Telling Your Body- Getting Ready For Your New Year’s Resolution

 Come January, year after year, I have frequented my local fitness center and witnessed the same event:  a flood of new people in every nook and cranny of the gym.  Suddenly the fitness classes are jam-packed, massive groups of people are following staff members around learning how to use the equipment, all the cardio equipment is taken by people sweating it out in those TV infomercial plastic bag tops ( I’m amazed that they are still selling these and people are still buying them), the white of the new sneakers is glaring….okay I sound a bit like a gym snob but stay with me here.

I feel badly when I see this phenomena over and over again because I know in about 6 weeks tops, most of these people won’t be seen again.  They will have gone at it hard and wondered why they aren’t miraculously 20lbs thinner and full of energy.  This discouragement will lead to thinking that perhaps a healthy body and improved fitness are just not goals that can be achieved by the average person. 

But that is not true.   Michael and I are living proof.

I want to take each of these people by the hand and say, “Fitness and healthy eating is a journey, not a race.  Changing the habits in your life, your relationship with food,  doesn’t happen overnight, no matter what the infomercials and salespeople have told you.  You can do this, but you’ve got to be patient.  This is a race in which the tortoise wins.”

I may have seemed like I am making fun of New Year’s resolutions but I am not.  I want you to make a resolution to get healthy and fit.   

  One of the goals of this blog is to share things that I’ve learned on my fitness journey that will greatly increase the chances of your resolutions becoming your success story this year.

When I began learning how to exercise with weights my dad used to tell me the same things over and over again.  One of those rules was that when I began a weight lifting routine I needed to let my body know what was coming.

At the beginning of my workout I would get on a cardio machine of some type and get my body moving for fifteen minutes, warming up my body.

Then I would go over to the free weight area.  If I was planning on working my biceps and triceps that day I would have a set plan of what exercises I would use.  When I got there this is the message that my dad brought home to me, “If you are going to do 3 sets of 15 bicep curls with  10 lb weights, you don’t just go to the free weight area and start there.  Especially if this is your very first arm exercise.  First you should just move your arms in that bicep curl movement without any weights in your hands.”

First time he told me this I thought, “It’s bad enough I am the only woman in here, 5’2″ and not the least bit muscular.  And your telling me to stand in front of the mirror and do imaginary bicep curls?”

My dad continued with, “After you do that movement then move up the weights incrementally, to say 5lbs.  Use the 5lb weight and do 15 bicep curls.  Rest.”

“Now depending on the weight you are going to use for the real exercise, you may want to move up incrementally again before finally arriving at  the 3 sets of 15 reps at 10lbs.”

“Dear Lord, how long will I be at the gym?  All day?” I thought to myself.

So what was the point of all this delay?  Why couldn’t I just get on with the routine?  That’s what everyone else is doing.” 

The point was to give my muscles the message that something was coming and they better get ready and start firing up.

My dad started reading muscle and fitness magazines way back when Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his twenties.  He studied fitness books like he was earning a degree in it.  My father is 71 and has a body that rivals the “boys” at the gym.  And he has had very few if any injuries. 

My father is pretty humble.  I’m sure most guys when they look at him think he is an old man at the gym, but once they’ve been there with him for a little while, they start asking him questions about his routines.  And he kindly explains what they should do.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because the beauty behind my dad’s mantra: “let your body know what is coming” is an integral part of beginning a lifetime of fitness and healthy eating.

Everybody wants a quick weight loss scheme and a revolutionary workout video that is going to make it happen “this time”. 

But very few people want to educate themselves and incrementally learn for themselves- not just be told what to do.

You know the old saying, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.”  (May not exactly have that right but you get the gist of it.)

Let’s not do the deprivation diet this year folks.  Let’s not do the “30-days to a bikini body” program one more time.

Let’s learn how to be a fit people rather than people who just follow whatever the crowd is doing without knowing the why.  Finally, own your own health. 

Learn how the body works, how to put a routine together on the fly, teach yourself about what healthy foods to eat, and how to incorporate them into your weekly menu…..

I’m here to help, and I will help, gladly.  I love this stuff.

But you have to tell your body what’s coming this January.  You have to tell it that “there’s going to be some changes around here.”

SO, let’s plan that you will begin to be full on focused come January. 

BUT, let’s start telling our bodies what’s coming.

Don’t start thinking, “I’m not going to eat anything bad for me today.”  Instead tell yourself, “I am going to take a little extra time making sure that I eat a healthy breakfast every day this week- instead of a coffee and a doughnut.”

Next week, aim to have fueled up  breakfasts each day that last awhile in your body and add some nourishing lunches. 

Now if you happen to eat tons of chocolate or whatever your weakness foods are in these next weeks, don’t sweat it.  Think about adding good foods, not taking away unhealthy foods right now.  In short, incrementally add healthier foods to your day-to-day menu rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t be eating.  Remember, only diets are about deprivation- and they don’t seem to work, do they?

Now, on to the topic of exercise.  Make room in your schedule for ten minutes a day, for a whole week, to do something that raises your heart rate.  (You’re supposed to be working on your time management anyway,right?)  Chase your kids around the house, have a potato sack race, climb the playground equipment with your kids.  The next week, add ten more minutes, and try some new activities. 

In essence, in these weeks before January, you are telling your body that healthy foods are coming and so is fitness in some shape or form.  Once you get to January, when the distraction of the holidays is gone and the busyness of life quiets down a bit, you will put your full focus into your New Year’s Resolution….and you will find you are already ahead of the game. 

You’ll be that much closer to not becoming a statistic. 🙂


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Christy on November 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    What a wonderful post! There is some great information in here to get people started. I, like you, am a year round gym junkie and am always saddened at the January influx that I know will soon die. I hope that this year is different.


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