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The WattBike

18 May

FIT is happy to welcome, what FIT founder Thom Downing says is, “the most dynamic, functional and smart piece of metabolic conditioning equipment to come onto the fitness scene since the Concept2 rower in 1976”, the WattBike.

FIT will be offering a free clinic on the WattBike, featuring FIT’s in-house Pro cyclist, Taylor Tolleson on June 2nd from 630-8pm at FIT.  Free spin scans will be given so come prepared to ride!

The WattBike was developed over 7 years and is the world’s first affordable indoor bike that accurately measures power (Watts). It has a unique, patented measurement system and ground-breaking software.

Launched in 2008, the machine was signed off by the English Institute of Sport as being accurate, and is now fully integrated into British Cycling’s Whole Sport Plan at all levels from performance through to participation. It is the first indoor bike that has ever been endorsed by British Cycling and it is now used as their frontline Talent ID screening tool.

Key features that make the machine stand out from others include the fact that it feels like ‘real’ cycling – on the flat and climbing – and it delivers accurate, repeatable and comparable results. The bike can be used for rehabilitation, general fitness, high level training, scientific testing, cross-training and competition.

It features a unique ‘polar display’ that provides immediate feedback on the cyclist’s technique and all bikes are factory calibrated identically, allowing them to be linked together for accurate racing. It delivers a new level of depth and accuracy of data all of which can be viewed in real time and saved for later analysis.

At one extreme, it is an exercise bike, and at the other, it’s a highly sophisticated sports science analysis bike, making it suitable for everyone from recreational cyclists through to Olympic champions.

The Wattbike provides safe, 24/7 gym use and can be used for regular exercise, group exercise or competitions in gyms across the UK. It is also available to buy for the home and offers a great alternative to a turbo trainer or an upright bike.

Beyond cycling, the Wattbike has broader appeal. It is a superb cross-training and talent ID tool for a wide range of sports that want a high quality training alternative, delivering objective data. It is currently being used as an initial screening tool for Girls4Gold and Pitch2Podium – UK Sport’s Talent ID programmes for girls and released football players.  British Cycling also see the Wattbike as becoming a fundamental feature within secondary schools as a gateway activity to the sport of cycling, and as part of the solution to the lack of physically active lifestyles in society today.

FIT’s Head Cycling instructor Taylor Tolleson got his start racing in triathlon at the early age of 14. In 2005 after 4 years of racing in the ITU, Xterra and National circuit attending 3 triathlon world championships and 3 duathalon world championships he decided to pursue a profession in road racing. After only a few months he got picked up on the US National team where he raced and lived in Europe. Shortly thereafter he received his first professional contract to start in 2006. While racing on prestigious professional teams such as BMC and Garmin-Chipotle, Taylor was able to work very closely with the best coaches in training and power analysis, Max Testa and Alan Lim.  After a tragic hit and run accident in 2009 he has decided to focus on coaching and wattage training.

Career Highlights:

(2008) 1st Tour de Leelanau

(2007) 1st Stage #6 International Tour de Toona

(2006) 2nd Best Young Rider Competition Tour of California 2-Time X-Terra World Champion

2009

2nd Merco Cycling Classic Road Race

2008

1st Tour de Leelanau

4th Stage #2 Ronde Van Brisbane

8th Stage #7 Tour de Georgia

1ST copperopolis

2007

1st Stage #6 International Tour de Toona

2nd Stage #3 Tour of Elk Grove

2nd Red Trolley Classic Criterium

5th Under-23 National Criterium Championship

10th Under-23 National Road Race Championship

18th Stage #6 Amgen Tour of California

19th prologue Amgen Tour of California

2006

2nd Best Young Rider Competition Tour of California

16th Prologue Tour de Normandie

2005

1st Collegiate National Mountain Bike Short Track Championship

1st NCAA National Team Time Trial Championship

1st Stage #5 Cascade Classic (Bend, OR)

3rd Stage #6 Cascade Classic (Bend, OR)

6th MIPS Technologies Mt. Hamilton Road Race

6th NCC Road Race National Championship

7th Copperopolis Road Race (Milton, CA)

2004

1st X-Terra World Championship

1st X-Terra U.S Championship

1st Collegiate National Mountain Bike Short Track Championship

3rd Trek Bikes Collegiate National Criterium Championship

3rd Trek Bikes Collegiate National Team Time Trial Championship

About FIT

The F.I.T. experience is unique from the level of coaching, to the attention to your individual needs, to the support that is palpable as soon as you walk through our doors. Located in the heart of Los Altos, California, F.I.T. is a school of fitness, focused on all factors of health, with the intention of living a longer and better life.  Through a variety of services we offer, ranging from personal training to group CrossFit classes, we focus on functional training through optimization of the physical competencies in each of the 10 recognized fitness domains:

Cardio-respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy.

