Archive of ‘Fitness Tips’ category

5 Tips to Help You Kill it in Your Fitness Class

You’ve found a fitness class you really like and want to stick with, but how can you ensure that you won’t flake out and fall off the fitness wagon again? As a fitness instructor, I’ve seen it over and over again. Someone falls in love with a class and starts regularly attending, but then something happens and their attendance becomes spotty. I’ve also seen many people fall in love with a class, start to attend and, in no time, that person is a permanent fixture in the class. One of my class members is a mother of four with a job and a very busy family life, BUT she rarely misses class. How does that happen? Why do some people have such trouble being consistent and others don’t? Here are a few things that can help you get the most out of your fitness class which, in turn, will help you be more consistent. These 5 tips can help you slay that class and move closer to your goals.







  1. Block Off That Time Each Week. For real. If the class you love is at 9:00 every Tuesday and Thursday morning, then don’t schedule your son’s dentist appointment during that time. Schedule all of your family’s appointments, activities, meetings, etc. around your class and don’t feel bad about it. Your friend wants to meet for coffee at 9:00? Ask her to meet after 10:00 instead or on a different day. Make it a nonnegotiable. It may take a little more effort, but it’s worth it.
  1. Make Friends. Don’t be a Lone Ranger class member. If you don’t know anyone in the class, introduce yourself and get to know the people around you. Fitness is so much more fun when you have friends in the trenches with you. Some of my greatest friendships have been made in my fitness classes. Also, when you know the people in class you have accountability. It’s much less tempting to skip out when you have people expecting you to be there.

  





  1. Talk After Class. So, you’ve made friends in the class, awesome! But don’t use class time to catch up on life. Focus during the class and chat before and after. If you socialize during your workout, you won’t be going as hard as you should be which affects your results. When you’re in class, you should be 100% focused and engaged in what you’re doing. Save social hour for after.
  1. Listen to the Instructor. It’s easy to zone out in class and let your mind wander. Instead, really listen to the cues the instructor is giving and make sure you’re doing what he or she says. The instructor’s cues are given to help you perform the exercises correctly and prevent injury, so pay attention to each one. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in workout effectiveness just by listening and putting the cues into practice. Also, instructors often give fitness and nutrition tips and tricks that you might miss if you’re off in La La Land.

  





  1. Fuel Your Body Before and After Your Class. Don’t go to your fitness class on an empty stomach. If you want to get the most out of your time in the gym, you need to make sure you’ve fueled properly before your workout. I can’t tell you how many times students have come to me after class telling me how they struggled and had no energy only to find out that they didn’t eat anything before class. Your body is like a car that needs fuel to run. If your tank is empty, you won’t be able to get very far. Eat something 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. A nice mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat (think Greek yogurt, fruit and nuts or whole grain toast and nut butter or a smoothie with fruit, almond milk and protein powder) is your best bet.







 Group fitness is such a great way to get in shape. Implement these tips to rock your class and take your fitness to the next level.

 

All photos taken at the Waco Family YMCA. For membership information, click here.

 

How to Stay Fit When You’re Sick

I recently made the mistake of telling some friends that I NEVER get sick. I can’t remember the last time I got really sick. Oh, I’ve gotten a cold here and there, but nothing that has really slowed me down. That is, until a few weeks ago. I got the flu and I got it good. I was sick for two weeks with fever, body aches, extreme fatigue and coughing. The fever was the worst part because it would not go away. It loved me and decided to stay with me for TWELVE DAYS STRAIGHT. What the heck? It might not have lingered so long, but after Day Five, I assumed I was on the mend and decided to go back to teaching my fitness classes. Big mistake. After two days of teaching, I was toast. The low-grade fever I was beginning to get used to got higher and I became so exhausted I could barely function. The doctor ordered me to stay in bed for five days to let my body recover and heal. Normally, the thought of five days of bed rest would’ve sent me into orbit, but I was so tired that it was a welcomed relief.



