5 Reasons Why Specific Fitness Goals = Success
If you’re new to fitness and workouts, you might have started with a sense of hope and anticipation that you will automatically transform into a slimmer, healthier body after two weeks of working out and sweating a little. When you don’t see the results you are looking for, you often end up frustrated, intimidated, and disappointed. If your lack of results is due to ineffective or no program design, it may leave you unmotivated and uninspired to go on. At this point, you may think, “this isn’t worth the work…I give up.”
Setting specific goals creates a clear mental picture that provides direction, purpose, determination, and motivation. The human mind works by using images. If you never create a specific visualization of success then you can NEVER be successful in ANY endeavor. A football team never goes on the field without a game plan. Banks don’t approve business loans without asking for a business plan. With that said, here are five reasons why you absolutely NEED a fitness plan if you want to enjoy success – a healthier you.
- Set quantifiable goals
Figure out a realistic goal, put a number on it and write it down. For example, “I want to lose 4 dress sizes.” “I want to move my belt buckle over 3 notches.” “I want to lose 10% of my body fat.” If you want to take it a step further, write your affirmations in “real” time. E.g.; I am a size 8 (or whatever size you want to get to), I have reduced my belt buckle by two notches.
- Set realistic goals
You’ll be self-defeating if you’re a size 16 and you want to reduce to a size 2 in 3 weeks. Your weight didn’t pile on overnight and it’s not going to melt off overnight. If you say you want to gain 5 pounds of lean muscle mass in three weeks and you workout once a week for 10 minutes and eat french fries, it’s not going to happen. Set realistic goals for yourself; goals that are attainable yet push your body’s limits beyond what you’re used to.
- Think outside the scale
The scale is not your only indicator of success. Do away with your obsession with the scale and consult your body – Are your clothes fitting looser? How is your energy level? Your sexual health? Your stress level? How about digestion, metabolism, mood, and sleep quality? These are all important indicators of an increased fitness I.Q.
- Positive pressure is a good thing
Putting a little positive pressure on yourself will serve you well in the long run. Implement a structured plan to get you where you want to go. Post your workout schedule on your bathroom mirror or computer monitor. Don’t stay with the same routine week after week - vary your workout every two to three weeks to keep your muscles guessing…and responding. If you want consistent improvement, you’ll also need to get tested and measured at least every month. If you have a trainer, he or she can do this for you. As you make progress, include a reward cycle. Try a massage, a movie, or a walk in the park instead. Choose something that will provide a treat yet be a catalyst for moving you even farther ahead toward your goals.
- Develop a positive mindset for success
The old adage, “Change your thoughts, change your life” also applies to your nutritional and workout habits. As you change the way you think about food, it will become your friend, not your enemy. As you change the way you think about the time you’re spending working out, you’ll come to see it’s improving your quality of life as you grow older, not a necessary evil you must endure. Once your brain accepts the fact that working out and having the right nutritional plan has lasting, positive results, you’ll be a lifelong fan of goal-setting and effective program design. Setting goals reduces your chance of developing a destructive cycle of self-doubt and uncertainty. It’s easy to abandon vague goals. Vague goals are safe goals – goals that don’t move you out of your comfort zone. Goals can change but they must always be clearly defined in everyday life so self-doubt and uncertainty becomes things of the past.
Life is too short to waste time haphazardly planning vague fitness goals. Create some urgency and accountability into your training schedule. Utilize the above tips to move yourself out of vague and into victory.
The Truth About Why Women Should Ditch the Gym and Join a Boot Camp
Gyms love to take their cut of your monthly earnings. They don’t care about your mortgage or childcare expenses - they thrive on memberships and signing you up for personal training sessions with hot-off-the-press trainers who got their certification in a one-day seminar. If you choose to design your own training program, you’re often left wondering which machines are the best to use and how to avoid the danger of all the gym germs Ditch the gym because-
you walk into the gym, amped and ready to hit your workout energetically. You’ve warmed up on the treadmill, delicate beads of sweat are forming on your brow as you power walk over to your favorite machine only to find three people waiting for it ahead of you.
After all, you’ve waited in line at your favorite coffee place this morning, then at your lunchtime bistro, and finally in rush-hour traffic to get to the gym. Now, you wait for people to finish their sets before your muscles cool down; your momentum gone and your motivation drained. And you thought you only had to take a number at the post office…huh. Ditch the gym because-
gym advertisements are filled with images of sexy, six-pack, slinky models smiling as their teeth glisten for the camera. What if the camera rolled on the “real life” gym experiences of members wiping down sweaty equipment, avoiding eye-contact with half-naked strangers in the locker room, and struggling to figure out how to use the equipment properly and safely? Not exactly poster material. Ditch the gym because-
most gym chains aren’t as convenient to use as they may initially seem. Perhaps that’s the reason why most gym membership holders fail to even check in after the first month. A gym is a business that thrives on a constant stream of new members to stay profitable. They tend to focus on getting people to sign on the dotted line and then forget about the ongoing needs of their members. Ditch the gym because –
they are full of harmful bacteria.