The F.I.T. coaches adapt to the fitness level of their students while providing instruction, guidance, and support.  Our student body is extremely diverse ranging from ages 10 to 93, in experience from novice to elite, and in life, from executives to stay-at-home moms to children to athletes of many varieties.

PrimalCon 2011

9 May

A couple of weekends ago, joined with Tracey, Angelo, Shaun, and Serena, I had the opportunity to attend Mark Sisson’s (author of The Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple) PrimalCon 2011. 

PrimalCon is a health and fitness retreat with the purpose of bringing us back to basics, back to the beginning, referring to our ancient ancestors of the Paleolithic era and how they survived as hunters-gatherers. How is this relevant to us, you might ask.  Mark’s philosophy for primal fitness is simple: sprint, lift heavy things, play, rest, and then repeat.  And of course, it’s also supposed to be fun.

Physical exercise is only half of Mark’s philosophy. Nutritional eating habits make up the rest (approximately 80%). However, this article will only focus on exercise.  With that, a way of implementing what Grok would do (Mark’s caveman mascot) on a weekly basis would be as follows:

Sprint (once a week, session length: less than 10 minutes)

Example: run, bike, row, even the elliptical with an all out effort.

Try Tabata intervals: (20 seconds of work; 10 seconds of rest; repeated eight times for a total of 4 minutes).

Lift heavy objects (1-3 times a week, session length: 7 minutes-1 hour)

Example: squats, pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, and planks.  More advanced examples include: deadlifts, push press, snatches, cleans, thrusters, kettlebell swings, and jerks.

A normal presumption is that you have to pick up something to count as moving heavy weights, but in actuality your own body weight can be just as effective.

Move frequently at a slow pace (2-5 hours spread across 1 week)

This is what should be called “Play Time.” It’s easy to moderate exercise that keeps you moving, gets your heart pumping (55-75% maximum heart rate).

Example: walking, rowing, biking, elliptical, jump roping, and dancing.

Other examples would be: hiking, swimming, playing outside with the kids, ultimate Frisbee, soccer, or channeling your inner Angelo.

 In conclusion

Mark’s philosophy for fitness is functional, realistic, simple, and fun. It’s what we try to achieve and implement into your training regimen at FIT.          

Mark Your Calendar

9 May
FIT will be hosting Fitness Wave Hydrostatic Weighing

Date: May 13, 2011
Time: 6:30 AM – 12PM
Location: Parking lot directly in front of FIT
Cost: $50 for a one time measurement or $99 for three measurements.
Click here to sign up on line Scroll down to Focused Trainers on May 13 and click “Book Now”

Or contact Serena at admin@focusedtrainers.com or Kevin at kevin@focusedtrainers.com

Top 3 Reasons To Know Your Body Fat Percent

1) Assess risk for chronic disease Unhealthy levels of body fat have been linked to a variety of health related issues, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

2) Measure Progress Knowing your body fat percent is the first step.  The next step is taking action.  If you have been actively working to reduce your body fat percent, measuring your progress can help determine if your plan is working effectively.

3) Motivation Seeing improvement can be very motivating.

May Nutrition Challenge

Challenge Your Self to Eat Clean for 30 days!
Beginning April 25th, we invite all that are curious to join us for a 30-day experiment ending May 22nd. Commit to eliminating all foods that are known to increase your statistical risk for disease, disorder or dysfunction.  For 30 days, alongside your F.I.T. comrades, we challenge you to eliminate:

  • sugar and sweeteners (including honey and agave)
  • grains
  • legumes
  • dairy
  • caffeine
  • alcohol

Enjoy a wide array of vegetables, animal proteins, healthy fats, and fruit.  Track how your body responds – how you feel, how you sleep, energy throughout the day, performance, recovery, and mood.  Engage in an online forum of participants to share challenges, offer suggestions, and share/find recipes.  It’s just 30 days and promises to be an enlightening experiment.  Email admin@focusedtrainers.com or sign up at the front desk when you are in so that we may offer encouragement and help hold you accountable along the way.