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People often ask me if they should workout when they are sick. After this recent illness, I’ve been doing more research on the topic (I’ve had the time, trust me) and have changed my thinking. In the past when I’ve gotten sick, I’ve just kept on plugging away at my workouts, but I’m realizing that may not be the best thing. Those of us who love exercise don’t want to stop doing our thing. Exercise makes us happy and we don’t want to take a break for some lousy illness. Flu schmu! Just leave me alone and let me workout already! Some may fear that taking a break will cause them to lose all the gains they’ve made. Some may fear gaining weight during a break. Whatever the concern may be, there are some general guidelines to consider when you get sick.

A few excellent articles on WebMD state that most medical experts agree that working out with a cold may not be a big deal, but when fever is involved, exercise should be off limits. Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, a New York City-based sports medicine expert says, “The danger is exercising and raising your body temperature internally if you already have a fever, because that can make you even sicker.” Um, yes, I can attest to that.

Another way to assess if you should workout is to do a “neck check.” Dr. Neil Schachter, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York says, “If your symptoms are above the neck, including a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing and tearing eyes, then it’s ok to exercise. If your symptoms are below the neck, such as coughing, body aches, fever and fatigue, then it’s time to hang up the running shoes until these symptoms subside.” Agreed, Doc.



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So, how do you stay fit when you’re sick? Basically, you don’t worry about it. If you’re really sick, you should focus on getting healthy again. If you’ve been working out regularly, relax. Muscle memory is your friend. Your body has created a physiological blueprint of how to do what you’ve been doing. “Muscle memory stems from your body’s learning not just how to perform a task, but also how to break down muscle tissue and then repair and rebuild it,” explains William Kraemer, Ph.D., a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. “That physiological knowledge lets you come back from injury, surgery, and even pregnancy faster, easier, and often better than before,” he says. Yay! You’re gonna be just fine.

The only thing I would suggest besides not worrying about your fitness level is to not go crazy with your food. The good thing is that when you’re ill, you usually don’t feel like pigging out. If you do have your normal appetite, be mindful of what you’re eating since you aren’t exercising. Try to stick with healthy foods and drink plenty of liquids such as water or other low calorie drinks.

Being sick is THE PITS. Not getting to workout is THE PITS, but it happens. Take care of yourself and rest. The workouts will be there when you get well and your body will bounce back in no time.

 



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My Favorite Healthy Snacks

I don’t know about you, but this girl likes her snacks. Snacks keep me happy and satisfied between meals, so I don’t turn into a crazed, hangry lunatic! Snacking can be tricky though. The wrong snacks can wreck your healthy eating plan. Some people do great with eating healthy meals, but go off the rails with their snacks. When I was growing up, snacking wasn’t considered a healthy habit. Eating three square meals was what was preached and snacks were frowned upon. We know so much more now and snacking the right way can make eating healthy down right easy. I’ve tried just about everything when it comes to snacks and below is a list of my very favorites and what I snack on week in and week out.

Protein/Snack Bars

I’m often snacking on the run and bars are definitely the easiest, most convenient way to fill my belly. Be careful though. Some bars are loaded with sugar, calories and all kinds of chemicals that I don’t want in my body. Finding a bar that tastes good and isn’t full of junk isn’t easy, but these three have done it. These are my three favorite bars that I always keep in my gym bag.

Quest Bars– Who doesn’t love Quest bars?? They are delicious, high protein and full of natural ingredients. I like to heat mine in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Yummy! My favorite flavor is S’mores, but I haven’t found a flavor I didn’t like.

Lara Bars– While these bars aren’t as high in protein, they only have a few ingredients and taste great. I don’t find them as decadent as the others, but they make for a good, healthy snack. My favorite flavors are Peanut Butter Cookie, Cashew Cookie and Pecan Pie.

Grab the Gold Bars– Oh man! I love these bars. They taste like a cookie and I’m just in a good mood when I eat them. They are gluten and dairy free and made with natural ingredients. Word of warning: You won’t want to stop after eating one. I only allow myself one at a time because I could easily pack back two of these lovelies. I order mine online from the Grab the Gold website. Word of warning #2: Find a good hiding place or else your family will plow through a case in two days.



