Saturday, March 26, 2011

Preparing for Vacation Workouts

Working out on vacation is an opportunity for change.
We tend to want to check out completely while on vacation - skipping anything that has to do with our regular, everyday life. Including squeezing in our workouts. But vacation workouts are all-together different than those everyday workouts. Vacation workouts offer us an opportunity to plan activities different from our regular routine without the constraints of everyday life. Maybe it's tennis, cycling, hiking, even a group fitness class or a trip to a personal trainer (if not just a trip to the gym). On vacation we have an opportunity to switch it up and to change the scenery.
We train all season to get or stay in shape, to lose a few pounds or tone up. It takes just a week of indulging on vacation to derail all our efforts. Instead of letting go completely, indulge your inner athlete, the one who has been training all season. Indulge in something new and different to challenge your fitness level or simply change your routine and the scenery.
Pack your workout clothes and make it a goal to use them all. Indulge in a fit and active vacation free from your everyday routine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Set a Goal

It's important to know where we are going when we head out for a drive lest we end up somewhere we don't want to be. The same is true of our fitness goals. We need to know what we want to achieve so that we can plan our route successfully.  But how do we set these fitness goals?
There are a 3 simple things to consider when we set a goal: attainability, length of time, and resources.
First, attainability. Any goal that we set for ourselves must be realistic. To say that I want to run a marathon this year is a realistic goal for me. To say that I want to scale Mt. Everest, is not. We must set goals for ourselves that are not only personal, but also attainable. I'm not saying that you can't aim for Mt. Everest, but be sure to set measurable goals along the way so that your motivation and self-satisfaction stay strong. Losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks is not attainable. Losing 1 pound a week for 10 weeks is. Weekly goals to meet a longer term goal.
The second thing to consider is your timeline. Back to the marathon, if I were to set my sights on the Flying Pig Marathon, May 1st in Cincinnati, I'd be hard pressed to make it. That's only 6 weeks from now. Considering my longest run is 8 miles, I'd be crazy to think I could complete a marathon successfully (the average training program for a marathon is 12 - 16 weeks). However, if my goal is to complete the Columbus Marathon, October 16th, I have a great chance at succeeding. The race is 31 weeks out - more than enough time to prepare for a marathon, even if I haven't run a mile. Set goals that you have to work hard to achieve, but that aren't so out of reach that you are doomed to fail before you start.
The third and final thing to consider when setting a fitness goal is our resources. Resources can be time, money, knowledge or support, among other things. When we set our goals, we need to consider the wealth of resources around us. You don't need a swanky gym to get in your cardio. You need shoes and a sidewalk. You don't need 60 minutes everyday. You need 30 minutes most days of the week. You don't need a personal trainer to meet you at the gym. A personal commitment to get to the gym and/or a fitness partner is all you need. Assess the resources around you: the internet, the local library, your physician's office, the local community recreation center, your friends and family. All of these are resources that can help you identify and achieve your goals, as well as support you.
Take a few minutes now to think about any goals you have set and see if they are attainable, if you have time to achieve them, and if you have the resources you need to succeed. If not, re-evaulate your goals.
If you haven't set any fitness goals lately, now is a great time to do it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Face it - Food Matters

Food matters. There are no 'ifs', 'ands' or 'butts' about it. A great workout followed by a binge is a waste of your time and mine. You can burn 500 calories in my Spinning class in 60 minutes.  You can eat 500 calories in a bag of chips, a pint of ice cream, or a bag of lunchmeat in less than 10 minutes. I can make you sweat so much that there is a puddle underneath your bike. I can work you out so hard that your legs are shaking when you leave our training session. But if you leave our workout and head for the refrigerator without a plan, you could ruin your hour of effort in a matter of minutes! So plan it and WRITE IT DOWN.

We've talked about this before. Journaling your food is as simple as it gets. You eat something, your write it down. A better strategy is to write it down and then eat, but either way works. As easy as this is, I constantly get excuses from clients why they didn't write down their food. No time - I forgot - I didn't have a pen handy.  Then they wonder why they are not losing weight. If I we don't know how you fuel yourself, there is no way to tell why you're not losing weight. Food is an integral part of working out. Energy in (food) has to be equal or less than energy out (calories burned) to create weight loss.  The only way to reliably know what you ate is to write it down. Not rocket science.

Stop giving yourself an excuse to not lose weight. Stop sabotaging your efforts for a healthier body. Own up and measure up.