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The Bullhorn, Issue #029 -- Monthly Motivator for August 2008
August 15, 2008

Just the right push to succeed!

Greater Expectations = Greater Performance

Goals are more than dreams that we’d like to achieve. Goals are a future we want, that we strive to attain, and that we visualize becoming a reality. Having a goal of playing professional baseball and never practicing is not a goal…it’s a daydream. Goals are built on action and a belief…no…an expectation that we WILL attain them.

Cross country season has begun, and each year I’m amazed at the level of effort of the younger runners. This year I accidently placed a first-year runner in with a group of experienced runners and sent them on a long run. He not only kept up with them and finished, he led the group most of the way. Why? Because he set high expectations for himself and didn’t want to let me or himself down.

People always marvel at the Olympians and call them super-human or incredible. And while they truly are gifted athletes, they set the bar pretty high for themselves and work hard to get there. Take Michael Phelps, for example. To say that he has a gift, would be a huge oversight of the hundreds of thousands of training laps he has swam over the last decade. He works hard and demands a lot from himself. His performance may put the spectators in a state of awe, but I’m pretty sure it’s the performance-level that he’s visualized, trained for, and expects himself to achieve.

So what should we do? Eat, Sleep, and Breath Fitness?? Most of us have too many other priorities that compete for our time to make this happen. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t raise our expectations! What’s your fitness goal? Write it down.

Expect great things from yourself and you WILL rise to meet the challenge. You’ll find that many people set such low expectations that they will try to squash the dreams of those that aim too high. Don’t let them deter you. Think age is holding you back? Well don’t tell that to the 1000+ finishers of the 2008 Boston Marathon that were over the age of 60!

Set high expectations. Make a plan. Celebrate Milestones. Achieve your goals!!

Creative Fitness

Summertime is a time for family, fun, barbeques…and broken routines?! It always amazes me how a few changes in my schedule can completely derail my exercise routine. Sometimes it takes some creativity to beat this challenge.

So with that in mind, here are some ways to stay fit and still enjoy your summer…

  • Walk! If the weather is nice, talk your family or co-workers into going for a stroll. Whether it be on vacation, in the neighborhood, or on your lunch break, a walk is a nice and relaxing way to burn of some off those extra summer calories.
  • TV Calisthenics. If you’re like me, the Summer Olympics are stealing some of your precious sleep hours…but they need not all be spent on the couch. Jump up and do some push-ups or crunches on the commercial breaks. Need motivation? Watch the parts of the Olympic broadcast when the athletes discuss their workout schedule!
  • Ice Cold Snacks. A glass of juice is less than 100 calories and can be chugged down in a few seconds…not a very memorable treat. However, add some chopped ice and mix it into a slurry and that 100 calories is a lot more enjoyable. I’m all for summertime splurges, but not all of them have to be 500+ calories. Try a few low-calorie snacks to stay on track.
  • The Honey-Do List. Remember all of those things that you wanted to do around the house…trim the bushes, paint the garage, power-wash the patio… Take advantage of those evening daylight hours and get out of that snack-filled house! By moving around you’ll burn more calories and keep your metabolism revved up for more hours in the evening. (You might also get some points with your significant other!)
  • Play in the Sand! If your vacation takes you to the beach with the kids…go ahead and dig that fort. Be a kid…get sandy! Hours later, you’ll be exhausted and want to swim in the ocean. And you'll also have burned off many more calories than just watching the seagulls & surf!

Sometimes a break in our routine can be an opportunity to try something new and adopt good habits. It can be a real challenge to fit fitness into a day filled with activities, responsibilities and summer fun, so get creative and squeeze in a workout…you’re worth the effort.

Exercise of the Month:
The Versatile Push-Up!

Push-ups are one of the most convenient and effective exercises that you can add to your daily exercise routine. Push-ups are a great chest and arm workout without the need for weights. In this exercise you are pushing approximately 3/4 of your total body weight with each repetition. For a 150-pound person, this is equivalent to bench-pressing approximately 115 pounds.

To do a proper push-up, lower your body so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor, as pictured above. Do the exercise slowly for maximum benefit. To concentrate more on your triceps and inner pectoral muscles, place your hands 8-10 inches apart. To work the outer part of your chest, place your hands 24+ inches apart, or slightly more than your shoulder-width. As with any exercise, do the amount of repetitions you can comfortably do without taking your muscles to exhaustion. You can gradually increase the repetitions, sets, and frequency over time. This favorite “punishment exercise” is a great addition to any workout and will give you some noticeable muscle changes in a fairly short period of time.

Sound Off!

If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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