So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels. What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?
The most common and desired fitness goals by clients are: weight loss, reduced body fat, muscle strength, increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance and flexibility.
One must also recognize the will power necessary to change habits and behaviors and is an essential mind set attribute if long-term fitness goals are to stick. So what will be your fit-healthy strategy to succeed in your New Year’s resolution? First you must know how to develop and apply a fitness plan that’s relative and right for you.
What fitness goal will you be working on? The most typical New Year’s Resolution after the Holidays is weight loss. Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal you will have to have a little will power and motivation to do this on your own?
First of all, “you know yourself better than anyone.” Am I right? Of course I am. If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 2-3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success, hopefully this insight will help increase your will power and motivation to achieve a desired weight loss result.
I know many of you are conflicted with life events that seem to sabotage your fitness plan each year. Like you, I can easily relate to these things. For example, job stress, kid and adult care, relationships, feeling tired, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation-energy-will power (bad food & drink habits, smoking, drugs, etc.), lack of sleep, stressful and/or toxic environment, etc. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.
You get the picture.
If any of these life events and issues are preventing you from achieving a fitness goal(s), you must find a workable solution to change a bad situation/ or stressful environment if you expect an opposite result. If you cannot make the positive lifestyle changes needed that motivate you to achieve personal goals, you’ll forever struggle to enjoy life to the fullest while fitness levels, mindset and health continue to suffer.
And if you fail repeatedly and continue to feel bad about yourself and situation, you’ll eventually give up on other life ambitions and goals. Repeated fitness failure and feeling miserable for too long is a recipe for “depression,” which is also a common cause of physical illness and disease.
Also, if you begin a restrictive and dangerous weight loss program out of desperation as a short cut to lose weight you may cause further harm to your mind and body. When the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been duked unnaturally, it will eventually retaliate by packing on weight with a vengeance after the fact. And if you become dependent on yo-yo dieting abusive tactics, you’ll break your metabolism permanently, gain more weight and in time will cause more pain, depression and other unnecessary illness and disease.
When weight loss failure happens too often, this reinforces a defeated mindset, “I can’t lose weight,” therefore I’ll continue the bad habits and further compromise health and quality of life experiences. The mind then accepts an unhealthy viewpoint which intern harms the encompassing being throughout time. I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept unhealthy weight loss short-cut practices to lose weight naturally.
Through years of personal client experience, I explain the healthy and unhealthy lifestyle habits and resulting effects and how to eventually change a poor dietary and/or bad activity habits. But it ultimately is the individual, armed with useful and relatable information; and if medical help is needed seek it out; and where they must chose, decide and truly want to make change. The key elements in achieving a desired fitness goal, if you’ve not been successful at it for years is to admit you need help in understanding the following concepts and applying the necessary lifestyle changes.
1) If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or your health is at risk, you must change the habits, or behaviors that are causing your weight problems. If you are grossly obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention immediately! See your primary care physician and seek a referral to a behavioral therapist, nutritional, life coach or fitness trainer-consulting service to help target your weight gain nemesis, or bad behavioral habits. Then build an action plan and resolve to change to healthier lifestyle habits and/or healthier environmental conditions.
2) It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results. However, for those that have not participated in a fitness exercise activity and now find themselves overweight, a walking program will be your best course to aerobically burn body fat and lose weight with minimum risk of weight bearing joints.
Exercise activity can be performed in many different ways, e.g., resistive weight training, walking, hiking, biking, jogging, etc. Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides an aerobic fitness benefit. Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise activity which results in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits. However, if you are just starting a walk program, “do not start out walking at a fast pace,” you may work your way to higher intensity, or brisk walking pace over an extended period of time if you’ve been sedentary for awhile.
When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as: Increased metabolism, muscle development, fat loss, body toning, mood enhancement, strength, flexibility. And decreased cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and other illness and disease risk.
3) There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss goal: Uncontrollable and bad eating habits and smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drug addictions need to be addressed. Behavior therapy or in combination with cessation treatment and group therapy may be ideal in order for you to be successful in your weight loss and healthy lifestyle objectives.
4) As we age our bodies require anti-oxidant and whole food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and overall health. So balanced diet in the form of healthy macro and micronutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize weight loss results. If you can’t get fresh whole foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a high-quality vitamin-mineral product. Food is energy and certain foods have more or less high nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into the daily diets for whatever reason.
5) It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program which incorporates exercise may add weight. You say what? That’s right, depending on body type and exercise activity it can increase muscle mass (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells). When you exercise the muscle fiber can increase in mass and weight. So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show a slight increase on the scale. The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burn. This equates to greater fat weight loss in time. Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the bodies muscles become better conditioned.
6) There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success. If this is not done you may lose focus on your goal. The simplest and quickest form of weight loss measurement is a scale and the way clothes fit around the waste. If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase. If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss. If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose while aerobics walking activity continues; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss. “For me,” this represents an easy way to measure my weight loss success.
Is this the best way to measure fitness and body fat weight loss success? No it’s not, but it serves as an inexpensive base line reference that provides some positive feedback results for your efforts.
So what is the perfect weight loss program for you? The answer lies within developing a relative daily exercise and balanced nutrition program relative to your lifestyle needs and wants, and a plan in place that can sustain healthier habits long term.
When exercise is included into the day then will power also increases to stay the healthy lifestyle course. Why? because the mind and body craves the addictive body chemicals released by exercise!” Read article (Get Skinny by Activating Addictive Body Chemicals, November 2014, Woodard).
In understanding these concepts and principles you’ll experience more daily productivity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel and look better and enjoy more quality living experiences. You will also boost your MirrorAthlete image “the way you see yourself in the mirror” which will definitely boost your ego and motivate you to accomplish other life goals you thought impossible.
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2014 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.