Slow and Steady

Everyone knows the story of the tortoise and the hare: There’s a race among the animals; the hare shoots out to a big lead and pauses to take a nap, while the tortoise keeps plodding along and crosses the finish line before the rabbit can catch up.
The same is a good lesson for your fitness. While it may seem appealing to obey our jackrabbit tendencies, often they come hand in hand with long periods of rest and recovery. Start out with a burst, get out to lead, and you may find yourself at an unsustainable pace….so you relax, take it easy, never to resume.
A daily half-hour is usually better than one three-hour a week. Steady lifting is better than a max-out session. Carefully counting calories works better than binge dieting. It may be harder to sustain, but in the end you’ll still be running where another might be left by the roadside.
When it comes to cardiovascular fitness, building muscle, or losing weight, slow and steady wins the race.

Don’t let injuries keep you down

I’m just coming off an injury, and it’s frustrating thing to go through, physically, psychologically, and personally. If you deal with it the right way, however, it can actually be a benefit.

The moment you get hurt you always have that “oh, no” thought, that stab of recognition that something’s gone wrong. Unless you’ve suffered something serious, there’s not a ton of pain initially (our bodies are really great at flooding our systems with adrenaline to get us to safety), but you still know that your time of being able-bodied will be short-lived. Your mind starts racing: How bad is it?

Physically the pain begins to creep in, then the restriction of motion, then the debilitation. It’s impossible to remember what it was like to be able-bodied, impossible to shut out the pain. You begin to compensate for the injury, limping or favoring, wincing as you do your best to get along. Maybe you stay in bed. Maybe you pop a pill or two. You get a bandage or a brace. Pain management.

Psychologically you must deal with the fact that your body is not all right. You are injured; you are not altogether whole. Every step, every movement is a reminder of your vulnerability– and it’s hard, as a human, not to find the safest, most painless position and remain there. You find yourself constantly checking yourself, counting the days, measuring your progress. It always on your mind.

Personally an injury brings you to a dilemma. Do you milk it, or soldier on? Do you ask for help, or do as best you can on your own? Inevitably, repeatedly, you will be asked what happened. Do you tell the story straight? Embellish for comedic effect? Simply dismiss the query altogether? You must decide, also, whether you are the object of sympathy or just momentarily deterred. Sometimes pity is a balm; other times it’ll make your symptoms linger.

What’s the best way to deal with all this, especially if you’re someone who takes pride in one’s fitness, who adheres to a regimen and has good overall health? Well, remember that sooner or later you will be well. Take the opportunity to try a different exercise (one you wouldn’t do if you were all right) and to appreciate your normal good health–there are some who are permanently disabled. As strange as it may sound, sometimes a minor injury can be beneficial: it allows you to reset your mind-body connection, to take inventory of your health and emerge the better for it.

I’m pretty much ok now, but It’ll be awhile before I declare myself “recovered”, and hopefully a long while before I injure myself again.

Exercise Habits

Exercise is just like any other habit, in that the more you do it, the more ingrained it becomes. And the more ingrained it becomes, the more you become used to it. And the more become used to it, the more your body craves it, so the more you do it. This is a good thing.
Think of the other habits, good and bad, that you’ve developed over the years, and how your body craves them. For me, it’s brushing my teeth every time after I shave, obsessively checking e-mail, sneaking a few chocolate chips after dinner. These habits…you may do them consciously, but your body is already halfway there by the time you make that decision. A feedback loop, has already begun, and your nervous system is racing with blood an adrenaline in anticpation of what is to come.
Do as much as you can to make exercise a habit. When your alarm wakes you up, do a set of situps first thing. Reflexively. Do a set of pushups during every commercial break. Go for a walk after dinner. Run at the stroke of midnight. Or, best yet, schedule a training session five days a week and stick to it.
After awhile, you won’t even have to wear a watch, because uour body will tell you “it’s time”.

Goal Setting for 2013

Just like any new year, most people re-set old goals and re-new old gym memberships in hopes that this year will be different. After January we all too often see the motivation to reach these goals diminish along with the amount of people in the gyms. Back in our old ways we spend another year neglecting our health and growth as a person. I believe many are unhappy and depressed because they follow the same way of living over and over again that’s self-destructive and every time they repeat this cycle it pushes them deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression. True happiness, health and growth as a person will only happen if you find the will power and discipline to reach your goals and break bad habits. This can be easier said than done and that’s why many people fail in doing so.
All of the clients that pick up the phone and call me do so because they were motivated at the time. Most want to lose weight and look and feel better. The first thing that I tell all my clients when I meet with them for our first consultation is that motivation is a great tool but at some point down the road whether it’s months or days they will lose it. Motivation comes in waves with highs and lows and can change as easily as a drop of a hat. For example there have been mornings that I jumped out of bed feeling awesome and ready to go on a run outside. I put my running shoes on and as soon as I open the door I get a blast of cold air and then lose all motivation to run because it’s freakin cold. Other mornings I wake up feeling tired and the last thing I want to do is run. Don’t rely on motivation to reach your goals. Dedication, discipline and hard work are the only way you’re going to reach your goals. Break the reoccurring cycle and follow these 5 steps that can help this year be different for you. HAPPY NEW YEARS!

