December 2014 archive

3 Things to Help You Be a New Year’s Resolution Winner

Well, it’s that time again, New Year’s Resolution time. It’s a fun, exciting time for those of us in the fitness industry. I LOVE the buzz at the gym and seeing all the new faces. The treadmills are full. The weight room is packed. The fitness classes are bursting at the seams. People are so determined and committed. AND the great thing is that this commitment level lasts year round…in my dreams. The truth is that within about three weeks, the gym is back to normal and the New Year’s Resolutioners have fallen off the fitness wagon…except for a few. A few will make it. A few will catch the fitness bug and stick with it. A few will lose weight, get in shape and get healthy. Will you be one of the few?

Honestly, I don’t think the answer to health and fitness success lies in a new workout program or diet plan. Of course, I’m not knocking those things. Everyone needs to find what he or she enjoys and will stick with, BUT most people know they need to eat less and move more. Most people know that cookies, cake, chips and fried foods aren’t good for them and that fruits, veggies, lean protein, nuts and whole grains are. Most know they need to get off the couch and exercise. The answer lies in our mindset.

Will you be a New Year’s Resolution Winner or Loser? After years of seeing the same pattern, I’ve noticed three mindsets that wreck health and fitness New Year’s Resolutions.

1. The Event Mindset

Don’t let your goal be to get in shape for one certain event such as a class reunion, a vacation or a half marathon. Often, once the big event has past, people go back to their old habits. Remember, we are training for an event called LIFE. It’s a day in/day out, month in/month out, year in/year out event.

2. The All or Nothing Mindset

Getting in shape isn’t an all or nothing endeavor. If you miss a workout or eat a fattening meal, put it behind you and keep going. Get back on track with the very next meal or a workout the very next day. Do NOT throw in the towel if you have a bad day or week. On your fitness journey, you will have many ups and downs, but the key is to soldier on and never give up.

3. The Unrealistic Mindset

Be realistic with your goals. Forget your high school weight, your wedding weight or your whatever weight. Set goals that are reachable for you NOW in your current phase of life. Our bodies and our lives change as we age, and we drive ourselves crazy fixating on a number from years ago. Don’t do it! Where are you now? What’s achievable now?

Do you have any of these mindsets? If so, before 2015 begins, change it. Be someone who adopts healthy habits for life not for a singular event. When you hit a bump in the road, pick yourself up and get right back at it. Finally, forget about your past self. Focus on the now. Move towards becoming a healthier, better you NOW. You can do it. You can be a Resolution Winner so get going! See you at the gym!



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Are You a Good Fitness “Patient”?

Several years ago, my father, a retired orthopedic surgeon, told me about a family friend on whom he operated several times during his career. He spoke of how much he enjoyed having this man as a patient because he always knew the surgery and recovery would go well. This man’s positive attitude and determination to get better aided in easy, smooth recoveries. My dad mentioned how patients with the opposite attitude would usually have the opposite result. I find this to be true in fitness as my fitness “patients” are much like my dad’s orthopedic patients.

People who are determined to be fit will find a way to be fit. I see it all the time. This doesn’t mean that these “determined fitness patients” have fewer issues or emergencies that arise. They have just as much “stuff” in their lives as the next guy. They have sick kids, sick parents, sick pets, school parties, car problems, money problems, household problems, busy jobs, busy children, busy spouses, vacations, injuries, illnesses and on and on…. The difference is when life knocks them down, they are determined to get back up and at ‘em.

In all the craziness, they find a way to stay fit and healthy. Their workout regimen may have to change in the midst of crisis. They may have to sacrifice a little sleep and convenience. They may have to delegate some things to allow time for themselves. They may get completely knocked off their fitness groove for a bit, but they find a way to get back because they know that by taking care of themselves, they are better equipped to take care of life.

What kind of fitness “patient” are you? When problems arise, do you fight for your health and fitness? Remember, when life gives you a sucker punch to the face, a positive, determined attitude will help with the healing. Get up, dust yourself off and get back out there.

 



Some of my outstanding fitness "patients"



Some of my outstanding fitness “patients”

(Photo taken at the Waco Family YMCA, For membership information, click here)

 

Dare NOT to Compare

Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Nothing kills my joy faster. Comparing ourselves to others has always been a battle, but I believe it’s harder now more than ever. Social media gives us windows into other people’s worlds and they almost always look rosier than our own. You log on and start to feel like everyone takes better vacations, has smarter, more athletic kids, a more thoughtful spouse and a prettier house. Am I right?



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Even worse is the anxiety we feel when it comes to comparing our bodies and our fitness levels. You’re feeling pretty darn good about getting off the couch and running 3 miles today only to see that Susie Q. just completed her 5th marathon of the year. Oh and she broke her own best record and placed first in her age group. It’s enough to send you right back to the couch with a big bag of Oreos. Double Stuff Oreos. Ever felt like that?

I’m not trying to blast those who tout their fitness accomplishments on social media. I understand the excitement of reaching a goal, but I do believe it can lead to comparisons and that never ends pretty.

Of course, social media isn’t the only place that tempts us to compare our bodies and fitness levels. Walk into any gym and the urge to look around and see how we size up beckons. I have constantly heard, “I want to try your class so bad, but everyone looks so fit. I’m intimidated.” It’s an easy trap to fall into, but we’re only hurting ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but for me, life is too short and precious to waste it feeling anxious and unhappy from measuring my shortcomings with other people’s bright, shiny packaging. Something that has helped me when the urge to compare strikes is to remind myself that every person has problems, issues and difficulties. Things may look perfect on the outside, but we all have struggles and I’m good with mine. No desire to trade.

Remember your goals. When you are comparing your body to what you see on social media, stop yourself and remember your goals. Often, those bodies we admire on social media fitness pages are fitness/body building competitors who get paid to look that way. Do you have the time and energy to devote hours and hours to look like that? I don’t. My goal is not to be a fitness competitor but a fit, healthy ME.

Finally, if comparing yourself is keeping you from trying something (such as the group exercise class I mentioned earlier), know that the person losing out in this battle is YOU. Most people aren’t going to judge you or obsess over every little move you make in the class. Gym goers are there to improve themselves. They aren’t worried that you aren’t super fit or that your push-up form isn’t that great. And chances are, the people in that class started out just like you- intimidated, unsure and not in the best shape. Don’t let the comparison monster win. Push him aside and go for it. Your outlook and your life in general will be better for it.