It's that time of year again. The time of year we all start realizing that we either need to rollover or refresh some of our goals and ambitions.
Why do New Year's Resolutions end up just being a nice idea for 92% of the population anyways?¹
Setting targets is easy, actually striving to reach them is another story. You know what I'm talking about.
But who is to say that this isn't the time where we overcome some hurdles, turn on some lightbulbs, get serious, and make sh*t happen?
Make Time or Excuses
The most common self-limiting statement I hear in the fitness world, is "I don't have time for that."
Trust me, I get the whole not having time concept, but let's be real with each other for a second, what you should be saying is "It's not important enough to me." Right?
If something is important enough, taking yourself or a loved one to the ER for example, then you make the time.
Okay, yes. I understand that would be an emergent issue, but what I'm really saying is that things we need to do, like eat, go to work, sleep (for some of us anyway), take the dog out, and so on, are things we always have time for.
These are necessities. Things we must do for optimal human functioning. Hold up though, couldn't we now argue that with all the research coming out on how physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of death due to its links to cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc, that exercising is a human need?²
That we are made to move.
That when we don't move, our bodies start to feel gross, even when we have chronic pain and think that rest is the answer.³
But if it's not important to you, meaning you probably don't understand the importance of it (you don't have a why), then you will not make time. And real talk again, it will catch up to you in one way or the other.
So what do you say you and I make a deal? The first goal for 2019 (no we wont' be using the word "resolution" around here), is to determine what is actually important to us and why it is important.
The next goal, determine when this fits for our schedule. Many times we don't realize that if we plan our days a little more intentionally, it frees up quite a bit of room for things we say we should do.
More real talk, you know as well as I do that if you don't verbalize this to someone, or financially commit to something, the chances of you actually doing and achieving what you would like to set out to do is far less likely of happening for more than a few weeks.
That said, our third goal is to find the person or thing that will hold us accountable. You know yourself, what will keep you motivated?
I'll share with you why it has been easy for me to stay motivated to workout. It has become automatic. But, it wasn't always that way. It was one of those things that it would happen if I had time or energy.
Now, it is just going to happen like eating breakfast or brushing my teeth. That will be an hour of my day, which by the way is only 4% of your waking time.
As an athlete, and even a few years after, I dreaded working out. It made me feel tired just thinking about it, and I felt like I had to do it to stay in shape and not get pudgy.
I now look forward to and love working out. What's the secret? I get to see people I enjoy being around, I get to release some stress from the day giving me a mental reset as well as physical reset, I don't have to think about what I'm doing at the gym, I can just go and do the work.
During a very emotionally stressful time in my life, the gym was like my sanctuary. It kept me sane. Had I not been able to get rid of that stress, I can't imagine the horrible alternatives I may have chosen.
Long story short, the hard work there then translates to other areas of my life. Such a win, and it can be for you too!
Let's Get Started
First step, write out those goals, friend.
Next step, pick your form of accountability. I can help.
Third step, establish your routine.
Fourth step, persevere dang it! Don't give up after a week because it's hard. You're better than that and know it.
Fifth step, keep coming back. Leave me a comment below, start a conversation, ask a question. I would love to help how I can, for as long as I can!
1. Diamond, Dan. "Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year's Resolutions. Here's How They Do It." Forbes. January 02, 2013. Accessed December 28, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#1487c797596b.
2. Carlson, Susan A., E. Kathleen Adams, Zhou Yang, and Janet E. Fulton. "Percentage of Deaths Associated With Inadequate Physical Activity in the United States." Preventing Chronic Disease15 (2018). doi:10.5888/pcd18.170354.
3. Geneen, Louise, Blair Smith, Clare Clarke, Denis Martin, Lesley A. Colvin, and R. Andrew Moore. "Physical Activity and Exercise for Chronic Pain in Adults: An Overview of Cochrane Reviews." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2014. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd011279.
Skinny, low calorie, weight loss, why does everything have to sound so diety? In America, we live in a strange paradox; overall, we are a very unhealthy country but are totally obsessed with health.
