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Consistency in Workouts

Working hard, eating right, having a plan and doing one thing every day that will get you closer to who you want to be is a fool-proof way to improve your health. However, the fitness industry tends to not be upfront about this, instead promising quick fixes and overnight results. For example, I learned this past year that I’m a pretty bad salesman when it comes to selling my fitness services. While most fitness facilities across the country offered all kinds of membership specials for the new year, fat loss programs guaranteed to work, etc., we didn’t offer anything like that at my training facility.

Having been in the fitness industry for a really long time, I know that the New Year is the time to capitalize on getting new members and training clients. Fitness businesses thrive on the resolutions and the people intent on finally making that change and jumping on the fitness bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, I did it in the past. I ran programs like “New Year-New You,” “Brand New You,” etc. I’ll admit it, it’s catchy. And we sold a lot of them.

And of course, people buy right into it…for the first week or so. They’re all fired-up. Facebook pages filled with, “This is the year I finally make it happen!” comments. The fact is, January 1 is just a day (this year, it was a Thursday). It’s not really the turning of a season, much less the turning of your life.

Like most fitness facilities, we had our usual onslaught of people inquiring about our program toward the end of December and early in January. But that’s where I failed as a salesman this year because I told them what a lot of other fitness facilities won’t….the truth!

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The truth is that changing who you are, how you look or who you want to become is not easy. In fact it’s pretty darn hard. New Year’s resolutions tend to over-inflate the significance, especially when it comes to health and fitness. People become over-attached to the outcome and end up over-believing the hype. As much as we want January 1 to be the beginning of something amazing, different and new, by January 14, we’re horrified to realize that very little has actually changed.

I’m not trying to make fun of people who set resolutions, I think goals and wanting to be better are something everyone should strive to achieve. But when someone calls or visits us in January with the false pretense that they are going to go from overweight, having never exercised (real exercise, anyway) and thinking french fries are a vegetable to heading out on a spring beak trip in March with a brand new body, I can’t help but burst their bubble. I could sell them a membership and tell them they’re going to look great in a little bikini on the beach in three short months, but instead I tell them the words they don’t want to hear: consistency and patience.

The people that get it and are committed (like many of you reading this blog) and buy into the fact that it’s going to take some time and a lot of hard work and dedication.

The ones that don’t get it often head off to the next place in search of the words they want to hear, no matter if it’s the truth.

Work hard, eat right, have a plan and do one thing every day that will get you closer to who you want to be.

Consistency and patience will get you there.

Ken Grall a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, as well as a Youth Fitness Specialist (YFS) through the International Youth Conditioning Association. Learn more on the Meet Our Writers page.


Selecting a Resolution That Will Stick

Question: I just invested in my first piece of home fitness equipment and really want to make a healthy start for the new year. Do you have any advice on setting a New Year’s resolution that will actually stick?

First of all, congratulations on committing to a healthy new lifestyle–no matter the time of year! Whether your goal is to lose weight, get healthy, or hit a PR in your next road race, New Year’s resolutions can help you get there. There are, however, a few easy tips to helping them stick.

Start by making a specific, realistic and time sensitive resolution such as breaking down a large weight loss into smaller monthly goals or sticking to three workouts per week. Once you establish your plan, develop a system of accountability, such as a journal, training log, or fitness app (including the ViaFit capabilities of many Horizon Fitness products.) This can help you to set your goals, break them down into attainable milestones, and easily upload workouts to demonstrate your progress over time.

 

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Creating a record of your successes now will help keep you on track when your schedule gets challenging. Enlisting support, such as developing a social network, can also help to drive you to stick to your training plan.

Finally, find ways to celebrate and recognize your successes along the way, such as rewarding yourself every few weeks or once a month when you reach your markers of success. Best of luck in making this year your healthiest year ever!


New Year’s Resolutions That Stick

While New Year’s resolutions frequently get a bad rap, forming one (or more) is a great way to start making healthy changes or to keep things moving in the right direction. Statistics citing that nearly half of all resolutions fail within six months are frequently thrown around to demonstrate the hopelessness of such a venture, but about half of the New Year’s resolvers also manage to make a lasting change. What separates the successful from the sidelines? Setting up the right resolutions and giving yourself the right tools is what it really takes to see a lasting impact from your good intentions.

Make your Resolution Specific. With your Vision Home Fitness equipment, you’ve already got a good start on keeping your fitness resolutions this year. To make sure you’re in the half that succeeds, take the time to make a resolution that sets you up for success. General resolutions such as “exercise more” or “lose weight”, without a specific plan for getting to that goal, sets you up to fail. Make your resolution specific and include a timeframe, whether that means eating two vegetables every day or losing a pound each week. You can also set a health related goal for a future point in time, such as running your first 5K this spring, then work backwards with a plan, such as a couch to 5K schedule or an appointment with a professional to get you on track.

Do your Homework. The website Usa.gov is a great resource for tips on succeeding in your resolutions. From eating healthy and getting active, to finding another job, this page offers a list of common New Year’s resolutions and provides a direct link to a webpage that will provide you with resources to help meet your goal. Even if you’ve already got the “eat right and exercise” thing down, you can still find support for activities that can improve your life and health, as well as that of others, such as volunteering (don’t forget about the Martin Luther King Day of Service on January 20) or enhancing your education. You can also read up on reinforcing your resolutions and creating habits if you really want to make a change in your daily routine.

