Category Archives: Motivation

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 12 – 31 Days

(This is part 12 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Today’s post I share with you something I saw in an article from my friends at My Fitness Pal earlier this year. It’s a challenge of sorts, 31 days to be exact, that you can start anytime, anywhere. All you have to do is be willing to follow it, stick to it, and keep a really good attitude. When the New Year hits, everyone gets all jazzed up about turning a new leaf. So no matter how trivial or mundane the task may seem always understand that little things add up to big things and success breeds more success. Give it a whirl and see if you are able to catch some success.

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing
  2. Take the stairs
  3. Prepare a vegetable in a new healthy way
  4. Put your phone away at meals
  5. Walk 500 extra steps today
  6. Log your water intake today
  7. Take stock of your progress and repeat one task from this week
  8. Log breakfast everyday this week
  9. Eat a new to you vegetable
  10. Get to bed 20 minutes earlier than usual
  11. Do 20 squats
  12. Go no-added sugar today
  13. Clear gadgets from your bedroom
  14. Take stock of your progress and repeat one task from this week
  15. Log lunch everyday this week
  16. Go meatless for dinner
  17. Get at least 7 hours of sleep tonight
  18. Eat an extra serving of something green and leafy
  19. Add 5 minutes of exercise to your day
  20. Take an Epsom salt bath
  21. Take stock of your progress and repeat one task from this week
  22. Log dinner and lunch everyday this week
  23. Take a new to you exercise class
  24. Get 30 minutes more of sleep tonight
  25. Do 10 push ups, 10 lunges, 10 squats
  26. Turn off your phone 1 hour prior to bedtime
  27. Hold a plank for 1 minute
  28. Foam roll before your workout
  29. Get outside
  30. Take a walking meeting
  31. Get 8 hours of sleep tonight

Happy Holidays to you and your families and blessings for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Weight Loss Once and For All
Day #2 – 10 Pieces of Equipment Everyone Needs to Work Out at Home
Day #3 – Are You Afraid of Eating Fruit?
Day #4 – Healthy Foods?
Day #5 – 21 Ways to Combat Emotional Eating
Day #6 – 8 Reasons Why Your Workout is Failing You
Day #7 – The Problem With Added Sugars
Day #8Dieting Made Simple
Day #9 – The Best Exercise You’re Probably Not Doing
Day #10 – Insulin and Insulin Resistance
Day #11 – What Does It Mean to be Healthy?

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 6 – 8 Reasons Why Your Workout is Failing You

(This is part 6 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Correction. The appropriate title for this post should be “why you’re failing your workout” and not “why your workout is failing you”. It’s human nature to blame or point the finger at something or someone else when things don’t go according to plan. That same unfortunate mindset exists with exercise as well. People jump from program to program in the hopes that they’ll find the one that works for them. Sometimes that works but in reality all that was ever needed to be done was to take a quick look at one’s self and the approach to exercise. If 10 people follow the same program you will see 10 different results. The exercises are the same for everyone but aside from differences in sex and genetics, they will yield different outcomes. Why?