10 Year Anniversary Challenge!

Celebrate FIT’s 10 Year Anniversary with this fitness challenge

Men

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between 21, 15, 9 reps of:

  • 40 KG Barbell Thrusters
  • 30 LB MedBall Slam
  • Box Jumps to Large Box
  • 32 KG KB Swings

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between

Women  

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between 21, 15, 9 reps of:

  • 30 KG Barbell Thrusters
  • 16 LB MedBall Slam
  • Box Jumps to Medium Box
  • 20 KG KB Swings

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between

Here are the rules:

1. Your challenge must be video taped and time recorded.  No need to get the whole workout on video, however some footage of each exercise should be included for quality control, and a final time off the stop watch (we will use these on our blog later!!)

2. Videos and final times must be submitted before May 31st (our 10th anniversary at FIT!)

3. First and Second place prices will be awarded to the fastest men and women, 300$ for first, 150$ for second.

4. Prices will also be awarded for submitting a Challenge workout video.

5. Work-out can be scaled, however time will not count for the price.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

2011 Norcal Open Weightlifting Competition

When: Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where: FIT, Los Altos

The Science of Healing

8 Apr

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. – John Muir


Last weekend I watched The Science of Healing a PBS special from 2009 that followed Dr. Esther Sternberg to a tiny village in Greece where she experienced, first hand, the healing power of nature.  This experience had a profound effect on Dr. Sternberg and sparked an exploration into the science behind environment, emotions and healing.

A variety of interesting research was introduced on visual stimuli, built environments, aromas, social connections, exercise, music, and meditation.  Stress was the common characteristic among these studies.  It seems that environments that reduce stress contribute to healing.  One of the benchmark studies presented in this program was from 1984.  The researchers examined the restorative effects of natural views on patient surgery recovery.  Between the years 1972 and 1981 cholecystectomy patients in a Pennsylvania hospital were assigned to either a room with a window over looking a nature scene or a brick wall.  The patients with the tree view had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluation comments in the nurses’ notes, took fewer pain relieving medications, and had slightly less minor postoperative complications.  Although the researchers recognized that the results could not be generalized to all surgeries or all built environments (the brick wall was a less than stimulating view) the results implied that hospital design should consider the quality of the patients views for restorative benefits (Ulrich et al., 1984).

Here are some additional research tidbits presented in this program:

  • Good smells. Aromas, such as clean mountain air, are associated with good memories and positive emotions.  This results in a reduced stress response and promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
  • Become fit. Physically fit individuals have a better stress response. Regular exercise promotes acute stress, which prepares our bodies to handle higher levels of stress more effectively and strengthens the immune system.
  • Feel the beat. Music provides a stress buffer and increases heart rate variability (the beat-to-beat alterations in heart rate).  Low heart rate variability is associated with depression, poor health, and high stress.  High heart rate variability is associated with better emotional and physical health, and reduced risk of stress-related disease.
  • Think yourself well.  The placebo effect is the brains own healing mechanism.  Believing in the positive effects of the treatment produces chemical changes in the brain that allow the body to heal.
  • Take 10. Meditation or breathing awareness produces a reduced stress response and boosts the immune system.  Even as little as 10 minutes a day has positive health benefits.

Dr. Sternberg concluded her exploration with some personal insight into the effects of slowing down and embracing the rhythm of life in the Greek village.  She resolved to include more time in nature and exercise into her daily life and to embrace more stress reducing activities, such as listen to music and socializing with friends.  Sometimes we need to step away from our life to see how we can live more fully.

Reference:
Ulrich et al., 1984.  View through a window may influence recovery from surgery.  Science, 224. DOI: 10.1126/science.6143402

Balance Your Exercise with Play

9 Mar

Sometimes the activities that we ask our clients here at FIT to engage in can heighten self-consciousness.  For most people, going to a gym at all can be intimidating, let alone being asked to perform a complex movement such as a clean and jerk or being pushed to the point of physical discomfort for the sake of goal attainment.  As a team of trainers, we frequently discuss how best to appreciate what we ask of our clients.  For this reason, we opted to videotape ourselves in a Zumba class taught by a colleague, Sehin Belew.  The thought was to experience feeling uncoordinated and mildly self-consciousness in a physical pursuit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQfHZMMN5fo&feature=email

As I’m sure you too can note, some of us were a bit more inhibited than others, but the more notable observation would be how much fun everyone had.  Too often exercise is associated with work or something that has to be done.  How different would exercise feel if the mental association was fun and play instead of work?

