Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seven 'Secrets' for Success In Fitness

It is that time of year where millions of Americans will congregate to their local gyms and make another attempt to reach their fitness goals. I have already received notices about diets and the latest killer bootcamps on Facebook. What will be the difference-maker this year? A different gym? P90X? Nutrisystem? A new supplement? A treadmill? My guess is, in six months, nothing. I rarely get a new client the first few weeks of January that I even see in the gym in June, and the majority of my clients have been with me for years. The numbers support my assertion. Almost all of these people will not achieve any significant, long-term changes even with all the gyms, gizmos, and gurus out there.

In spite of these grim numbers, there are still many people who get it and do reach long-term goals. While they are the minority, I have worked with many. From my experience, the secret is the appropriate mind-set. I have found seven common traits that these successful people possess. Conveniently, they all start with 'P'. The best advice I can give you is to forget all of what you have heard and read in the media regarding fitness and take these seven 'P' traits to heart. They are what I preach to my clients and we all need to read and reread periodically.

1. Plan: A good plan or training program is the roadmap that will guide you. I am surprised by how few people have an appropriate, personalized plan that addresses physical deficits and moves you toward your goals. Or their plan is to "lose weight", or "'get in shape." Sorry, those are very vague and definitely are not a solid, detailed plan.

2. Prioritize: We all have a finite amount of time to get thinks done in our week. If we add two or three regular training sessions to our schedule, then something else has to go. You have to be willing to sacrifice something. Though, most people can find that time by simply cutting three hours of television or internet time per week and never miss it. Some aren't willing and that becomes a problem.

3. Passion: If you need someone to make you exercise or you endure it for the results then you will never keep it up. Do something you enjoy. I have been exercising my entire life and plan to forever because I enjoy it. I look forward to the workouts. I get a lot out of each one. If you aren't passionate or at least enjoy doing it, then you will find any excuse not to do it.

4. Progression: I am amazed by how many novices there are in the gym. Among people who workout regularly, many seem to stay at the same level. It is their "routine". Training is an attempt to improve your body, and progression is an important principle. Simply doing your routine may make you feel better and keep you from going backwards, but it won't get you closer to your goals.

5. Patience: This is a very elusive trait for many. We are all inundated by the media with quick fixes. Don't get sucked into the short-term outcome-oriented trap. Training is a long-term process. Improvement will happen over time, but you must respect the process. Learn to enjoy the process of training and it will become a positive part of your life.

6. Perseverance: If you ever want to get beyond a novice level, you need regular training, though most are always starting over. Keep the training simple, stay focused, and be efficient. The best athletes in the world simply do the basics better and are more consistent than lesser athletes.

7. Positivity: Modern health and fitness is unfortunately driven by negativity and guilt. Often, the catalyst for joining a gym or hiring a trainer is because you are not happy with your body. And we continue to have a negative image of our bodies. We compare ourselves to others and regularly point out our faults. Don't! We all have our issues, but training is the opportunity to be optimistic and positive.

Proper and effective training can transform you physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is powerful enough to be one of the main pillers in your life that you can rely upon. But, it needs to be more than a tally of calories burned or a check box on your to-do list. To derive the full benefits of proper exercise training and to reach your fitness goals, you need the appropriate mind-set. Start with these seven 'secrets'.

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