  • Differences in intensity, or lack thereof. I’ve seen this for many years working in gyms and fitness facilities. There are those who come to “workout” and there are those who are “going through the motions”. If change (improvement, betterment, etc.) is what you seek, just showing up isn’t going to cut it. You have to/want to challenge yourself consistently and progressively. No change begets no change. That’s true in every facet of life. Why people think that rule is different when it comes to exercise escapes me.
  • Overambitious. You’ve just started working out and you’re motivated like never before. All the times you’ve failed to keep a routine before are behind you now and this time you’ll show them all. Suddenly you set the alarm for 5 am to do an hour of cardio and then grab a carrot for breakfast. Before lunch you go for a run, followed by a light salad. For the evening you have a weight training session planned and a meal replacement dinner after that. But it’s not sustainable. This is why dieting will never work. You can easily drop a couple of pounds, grow stronger and improve your aerobic conditioning. But if you then go back to an unhealthy life – say goodbye to your progress. Your body will adjust to the way you live.
  • No direction. If you start walking aimlessly around you’ll probably not end up where you want. It’s simple logic. That’s why it’s frustrating to see people coming in to the gym with no idea what they’re training today. Stop wasting your time. Decide on a goal for the coming three months. More if you can but absolutely no less!
  • Bad form. A squat can seem like such a simple exercise: you sit down and then stand up again. It’s a movement pattern that comes very natural to our bodies. And it’s simple! But when you put an iron barbell with a hundred pounds on your back, it becomes more than just sitting down and standing up. You’re suddenly at risk of some serious injury. And if you want to see that weight go up, you really need to start optimizing your movement. Strength is a skill and to improve you’ll have to train not only your muscles (biological adaptation) but also your technique (neurological adaptation).
  • No progression. Are you lifting the same weights today as you were a year ago? Running the same distances, or managing the same number of max reps? I know many people who do and I can’t for the life of me understand how they can motivate themselves to keep training, when they do not progress. But progress doesn’t just incidentally happen. You need to keep pushing your limits, adding weights, and making it hard for yourself. Over time your training will come to feel easy. Pullups are no longer a problem but it also means you are no longer pushing yourself as hard as you used to, which in turn means you will stop making the same kind of progress as you used to.
  • Cheating yourself. What’s easier – to stay in the sofa researching which vegan protein has the best amino acid profile, or going to the gym and lift some weights? Then guess which will give you the best results. We are all genetically programmed to waste as little energy as possible. (Yes, we’re lazy by nature.) Given two choices that both feel like they take us closer to our goal, we’ll naturally pick the easiest. Getting strong and fit isn’t easy but it’s damn simple! The ones who try to make it complicated are often the ones who also try to sell you a shortcut. But there really are none – you will have to put in the work if you want the result.
  • Missing recovery. What you do when training is only half the story. After stimulating your body with the right amount of intensity, you’ll need to give it time to adjust. This is when the magic really happens. Muscles grow to handle the heavy weights, pathways improves to produce energy faster, and ligaments strengthen so that they can withstand more. But all too often you’ll see people not prioritizing their recovery. Their bodies don’t get enough nutrition, they’re always feeling a bit tired and yet the get back in it – smashing another workout. Continuing in this manner will stump your progress and eventually have you plateau. As for food – eat plenty and make sure it’s nutritious. Limit the crappy fast food, processed junk, and similar worthless calories. Make sure you get enough. Start with what feels like too much and then tweak week by week as you see your body change.
  • Boredom. Too many people go to the gym feeling it’s a chore. Something they would rather not do but have to. This is a terrible way to spend all the time that it takes to make meaningful progress. Plus, one of the absolutely biggest reasons people actually succeed with their ventures is whether they can stick to it and keep grinding. If you’re bored while doing so, that’ll make it so much harder.

See you tomorrow for Day 7 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Weight Loss Once and For All
Day #2 – 10 Pieces of Equipment Everyone Needs to Work Out at Home
Day #3 – Are You Afraid of Eating Fruit?
Day #4 – Healthy Foods?
Day #5 – 21 Ways to Combat Emotional Eating

 

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 5 – 21 Ways to Combat Emotional Eating

(This is part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Emotional eating is a term for eating as a way to deal with stress by consuming excess food, alcohol, drugs, or other addictive agents.  It may be an unhealthy way of dealing with depression, negative emotions, or something that is toxic in your life. If you suffer from emotional eating, awareness of the issue is where it starts.  Just as a habit takes 21 days to conquer, you too can overcome if you suffer from emotional eating.

