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The Bullhorn, Issue #021 -- Monthly Motivator for December 2007
December 15, 2007

Just the right push to succeed!

Chip away at it!

Our health and fitness goals can seem like daunting tasks. When we look at where we are and where we want to be, it can be very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In order to succeed, we need interim goals and milestones as footholds to keep climbing to our goal. Take, for example, a weight loss goal to lose 20 pounds of body fat. It’s conceivable that this goal might take 15-20 weeks or even longer…that’s a very long time to stay focused. But what if you imagine the weight loss in another way?

A pound of fat is equivalent to 4 sticks of butter distributed around your body. For every ¼ pound of weight loss or 850-calorie deficit, you ERASE a stick of butter from your body! That can be 1-2 days of diet and exercise. Try throwing a dollar in your “piggy bank” for every stick of butter lost….by the time you reach your goal, you’ll have a nice sum of money to buy yourself a well-deserved outfit or other reward!

What if your goal is to run a distance race…a 5k…a ½ marathon…or even a full marathon? If you’re just starting out or returning to running after many years, your plan should go gradually from walking to running and ease the mileage up after several weeks. See this 10-week plan to start running, if that matches your goals. If you’re already running 2-3 miles comfortably and want to train for a ½ or full marathon, your plan should take 3-6 months to build you long run up to handle the distance on race day.

No matter what your goal is, view it as a challenge that takes time to conquer. Give yourself a break! So many people set high expectations and short time-lines for their fitness goals. Unrealistic goals can lead to utter frustration and burn-out. It’s no wonder that February gym attendance is usually almost ½ that of January’s. Take a gradual path with a long-term commitment to succeed. It’s an approach that will work. Look at the hard-working beaver. How can this tiny animal, not much bigger than a house cat, topple some of the forest’s biggest trees??? One bite at a time…that’s how! Chip away at your goal, take one step at a time.

Put some resolve
into your resolution

The New Year is a great time to set goals and resolutions. It seems to be the one time of year when we not only accept change…we yearn for it. But this motivation and drive can quickly peter out, and sadly by the end of January many resolutions can become forgotten causes. Make this year different. Put your desires and determination on paper. Make a fitness plan that fits your life and make a commitment to yourself to succeed.

Start by taking an honest look at your current state of health and how you got there (much easier said than done). Ask yourself those tough questions, such as: What’s my Body Mass Index, BMI? What is a healthy body fat range? How many calories do I actually need per day? What times of the day do I snack the most? What times of day can I squeeze in a workout? Evaluate your daily habits and routines and look for areas that you can improve.

After you identify these areas of improvement, write down a plan to change. The time you spend making a plan and visualizing your success will pay dividends in the long run. You’ll be far better off making a well thought out plan with a realistic goal, timeline, and milestones, rather than quickly plunging into a health-kick frenzy. The key to any long-term pursuit is to pace yourself so that you can reach the end. This can be the time of year when we make snap decisions…sign up for a gym membership….buy a treadmill…attempt a jog across town on January 2nd, etc.. And while all of these can be good and productive actions, plan them out before you leap forward.

Some of the more effective tools that work for me are food and exercise logs. When I “fall off the wagon”, the first thing that I do is re-start my food log. The food log keeps me honest and less likely to eat a dozen holiday cookies at one sitting ;-). It also helps me identify those tough times during the day when I’m vulnerable to over-snacking. The exercise log is another good motivation tool, as I’d much rather go for a short run and enter something in the log than leave a blank entry.

Another way to stay focused on your resolution into February & beyond is to set a goal that’s a few months away. For example, sign up for a 5k race in February or March and talk some of your friends into joining you. That small commitment may pull you through those low motivation days when many fitness plans crumble. Having others in the same pursuit will also strengthen your resolve to stick with it. Use the tools, calculators, and charts on the Fitness Plan page to get started. Other pages that may be helpful include: New Year’s Resolutions; Fitness Resources; Treadmill Buying Tips; Elliptical Buying Tips.

Exercise of the Month:
The Balance Board

The balance board (also called wobble board) is a great leg and core muscle strengthening tool for runners and other athletes. By balancing on the board for just a few minutes a day, you’ll feel some fatigue in your lower legs and abdominal muscles as you continually shift your weight to stay balanced and upright. Some balance boards even have a marble maze as an added challenge and mental diversion. They’re a simple and relatively inexpensive tool that can provide some valuable strength training in the convenience of your own home. Check out the balance board page for more details.

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.

I hope that you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas season and a Happy New Year!!

Encouragement to Succeed!

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

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