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Chocolate Milk

You’ve probably heard by now that chocolate milk is an ideal post workout snack because of it’s blend of protein and carbs with the added bonus of calcium. You can also find convenient single serve bottles for easy portability and portion control. Of course, kids love it, too, which is one of the reasons it doesn’t last long in our household.



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Apple with Nut Butter

I find an apple and some nut butter to be a very satiating snack. The apple is a good carb that has filling fiber while the nut butter has that satisfying good fat. My favorite nut butter is cashew butter, but I also love peanut butter and almond butter. Don’t go overboard on the nut butter because it is very calorie dense.



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Greek Yogurt with Fresh Berries

Oh yum. This is probably my favorite of all my snacks. I love to put a scoop of plain Greek yogurt in a bowl, add a little sweetener (stevia or honey) and throw in some raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries. Heaven on earth, I tell you. My favorite brands of yogurt are Fage and Greek Gods. Those are particularly rich and creamy. I usually have two big containers in my fridge at all times. One container is 0% fat and the other is the full fat variety. I use the full fat if I need a particularly hearty snack, but I’m careful to exercise portion control.



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Snacks are meant to be enjoyed and can help you in your quest to eat healthy. Hopefully, you can find something new to try from my list. I hear some Greek yogurt calling my name, so off I go! Happy, healthy snacking!

Get Back on Track after Blowing It

 

The holidays are behind us and it’s time to get started on a brand new year. Assessing the holiday damage on your waistline can sometimes be shocking and a little depressing. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. Look the truth square in the face and let’s get back on track.



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First of all, remember, you are not alone. Most people go a little nuts over the holidays. It’s easy to do. Honestly, I think I would be sad if I didn’t get to enjoy some fudge and peppermint bark at Christmastime. I’m sure there are people who eat clean through the entire holiday season, but…..no thanks! Good for them, but I’m glad I’m not one of them. A little indulgence isn’t going to kill me.



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No matter if you went a little nuts or waaaaaay nuts, there’s hope. You can get back on track!



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  1. Set your sights ahead and don’t dwell on the past. Even if you’ve tried to get back on track in the past and failed miserably, keep reaching for that goal. It’s worth it. Stay positive and forget what’s behind you. Dwelling on our past failures can set us up for yet another failure. Look ahead with optimism and hope.
  2. Don’t make things too complicated. Eating well and getting in shape don’t have to be difficult or complex. Start slow if that works better for you. Get moving 15-30 minutes a day. Examine the way you’ve been eating. Most people know where their diet problems lie if they are truly honest with themselves. Start eating a little less. Eliminate the things that cause you to binge. A few simple changes in your diet and exercise habits can do wonders.
  3. Get an accountability partner. Everyone needs a workout bestie or two. Going to a fitness class or hitting the weight room is always better with a friend. Go beyond just a workout buddy though. Find someone who will encourage you to eat well and isn’t threatened by your healthy habits. The best accountability partners are those who truly want the best for us and will talk us off the ledge when we are about to devour a pan of brownies.
  4. Find a workout and eating plan that YOU like! No one particular eating and fitness plan is right for everyone. If everyone you know is doing a hardcore boot camp, but that’s not something you like and will stick with for the long haul, DON’T DO IT! If your friends are going gluten free, but that sounds awful to you, DON’T DO IT! It will take a little trial and error, but keep experimenting until you find what works for your life.
  5. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t expect to lose those 10 holiday pounds in two weeks. It will take time. Know that going forward and accept it. Be patient, patient, patient.
  6. Expect setbacks. You may really blow it one day. You may sleep through a work out or gorge on chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, but that’s okay. It happens. Pick yourself back up. Lace up your sneakers and get back out there. Don’t wallow in self-pity. So, you blew it. Big deal. How will you respond? THAT is what matters. THAT is what will determine if you will be successful in your health and fitness journey.



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Forget about the past and get on with living healthy. Make this year the best one yet!

 

Do You Have to “Train Insane?”

