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The Bullhorn, Issue #003 -- Monthly Motivator for June 2006
June 15, 2006

Just the right push to succeed!


Leaving our
"Comfort Zone"

If you’ve ever read “Who Moved My Cheese” or other books on human behavior, you already know how we all resist ‘change’ to a certain degree. Each one of us has a comfort zone that’s built on habits and years of daily routine. It’s based on our experiences, our upbringing, and our beliefs. This comfort zone becomes so powerful that it has become the source of myths and theories which have no roots or scientific basis. Our comfort zones form their own theories, and form a false sense of credibility (“I’ve been doing this for years”; “it works for me”; “there’s nothing wrong with...”; etc…)

I can’t tell you how many times I hear that someone doesn’t want to run or exercise for fear of getting arthritis or losing the use of their joints. I have searched for credible medical studies to substantiate these fears…and have found nothing. Our bodies are capable of doing so much more than we give them credit for. It’s fear of leaving our comfort zone that has become our worst enemy. We try to preserve ourselves like a 1965 Mustang, but our bodies are biomechanical...not nuts & bolts...and we need to be exercised. Don’t use it and it will weaken to a frail state.

If any of us want to be better tomorrow than we are today, we have to change. We can’t eat a salad for lunch one day and expect to see major changes. We need to really change our habits. And while it’s true that we don’t have to deprive ourselves of ‘treats’ forever, we should look at how often we have ‘treats’. If you want some real insight into what you’re eating – start a food log. It’ll be cumbersome at first, but it will also help you see where you can improve. When I started a food log, I discovered that my after-work snack (pig out) accounted for 500-1000 calories a day! Try writing down what you eat, if you want to make a real change in your habits. You can always stop the food log down the road and pick a not-to-exceed weight where you’ll re-start the food log, if needed. It’s a good habit that’s really worth starting.

It can be the people that are closest to us that are the hardest obstacles to starting good habits. Don’t let sayings like, “Live a little” ring in your ears…because too many years of “living a little” will ultimately become a self-prophesy. A fitter life pays dividends in both quality and quantity of life – don’t undervalue its importance. And while Aunt Edna’s flattering remark of, “You’re so skinny, dear - you don’t need to lose another pound” may make us feel good, it’s holding us back from what we could become. The changes we make can be small, like eating a bowl of cereal instead of a doughnut, but these changes gain momentum and will bring on terrific quality-of-life benefits that are simply too good to pass up.

The scientific and medical communities have been steadily increasing the recommended amount of weekly exercise we should be getting. What used to be three 20-minute work-outs per week has now become an hour of activity per day. These studies are revealing what most people already know – exercise is really good for you. You’ll find that many people who don’t exercise scoff at these recommendations, as they are comfortable with their sedentary lifestyles. Don’t be deterred by their pessimism. Try adding some basic exercises, walking, or running to your daily routine...you’ll soon find a new comfort zone - one which is much more comfortable.

Change may seem daunting at first, but once you experience the benefits of good fitness you’ll be invigorated to maintain and continue the progress you’ve started. Keep up the great work!


Get the Ball Rolling

The snowball or flywheel affect are curious phenomenon. How do they work? Or more importantly, how do put them into practice to work for us? Let’s look at the snowball building (for those in warmer climates...you’ll just have to take my word): you carefully pack a snowball, making sure that it melts and re-freezes in your warm hands. You then slowly and carefully start rolling it in the snow and packing it as it turns. This can take a few trials and errors before the snow starts sticking to the small ball, but eventually it will become large enough where you can roll it down a hill. Eventually it gains momentum on its own and quickly becomes several times larger than the small ball that you painstakingly took the time to form.

What’s this have to do with you and your fitness plan? Take the time to make the snowball. It may be hard to picture how a few push-ups and crunches a day can get you to where you want to be, but it will. Take the time to start and build on a simple fitness plan.

What you don’t see is the small changes in the strengthening of your heart, the expansion of your lungs, the growth of your capillaries and the hypertrophy of your muscles. The additional muscle mass that you can barely notice is now burning more calories per day. You metabolism is gradually increasing. You’re less winded going up stairs as your lungs and heart easily handle your daily tasks. You have the energy to play with your friends or kids after work.

Before you know it, these habits have taken off and what was once as pesky morning routine has grown into a quality of life that you can’t imagine living without. It’s not magical or mysterious, it’s gradual improvement. It’s something that once started and continued over time becomes harder to stop. These good health habits quickly gain momentum and the benefits just keep piling up! Let the good times roll, my friends.


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 repertoire. You can do push-ups almost anywhere and get a great chest and arm workout without weights. In the ‘push-up’ 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. Lower your body so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. 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 your workout and will give you some noticeable muscle changes in a short period of time.

Keep up the great work & stay focused on your goals. Best of luck!

Sincerely,
Mike
www.the-fitness-motivator.com
Encouragement to Succeed!

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


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