Last year, we had the opportunity to spend time with Wes Walker, a young, Olympic-caliber runner. Wes was returning from studying the Tarahumara people of Northern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability.  While coaching us during a run, he continually asked us to think, “how can I make this easier?  What would make me more comfortable?”  I’d always viewed running as an opportunity to literally pound out my frustrations; I enjoyed punishing myself by pushing to go faster and longer.  Never once, since I began running 12 years ago, had I ever considered how to make running easier, and thereby possibly more fun.

Mark Sisson, author of http://www.marksdailyapple.com and the book, Primal Blueprint, emphasizes the importance of play in a way that resonates with me.  He discusses how play has become a bit of a guilty pleasure rather than a necessity.  For reasons that are unclear, or possibly different for everyone, ‘real life’ seems to get in the way as the drive for ‘success’ takes precedence.  In contrast, Sisson goes on to note, “Besides its stress-reducing and social qualities, play has other quantifiable benefits.”  The vacation gap study performed in 2006 showed that workers were 25% more productive following a vacation, and their sleep habits improved: averaging 20 more minutes per night and three times as much deep sleep.  The New York Times recently covered a study showing that increasing leisure activities improves immune function faster than stress can suppress it.  Although it has long been theorized that the more relaxed you are, the easier task seems, and the better you feel.  Now there is research to support it.  Couple that with the sheer pleasure that is inherent to play or the benefit of the laughter that often accompanies play, and a significant increase to quality of life is inevitable. 

While Zumba may or may not be the fun you are looking for, something is.  Finding it within yourself to laugh at yourself in place of being self critical, seeking opportunities to play with others, and, most importantly, making play a priority will not only be fun but will be as (if not more) beneficial to your health than the extra time spent at work, running errands or doing whatever else gets in the way.  This month we are speaking of balance, which means something different to all of us.  I’m not looking to define balance but I am suggesting that as you consider your social and physical engagements, prioritize those that involve laughter and fun, or consider approaching the activities you are engaging in with a playful spirit.  Fun has always been an important component of how we design and implement programs at FIT but it is a team effort.  We can’t make you have fun – that’s up to you.  Not everything in life can or should be fun, but for the activities that can be, try to let them.

For Improved Performance, Balance Your Endurance Training with Strength Training.

9 Mar

It seems intuitive for endurance athletes to train almost exclusively using cardiovascular exercise.  The truth is endurance athletes need to have a balanced training program which includes strength training for improved movement efficiency, enhanced performance, and reduced injury.

Strength training can help you run faster, longer, and more efficiently. A study published last year in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that runners who added three days of resistance training exercises to their weekly program not only increased their leg strength, but improved their running economy or efficiency.  This means they were able to run at their desired race pace for longer durations with less effort or even increase their race pace.  The added strength also increased sprint speed, giving them the kick often needed at the end of a race.

Getting in the gym and lifting weights not only increases strength, but will also increase your joint stability which can reduce the risk for repetitive stress injuries. Lower body exercises are particularly important when it comes to reducing injuries around the knees and hips, two of the most problematic areas for runners.  Incorporating exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges into a workout may help prevent these lower-body injuries as well as speed up the recovery process after strenuous runs.

An additional benefit of strength training in an endurance athlete’s training program is the maintenance or the addition of lean muscle mass.  The addition of lean body mass raises your metabolism and keeps your body burning more calories after a workout and at rest.  This helps maintain optimal weight for both competitive endurance athletes and recreational runners.

So You Want to Move Effortlessly?

9 Mar

The body is a magnificent example of mechanics and physics at their best.  In order for the body to function at an optimal level, it needs to move in the way it was designed to.  A balance needs to be forged between support (both dynamic and static) and movement.

Motion takes place at very specific points – the joints.  Each joint serves a crucial function in movement.  Even a basic physical task, such as writing this article, involves many different joint actions throughout the body.  Some joints are moving freely, while others are holding steady and supporting a desired posture.  In this case, the wrist and finger joints are very mobile, while the intervertebral joints are used to create an upright posture in the chair.  This concept, called the Joint-by-Joint approach by Mike Boyle, Mike Robertson, and others, explains the equilibrium that a body must reach for movement efficiency and decreased risk of pain or injury.  Taking a broad look at the body, these two characteristics alternate.  For example:

  • The ankle joint (sub-talar) is a very mobile joint, especially in up/down motions, accounting for ability to walk forward through rocking onto one’s toes.
  • The knee joint then is a stable joint only able to hinge the lower leg.
  • The lumbar spine is made up of several stable joints that help to transfer muscular force from the lower body into the upper extremities.
  • The thoracic spine alternately needs to be very mobile to allow for full motion at the shoulder, as well as rotating the trunk.

