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.
There are seven questions total. Answers and information for each question can be found at the end of the quiz.
Test out your health knowledge with this mini trivia challenge! Don't ruin the fun and open a tab in google, test your brain.
1. 500 Extra Calories a day = a pound of weight gain per week
This is where that magic number of 3,500 calories comes from (500kcal x 7 days in the week).
To better put this into perspective, if you were meeting your calorie needs for the day from food (which you should be), but added in a couple extra drinks (a beer or glass of wine averages between 120-160kcal) and an extra snack or sweet to go with them, you would easily be meeting your 500 extra calories in one sitting.
However, this could also come from not moving enough in the day to match what feels like a normal day of eating.
Ever feel a little "heavier" - not literally, weight gain doesn't occur that quickly - come Sunday evening if you've taken a weekend of rest from activity? Those are the extra calories your body is starting to store away to be used as energy when you so choose.
2. Most schools do not Value Physical Education
There is an organization not many people have heard of by the name of PHIT America, who is dedicated to addressing and working to make opportunities for activity more accessible to people who need it.
Shockingly, 48% of schools do not fund physical education. This is a direct statistic from the research PHIT has done.
They are currently trying to pass a bill that will have the government cover more of the costs related to physical activity.
I encourage you to take a gander at their website and the bill they are trying to pass in Congress that could make gym memberships and youth activity fees more affordable through government funding.
3. Rhomboids, Your Angel Wings
The next time you hop on the rower machine or go for a couple pull ups, pay attention to the muscles that sit between your shoulders blades, these are your rhomboids!
They are very important for any type of pulling motions we do like picking something up from the ground, pulling ourselves up when climbing, etc.
4. You Beta off seeing with Vitamin A
Along with the Beta-Carotene, which is actually converted to Vitamin A anyway, Vitamin A is found in carrots and is responsible for protecting the surface of the eye and keeping our eyes lubricated.
It is estimated that approximately 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children worldwide who live in developing countries will become blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency. In developed countries this is very rare, as it's quite easy to get enough vitamin A from your diet.
Rich sources of vitamin A are our orange foods such as pumpkin, sweet potato, cantaloupe, and as previously mentioned, carrots. (Heiting, n.d.)
5. Fiber-Packed Foods
Thanks to my awesome, soon to be R.D. roommate from last year (hi, Erin!), I now think of Metamucil every time I hear fiber.
However, there are heaps of ways to add fiber into your diet from food. The amount of fiber in the foods on this list may surprise you.
Out of those listed, black beans contain the highest amount at 15g per cup.
Avocado ranks surprisingly high with 10g per cup, quinoa has 5g per cup and berries around 8g per cup. For a full list check out this page.
We need fiber to keep things moving in our digestive system. Not only does it keep you from getting constipated, but it helps maintain good gut health in general.
And no, I don't think just looking at the page will make you less constipated, you may actually have to eat a few beans, lentils, and vegetables.
6. POWER CLEANS TRUE TO THEIR NAME
While all the exercises on that list - Front Squats, Split Lunges, and Depth Jumps - are all beneficial for improving explosiveness in athletes, Power Cleans reign supreme because they, a) involve moving weight, as opposed to just body weight as in the lunges and jumps and, b) involve moving that weight at a high speed, as opposed to the constant speed of a front squat.
Furthermore, the Power Clean is a very technical lift and needs to be executed properly to avoid injury.
7. WHAT IS YOUR RMR AND HOW DO YOU BURN MORE CALORIES WITH IT?
Your resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy (calories) needed to maintain normal body functions like breathing, circulation, digestion, renal processing (pee formation), etc.
It accounts for 65-70% of our daily energy expenditure and is higher after exercise and in people with a greater proportion of lean muscle to fat tissue. It is also influenced by age, nutrition status, genetics, and endocrine functioning - such as hypothyroidism.
This helps explain why weight loss and maintenance can be more difficult for some than others, because we all have different factors influencing our metabolism and the rate in which we burn calories on a resting basis. (Baechle, Earle, 2008)
Heiting, O. G. (n.d.). Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene: Eye Benefits. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/vitamin_a.htm
McCoy, K. (2017, September 06). 20 Ultimate High Fiber Foods. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from https://draxe.com/high-fiber-foods/
Baechle, T. & Earle, R. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd Edition. National Strength and Conditioning Association.