Some ways to deal with emotional eating include:

1 Exercise or find a new form of exercise.
2 Start new hobby that you enjoy
3 Learn how to sing a song using ASL Sign Language or another language
4 Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
5 Have a pet.
6 Clean your house or organize your closet
7 Reserve time for a massage
8 Volunteer for a cause that you are passionate about.
9 Go with a friend, or alone in a crowd, to your local coffee establishment.
10 Take a walk outside.
11 Start a garden.
12 Write fiction or nonfiction that you are passionate about.
13 Spend time with a new friend.
14 Call an out-of-town friend after a hard day at work.
15 Make new contacts at your usual hangouts, work, or the gym.
16 Write a list of your gratefulness.
17 Take a class at your local library or park district on some new subject, and make a decision to find new friends.
18 Say no to unproductive activities.
19 Listen to music that is motivating or brings joy to you.
20 Stretch in the morning and the evening.
21 Don’t beat yourself up. The sooner you realize your mistake, the faster you can make a change.

Habits take time to form and to change.  Trying something new or different is not always successful but another opportunity to work toward your obstacle. When you keep on trying, you will succeed.

See you tomorrow for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Weight Loss Once and For All
Day #2 – 10 Pieces of Equipment Everyone Needs to Work Out at Home
Day #3 – Are You Afraid of Eating Fruit?
Day #4 – Healthy Foods?

 

 

 

Your Holiday Survival Guide

‘Tis the season, or should I say ‘‘tis the season for unwanted pounds. Every year without fail, the holiday season rolls up on us and cares little for how you take care of yourself. The excuses compound, the social calendar explodes, and then there’s the holiday feasts themselves. Do you keep your daily regimen or do you think you will get restarted after the New Year? Either way, it’s a tough proposition to consider. One requires effort unlike any other time of year and the other, well, let’s just say is a form of surrender. It doesn’t have to be that way and following are some helpful tips for you to use and pull out ahead.

  • Schedule time to exercise. If it’s not scheduled, it will very quickly get passed on faster than you can slip on the ice. It doesn’t have to be your normal amount of time either. Set up 20 or 30 minute workouts which still leaves plenty of time to shop. And stick to it! Before you know it, the season will pass and you’ll either be on par or behind. Your choice.
  • Enjoy your holiday parties. No one likes a Scrooge. “I can’t eat this or that” will dampen a festive mode like 10 feet of snow! Go and enjoy but be mindful. Have a drink, have a bite, and don’t think one indiscretion is going to ruin you. If there’s going to be multiple parties, treat each one exactly the same and understand you are the one in control. Always.
  • Burn calories whenever possible. Some of the common sense things:
    • Do not fight for the up front parking spots at the shopping center. Instead park way in the back and walk, safely of course.
    • If you’re going to be traveling in airports, walk and don’t use the mechanical sidewalks.
    • Stand while baking or cooking.
    • Join the carolers and walk the neighborhood even if you can’t sing.
  • Calm down. The world isn’t going to end if you forget that one gift. Chances are it will still be there when the time allows. There’s no room for unwarranted anger over the holidays, unless of course your boss is like Clark Griswold’s.
  • Cherish every single moment. The holidays for many unfortunately is not a joyous time of year. Whatever your issue, someone has it harder. Make the most of your time whether with family or friends or even by yourself. The holiday spirit is real if you let it in.
  • Read and enjoy my 12 Days of Fitness which will begin on December 12th. 12 days of articles I’ve been working on throughout the year to help get you through the holidays covering a wide array of fitness topics. Feel free to share and pass on to others.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

What to Really Expect When You Exercise

Outside of death and taxes, there are so few guarantees in life. The optimist will want to counter that reality while the pessimist, well, it is their reality. But as they say, truth is in the eye of the beholder – you believe what you want. When it comes to exercise, many place it as the “Holy Grail” of sorts to answering all of their woes. It’s the one thing they must do to make everything right in their lives. While I can’t argue with the positive effects regular exercise will have on one’s life, there’s much more to be said about the expectations versus reality that exercise will provide for them. Let’s take a closer look at the realities of exercise and see if they are in line with your expectations.