When these characteristics are not taken into consideration, we are left with dysfunctional movements, which inevitably lead to pain or injury.  As an illustration, think of the volleyball player who has sprained her ankle.  Common medical practice is to splint or brace the ankle while healing to return the joint’s structures to health.  If proper attention is not paid during rehabilitation to restore normal ankle mobility, the joints immediately above and below the ankle will need to become more mobile. With the simple hinge joint of the knee, this is just not possible, so people are often left with knee pain from an old – and otherwise healed – ankle injury.

So how does someone build a training program – or just move – to ensure that all of the joints throughout the body are performing their intended functions?  Well that’s the easy part.  Move the joints that are supposed to move, and don’t encourage movements at the joints that are supposed to stabilize.  The joint with the greatest promise to improve this balance and promote better movement is the hip.  The large ball and socket joint allows for almost unlimited motion of the leg about the pelvis.  But as society is spending more time sitting and becoming increasingly sedentary, the hip joints are not being asked to move as they should.  This has led to the high rates of lower back (lumbar spine) and knee pain that are ubiquitous in people trying to improve their health by exercising.  How to improve this? Move the hips.

  • In a lunge position, stretch and gently bounce to improve the front of the hip socket and let the pelvis sit more evenly, taking stress off of the lower spine.  Moving back and forth and up and down allows for a subtle stretch of the supporting soft tissues around the hip joint, as well as lubricating the joint to allow for better movement.
  • Cross your legs.  Sit on the floor cross-legged, sit in a chair cross-legged, stand and pull one foot up to your opposite hip.

All of these movements will pull the hip forward and out away from the joint socket, improving the space in that joint socket and promote smoother motion.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  The greatest thing you can do to improve your movement is move.  Find the balance between too much movement at stable joints and not enough movement at the mobile joints, and watch your pain decrease and your function improve.

Balance your “yang” workout with Yin Yoga

9 Mar

Thom has been balancing his “yang” workout routine with a weekly  “yin” yoga class.  Join him Tuesdays at 11:00AM at FIT’s fitness partner Yoga of Los Altos.

Yin Yoga tends to be very meditative and emphasize body and breath awareness. 
The poses, primarily seated postures, are held for a long period of time (3-5 minutes per pose).  The goal of Yin Yoga is to work the connective tissue in the body allowing for deep long stretches to increase the flow of energy in the body.  Janya’s classes are gentle yet challenging and a great compliment to a more active workout routine.

Tuesdays 11:00am – Yin Yoga with Janya

Fridays 5:30pm – Yin Yoga with Janya

Yoga of Los Altos | 377 First St. | Los Altos, CA 94022 | www.yogaoflosaltos.com | 650.941.9642

Brain and Brawn

10 Feb

I can’t remember the last time I spoke to someone who was excited at the prospect of getting older.  People fear different things, but it’s safe to say most concerns surround declining physical and/or mental well-being.  For years, the medical community has promoted cardiovascular exercise as the best for the prevention and intervention of disability and disease.  Aerobic exercise was said to keep the heart and lungs strong as well as aid in neurogenesis, or the creation of new neuronal cells in the brain, especially in those portions of the brain associated with memory and thinking.  While this recommendation still holds true, recent studies are showing that resistance training is as effective, if not more, at stimulating neurogenesis in the same areas of the brain.

Recently, a few studies examining the effects of exercise on the stimulation of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience in November.  BDNF is part of a family of proteins responsible for the growth, survival and differentiation of nerve cells, and maybe the underlining factor responsible for exercise induced effects on cognition and mental well-being.  In one study, researchers from Brazil secured weights to the tails of a group of rats and had them climb ladders for five sessions a week.  This study, which measured the levels of BDNF, found that the weight lifting rats compared favorably to the rats that ran on a wheel.  The sedentary rats showed very low levels of BDNF.  The other study presented studied rats that ran on a weighted wheel (resistance being equivalent to 30% of the rats body weight) compared to rats that ran on an un-weighted wheel.  Not only did the rats moving the loaded wheel pack on muscle mass but they also showed significantly greater gene activity and levels of BDNF within their brains.  Although these results are not definitive proof, it is, at very least, an indication that further study is warranted.

