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The Bullhorn, Issue #014 -- Monthly Motivator for May 2007
May 15, 2007

Just the right push to succeed!

Birthday Wishes

In the last 150 years, the average life expectancy has gone from 38 to 78 years old! And while most of this can be credited to medical breakthroughs like antibiotics and the early detection & treatment of diseases, the study of aging and life expectancy is a growing field with new discoveries occurring every year.

Do you want to know your statistical life expectancy? Try taking a health age test. It’s a rather simple questionnaire that statistically projects your life expectancy based on your habits. If you’ve ever applied for a life insurance policy, you’ll notice that they ask the same exact questions! And while it’s fun to play with calculators like this for entertainment, it’s also a bit unnerving to think about the validity of their predictions. I went through the calculator the first time and entered in my honest habits. Then I was curious…what if I got more sleep?...was less stressed-out?....ate better?....exercised more?...and before I knew it, I entered all of the “ideal” answers. The calculator changed my hypothetical life expectancy by an additional 10 years!! Wow….wouldn’t that be nice! Imagine getting a gift certificate in your next birthday card: “This entitles the bearer to 10 years of additional life”….what’s worth more than that?? (don’t say 11 years ;-).

The reality is that we each have the power to increase our chances of living a longer life. And while the calculators don’t present any guarantee of their predictions, their data is used as a basis for life insurance companies to invest billions of dollars….so it must be somewhat accurate. Want to improve your odds? What do you have to lose?? I’m sure the cynics will scoff at a healthy lifestyle as they preach their you-gotta-live-a-little theory, and all the fun that you’ll be missing out on. But take a closer look at the habits that impact your life expectancy the most: smoking, drinking, exercise, diet, stress, etc… I don’t enjoy, nor do I have time for, frequent hangovers; and if second-hand smoke is any indicator…first-hand smoke must be utterly miserable; and my daily run is one of the favorite parts of my day. So where’s all of that ”fun” that I’m missing???

Now it’s hard to say how many years of life we’ll be blessed with, but why not increase our odds where we can? Diet and exercise can add quality and quantity to your life. So go run an extra mile…not just for the extra birthday candles…but so that you’ll be able to smile & blow them out, too!

Plan B:
(When the Easy Button fails)

Taking the path of least resistance is natural…it’s the way that rivers meander through valleys and how electricity travels to our homes…but the path of least resistance does not work when it comes to health & fitness. And while the slogan “No Pain, No Gain” may be a tad irresponsible, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme where society wants all the rewards of exercise with zero discomfort….and we want it now.

There is a multi-billion dollar fitness industry out there that preys on the human tendency to find an easier way to do things: fat loss creams…diet pills…appetite suppression patches…etc… Unfortunately, many of these products provide minimal benefits as we strive to get in better shape. There is no easy button when it comes to health & fitness. The people that lose weight and keep it off are those that worked hard to lose it through building better habits. Think about your most memorable accomplishment in life. Was it something that was easy to do?…or did you have to earn it? Your fitness goal will be something that you earn.

Most of our health and fitness goals can be attained without any fancy equipment or expensive products…just good old-fashioned sweat & hard work. Money may be able to buy conveniences in life, but our bodies don’t need any such gadgets or pills to get them into shape. Sweat is the currency of our fitness routine and if you want the rewards you’ll need to continue to pay your dues. And while many of the fitness products out there can aid us in our efforts, the real foundation of our routine is the time and hard work that we put into it.

If you’re waiting to start exercising and eating right, ask yourself: What are you waiting for? There are some things that you can do NOW. For example, try fitting 20-30 minutes of cardio into your day. It should be strenuous enough that you start breathing heavier, but not so strenuous that you couldn’t hold a conversation. This can be walking, jogging, going for a bike ride, or using a piece of fitness equipment. You decide what meets your condition and schedule needs. Also - check out the Exercise 101 page for some calisthenics ideas. You can add 2 or 3 sets of these in the morning in less than five minutes a day. Do this routine 4-5 times a week and it’ll add up to over 20 hours of exercising per year…just by doing 5 minutes per day!

Health & fitness improvements evolve over weeks and months of hard work and continued efforts. It’s through these efforts that habits are formed that strengthen and revitalize our bodies. There’s no magic weight loss pill or machine that makes exercise feel easy, but with hard work and persistence what feels hard today will be a little easier tomorrow. Get started…keep going…good luck!!

Exercise of the Month:
Oblique Crunches

This type of crunch targets the oblique muscles, or the area where our infamous “love-handles” reside. You’ll start from the same position as the standard crunch. Raise your back off of the ground taking your elbow to your opposite knee. And just like the standard crunch exercise, you’ll want to do the movements slowly, exhaling while you do the crunch, and inhaling while you lower yourself back down. Add these to your daily mix and you’ll notice some results in an area that we all seem to want to trim down!!

New Pages!!

Every month, The Fitness Motivator adds new pages and helpful resources to assist you in meeting your fitness goals. Some of these pages came about from YOUR ideas (thank you!), while others are based on personal lessons-learned. If you haven’t been on the site in awhile, here are just a few of the pages added since the last newsletter:

Interval Training: Some training tips worth considering if you'd like to increase your running race times.
How much sleep do we need?:
The facts, myths, and guidance that you need to get the right amount of Zzzzz's.
Fitness Apparel:
Compare fabrics types for the right performance gear to meet your needs.
Reduce Stress:
Stress is killing many busy people...don't let it get the best of you!
Healthy Habits:
Habits are the building blocks of our daily routine...pick the right ones.
Exercise Tips:
Just starting out? Here are some tips to get you up & going.
Reduce Body Fat:
Want to lose some unwanted flab?

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.

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

Encouragement to Succeed!

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

P.S.S - The Fitness Motivator has recently been awarded the 2007 Learning Fountain Website Award!! Thanks for for all of your continued interest and support.

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