If you pay any attention to the latest fitness trends, you’ve probably noticed that things seem to be getting more and more extreme. The more “insane” a workout is, the better. Words such as “killer,” “brutal” and “hardcore” are the new norm when describing popular workouts. The new craze in running is “Ultra Running” where 50 or 100 miles is the target. Whew! If that’s your thing and your body can handle it, cool, but is it necessary for the typical exerciser to push their body to the brink?

I get asked frequently, “Are you training for anything?” My response is that I’m training for life. I don’t do races or competitions. My goal is simply to live a fit and healthy life and have a little fun in the process. Instead of training harder, I want to train smarter. Don’t get me wrong. We have to work hard. People who come to my classes know this. We WORK. You can’t just lollygag with your fitness. You have to challenge yourself and be consistent to get results, but you don’t have to go to extremes.



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

Unfortunately, the current trends can be discouraging to people who have fallen off the fitness wagon or who are contemplating jumping on for the first time. A fitness newbie’s desire to start can be totally shut down when he or she feels so far behind and when the current workout trends seem so unpleasant and extreme.

Our egos can be the problem on both ends of the fitness spectrum. The person who has gotten out of shape doesn’t want to feel embarrassed or like a “fitness weenie” compared to others, so that ego keeps him or her from doing anything. On the other end, the very fit person can push harder and harder even when they are injured or could get injured by the extreme exercises they’re doing. As we age, it can be a real blow to the ego when our bodies can’t quite do what they once could. Our egos want our bodies to do awe-provoking things. We want to be admired, for other people to think we are bad to the bone, but at some point, our bodies will win and say “Enough!” And who cares what other people think? Whether they think good or bad, it doesn’t change my life. What matters is the tape I’m playing inside my own head. If I think I’m doing alright, then good for me.

Is there a happy medium?? Absolutely! It really is possible to have a healthy, fit body without all the craziness. How? If you’ve read my blog or come to my classes, you’ve heard me preach this before. It’s nothing new, but I cannot emphasize these two simple things enough.

  1. Consistent Exercise– Whatever your exercise of choice, be consistent. If you don’t have an exercise you enjoy, start experimenting until you do. Make it fun! If you walk or run, download some great music and get going. Just move and move most days of week. Every week. Every month. Every year. Work up a sweat! Starting out can be rough, but when you get into a regular routine, you will begin to crave it. You will FEEL so much better, and, of course, you will look better, too.
  2. Healthy Diet– This is usually the tough one for many, but if you clean up your diet, it will show. When someone is exercising consistently, but still carrying extra weight, his or her diet is almost always the culprit. Many people look for the magic exercise formula or a new and better workout program to fix this, but, as many of you have heard before, you cannot out train a bad diet. It’s not hard to do a little research to educate yourself on healthy eating. The info is out there. In a nutshell, work to eliminate as much processed food from your diet as possible. Begin to add in more fruits and veggies and start eliminating the junk a little at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself some time to adjust and change.

Be encouraged! You don’t have to be a total fitness freak to have the healthy, lean body you want. When others tell you of the insane workouts they do, applaud them and hold your head up high. Enjoy your workouts. Be consistent. Eat healthy. Smile and enjoy life!

 



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My Fitness Career and Child #3

The first time it happened my youngest was just a baby. I had just finished teaching a class and a woman from LA who had been in the class came up to me. “What are you doing in Waco, Texas? You should be in LA or New York!” She was so complimentary and it made me feel great, but I just brushed it off. Fast-forward more than a decade and situations similar to that one are not entirely uncommon. Many have said I should do more than I am, that I could be “big” in the fitness world if I put myself out there. “If you created a YouTube channel, you could be traveling around and really be known!” “You should work to have a strong social media presence and then sell your workouts or create your own workout program and get out there and promote it.” The idea sounds cool and tempting. I begin to think, “I could do that! Why not?” But there is always something holding me back. It’s not fear or lack of confidence. It’s not self-doubt because I know that any talent or gifting I have in this area comes from God. If He called me to “go big,” I would follow. It’s something entirely different. It’s this cute thing called Child #3.