- Locker RoomsYou are more vulnerable to bacteria when you’re working out because there’s a temporary drop in your immune function. The gym locker room has a steamy, warm, moist environment, covered in bodily residue. This provides a breeding ground for hundreds of bacteria strains, fungi, and viruses, including Athlete’s Foot, Staph, and MRSA.
INSTEAD - Join a boot camp because
- Swimming Pools, Saunas, and Steam Rooms - Swallowing contaminated water from a gym swimming pool can cause outbreaks of cryptosporidium, a stomach bug. All gym saunas contain high levels of citrobacter freundii bacteria, an agent of infections including pneumonia, and blood and urinary tract infections.
- it will feel like you pushed a workout “refresh” button. If you feel stuck in your boring, uninspiring chain gym, join a bootcamp especially designed for women. You will fire up your body’s response level and sound an alarm for your muscles to spring into action. Join a boot camp because -
you’ll feel pampered with personalized direction and care. Boot camp instructors are experts in workout routines and nutrition as well as cardio and strength training programs. Boot camps provide a safe environment for women of all ages and sizes with plenty of positive motivation mixed in. Your body deserves the best care you can give it – after all, it’s the only one you’ll ever have!
Play the Smart Nutrition Game and Win a New Life
First, here’s what the rules DON’T include: staying unrealistically thin, depriving yourself of the foods you love, and strict rules and regulations about calorie intake.
The rules DO include: Learning not just what to eat but how to eat. Learn that this time it’s not just another “diet” but a way-of-life nutritional plan. Learn the habits of healthy eating while expanding your range of healthy food choices. Learn how to plan ahead to ensure success.
What the winner wins: more energy and stamina, feeling great, reduced illness, improved memory, stabilization of mood swings, an overall pep in your step, and a higher quality of life as you grow older.
- Rule #1 – Think baby steps, not one giant, drastic change.
When you think of a nutritional plan, think fresh, variety, and color! Take existing recipes and substitute butter with olive oil, packaged seasoning mixes with fresh spices, eliminate white rice with organic brown rice. Try implementing one change a week. Changing everything at one time can lead to cheating or just giving up. Simply adding a salad a day can get you off to a great start.
- Rule #2 – Think of water as a food group.
Commit to drinking one glass of water when you first wake up. It helps your vital organs to spring into action for the day. Make it a point to drink a cup of water every hour. Make it a point to drink water before you go out to eat. Dehydration causes tiredness, headaches, and low energy.
- Rule #3 – Think of a rainbow when making food choices.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The antioxidants and other nutrients in fruits and vegetables help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Choose brighter, deeper-colored fruits and vegetables because they contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Rule #4 – Think of healthy carbs as name brand clothing, not cheap knock-offs.
When you want an A-game suit, you don’t run to the dollar store, you shop for quality. The same thing goes for your carb intake. Refined foods like breakfast cereal, pasta, and bread are cheap knock-off foods. Beware of deceptive ad tactics that start the ingredient list with generic terms like bran, 100% wheat, stone-ground, and multi-grain. Instead, look for 100% WHOLE wheat and WHOLE grain at the beginning of ingredients. Brown rice, quinoa, barley, and millet provide a healthy variety of healthy carbs.
To win the game, move forward one healthy step at a time by taking baby steps, making smart nutritional choices with colorful fruits and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water. Move backward two steps if you continue to choose dollar store nutritional choices that zap your energy and weaken your heart and respiratory system. When you join a fitness boot camp, you reap the benefits of personalized nutritional guidance and practical meal-planning. With a balance of healthy nutrition and fitness training, you’ll win a new life!
3 Proven Fitness Strategies to Help You De-stress
Studies have proven that physically active people have lower anxiety and depression than non-active people. Some researchers have sought to find links between brain chemicals released due to stress, anxiety, and depression and the brain chemical benefits of exercise. When you stay in a stressed state for prolonged periods, your breathing stays shallow, preventing a steady flow of needed oxygen to the brain.
The result of constant stress is the “fight or flight” reaction, first described by Walter Bradford Cannon, where your body goes into a state of hyper-arousal but there is often nowhere for that energy to go, so your body stays in that state for hours at a time. The “fight” response can show itself in angry, argumentative behavior while the “flight” response shows itself through social withdrawal, substance abuse, or even excessive t.v. watching. Prolonged bouts of stress can induce and exacerbate negative bodily reactions like constipation, hemorrhoids, anorexia, and lack of sexual arousal.
However, when you engage in fitness-related activities regularly, some researchers believe that neurotransmitters begin to mediate your moods and emotions. The increased “good” brain chemicals make you feel better and less stressed. Exercise is an excellent way to get rid of your excess stress energy, especially if you have a sedentary job.
