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The Bullhorn, Issue #027 -- Monthly Motivator for June 2008
June 15, 2008

Just the right push to succeed!

A Balanced Life

Sometimes it seems like everything in life is a giant balancing act: Work & family; Exercise & Rest; Diet & Splurging; and the list goes on.

There seems to be endless studies out there that evaluate the lifestyles of the centurions (people over the age of 100). And every one of these studies has a different conclusion. The secret is rice…green tea…daily exercise…genes…etc.. I would propose that the secret is balance. People that balance their priorities in life are happy and able to do more in life. Balance is more than a cliché. It’s an attitude and a way to live.

If we truly want balance, we need to add in those things we are neglecting and lighten up on the pursuit of perfecting. If we drive all of our efforts and focus on one thing in life, we’ll rarely attain it. If you have no time to exercise because you’re trying to maintain a spotless home or be the perfect employee, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate and re-distribute your time. And if you’re one of those people that lives to work out, you might need a diversion to force your body into some needed rest.

Often times, all of life’s competing priorities can tire us out before we even get a chance to put on our workout clothes. Not wanting to work out is natural. But, sadly, by not exercising our bodies lose muscle mass and we’re able to do less and less each year. This impacts our mobility and quality of life. Exercise takes energy in the short-term but pays us back multi-fold in the long term. There’s no doubt that it takes some creativity and determination to squeeze exercise into our lives, but instead of detracting from your life’s other priorities…it has a funny way of making you more productive. Active people become successful people in many aspects of their lives and are much happier in the process.

The pay-off of exercise and a healthy lifestyle is quality & quantity of life…well worth it. But a life of total deprivation is not the answer either. Somewhere in between there’s a happy medium to working out and sleeping in. Having a bowl of ice cream and walking by the cookie jar. Working overtime and attending little league games. And the balancing act goes on. We need not be perfect…just balanced.

Watch What You Eat

It’s unfortunate that the most popular diet is also the least effective. It’s the “Watch What I eat” diet. And I should know, because I’m currently on it. How does it work (or doesn’t work), you ask? Well…it starts by you skipping a treat here and there as you say to yourself, ‘I’m watching what I eat’. This boosts self-confidence and seems to validate a cause with little effort or sacrifice. You might skip a meal or a snack here and there, but then you reward yourself shortly thereafter. I’ve gained 5 pounds while watching what I eat! Ready to join this diet plan? Please don’t!!!

OK, a bit of sarcasm…sorry. But it’s so easy to fall into this trap and so many of us do it time and time again. Do you want to know what you’re eating? Write it down! Start a food log. You’ll be amazed how calories add up throughout the day. Honestly counting calories has been the only way that I’ve been able to shed pounds. Making a conscious effort to reduce snacking just doesn’t work.

Take as an example the food pictured above. It’s approximately a day’s worth of calories for the majority of us (2,000 calories). You can easily spread that food throughout the day and feel as if you’ve eaten nothing! The sugary and starchy foods are high in calories and will leave you hungry just minutes later. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, eat foods that are high in fiber like grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods will leave you satisfied for hours.

Another way to cut calories during these hot summer days is to drink water. Calories from juices, sodas, and sports drinks are loaded with empty calories that will add up on your waist line. Have a glass of water and save the other drinks as a treat. If you’re really thirsty gulp down a few glasses of water and then see if you still want that lemonade or iced tea. It might save you hundreds of calories.

If you really want to watch what you eat…write it down, add it up, and see what it is that you’re really eating. Be honest with yourself and you may get some valuable insight into what habits need changing. It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Best of luck!!

Exercise of the Month:
Cross Training!!

Sometimes our exercise routine can get repetitive and dull and we start wondering why we are no longer improving. Cross training is just a fancy term for mixing it up. Try a different activity; Exercise different muscles; Add some varied intensities. If you’re a runner, try biking, swimming, rowing, or an elliptical machine. If you use the same pieces of cardio equipment in the gym all of the time, try going out for an evening jog or walk. Add some calisthenics to your routine or light weights. Exercises like lunges, calf raises, and leg lifts can help some often-ignored leg muscles. Cross training activities will re-ignite your interest and help develop some other muscle groups to make you stronger. Go ahead…mix it up a bit. You’ll like the change of pace and the added strength.

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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