Create Your Support Network. Simply creating a broad statement of your intention and posting it on Facebook or sharing it with your spouse can actually have a negative effect. Rather than helping you keep your resolution, this may help you feel that you’ve already taken some responsibility for the change and leave you feeling a little freer to make bad choices. Instead, create a network of support through people that are as invested in your goals as you are. This might mean setting up an appointment with a nutritionist, personal trainer, or physical therapist if you need support to reach your eating or exercise goals. You can also find group support through a weight loss focused group or like-minded athletes, such as a running group or intramural sport. If you have a friend or spouse with similar goals, setting up times to train together and ways to celebrate and support each other’s victories can also be a big help.

Measure and Reward. By creating a resolution that is based on time sensitive milestones, you’ve created a calendar for measuring your success. Try to find regular ways to reward your good behavior, especially during the first month. By staying with your resolution through the month of January, you’re ahead of the crowd. While over a third of resolvers tend to break within the first month, failures happen much more slowly after that. When you set up your rewards, find ways to reward yourself that are likely to keep you moving in the direction of the good behavior you’re trying to create. If exercise is your plan, make sure you earn a new pair of running shoes or athletic clothing (or just some new workout music). If you’re looking to eat right, maybe you could pay for a share in a Community Supported Agriculture program or a night out at a restaurant with health conscious offerings. Initially start with frequent rewards, every week or two, and start to space out the frequency after the first month as your new behaviors become habits.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2014!


“Have to” or “Choose to” – Revitalizing your New Year’s resolutions

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This year is already 25 percent gone. Your New Year’s resolutions – may have suffered a similar fate. It’s true that most people fail in achieving their stated New Year’s resolutions. In fact, 50 percent will have given up at this point. Why do health and fitness resolutions often fall by the wayside? Maybe it’s the doubt setting in, or you’ve set too lofty of a goal and have just burnt out. Whatever the reason is, changing your frame of mind can make an enormous difference and get you back on track for the last three quarters of the year.

Making Choices

The thing about changing from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle is that it won’t always be fun. Yes, it is way more exciting to sit around with your friends eating pizza (or chocolates), drinking beer (or wine) and polishing off a dozen wings (or cookies) while watching the game or hanging out than it is to count calories, exercise and drink water. However, here is some food for thought – once you take away the mentality of “I HAVE to eat healthy, I HAVE to exercise” and replace it with, “I’m CHOOSING to make healthy food choices and CHOOSING to exercise,” you take away the concept of feeling like a victim and empower yourself to accomplish great things.

Something else to consider, trying on clothes, wearing a bathing suit or running a race might be things that aren’t “fun” now either, but by sticking to your resolutions, by following a plan that’s sustainable and having the courage to change you can make those things fun, too!

Remember, it’s all about choices. The people who “have to” lose weight on those TV shows do it begrudgingly and then typically end up gaining a bunch of it back. However, good sustainable choices will yield long-term positive results.

Choosing to Work Out

At first going to the gym may seem scary. You don’t want to be teased or ridiculed. If you’re not ready for the gym, you don’t have to go. Instead, choose to go for a walk instead of watching that TV rerun. Walk stairs in your house. Do some simple body weight exercise during commercials. Once you have gained a bit of confidence, “choose to” go to the gym. Chances are people will want to commend you for the effort you’re making to better yourself, not belittle you for it.

Choosing to Eat for You

Making healthy meals may seem like a daunting task. However, all of that sugary, salty, greasy food is addictive, people. Once you let your body have it, it craves it. Nicotine and alcohol are no different. So when you take those foods away, you might find you get cranky or irritable. That’s because you’re detoxing. You’re freeing your body of junk it doesn’t need, junk that only packs on the pounds, increases your cholesterol and blood pressure and prevents you from running around with your kids, grand kids or friends.

Start with small changes to help your body adjust in a healthy way and help you stick with it. Eat Greek yogurt for dessert instead of ice cream. Eat air-popped popcorn as a snack instead of a candy bar. Try swapping soda with sparkling water.

Let Go of Preconceived Notions

If there’s something mentally holding you back from going all out this year, figure out what it is and then reframe your thinking. If you can’t do it alone, find a workout buddy to help you. Stop telling yourself you “have to” stay away from pizza – you can have it! Choose your favorite slice and eat it with a healthy side and move on. “Choose to” make up for it with an extra workout this week. Not only will you burn off those calories, but you’ll gain strength and endurance.

Stop saying you “have to” work out. You don’t. Yet, if you “choose to” – you’ll eventually reap all of the benefits including better strength and endurance, and just looking and feeling better, to name a few. Yes, it’s hard. This is new for you. You’re not used to pushing your body. And that’s OK. The more you stick with it, the better your workouts will get. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in the remaining months.

So review your goals for this year and revamp your plan of action to achieve them. Get back on track and share your successes and failures (small or big) with friends and family who can support you. Remember, you don’t “have to” do it, “choose to” do it.

How will you renew your resolve to reach your resolutions? Share with us in the comments.