Take to heart these three strategies and you’ll be on your way to less internal stress and better, more restful sleep:
- Strategy #1 – Aerobic Activity 20 – 30 minutes a day of brisk walking, jogging, spurts of jumping jacks or jump rope, or other aerobic activity that raises your heart rate will significantly improve your ability to control your stress level. It doesn’t even have to be all at once. Carve out 10 minutes at a time 2-3 times a day and get it done in spurts.
- Strategy #2 – Recreational Sports Tennis, racquetball, volleyball, or even playing on your local softball team can provide the vigorous activity while having fun that will rid your body of stress-causing adrenaline and other hormones. Find a sport you can get into and have some fun while you exercise and de-stress.
- Strategy #3 – Yoga When you’re engaged in yoga or yoga-type activities, your mind relaxes progressively while your body increases its amount of muscular work. You’ll feel relaxed and more alert as your large muscle groups repeatedly contract and relax and your brain receives the signal to release specific “feel-good” neurotransmitters
Some of the benefits of controlling your stress through fitness include:
- You’ll find yourself more relaxed and you’ll be able to curb your jitters and hyperactiveness. Some people call it endorphin response. Glean up to 120 minutes of relaxation response from one fitness routine.
- Helps you feel better about yourself. The feeling of self-worth contributes to stress relief.
- You’ll eat better. If you’re taking the time to exercise, you’re more likely to take time to eat food that is more nutritious.
Be mindful of how and where you perform your fitness routine. Try to avoid your office or corporate fitness center since those places can have too many work-related thoughts associated with them. Stay away from over-populated gyms and classes if possible. Whether your fitness routine involves a group or alone time really depends on your personality and if you’re energized by a group setting or by exercising alone.
A boot camp environment, even though challenging, can produce long-lasting de-stress elements for your body. At a boot camp you glean the benefits of a group activity while pushing your body toward higher physical limits. Hiring a personal trainer for one-on-one sessions can also prove beneficial if you need outside assistance for fitness and de-stressing.
Don’t put off fitness and de-stressing! Your next birthday will come if you do or if you don’t. Give yourself the gift of a new body!
Recipe for Body Weight Exercises
One firm, toned, healthy body Ingredients:
- Tuck jump
- Table dip
- Wall sit
- Frog Hoppers
Warm up your body with marching in place or stepping side to side or doing some jumping jacks. The purpose of warming up is to get your blood circulating and to increase your body temperature.
Perform each exercise below for 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on your physical condition. Add each exercise smoothly and quickly for a cohesive routine - as little as few minutes or up to an hour.
- Plank Exercise: Get into push up position on hands and toes, or on elbows and toes. Contract your abdominal muscles (and core). Keep your back straight (don't collapse in the middle) and hold this position for as long as you can.
- One-Leg Balance/Squat/Reach: Stand on one leg and balance it as long as you can. If this is too easy, add a slight squat motion. Still too easy? Place an object on the floor, several feet in front of you (a book, perhaps), and slowly squat down, and reach out with one arm and touch the object and slowly return to an upright position. Stay on one leg at all times. Repeat on the other leg after a minute or so.
- Tuck Jump: The tuck jump exercise ranks near the top of the list for developing explosive power using only an athlete's body weight.
- Table Dip: You’ll need one low, sturdy coffee table. Slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the table and lower yourself so your elbows are at 90 degrees. Do this 5-8 times.
- Wall Sit: With your back against a wall, and your feet about 2 feet away from the wall, slide down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Hold the position as long as you can.
- Burpies Stand with feet together. Squat down and place your hands on the floor next to your feet. In an explosive movement, jump feet backwards into a push-up position, do push-up, jump feet back between hands and stand up.
- Super (Wo)mans: Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out. Raise your arms and legs off the ground a few inches, hold a few seconds, and then lower. Alternate arms and legs as an option. Repeat.
- Frog Hoppers: Stand with feet together. Jump to the right several feet, keeping knees bent and landing in a squat position. Jump back to the left and continue jumping from side to side.
- Push Ups: Begin in push up position, on knees or toes. Perform 4 push ups, abs in and back straight. On the 5th push up, lower halfway down and hold for 4 counts. Push back up and repeat the series - 4 regular push ups and 1 halfway - 5 or more times.
Bake above exercises 4-5 times per week. The ingredients above will give you a full body workout anytime, anywhere. To cool down your fitness recipe, spend a few minutes stretching to reduce any muscle soreness. **Consult with your physical before beginning any exercise program and listen to your body for signs of injury.
If you lack the motivation to do all the above exercises by yourself, day in and day out, week after week, enrolling in a bootcamp might be the wisest decision you could make. During a women’s bootcamp, you’ll be in good company with other women who need a little extra push to get their bodies in the habit of working out while having fun at the same time.