  • Starting an exercise program can be exciting despite any reservations. It’s something that truly is good for you and that can be liberating. Within the first 4-6 weeks there will be noticeable changes. The body has adapted to the “stress” of the exercise(s) and it feels good. May be even pumps up your excitement about working our. Until….
  • After the initial 4-6 weeks and the body has adapted, it stops adapting. Translation: results diminish at this time. One of the major reasons perhaps for the post New Year’s drop off from exercise. Unless you change something about your routine (length of time, intensity, reps, weight, etc.) the physical adaptations will slowly diminish. Not too long after, the mental shift will also drop off. Whether the exercise was liked or not, there’s a really good chance it will lose its luster.
  • Muscle soreness is expected; muscle pain is not. It’s imperative you understand the difference. When a new physical stress is introduced to the body, the muscles will react and perhaps even become a little stiff/sore. In time, that will diminish and will most likely only reappear when a new motion or weight is introduced. However, it is important to note that muscle soreness is not a badge of honor one should strive for when working out. If muscle soreness is a constant, this could be a sign of a bigger issue. Pain is a signal not be ignored.
  • Just exercising isn’t enough. If the exercise you chose doesn’t match the goal, it can be very frustrating. And if you don’t think that’s important, exercise will never deliver what you expect. So many do copious amounts of “cardio” with the thought that they’ll lose the most weight. The reality is cardio is a terrible fat loss solution by itself.
  • Rest is important. The body gets pushed when it’s asked to exercise properly so planned rest is imperative. When the amount of rest exceeds the amount of exercise however, it will not work for you the way you expect. On the contrary, there’s no benefit to exercising excessively which ultimately leads to physical and mental burnout, or worse injury.

Not to be dismissed, exercise in all or any of its forms is a very good thing. With so many options to chose from, the most important thing is to find what you love and what you can see yourself consistently doing. The exercise in and of it self is only the method. What you get out of it is what you put into it.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Great for Fitness, Bad for Fat Loss

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear. Exercise in all and any of its forms is good for you. Period. There are better types of exercise for a particular outcome (i.e. a bodybuilder will have to lift weights) but in essence whatever you choose as your preferred method of exercise you can do no wrong. However, when it comes to the number one reason given as to why people exercise, their methods are no where in accordance with the desired outcome – weight loss, more specifically fat loss.

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

The two are not one in the same. You can have weight loss independent of fat loss yet when one decides they want to lose weight, what they’re really talking about is dropping the unsightly poundage from their physiques. Weight loss is easy. If I were to strap a 50 lb sack to your back to carry around all day – work, exercise, etc. – in the heat, you would definitely shed some pounds. You would most likely lose a ton of water and a fair amount of lean tissue (muscle), something you definitely don’t want to do when fat loss, not weight loss, is the goal. Fat loss on the other hand is not very easy to do. It requires a concerted effort where exercise is only a fraction of the plan. For one, eating behaviors (not dieting) must change as well as lifestyle choices. Many are on board with the exercise thing but only modestly interested in changing their eating behaviors or lifestyle choices. To achieve fat loss, you have to buy into that formula 100%.

You Can’t Out-Exercise Poor Choices

It happens every year. The day after Thanksgiving the gyms are flooded with people attempting to repent for their sins of gluttony the previous day. News Flash – that doesn’t work! Where does this thought come from and why is it still believed? Simple. Exercise becomes that easy cog to manipulate. You hop on a treadmill or bike, sweat for a few minutes, maybe do some light to moderate resistance training (that’s harder, right?), perhaps jump in on class, but feel good about exercising. Something’s better than nothing is often the mentality. Sure, if just moving and getting some physical fitness is your goal. But exercise at a level most people consider to be their “best” effort comes not even close to “denting the fat” so to speak. Don’t get me wrong. As I stated earlier, any exercise is good. Physical movement is good. It improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, increases endorphins, etc. It will not though erase a so-so diet, improve your chances of dropping unwanted fat, or increase your physical capacity (ability to handle what life hits you with). Choices good or bad are yours to make but exercise will not erase or benefit much from either.