One such study is underway at the University of British Columbia where principal investigator, Teresa Liu-Ambrose, has found that older women who lifted weights performed significantly better on various tests of cognitive functioning than women who completed toning classes.  Ms. Liu-Ambrose has hypothesized that the beneficial effect of strength training on cardiovascular health accounts for some of the improvement in function, but also stated “resistance training at first requires an upsurge in brain usage.”  She goes on to mention the involvement and stimulation of the brain during exercise using proper form and technique could contribute to greater cognitive functioning.  In addition to increased cognitive demand, the brain is responsible for activating the appropriate muscles, the necessary type and quantity of muscle fibers (efficiency) and activating the various energy systems that need to be involved.

One word to the wise, conventional wisdom often suggests that if some thing is good, more is better.  When it comes to exercise, this is not always the case.  Another study recently published showed that excessive exercise in postmenopausal women was linked to lower cognitive function.  Although this study was assessed by questionnaire, not known for their reliability, we do know that overtraining stimulates the release of cortisol.  Cortisol in excess has been linked to depression and lower levels of neurogenesis.

Sharon Begley’s January 3, 2011 Newsweek article “Can You Build a Better Brain?”  presented a review of what neuroscience has learned, and has yet to learn, about improving cognitive function. Supporting additional research regarding strength training and the brain is a statement by Columbia University’s Yaakov Stern that “the research so far suggests that cognitive training benefits only the task used in training and does not generalize to other tasks.”  Stern’s input begs the question, if training cognition doesn’t help, what does?  In answer to that, Begley quotes Art Kramer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studied the effect of aerobic exercise.  Kramer found that “A year of exercise can give a 70-year-old the connectivity of a 30-year-old, improving memory, planning, dealing with ambiguity, and multitasking… fitness training [stimulates] the molecular and cellular building blocks that underlie many cognitive skills.  It thus provides more generalizable benefits than specifically training memory or decision-making.”

In relation to anti-aging, the adage of ‘use it or lose it’ is a good guide for the maintenance of movement and cognitive function, and it appears these are no longer unrelated.  These studies suggest that you can engage both the brain and the body by learning and practicing new or complex movements under a safely prescribed load.  My recommendation would be to start with body weight exercises and focus on learning how to move properly and then progress to greater loads.  The other implication of this study is that checking out during your exercise routine and simply going through the motions to just  ‘get it done’ may not be as beneficial.  Practicing movements with the intent of getting better not only improves your physical health, but also may contribute to your mental well-being

Ten Tips to Help You Get Back into Your Exercise Routine

10 Feb

A short break from your exercise routine can be invigorating, allowing you to come back with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication.  However, not everyone enjoys exercise and the motivation to return to the routine can be challenging.  Even exercise enthusiasts, such as myself, struggle with re-prioritizing time and re-committing to a regular exercise program.  It’s easy for a couple of days to turn into a week or two or three.  Here are 10 tips to help you get back into your exercise routine:

1. Make it convenient – Try scheduling your workout session first thing in the morning, or on your way to or from work.  A lunchtime workout can be convenient, as well as provide an energizing break in your day.

2.    Make it social – Connect with people who share your interests.  For example, join an exercise group, or workout with a partner.

3.    Share and discuss what you are learning – about fitness, your body, nutrition, how you feel when you do and don’t exercise or eat healthier.  This can be done with a friend, a group, a Health and Fitness Professional, or even in a blog.

4.    Chart your progress – Keep an exercise log, write in a journal or blog, mark your completed exercise sessions on a calendar, have a fitness assessment and schedule re-assessment dates, or track distance goals for walking and running.

5.    Make it fun – Do something different.  Training for an event. Take a swim lesson.  Workout with kettlebells.  Kick up your heels and swing your hips in a Zumba class.  Participate in a fitness challenge, or just take time to play.

6.    Avoid all or nothing thinking – Use whatever time you have available to be active.  Even a 10-minute brisk walk is sufficient to get the blood flowing, increase energy, and improve mental acuity.

7.    Make your exercise session YOU time! –  Think of your exercise session as something special you are doing just for you rather than something you have to do.

8.    Reward yourself – for the effort, not just the outcome.  Celebrate the daily or weekly accomplishments, which are just as important as the big goals.  I like to reward myself after a workout with a relaxing soak in the tub.

9.    Engage your brain – Learn more about fitness and nutrition.  Read success stories about people like you.  Learn new exercises.  Join a healthy cooking class or take a dance lesson.

10.    It’s all in the Attitude – Focus on how good you will feel when you are done rather than focusing on all the other things you could be doing.  Think about the progress you are making rather than how far you are from your goal.  Motivation is truly a state of mind.