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I have three kids. Two are in college. Wow. It’s weird just typing that. In the summer of 1999, I was home with two small children and I prayed for a skill. I had a degree in Communications, but I wanted a specific “skill” that I could form into a career. I prayed and God delivered in a big way. I started teaching fitness classes and it took off. My classes were exploding and I was a happy camper. I worked hard to keep my career manageable. I was able to teach my classes in the morning while still getting to be a part of my kiddos activities. And activities there were…. select soccer, select basketball, track, volleyball, cross-country, etc. During the early stages of my fitness career, Child #3 hit the scene. Poor, sweet baby, he was dragged to everything. Most moms say that because their last child is dragged everywhere, they are easy going, but I think it’s God’s mercy. He gives us happy, pliable last children because He knows we would lose it otherwise.



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Oh, that sweet Child #3. I know that without a doubt, if I decided to take this fitness thing to the next level, he would be fine. I don’t know if I would be though. It’s just how God has wired me. I don’t want to miss out on his stuff. I want to finish this motherhood thing strong. I don’t want to give Child #3 less than I gave Children #1 and 2. With two in college, I look back and realize what a quick ride this has been. It’s been a blur. A wonderful, difficult, fun, crazy, busy, exciting blur.



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So, who knows what will happen? I’ve slowly been adding more to my schedule as we’ve ushered two kids out the door and as Child #3 has gotten older. If God changes my heart and gives me the desire to ramp things up, awesome. If not, I’m cool with being a big fitness fish in a small pond instead of being world famous. In the meantime, I’ll just wait and enjoy what I have. In four short years, that sweet, fun Child #3 will be out the door. Maybe that will be “go time” for me. Of course, I may be leading “Chair Aerobics” by then! Come to think of it, I don’t know of a famous YouTube channel dedicated to that. I’ve got four years to plan. Get your chairs ready, world!



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My 5 Keys to Aging Well

Aging is a fact of life. No matter what you do or how you try to avoid it, it’s coming. I never really thought about aging until well into my thirties. In fact, I didn’t really begin to feel the effects of aging until my mid forties. I always believed because I take such good care of myself, aging wouldn’t happen to me or, at least, it wouldn’t be very noticeable. Ha! Oh, to be young and naive.

No matter how good you care for yourself, no matter how good your genes are, no matter what you eat or what exercise you do, you, my friend, like every other human, will age. It’s how God designed life and we can’t change it, but we can do things to age well.

Of course, there are many things to make this process go well, but since this is a blog and you have things to do, I’ve narrowed it down to what I believe are the 5 most important things.

  1. Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise has gotten a bad rap in recent years thanks in part to social media. Some of the most popular fitness accounts on Instagram and Facebook are bodybuilders or figure competitors whose primary focus is heavy-duty weight training. Cardio is often dissed and lifting heavy is praised like the second coming. Now, I love weight training (it’s my second key in this list), but to have a balanced life and to age well, our bodies need heart-pumping cardio. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, which helps to keep us lean. It improves heart function. Your heart is a muscle and needs to be worked to stay strong and operate well. Cardio releases “feel good” chemicals that can help with depression and stress. The list goes on, but suffice it to say, cardio is a must for aging well.


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

 

  1. Weight Training

Weight Training (also called resistance or strength training) is SO important when it comes to aging well for many reasons. Of course, strength training makes you look better. Many women think weight training will make them bulky, but that’s not the case. Muscles are smaller than fat, so no matter what the scale says, as you gain muscle, you look smaller. Also, as we age, we lose muscle mass, which slows our metabolism and causes weight gain. Strength training helps to stop that muscle loss helping to keep our weight in check. It also helps to stop and even reverse bone loss. Don’t be scared by what you see on social media. You do not have to lift insane amounts of weight to get these benefits. In my opinion, to age our best, we have to protect our joints and lifting too heavy can lead to problems down the road. When I’m doing my weight training (and my cardio, for that matter), I’m not just thinking about my current body, but also about my body 10, 20, 30 years from now. I am careful not to overdo it because I want my joints to stay healthy throughout my lifetime.