What to Do

First and foremost, be absolutely steadfast with your goal. There is no room for excuses, otherwise it’s merely a thought. Two, you need to program your exercise program. Yes, program it. Write it out, have someone help you, and follow it. Third, you need to change the way you eat. Notice I did not say diet. If you can find a diet that you can live with for the rest of your life (that’s a lot to ask of anyone) then have at it. But don’t you see how we’re all guinea pigs to this crazy-eat-better thing? Every year a new program comes out saying this is what you need or should do. The one thing you need to do? EAT! You need food to survive, not avoid things like a plague. Finally and probably the most difficult to do, you have to change your lifestyle. You like Happy Hour on Friday’s? May be cut back to 1-2x/month. You like to eat out 3-4 times/week? Cut back to 1x/week. (This alone will save you 1,000s of calories and money).

When all is said and done, fat loss occurs in people at different levels. Comparing your success to others or to the scale is unfair and sure to disappoint. But you owe it to yourself if fat loss is your goal you must not rely solely on exercise more as your antidote. It’s only a small piece of the puzzle albeit an important one. It needs to be consistent and part of the rule, not an exception. I believe you can do it.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

When To Push, When Not To Push

Exercise is good! There is no doubt to that statement. Can one do too much? Absolutely! In times when one is feeling too good or just being stupid, too much exercise can and will become counterproductive to the original course. But how much is too much and what about all this rhetoric about pushing it to the limits? Do you need to always keep the pedal to the metal so to speak when it comes to exercise or is there a happy medium?

When To Push

In my many years of being a fitness professional, I’m convinced that many have no idea what it means to increase their exercise intensity let alone understand what that means. In simple terms, intensity is simply a term used to describe how hard you’re working. It can be measured subjectively (“Man that kicked my ass!”) to being measured objectively (heart rate, time of rest periods, watts, etc.). What matters most about intensity is that if you’re someone who exercises regularly expecting some sort of result, you need to have an objective measure of intensity. Whether it’s for health reasons, aesthetics, or performance, at some point you have to push beyond the “comfort zone”, a term used to describe where most find solace in their exercise routine. The issue with “comfort zones” is that nothing happens there. The individual who exercises by just going through the motions falls into this category. Some would say something is better than nothing and while that is only mildly true, most who exercise do have a goal or agenda that will yield something. Going through the motions and not pushing a little more effort is going to yield zero to minimal results. So how much do you push and when do you do it? First, establish a goal. Why do you exercise? Next, establish what it is you wish to accomplish through exercise. Be leaner? Decrease blood pressure? Be stronger? Run faster? Third, determine that your exercise needs are met by the exercises you choose to engage. Once you have established all three, then you can look at how to push and increase your intensity. Maybe it’s five more minutes on the treadmill at a slightly higher speed. Or it’s an increase in reps of a strength training exercise. Or it’s a decrease in time with more work being done. There are simply thousands of ways to push it but it has to be objective and measurable. Then you can truly track and see progress.

When Not To Push

Aside from the obvious, exercising through pain is never a good thing. Pain is your body’s signal that something’s not quite right. But I will also warn you that muscle soreness and pain are not one in the same. How do you know? Well, experience will tell you a lot but most times the complete range of motion of a muscle is not completely inhibited. Being sick is also a good sign to not push it as not all sicknesses require a cessation in an exercise program. There are going to be days that are harder than others and that’s to be expected. Listening to your body is a skill that gets perfected over time – knowing when to take it easy or a day off. When you start to think of every little thing to “skip” or “delay” a workout, chances are good that although the intentions were good initially, they quickly became lost and excuse making becomes the norm. Exercise is a stress; a stress that evolves and adapts. If you don’t evolve, the impact, the positive effect of exercise, becomes lost.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

5 Ways Your Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

It can be very disheartening and even more frustrating. You’ve spent a bunch of time committing to doing what you thought was the right thing yet your weight loss has stalled or worse reversed. You’ve dieted and exercised all to no avail to the point where you’re ready to quit…again! Is it really supposed to be this hard? The short answer is no and chances are you’re most likely guilty of a few or all of the following reasons you struggle with weight loss.

