If you have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle and you have found that it is pretty far removed from what you did before things probably feel pretty uncomfortable. Maybe those early morning workouts still aren’t coming along without buckets of coffee or you still aren’t making it to Yoga class on a consistent basis. Most people really enjoy being in their comfort zone and going along in their day-to-day, not having to think to much or put extra effort into being.
While regimens are helpful and consistency tends to work well for us in our personal, professional and social lives it may also be one of the things working against your formation of healthier habits. In order for you to make significance progress forward with your health you have to make significant changes to your lifestyle. It’s not enough to just go business as usual especially if you have employed strategies in the past and still are at a place where you are dissatisfied.
I invite you to take a risk, take a chance and do something that frightens you. Join that class that looks to tough or take your workout fanatic friend up on a session that you know will make you walk funny the next day.
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Some of the best advice I have ever been given about working out: “you don’t have to enjoy the work out but you can enjoy what it does for you.” Believe me, I can see it on the faces of those people hamster wheeling those elliptical machines, they don’t want to be there and if they can just go 20 more minutes life will be good. However, there is a big difference between optimizing your workout and just going through the motions.
In a recent article by Michael J. Joyner in Outside magazine entitled Why You Need to Be Doing Burpees, Joyner highlights a study that shows an increase in mortality versus an individual’s ability to get off the floor. Think about it, if you have fallen and you can’t get up what does this say about your physical ability? Gravity is a bitch, it is constantly working to push you down and keep you there.
Working out isn’t just about going through the motions in the gym, it is about optimizing our ability to move against gravity. Now, you can go to the gym and exercise, get in a little cardio go over to the weights and do some bench, curl some dumbbells, get that pump on. However, think about how this would help you if you suddenly slipped on the ice and needed to catch yourself or had your arm trapped under a boulder, needed to cut your arm off, then crawl to safety. OK, maybe that is a little extreme but how do those traditional exercises serve to improve physicality?
Here is a list of traditional compared to there more athletic exercises
Bench Press vs. Burpees or Clapping Pushups
Cable Pulldown vs. Pullups
Elliptical vs. Stair Climbers or Running
Squat vs. Front Squat or Kettlebell Swings
Missionary Position vs. Amazon Kneeling Reverse (look it up will make you chuckle.)
Everything is better with friends, including getting in shape and losing weight. Technology has given us the opportunity to create and foster relationships with others from the comfort of our sofas. Now, if the extent of your interaction with others on-line has been trolling pictures of your high school crush on Facebook then, it’s time to get more out of your internet time.
Twitter is a great place to get support and inspiration in 140 charters or less. You don’t need to understand how to use hashtags and at signs (@) to get something out of social networking for weight loss. Because of the limit on what you can write you can post and read quick notes that get to the point. Bonus, twitter is also a free service and takes no time to set up, connect to friends and family and get started.
I suggest that you set up a twitter account with friends that support your weight-loss efforts or people that are also trying to get in shape. Commit to posting daily updates, workouts, and barriers you bump up against. I also recommend following people and organizations that will give you information that aligns with goal and motivates you.
Suggested Tweets to follow: iBehaviorCoach, Retrofitme, Men’s Health, Sparkpeople,
Here’s a scenario, you have the goal in mind to lose several pounds before the holidays because you have a trip planned to Brazil. You get a gym membership, sign up for a couple of group fitness classes and buy a juicer. Your morning routine, choke down homemade beet/celery/quinoa concoction, pack bag with gym clothes, and grab a protein bar. The first two weeks start off pretty well, you are hitting the gym three-times a week and you can set a timer to your bowl movements (thanks quinoa).
However, you will have to change some things around next week, project due by Friday and there are two after work functions planned. No problem, you will get back on track next week. When next week roles around you only end up getting to the gym once because of some family commitments and more work functions. Four-weeks out you are totally off track, tired of cleaning the juicer blades, and annoyed by the extra weight you have to haul around each day just so you can get to the gy
Thank you Quinoa!!
m. Thinking back to those first couple of weeks you ask, “how did I make that happen?”
One of the more significant factors that separate those that are successful at weight-loss and those that aren’t is the ability to prioritize defined healthy behaviors. Think about it, there are several non-negotiable throughout your day that support your personal, professional, and social lives. For example, how long could you keep your job and friends if you didn’t attend to your personal hygiene? Regular showers are a non-negotiable for most people that want to keep their jobs and interact with other individuals.
When you prioritize self-care you make it a non-negotiable to a certain extent. This will require a better understanding of your world so you can make an AM workout happen if you have extra work to do in the evening. This also requires not allowing yourself to make excuses and understanding this is a part of who you are. When you really own healthy living as a part of your persona it permeates all areas of your life and losing weight becomes less about doing it will just begin to happen.
There are 99 days left in 2013 and this gives us the perfect opportunity to set goals. I do enjoy goal setting and I am even part of a group of Facebook where we post up a 30 day challenge at the beginning of every month. Through these challenges I have learned that it not just about reaching a goal but what you discover about yourself along the way. For instance, I wanted to cut down on eating out so I threw out the challenge of limiting restaurant visits to celebrations only. Before you ask, yes, Sunday night football counts as a celebration.
