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New Year's Fitness Resolutions
Starting The New Year The
Making the Most of Your Workout
Time is a precious commodity, as is fitness. We want to remain
fit, but we also need time to do other things with our lives. Some
people put fitness ahead of everything else, and become "gym rats", spending
endless hours pumping iron, running treadmills, doing Nautilus circuits,
etc. But most of us want "real lives" beyond the gym. Of course,
we also want to look and feel good while living those lives. Here's
a plan to give you the best of both worlds...
Make your workout part of your life
This seems obvious, but to many people, the workout is something you tack
onto your life, and "try to find time for". If you take the attitude
that it's just as important as eating and sleeping, however, you'll find
yourself automatically scheduling the workouts at times when you can kick
back and enjoy them.
Don't do things you really hate
If looking at the weight rack or the aerobics room just plain turns you
off, remember that there are alternatives to both, one or more of which
you will probably find to be really fun. By way of cardio, for example,
there's power walking, running, jogging, rowing machines (or real boats!),
cycling, any number of other things. If it's muscle you're after,
how about taking on some rock-climbing! Also, many of the clubs are
now getting in the new "Virtual Reality" machines - cycles you can ride
through other countries, even machines which let you play a game while
you exercise! Just look around, and you'll see lots of possibilities!
Work out with a friend
Some of us like to work out alone, but many find the company of a like-minded
friend enjoyable. You both have a spotter for the weights, someone
to watch your form, and someone to talk to and trade encouragement and
ideas. And don't forget the possibility of competition, if you enjoy
that. A ready, steady partner for racquetball or whatever tickles
your fancy. The purpose is exercise, but for some, competition adds
To Compete Or Not To Compete...
I don't think there's such a thing as exercise without competition, really.
We're always competing with someone, even with ourselves. Setting
and trying to meet fitness goals. Trying to shave some seconds off
our mile time. Trying to enlarge, reduce, or re-shape, some body
part. Simply getting to a place where it's not a major effort to
climb the stairs 3 floors at work. Well, let's admit it -- it is
a competition, and we want to win it! So there ain't
a thing wrong with going into that gym and kicking some serious butt!
Set some Real (but realistic) Goals...
"If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?"
A very real question, and one too often overlooked when setting up fitness
programs. Goals can be as simple as dropping a dress or belt size
for the summer, or as complex as preparing for a marathon or a BB contest.
But the goals must be there. If you have no goal, it's likely that
sometime, you'll ask yourself what you're doing all this working out for.
And if you don't have a good answer, you may very well choose to quit.
So, spend some time up front, and find the Real Reason you're working out!
It'll help sustain you through periods of burnout, and will provide incentive
on those days when you just don't feel like it, but...
Get some Professional Help
No, not a shrink, silly! A Certified Personal Trainer. Why
Certified? Well, while it is entirely possible to find a non-Certified
trainer who is competent, those who have taken the time to obtain certification
have, in doing so, been required to demonstrate academic knowledge about
anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, exercise prescription, special populations,
and (some certifications) nutrition. That academic knowledge is,
of course, no guarantee that a Certified Personal Trainer is competent,
but it does show that the individual has been able to demonstrate knowledge
about the subjects that a Personal Trainer must have a good handle on,
if s/he is to be competent. You wouldn't hire a lawer who had not
passed the Bar exams, or a doctor who had no PhD or DO, would you?
A Certified Personal Trainer need not be excessively expensive, or even
an on-going expense. If your goals are pretty simple, you can hire
a trainer to help you set up a program specifically to meet them, and then
only go back when those goals change. And a trainer who is truly
professional, will also provide you with an assessment of your present
fitness, so you'll have something to compare with later on.
Well, that's all for this week. Be sure to participate in the discussions
in the Fitness Forum. There are many helpful
folks there, as well as here, to answer your questions and to provide that
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