1. You Don’t Eat Enough. Sounds counterintuitive but weight loss only occurs when you burn more than you take in, correct? Not exactly. Yes, if weight loss is your goal you inherently do need to eat less but there’s a point where much less is a bigger problem. As sporadic or chronic energy (calorie) needs are not met, the metabolism decreases to spare energy. This is one of the major issues with dieting. With a decreasing metabolism comes an even more uphill battle to losing weight (burning calories). Just eating less for the sake of eating less can do more harm to the body than good. As a general rule of thumb, females should not consume less than 1200 calories and men 1500.

2. You Do Eat Too Much. No one ever wants to admit it but unless your tracking what you consume you really have no idea how much you’re consuming. The classic is not eating all day and then eating a large meal at the end of the day to “spare” calories. Chances are you consume more calories in one sitting than you would if you had just eaten throughout the day. The other issue is overestimating portion sizes thus causing overeating. Portion sizes today greatly exceed how much you should really consume. Coupled with hurried eating and portion sizes it becomes a moot issue.

3. You Dine Out Too Often. It doesn’t matter how “healthy” a restaurant claims a food item to be. If you’re not cooking it, you have no control over that. Sure they may decrease the portion size but you’re still ultimately at the mercy of the restaurant’s chef. Dining out should be a treat saved for special occasions or for one time on the weekend. Portions are bigger, food is prepared for flavor, and they would love nothing more for you to order an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

4. Overdoing It On Weekends. Lets say you’ve been good Monday through Thursday but once Friday hits it all gets forgotten. Maybe you decided Friday night was your night out but then there was a dinner date for Saturday night and a brunch on Sunday. Shouldn’t 4 out of 7 days count for something? Maybe, if weight loss isn’t something you are struggling with. The body systemically processes, burns, and stores calories. A bad weekend won’t show up right away but you can bet it will in time for a repeat weekend performance.

5. Jumping From Plan to Plan. Diets work when they are strictly adhered to. If it’s repeatable and palatable and you can live that way for the rest of your life, it will work. Why? Because by some method you’re simply eating less, plain and simple. But the reality is diets are nothing more than calorie deprivation tactics disguised as some new finding or mechanism, one that most likely is not realistic for people to stick with over the long haul. I’ve always said the thing wrong with Weight Watchers or similar programs is that people keep going back. A lifetime plan should not require anyone to go back.

Weight loss is and always will be a long, not short term process. The good news is that the time it took to gain the weight and the time to lose the weight have no correlation, meaning you can lose weight faster than you gained it. But it takes a conscientious, no excuse approach with a margin of error that affects us all individually. No tricks, no gimmicks, no potions, no magic fairy dust, no supplements- NOTHING – can replace the work of a hard working individual with vision.

Til next time, Train Smart, Eat Well, and Be Better.

The Real Olympic Takeaway

The 2018 Winter Olympics have come to a close and if you’re like me, it was time for them to be done. I’m a much bigger fan of the Summer Games but I would be remiss to say they didn’t have my attention. I spent many a nights up late watching them (couldn’t make it for the women’s hockey gold match though), cheering on the USA even in games where I didn’t know what was going on. Some of the events left a little to be desired but in all it was enjoyable to watch. The thing that really struck a cord with me every night is the relentless pursuit of the athletes to be the best at their craft. For some, the Olympic medal pursuit is a full time job, but for others it’s a part time thing among day jobs and other commitments. Can you imagine the focus, dedication, and commitment to a skill that many don’t even see or know about until the Olympics come around every four years? That is where they have my utmost respect.

The Will To Do It

Not everyone has the ability or desire to be an Olympic athlete. Most if not all of the athletes discover their talent or want at a very young age. They spend many years fine tuning their skills in the hopes that someday they will be chosen for the national team. Some make it; many more do not. The Olympic team represents the best of the best to go up against the world’s best of the best – in any discipline. But my take away isn’t about who makes it or who wins. It’s about a trait many think they have or possess but never really come close to having. And that is will.

So What About You?

