Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Becoming Fit With 2 Simple Focuses

Glancing through my last blog entry, I realize that some people may misread it (to what they want it to mean). I hope no one out there is still indulging everyday with unhealthy food choices. The holidays are over. It’s time to get back on track or to stay on track.

For this new beginning in 2009 as we smell change in the air, let’s produce some change in our physical self (appearance, health, and fitness). Basically, I am suggesting two simple things for you to do.

1. Visualize daily. Health, fitness, and appearance improvement starts with the mind. It doesn’t matter if you have all the knowledge in nutrition science and exercise science if you don’t habitually keep in mind what you want your physical self to become. This was clear to me after coming across numerous nutrition science professors who are not in shape. You must routinely visualize in your mind how you want your physical self to be. A good time to do this is when you are in bed at night waiting to fall asleep. At this time, you could also say your prayer. (I recommend this not only because of my spiritual belief, but also because I know of studies showing the effectiveness of prayer. Although the studies are mostly on the effect of prayer on recovery of diseases, it also can apply here in terms of altering your physical fitness.) So this is item #1 – visualize your intended fit self, and pray. It doesn’t cut into your busy schedule since you can do this while you are laying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep.

2. Schedule in your workouts (or any habit which you have not performed at an ideal level). For example, schedule in x workouts each week. The variable x depends on wherever you are at right now. For example, I’ve slipped recently and have only been working out 2 days a week. Therefore, I will plan a workout 5 days per week. (My workouts right now have been scheduled on afternoons. I will probably change it to mornings on Monday and Friday and see how that works.) If I fall short of my plan and end up only working out for three or four days this week, I am not going to beat myself up. But I am also not going to be completely satisfied. This is why many fail. They either are too hard on themselves (because they didn’t achieve the ideal), or they are overly satisfied even though they didn’t reach the ideal (or the best point they can be). If I end up working out three days this week, I would not beat myself up because I’ve done better than the last two weeks. However, I also wouldn’t be overly satisfied because I have not reached what I set out to do (5 days a week) or the ideal (which would be working out 6 days a week). The key is being balanced in your emotional reaction.

So, this is pretty simple. Making it simple and making it easy to become "automatic-pilot" is why I am in better shape (and look younger) than most people my age (although having the nutrition and exercise knowledge also helps). In summary, it’s two items:

1. Visualize (every night at bed time) your-fit-self you intend to be
2. Schedule your workouts. (Enter in your schedule more workouts than you’ve been doing.)

I will have more suggestions to come. Let’s just take one or two steps at a time. The journey of a thousand miles is accomplished a few steps at a time.