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Fitness Is A Long Term Investment

Posted by on Sep. 23, 2014 at 6:15 AM
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Long-term health and strength require an investment in your body that might not pay noticeable dividends for weeks or months. It's scary, but true. Of course, it's no fun to keep looking in the mirror without seeing what you visualize when you close your eyes at night. When you feel yourself mouthing the words "It's not working," it can seem like the only options you have are drastic change or heading back to the couch.

If you're struggling to stay the course, don't abandon all hope and give up on fitness just yet. You might just need some guidance and wisdom from a fitness professional.

1. Set specific goals and temper expectations

It's been said that 25 percent of people who make a New Year's resolution have already fallen off the wagon after their first week. That number continuously grows with each passing week and month.

It is common for more than 50 percent of people who make resolutions have already turned the page and forgotten all about it by six months in.

As a strength coach, I see numerous people attack their training goals with guns blazing, only to putter out within a few weeks for two main reasons. Their goals aren't specific enough, or they lack reasonable expectations.

Specific Goals

Announcing that you're finally going to get fit on Facebook isn't specific enough. Just showing up at the gym and doing something isn't specific enough. Sure, doing something is always better than nothing—I'd never downplay any form of exercise—but those arm circles with pink dumbbells aren't going to be enough to get fit, whatever that word means to you.

Set quantifiable goals – something you can measure. One example is focusing on a specific goal like performing a single bodyweight chin-up. I prefer these types of goals over worrying about scale weight, which usually causes damaging mind games.

Expectation Management

If you've never deadlifted before and set a goal to pull three times your bodyweight by the end of the year, you've almost inevitably set yourself up to fail. While you're at it, why not say you're going to win Mrs. Olympia or arm-wrestle a grizzly bear, too!

Setting lofty goals is great, but they have to be realistic, and in most cases, incremental. If you make incremental goals and conquer specific markers, you'll almost always stay on task.

2. Take an overall healthy approach

Don't think of training as a means to lose weight. That mindset is unsustainable. Instead, view working out as a way to feel better. If you feel sluggish and slow during the work day, start your morning with a 10-20-minute walk or cardio session to loosen the joints and get your blood flowing. You don't learn to play basketball by launching three-pointers, so why would training be any different?

If you're lucky enough to have boundless energy at the end of the day, start lifting weights to increase sleep quality so you can wake up reenergized. It doesn't require hour-long sessions to see benefits either.

A 20-minute weight training workout can be very effective, and it doesn't have to incorporate a dozen different random movements to work.

3. Treat training like an important errand

Make training part of your daily routine and set a trigger that reinforces its importance within your mind. As a fitness professional, I have a pretty hectic schedule that fluctuates daily.  But I schedule a training session for myself daily so I can unwind and restore while committing to myself.

Every workout is an investment toward achieving fitness. It takes time, attention, and consistency to earn that elusive goal. Commit and you will succeed.

4. Value consistency more than intensity

Consider working out like saving for retirement. You won't get there with one paycheck. It takes time, attention, and most importantly, consistency. The fittest people I know don't train the hardest every time, but they train the most consistently and remain focused.

You don't need to feel like you just went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson to have an effective workout. Just stay the course!

5. Give your body time to adapt

My advice is to think in opposites. If you're frustrated with a lack of change from hard work in the gym, it may be beneficial to step back and remember that your body needs time to adapt.

If you're out-of-shape, think about how many years it took living sedentary on a bad diet to train the body to store fat, lose muscle, and lower its conditioning.

Reversing those effects won't happen in four weeks. It takes discipline, consistency, time, and patience to make an investment in your body pay off.

Start with these basic principles and build a foundation of fitness success!

Walk more often

In this day and age, manual methods of transportation are scarce. Start walking to up your energy levels and possibly save money in the process.2

Get more sleep

You'll likely feel more energized and less lethargic after getting quality rest. Sleep will also facilitate more results from your workouts. Shoot for roughly eight hours per night.

Eat more vegetables

Many vegetables have anti-estrogenic properties. That's good for training purposes and promotes testosterone production.

Wake up early

An earlier bedtime and wakeup time can really change your day, because you'll have more time to get things done, before school or work. Training in the morning is underrated!

Eat breakfast

Your muscles are bereft of nutrients as you sleep, which can make you feel sluggish in the morning. Fuel your body and brain with quality food to start the day! Protein and fat are great at this time.

by on Sep. 23, 2014 at 6:15 AM
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