The definition of will has several meanings but here it goes without saying; it’s determination. The Olympic athletes have a will, a determination to be the absolute best; a gold medalist. Even the silver and bronze carries a lot of significance – to be the number two and three respectively in the world is nothing to scoff at. So what does this have to do with you? What about your goals? Do they carry the same weight as being a gold medalist? Probably not, but they should. What about your will, the determination to achieve that goal? Is it something you’re truly committed to or just a few select times? You would never succeed as any athlete, let alone an Olympic one. And why do we accept our lack of progress or achievement as just something that happens, year in and year out? Because we lack a true vision. Losing a couple of pounds is insignificant in the big picture. What changes? What does that number mean? Imagine racing down the slope and the difference between you medaling or not is hundredths of a second. Those numbers really mean something. Whether you lose 5, 10, 15, or even 20 pounds matters little if the road to get there was traveled and executed through wishing, not pure will. Let’s say your goal has nothing to do with weight loss. Perhaps it’s just to exercise more. What’s realistic? What can you do rather than focusing on what you’re not doing?

The point here is this: we all live our lives the way we want. No one can make the choices for us and tell us how to live. What you do is indeed your choice and no one or nothing can be blamed for it. When you have the will and determination, absolutely nothing can stand in your way. No excuses, no short comings, no under achievement; only success.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

A New Years Plan to Follow

I know. January is just about over and here I am writing to you about a plan you should follow in the new year. Why? Because your best intentioned “resolution” isn’t going to work. I know. So pessimistic of me. Couldn’t I be more positive? Fact of the matter is, you’ll always have my support but reality is reality. 80% of those who make resolutions fail by February; less than 8% actually see them all the way through. Every. Year. Not great odds. The real issue with resolutions is that they are thoughts, emotional ones at that. Thoughts with no plan, no direction, or no real goal. I am here to tell you that none of this has to be fantasy. It indeed can be a reality. It has to begin though not as a thought but a course of action; a plan/statement as to what you’re actually going to do, not hope or when it’s convenient.

Best Foot Forward

My domain is exercise, nutrition, and health so let’s first start with that. If you’re going to start exercising but haven’t exercised CONSISTENTLY in the last two months – STOP! Starting an exercise program in January is no different than starting one in October. If you didn’t have the intentions then, you won’t have them now. Think of just getting moving. May be it’s a walk at lunch time; a few calisthenics upon waking up; just spending more time not sitting. Eventually you may find yourself seeking more activity, or may be not. The point here is that it becomes something coming out of an action, not a thought. Want to lose weight? Stop with the following of diet plans, potions, programs that promise quick, easy solutions. They don’t care whether you succeed. In fact, they’re counting on you not so you’re susceptible to their marketing again next year. Begin with small, achievable changes like adding a glass of water to your day; eat out less, pack food more; stop giving up foods and embrace eating more. Understand that eating is a means to survival, not an evil activity to be shunned or treated like a plague. Improve your relationship with food/eating before you think of following any program. There are no metabolism resets, cleanses, or any ridiculous rituals to fixing something that no one has a handle on. Long term, sustainable weight loss is a daily activity, not a 6/8 week program.

Making Some Real Changes

Not all resolutions need to be exercise and/or nutrition based. Prove to yourself that first you can set something up, achieve it, and feel proud about seeing it all the way through. It has to start with a belief, not a thought or hope. Following are some ideas to do to get you started, pumped up about seeing the one thing that eludes you – accomplishment.

• Get more quality sleep
• Eat vegetables at every meal
• Meditate
• Spend more time outside
• Actually eat your fruit before it goes bad
• Get back in touch with old friends
• Don’t watch tv or use the computer during meals
• Stretch and improve your flexibility
• Drink herbal tea instead of coffee
• Concentrate on improving your posture
• Cook and prepare lunch instead of relying on processed foods
• Stop biting your nails
• Compliment someone every day
• Cut back on your sodium intake
• Regularly donate unworn and ill-fitting clothing to a local shelter
• Clean your pantry and throw out expired food each month
• Cut down on the amount of plastic you use each day
• Re-try foods that you hate, but haven’t eaten in years
• Delete a social media account
• Keep a journal

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.