I came to realize that I wasn’t just going out for convenience but I was feeding my need to be around other people. I am extremely extraverted and am energized by places crowded with other individuals even if I’m not interacting with them. Because I work out of my apartment I was going out and grabbing a bite not because I didn’t feel like taking all that time to defrost that Trader Joe’s chicken burrito but to have some company.
My recommendation for an end of the year challenge, go big, put something out there that you really want to accomplish and set monthly goals that align with what you are trying to accomplish. So, if you want to lose 15 lbs. set your 30 day goal at getting in 10,000 steps each day or making sure you get your daily serving of vegetables. Focus on the small stuff and set up a daily check-list of healthy living task. Also, it would help if you came up with some system to keep you accountable. Things like purchasing some classes, signing up with a coach, or getting your friends to withhold your favorite pillow until you accomplish your goal kick in that little extra motivation when you start to flag.
The other day one of my friends shot me a note on Facebook asking how I felt about weight loss supplements. She was looking to lose about 10 lbs. and was a bit frustrated with what she was seeing on the scale after a significant push. My response: So, whenever you consider something like this think how it will work long-term. Sure, it might help you get to a place where you lose weight initially but, unless you make some habit change along with it chances are you will gain right back.
Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to consider a weight loss pill, crash diet or extreme exercise program ever again? That is why I promote habit change and creating a lifestyle that supports weight loss. Friends, the formula is simple, eat less, move more, that is it. I have seen people drop hundreds of pounds using this formula they walk and pay attention to the food they eat.
Best practices for weight loss success:
Journal your journey: Love the blogs I see where people put themselves out there and push forward.
Utilize Technology: Take a look at the apps that are out there and get in the habit of logging food and workouts.
Weigh-in: My successful clients weigh in daily and own both the weight gain and weight loss. They understand that the number on the scale is just feedback and not a judgement of their success.
Team Player: Don’t do this alone. The successful people I work with lean on their team for support and to get better insight into this process.
Having had memberships at dozens of gyms it has become pretty comical that no matter where I go a majority of the women are on cardio machine while the guys are lifting weights. If you are favoring one type of exercise over the other you may be missing out on some significant benefits. There is an art to finding balance in the work that you do at the gym. Under do it and you are just spinning your wheels, over do it and you will sabotage your progress.
Especially if you have hit a bit of a plateau it might be time to change things up. Try this workout:
Between each round run 5 minutes on a treadmill or some other cardio equipment.
This workout is pretty tough but it will push you and can be adjust dependent on your current conditioning level. If you workout at a pretty busy gym like I do try doing the entire lifting phase with the cardio before (10 min.) and cardio after (10 min).
There is always going to be a reason or an excuse that will get in the way of your self-care. Maybe the meeting ran over, or your dog is sick, or it’s the zombie apocalypse (Rule #1 Cardio), pick one. I work with busy professionals that have kids and a million and one responsibilities yet, they make their health a priority. For every person that tells me they are to busy to take care of themselves I know dozens of others that are much busier then they are.
This comes down to choice and the realization that you don’t always have to put in two-hours at the gym to check off the day as a win. Make food choices that work in your favor, make sure you are getting up and walking during the day, do the little things that matter they will add up. Do one small thing today just a little better then the day before and take care of business.
I love what I do for a living, working with individuals to transform their lives is extremely rewarding and never dull. Having worked with hundreds of people up to this point I can tell you that while some basic parameters do exist (burn more calories then you eat) there is not one size fits all success formula. Today I am going to give you a list of the top-five tendency I see with in clients that are successful at losing weight and keeping it off.
Be honest: Sure, that bag of chocolate bites is around 150 calories but does it make sense that a fit individual would eat these on a daily basis? In order to lose weight you have to be completely honest about what you put in your mouth and emphasize quality over quantity. It is the difference between seeing food as a way to fuel your body and food as something you consume to pass the time.
Focus on the process: Don’t get caught up in what you will eventually look and feel like once you finally achieve that fitness goal. What does your daily/weekly/monthly plan look like? Get some basic behaviors down that you can check off at the end of the day and set small goals that you can evaluate each week. When you stay in the moment and attend to the choices you are making right now the success will work it’s way out.
Support: Who is on your team? A client of mine was working on better portion control at dinner and had discussed this with his wife not knowing his youngest daughter was listening. During the evening meal one night he reached across the table to get another dinner role and was smacked on the hand with a spoon. “No Daddy!” When faced with stern six-year-olds it is better to back down and appreciate the lesson you have just learned. Employ as many people as you can on this journey, the more support you have the better.
Journaling: All my successful clients utilize something to track thoughts, accomplishments and work through barriers. Find an app, start a blog, or just invest in a notebook but make sure you have something to get something brief down about your day. They track the foods they eat and the activities they participate in. You could come up with a scale that will allow you to rate yourself and give a quick reason behind the grade. Also, try voice recording, most computers and phones have some type of note recording software. Even if you don’t review it just hearing yourself out load helps.
General Activity: At my heaviest weight (260) I was spinning for an hour, five-days-a-week at 5:45 in the morning then, going to work. The thing is, once I was at work I really didn’t move for the rest of the day until I went home and surfed cable until I went to bed. You have to stay as active as possible and you are better off finding 5-10 minutes here and there to just walk around then only working out once and sitting on your butt for the rest of the day.
Please, there are other pieces to this puzzle and if there is something that you have found to be helpful please post up for the benefit of others.