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The Bullhorn, Issue #046 -- Monthly Motivator for January 2010
January 15, 2010

Just the right push to succeed!

The Finish Line

One challenge with New Year Resolutions and fitness goals, is what to do when you reach them. A key part of a good fitness plan is the part where your milestones and goals are two steps ahead of where you are. It gives us something to strive for and focus on. If you’ve reached your goal weight or achieved your PR in a race…perhaps it’s time to shift gears and pick another target. If you’ve gotten comfortable with your fitness routine, chances are it’s time to shake it up a bit before you stall out of boredom.

I’ve been in a semi-rut after qualifying and running in the Boston Marathon. My motivation seemed to wane the past few years and while I continued to run marathons it was more out of a ‘fear of stopping’ than it was a desire to keep going. So this year (this week to be exact), I broke out of my comfort zone and figured that I’d sign up for an ultra-marathon. Why not? Pace is a whole lot slower…race is a whole lot longer. Bottom line: I’m not sure what the heck I got myself into, but I’m looking forward to the experience and invigorating my love of running.

What’s your comfort zone? What’s your rut? Think about something that you consider out of reach. Now think…is it really? Are you writing yourself off before you’ve given it a try? What are you afraid of? Failing? It’s true there are thousands of people that start road races only never to finish…but there are MILLIONS that never even start the race!

If you give yourself time to rationalize, you can talk yourself out of anything. But you’ll never know if you never take the chance. There’s no time like the present. Write it down…map it out…get out there and do it.

I always enjoy the feeling of crossing the finish line of a marathon. The real enjoyment is not from the completion of a 26.2 mile race, but rather the journey of a 6-month training plan and the 1000+ miles of running that led up to the starting line. The journey is the true accomplishment.

What Calories?

Most of us are so busy with the pace of life that we spend very little attention to the foods that we eat. Do you know how many calories were in your breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Calories add up. People that successfully lose weight count their calories. Take the Weight Watcher’s points system. If you’re familiar with it, you can probably recite the ‘points’ of all your favorite foods. You’ll know that foods like vegetables, cereals, and fruit give you far more bang for your buck than a piece of cake.

If you want to lose a few pounds, you’ll want to get visually familiar with what calories look like. Knowing this will help you better plan your snacks and meals. Here are some examples of 100-calorie items:

  • 1 cup of Cheerios – half of a normal bowl
  • 35 small pretzel sticks (30g)
  • 40 baby carrots (9 oz)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 large apple
  • 8 ounces of Coke (1/2 of a typical glass)
  • Less than ½ of a Snickers bar
  • 10 Peanut M&Ms
  • 5 starlight peppermints
  • 6 cough drops
  • 1/5 of a Big Mac burger

The foods that give us the most satisfaction for the least calories are high in fiber, low in fat, and low in processed sugar. Combine high fiber foods with a glass of water and you’ll feel fuller quicker, as the water expands those fibers in your stomach to fill you up. If you chose the foods that are high in sugars and fats, you’ll be craving more and more food…and the calories will pile up.

Take a moment to go through your cupboards and measure out some different types of food. Keep track of how many calories that your body needs (BMR) versus how many you are eating each day. If you need the equations to help you with this, download the free fitness plan spreadsheet. Best of luck!

Exercise of the Month:
Body Dips!

Body dips are a great tricep, chest and shoulder exercise that can be done with minimal equipment. Using a stable chair, place your hands on the front corners and place your legs out in front of you. If you’re just starting out, try this with your knees bent (as shown). For added weight and benefit, keep your legs straight with your heels touching the ground. Slowly lower your body weight by bending your arms and keeping your elbows close to your sides. Raise your body back up to the starting position (arms straight) as you exhale. Do a comfortable set of repetitions and take short break between each set. Try to work up to 3 sets.

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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