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The Bullhorn, Issue #002 -- Monthly Motivator for May 2006
May 15, 2006

Just the right push to succeed!


Fitness...by the numbers

Whether you like math or not, fitness is a numbers game. From the bathroom scale to the nutritional data on the food we eat, our fitness plan can be viewed as a series of math problems. If you’re starting a running program or already a seasoned marathon runner, you’ll likely be looking at finish times, pace times, and mile-marker splits. And while we shouldn’t get hung up on the numbers, these figures can be used to motivate us & propel us to new goals. Whether your goal is a weight, a race time, or a waist measurement, below are some ways to succeed in your quest:

  • If you take weight or body measurements daily, look for improvements weekly or even monthly. Daily fluctuations in hydration and other factors can cloud our actual progress. Monthly comparisons are clear and evident and will motivate you to keep going for the long haul!
  • Running race times can be hard to predict, making realistic goal-setting a challenge. Use some race prediction tools to refine your goal, and always give yourself room for a Plan ‘B’ or ‘C’ (Example: “If I feel good in the last mile, I’ll give it my all”; or “If my legs feel like lead by the 3rd water stop, I’ll walk for 2 minutes”)
  • Remember 1 pound of fat = 3500 calories. Calculate your: BMR, calories burned by activities, and your daily intake (food log). After awhile, you may choose to stop the food log – that’s OK. Set a threshold weight or body measurement that, if exceeded, will trigger the daily food log again. Eventually the good habits will stick and you’ll not only reach your goal, but you’ll stay or improve from there.
  • Some goals may seem like far-off apparitions. Set up some interim milestones and rewards to keep your focus. For example, training to do your first marathon may take you 6-8 months of hard work. That’s a long time to stay focused and motivated. Signing up for a half marathon or 10k in the middle may be all the motivation you need. While the training itself is really the true accomplishment – races validate our goals and can significantly boost our confidence (“I can do it…and I have the T-shirt / medal to prove it”).

Tracking fitness by the numbers can really energize your program and motivate you to keep going. Afraid this will extinguish your spontaneity? Put the food log away at a party…run without a watch once a week…and don’t be afraid to skip a workout to make a dinner-date with friends…but stay on the long-term plan. By measuring that which you want to improve, you’ll truly be able to see your progress…by the numbers.


Start with the foundation

It’s estimated that the pyramids each took approximately 80 years to build with 10,000 to 20,000 workers moving over 2 million 20-ton blocks! After half of those blocks were assembled, the workers probably couldn’t even see over the closest sand dunes…but that became the foundation for one of the wonders of the world. The foundation does not provide much of a view, but without it the pinnacle can never be reached. Progress is much more evident after the foundation is laid & the same is true for our fitness plans and the path to our goal.

Many health-kicks & diets fail because there is no instant gratification. We can work-out and diet hard for a week and the bathroom scale may only show a slight glimmer of a change. What you don’t immediately see is the changes to your muscle mass, which will eventually become a fat-furnace; the changes in your cardio-system which is becoming stronger and healthier; and the changes in your habits which will ultimately lead to your long-term success.

A successful fitness plan fitness plan must have a solid foundation. This foundation is the gradual changes you make in your daily routine, shifting to positive and healthier habits. These gradual changes can include the addition of three 15-minute workouts a week. This change may take 4-5 weeks to lose just 1 pound…but that’s over 10 pounds a year…combine that with some healthier eating habits and now you’re foundation is climbing into the skyline!

Don’t worry if the progress of your plan seems slow. Building a solid foundation can test the patience and resolve of even the most stead-fast fitness die-hards as they work towards their next goal. It may seem difficult to envision the final product now, but I assure you – you’ll be amazed at the view!


Exercise of the Month - hand grips

This simple, yet powerful isometric exercise can help improve your grip strength, develop powerful forearms, and increase your overall cardiovascular health. You can use something as simple as a tennis ball, racquetball or ‘splurge’ for a $5-$10 pair of handgrips. The muscles of your wrist and forearm are often overlooked in exercises, yet are commonly used in day-to-day activities such as opening doors, driving a car, opening containers and having a strong hand shake. They are also critical muscles for athletes that play golf, baseball, tennis, and other sports. You can 'squeeze' this exercise into your busy days while watching TV, sitting in traffic, riding the train, sitting at your desk, etc… A few sets a day, a few times a week will give you some noticeable results and help you reach your fitness goals faster.

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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