1. Set goals that are realistic and achievable for you. This includes making sure that your values are the same as your dreams and goals. Ex. If your goal is to never drink again and you value drinking with your friends then that is going to be an unrealistic goal.
2. Set a game plan- strategize the steps you need to take to reach these goals. What must you do and not do to reach your goal?
3. Find accountability- Whether you have friends, family or teachers…find someone that’s going to encourage and support you.
4. Print off your goals- Printing off your goals and putting them somewhere you can see day to day will keep your mind on those goals. For 2013 I have printed off visual images of the goals I want to reach and taped them right above my light switch so every morning when I get up I am reminded.
5. Stay on course- Stay focused and determine to reach your goals. Don’t let distractions or old habits get in your way. Every night ask yourself did I take steps forward or backwards to reach my goals and access what/if any changes need to be taken to continue taking steps forward.

Dedication vs. Motivation

We’re getting to the end of the calendar year, which means the beginning of a new year, which means it’s resolution time for one and all. Which means it’s probably time as well to figure out how you might finally keep to your New Year’s Resolution this year.
It begins, of course, with motivation. Motivation is like emotion, like the weather: It is finicky and capricious, impossible to predict or control. It can be manufactured or simulated, and it waxes and wanes with your mood, you schedule: i. e. matters beyond your control. One can lose or gain motivation; one can attempt to find it in other sources. It’s slippery at times and sticky at others. Without it, you’d have no reason to make a change, no ability to make the resolution in the first place.
On the other hand, we have dedication. Dedication is not subject to whim: dedication is solid and fixed, day-in, day-out. Dedication is the schedule, is control, is predictable, the standard you set your watch to. Dedication comes from within, and must be personal: No one else can lend you dedication. In the same way dedication is the baseline, the default: Without dedication, you have no basis for comparison.
Like so many other forces, dedication and motivation work together. When you have no motivation you’ll need dedication; to have dedication in the first place you need to have motivation. On the best of days you’ll have ample motivation; on the worse you’ll need dedication. Posit yourself as a ship sailing for some destination; think of dedication as steady rowing and motivation as the wind.
When it comes to keeping a resolution, you will need a good deal of both motivation and dedication to be successful. Whatever your resolution may be, best of luck to you.

An Interesting Idea

We all know that it’s hard to go workout, to get off the couch, the Internet, out of bed and head to the gym. But what if you were paid every time you did so?
That’s the idea behind two (and a third, as you will see) recent proposals that use behavioral ecomonics to help motivate people to get to the gym.
The first has been used by physical gyms for awhile, and seeks to reward good attendence using a different model. Instead of paying a flat rate, gym members pay a higher monthly fee and then are given a portion of the fee back every time they come to workout (up to a certain point). Check it out:

The second idea came from the first one, and extends the concept so it can be used at any gym. Using this method, however, not only are participants financially punished for not exercising, but they are rewarded for sticking too their fitness plan.

Even if you’re not a member of such a gym or an app, you can use the basis behind the idea to help fuel your workout. Reward yourself for every workout, either with money or some other inducement. Better yet, pool together with your friends and find an accountability partner to help keep you honest. Incentives, even small ones, can be very powerful motivators. Thurmond Fitness is itself considering offering a similar plans for our boot camps and workout programs….more details forthcoming!

Fitness Disorders

Today’s blog post is about anorexia, bulemia, and bingeing. Joy! Well, it’s not exactly about those disorders, but rather about the concepts they embody. Now you’ll want to keep reading for sure.

Anorexia, of course, is not eating enough; bingeing is eating too much, and bulemia is a bit of both: eating too much and then vomiting so in order to not eat enough.

Each of these is in its own way awful and harmful, for obvious reasons, not least of which is the psychological damage they inflict on the afflicted. Basically these disorders are illness of the brain that warp one’s sense of one’s body, establishing and reinforcing body-images that are untrue.

While the vast majority of the population will thankfully never fall prey to any of these disorders, we are each, in large and small ways, affected by similar patterns of thought, with our food, with our minds and our lives.

We’ve all been on binges where we work out like crazy for a day, a week, a month, only to fall back into our lazy couch potato rhythms. We eat well for awhile, counting calories, adding color to our plates, (or “cleansing our systems”) and then have a “cheat” day full of processed food that undoes all our progress. We spend an entire day, a weekend, cleaning and organizing and generally aligning our personal affairs only to immediately allow the messiness and dysfunction to creep in again. We’ll save money for years and years only to blow it on something we barely remember the need for afterwards.

None of these examples is indicative of illness or disorder; in fact, these behaviors are very normal, even human. But do you want to be normal? Do you want to be controlled by your basest urges? Our anorexic and bulemic and binging and purging tendencies threaten our performance in the gym, at the table, in life itself.

How can we overcome them?

First, it’s important is to know yourself. Know your triggers and what makes you tick; know your weaknesses and what tends to get you off track. Itentify these things; write them down; defeat them.

Accountability is also essential–and this is why having a personal trainer is so helpful for sticking to personal goals. We all need someone to call us out when we’re off base, and it’s especially great to have someone whose job it is to do this, to push you and keep you on track.

Lastly, balance. Try to stay in the middle of the road, even keel, so you won’t fall off either way. Balance is the key. Consistency and variety go a long way towards reinforcing healthy behaviors.

Thurmond Fitness can help you with consistency, diagnosis, and accountability.

Tru Fitness Tru Results Call us today 214-773-4835