Contrary to popular belief, healthy food does not have to taste like a shoe, and weight loss oriented goals do not have to eliminate all the enjoyable things in life, case in point: the svelte enchilada and mindful margarita.
In this article we are staying away from words like skinny and weight loss because more negative connotations typically come to mind than positive.
Personally, skinny makes me think of the underweight models seen on magazine covers or the housewife on an obsessive journey to get back to her high school weight.
When I think weight loss, I think of the focus obsessively being on weight, numbers, and literally loss. This does more harm than good to our psyche, while the process should instead be about how it makes us feel: stronger, more energized, more in control of our life, etc.
When I imagine svelte on the other hand, I see someone who is strong, lean, elegant and healthy.
It is less diet and more lifestyle, as is being mindful about what you eat and how it affects you; thus, the mindful marg! Okay, a little cheesy I know, but let's get to how to make this healthy and delicious dinner!
This recipe is so simple and delicious, part of me wants to cry tears of joy. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but this is an amazing alternative to a normal margarita that, will run you between 450 and 1100 calories (depending on size), and between 50-150g of sugar. Holy crackers.
In a sense, there are two extremes with alcohol consumption, the people who are heavy handed on their pours, and those who obsessively count portion size or restrict consuming them altogether.
Being mindful is a balance that falls in between these two extremes. It's nice every now and then to have a drink at the end of a long day, and when paying attention to your health, in general it's important to know what you put into your body.
Mindfulness is knowing that you can substitute your standard ingredients for alternatives that are going to be way better for your body, and drink in moderation by picking 8-12oz. glass sizes and leaving the 16-20oz. glasses in the cupboard.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day in women, and 2 drinks per day for men. A standard drink is 12oz. beer, ~5oz. of wine, and 1.5 ounce shot of hard alcohol - the higher the proof, the higher the calories.
Compared to the Cantina marg, that's not too bad at all!
There’s a wide range of views when it comes to the way we view rest. For some of us, taking a day off from activity sounds like a terrible proposition, while for others a full day off to lounge and watch Netflix sounds like heaven.
Then, of course, there’s everyone in between those extremes. These tips will help you to make recovery productive and effective, thereby allowing for reduced soreness and increased energy the day after a workout.
The Overrated Day off
Let’s go back to the extreme example from above and all imagine not venturing from the couch or computer other than to use the bathroom or open the fridge.
This type of “lazy Sunday” may be an anomaly in sunny places like southern California, but during the dark, cold winter months in Alaska and other northern climates, it actually sounds pretty darn nice to be cozied up next to friends or family with some warm beverages and your favorite shows.
Now don’t get me wrong, this a great option for a few hours.
But to not move for longer than that is a sure way to give yourself a case of the Mondays.
From personal experience, I can tell you it is never fun to be coupled over on the baseline before the next whistle blows, sucking all the air out of the gym with labored breaths while trying not to vomit mom’s lasagna and famous chocolate cake from the previous day.
Like anything, when we spend our time doing something we enjoy, it makes it easier to do that activity on a consistent basis and ultimately avoid the dreaded case of the Mondays by making sure we are still active and hopefully not allowing us to overindulge in heavy foods while just sitting around snacking.
Perma-Sore: It's a Thing
On the opposite extreme, not taking the proper recovery measures between days of training can lead to feelings of fatigue, constant muscle soreness, achy joints, and overall just feeling worn down.
This is not to say that you may be slightly overdoing it and need to throw in more days off (there, I said it), but there are certainly things you can do to help your body optimize it’s natural healing processes. Let’s have a look, shall we?
1. Ferraro, Author Katie Ferraro Contributor Katie. “The Power of Protein: 5 Sports Nutrition Experts Share the Performance-Enhancing Benefits of Protein.” ACE, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6940/the-power-of-protein-5-sports-nutrition-experts-share-the-performance-enhancing-benefits-of-protein.
2. (UCTV), University of California Television. The Role of Fascia in Movement and Function, YouTube, 27 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=raCBeQ-gXfs.