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  1. Flexibility Training

As we age, our flexibility decreases making daily tasks such as bending, reaching and even walking more difficult. Staying flexible helps our mobility and allows us to stay active. Yoga is part of my weekly fitness regimen, but if that’s not your thing, adding regular, intentional stretching into your routine will make a difference.



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  1. Healthy Diet

No surprise here. We all know that what we eat matters. Not only does it affect how we look and feel but also how we age. One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, legumes, nuts and lean protein such as fish, chicken and lean red meat. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides needed vitamins, minerals, fiber, age-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants which battle free radicals that damage cells. Low fat dairy provides calcium to strengthen bones and is also a good protein source. Whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, whole grain pasta and oatmeal provide fiber, vitamins B and E and antioxidants. Legumes have fiber, antioxidants and are a good source of complex carbs. Protein is important because it helps to build and repair tissue and our bodies use it to make enzymes and hormones. Protein also helps to keep us full and satisfied.

Although I’m a big believer in eating healthy, I’m also a believer in moderation. Sticking to a healthy eating plan is much easier if we allow room for treats. I would go nuts if I couldn’t eat chocolate or chips and salsa. I try to adhere to a 90/10 plan where 90% of what I eat is good, healthy food and 10% is just plain fun. Truly aging well involves having a happy, peaceful outlook on life and on food. I would not age well if I was obsessive or too stringent with my diet. I would be a foul, grumpy wench. No thanks!



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  1. Acceptance

The final key is acceptance of ourselves and our aging bodies. To age well is to feel good about who we are in the present, instead of trying to relive the past and look and feel like we did way back when. I’m not saying to throw in the towel. Quite the contrary! As we age, accepting some of our new limitations can help us avoid injury and avoid being constantly frustrated and unhappy. I’ve seen people severely injure themselves trying to do things better suited for people 10-20 years younger. Our egos don’t want to accept these changes, but our bodies will demand that we listen. So what if you can’t lift what you did in college? So what if you’re not a size 2 like in high school? It’s okay. Our bodies change. Our abilities change. Let’s strive to be as healthy and fit as we can within the limitations of our aging bodies.

Happy aging, my friends!



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One Simple Key to Weight Loss

So, you’ve got a nice exercise routine established and you eat a healthy diet, but you’re not quite where you want to be. What to do? The answer may be simpler than you think.

A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to France. One thing I noticed (besides the amazing sights) was how trim and lean the people were. I don’t recall seeing any overweight locals. Interestingly, I didn’t see many gyms or even locals out running or doing typical forms of exercise. And their diet?? Paleo it is NOT. French bread, pastries, cream, butter, wine. Awesome, right? So, how in the world do they stay thin? One reason is because they move a lot. Walking is a huge part of the French lifestyle. Those people walk everywhere. The French are on to something and we can be, too. What if we simply moved more?

An article in the April issue of “Runner’s World” supports this idea. Author Amby Burfoot, reports that when it comes to getting lean, “calorie reduction is not the answer. In fact, there’s scant evidence that gluttony is our problem. Convincing data point to the other side of the calories in/calories out equation- physical activity. We’re not eating too much. We’re moving too little. “ We sit much more than our ancestors did and “as a result, we burn far fewer calories during the work day” than they did. The article talks about “energy flux…a new term for an old hypothesis.” “The hypothesis says: Don’t focus on reducing the number of calories you eat, or calories in. Focus instead on increasing the number of calories you burn, or calories out. In doing so, your body will find an ideal balance point that naturally promotes weight loss and will help you maintain a healthy weight.”

Just move and move some more. Keep those legs active as much as you can. Extreme exercise isn’t the answer. Extreme dieting isn’t the answer. We need to be on our feet and simply moving more than we do. Walk around more. Stand. Forget the elevator and take the stairs. Walk the dog. Park further away from your destination. Do little things throughout your day such as folding laundry or answering email standing up.

Find exercise that makes you happy. Eat a healthy diet that you enjoy. AND MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!



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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)