer in America. It kills more people than cancer. What are you doing to protect yourself?

Eight out of eleven risk factors are lifestyle choices, so you do have a choice. There are genetic factors as well, but with the scale tipped greatly toward your daily choices, t is important to understand you have a choice. The three you cannot control are: increasing age, gender, and race. The ones you control: tobacco smoke – especially cigarettes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and overweight, and diabetes. In addition are these two: too much stress and too much alcohol. Physical inactivity is a factor in six of those listed above. Hmmm, the answer seems pretty clear to me, make sure you move your body every day. Begin at your level and exercise, plus make healthy choices when choosing foods and then make sure you eat them!

To strengthen the heart, lungs, and vascular systems we perform cardiovascular training. Choose activities that make you breathe harder and make you sweat, which you can sustain over a period of time. What activities can you do to raise your heart rate? Walk, run, ride a bike (without a motor), swim, rollerblade, climb stairs, play tag with your kids, the list is long and limitless as long as it raises and sustains your heart rate.