June 18, 2012 by Darlene McC
With so much conflicting information out there on the interwebs and in magazines I’m asked all kinds of things by friends, family, clients and readers; so when a touch of writer’s block hit I asked my good friends Karla and Lacee to put together a quick list of their burning health and wellness questions:
Q: It is very difficult to stay motivated after the beginning of a new
workout. What are your tips on staying motivated?
Motivation is a tricky thing; it can mean the difference between long term success and feelings of failure, the degree of success you achieve, and it can shift day to day. This is where I’d point someone to strong goal setting. If you focus on where you want to get then putting the work in becomes easier, and on the days your motivation waivers you have something concrete to fall back on. And I don’t just mean a weight loss goal, but what that weight loss will get you.. Try this
Bring to mind one of your fitness or wellness goals. Maybe its improving your body composition or running faster. Don’t just think about how nice it would be to thin, what can you do or feel when you reach it that you can’t now? What’s the reward of getting there?
Now, what’s the real reason you want it? Is there an event you want to look good for? Maybe you want to be extra hot for your wedding? Then picture yourself in that dress or tux. Imagine every detail you possibly can: the lace on the dress, the flowers in your hand, the way it feels to look amazing, and the look on the face of that person you love when they see how confident and happy you are. This isnt about hating on your current self, but really vividly picturing where you could be.
Say your a runner and want to finish faster in your 10k: what does that faster time mean to you? Are you defeating your own aging process by getting faster in your 30s? What does success really mean to you and what’s the reward of getting it? Not a material reward, but the visceral feelings of success.
The best motivation comes from inside yourself. Spending some time with a piece of paper making a vivid picture of who you want to be can help you map the road to getting there.
Q: How important is balance and alignment to exercise?
How important is not getting hurt to you? To some people having one biscept bigger isn’t a big deal as long as they look hot; but for people pre-disposed to misalignment and injury proper form is essential (and those who aren’t messed up now risk becoming injured the longer they workout improperly).
I’m assuming you mean ‘balance’ as in muscular balance around a joint, left to right, or front to back instead of standing on one foot – though that’s important too.
Doing it right is very important. If books and videos aren’t helping then ask a pro for help (hey, I know someone if you’re having trouble 😉
Q: How long did it take you to become ripped?
Heh – I’ll let you know when that happens!
Seriously though, getting cut up was never a goal of mine and I don’t consider myself to be. If someone wanted to get there it would depend on how far they wanted to go and where they were starting from. From my peak weight to my original goal was about 2 years; but it would have been faster if I knew then what I know now!
Q: There are so many work out “plans” out there; Weight Lifting,
Zumba, Yoga, etc. How does a person find the right type of workout
Ooo, good one! Short answer with a question: what are your goals and what do you like?
If you like plyometrics and don’t have any injuries: try P90X or Insanity. If you like lifting or have never tried it then pick up New Rules of Lifting For Women. Want to be more flexible: yoga. Love to shake your ass: Zumba.
The trick when you’re just starting out is to stick with it and eat well. After you’ve tried a few things and know what you like start making a routine for yourself.
If you’ve been at it for awhile then you want to mix it up. The body creates adaptation to stimulus (like getting stronger or having better balance or losing weight) so be sure you’re progressing difficultly every 2 or 3 weeks to prevent plateau. After a few months add something new one day a week to change it up.
Q: What made you decide to switch to a healthier lifestyle? Also, how
do you stay committed to it?
This isn’t an easy answer, so if you want the long one check out Why I Tried, but I’ll do my best here.
I was really unhappy with my body, but I also missed feeling athletic. I’d broken a promise to myself to keep healthy in my 20s, and then in 2007 I was diagnosed with a genetic condition that explained a lot about why I felt gross and kept getting hurt. Not only did I want to get better for me, but because my condition is genetic there’s a good chance my hypothetical children will inherit it some day. I wanted to get better and form good habits so my kids will be raised with a lifestyle that will keep them healthy and relatively pain free (that’s my strong motivation when I need something better than flat abs!)
Q: Can you incorporate junk food into a healthy lifestyle?
Depends on your ‘junk’!
First: choose your battles. You’re going to eat cake on your birthday, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Knowing that you’re going to have an indulgence means you can plan for it, so eat well before and after and keep your goal list handy to help get you back on track after.
Second: I use the Michael Pollan definition of the word “food”, so most things that are made in a plant instead of grown on one are generally out…meaning lots of chips and cookies and whatnot. Plan your indulgences just like you plan in your workouts so you know you’re keeping them at the ratio you want them to be.
Q: How long does it take to start feeling the benefits of a healthier lifestyle?
Another great one! Feeling it and seeing it aren’t the same. If your major chance is to your food you’ll feel physically different within a week. If the change is adding a workout, most people feel different in a month. You’ll see a visible difference within two months, especially if you change both nutrition and exercise.
I welcome your questions and comments! Please leave thoughts, feedback, or questions in the comments or email DarleneEMcCullough@gmail.com.