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The Bullhorn, Issue #058 -- Monthly Motivator for December 2011
December 30, 2011

Just the right push to succeed!

Getting Back on Track!

The holidays are a wonderful time of year and can be a filled with family-fun get-togethers, food…and more food. And while you may still have leftover Christmas cookies and cakes (we do?!)…it’s the perfect time to get your workout routine back on track.

If you’re like me, you were probably shooting towards goals before the holiday season that have now slipped even further out of reach. Don’t worry…happens to the best of us. The key to getting back on track is to look forward and not back. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Make a Plan: What’s your goal? Is it concrete enough to measure? Are you giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to get there? These are all critical questions to answer before you jump head-first back into this. The reason that most gyms are over-crowded for 2 weeks in January is that many folks go all-in before they’ve written down their goals and a plan to get there. DON’T DO THIS! Check out the free fitness calculators and downloadable spreadsheet to come up with your fitness plan...write it down!
  • Avoid the 3 ‘S’es: Snacking, Sugar, and Seconds. While most people will focus on the gym, real fitness is obtained (or destroyed) in the kitchen! Take it from one of the biggest culprits. I only succeed in my fitness plan when I start a food log and cut out the junk (3 ‘S’es). Remember is takes a 3500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound. For my size and diet, I try to lose 1-2 pounds a week and I can do this by eating 3 meals a day (1500-1800 calories) with 1 modest 30-45 minute workout.

  • Be Flexible: You don’ t have to accept failure to forgive yourself. None of us are perfect, so don’t expect that you won’t miss a workout or indulge in a bowl of ice cream once in awhile. Just have these occasions be the exception and not the norm. The goal is to get back on a LONG-TERM track…so a hiccup now and again is perfectly acceptable.
  • Eye on the Prize: It’s been well documented that goals are most successfully obtained when they’re visualized. This has led to pictures of trophies in lockers; goal times written in running shoes; and hanging goal jeans / swim suits on the closet door. While the biggest prize will often be a longer and happier life, there’s usually something driving us to get in shape. What’s your goal? Write it down. Embarrassed about it? Don’t be. You can be stealthy about it at home…put a beach post card on the cookie cabinet or a jar of quarters for your ‘reward’ (a few bucks per pound could get you something rather nice!). Whatever motivates you – tap into it – picture it – and let it propel you to your goal!

Getting back on track seems to be a cyclical event for most of us during this time of year. Don’t get frustrated by it. Embrace it.

Know the Numbers

How often have you heard people say, “I eat right, but I just can’t seem to lose the weight”. If I pry and ask people what exactly they eat, the answers become hazy. This is where you need to know the numbers. For example, if you go into a restaurant and order a salad entrée because, “I’m on a diet”. Chances are good that you had 2x as many calories as your friend that ordered the burger! Look it up. Many of those salad meals are 1500-2000 calories! It’s not the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions that’s driving up that number…it’s the cheese, breaded chicken, creamy dressings, nuts and croutons that make this a diet killer. So the next time you think, “I’ll just have a salad” – choose wisely. Most restaurants have their nutritional data on-line. Look up what you’ll order before you go. Here ‘s a list of fast food calories that’s good to know before you go out.

Size matters…errr…portion size that is. Get to know what a cup of cereal looks like. It may surprise you. Most bowls today hold 2-3 cups and for the average cereal that’s 3-4 servings. I know that 2 cups of cheerios fills up a sandwich baggie and is a bargain for just 200 calories. A Clementine orange is a great snack for only 35 calories. And at only 5-10 calories, a pickle can stave off hunger between meals. Go through your cabinets and count out what portion size makes up a 100 calorie snack. It may have you re-thinking what’s worth it and what’s not. For example, what would you rather have as a snack: 1 small cookie or a full bowl of popcorn? Check out the good snacks page for some more ideas.

If this is making you have nightmares about school homework and math and you’re wondering why you would go through all this trouble, here’s why this effort is worth it: Calories matter. Most of us eat too many of them and what our body doesn’t need is stored as fat. Some foods can fill us up on minimal calories…most of these are fruits, vegetables, and fibers. Foods that are high in starch, sugar, and fat not only pack our bodies with a ton of calories – they leave us hungry and craving more?! Programs like Weight Watcher Points are successful because they steer you towards good foods by crediting the fiber content and penalizing fat and sugar intake with “points”. You can do this yourself, though. Figure out how many calories you need each day (BMR)for your ideal weight and stick to it. You’ll start to eat the foods that fill you up for the least amount of calories and you WILL lose the weight.

Well, we’re on the verge of a New Year…a fresh start…the time when everyone sharpens their pencil and forecasts a better tomorrow for themselves. It’s exciting. Hope is alive. To succeed we'll need to do our homework and have a plan. Again, it’s well worth the effort. This is so much more than a goal bathing suit or a summer vacation…this is your life…get to know the numbers and what they mean. Best of luck & Happy New Year!!

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Exercise of the Month:
The Mighty 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!

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