Fitness Goal Setting – Using Fitness Goal Setting as a Success Tool
Unlike resolutions, which are usually broken by February, goals are made to be set, attained, and set again at a new higher level. Goal setting is an important tool for evaluating your progress and successfully meeting your goals. It is the road map that helps lead you to your final destination. Short-term (immediate) and intermediate goals are the stepping-stones to your long-range goals. Short and intermediate goals are necessary so that success is experienced during the long journey towards your long-range and final, ultimate goal.
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As I think about the camping I will be doing with my son’s Boy Scout troop this weekend, I am reminded of my “tricks of the trade.” Some of these work well with “car camping” (when your car is nearby and you are not hiking your gear in), like I do with my Cub Scout pack, some are better suited for back packing. Here are my recommendations (besides the obvious tent for shelter):
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Tis the season for shoveling and winter sports. We thought this article from the American ChiropracticAssociation (ACA) provides great advice in preparation for these events:
“When snow, ice and frigid weather blast into town, watch out, says the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Winter recreational activities and chores can pose problems for the outdoor enthusiast whose body is not in condition. Winter sports like skating, skiing and sledding can cause painful muscle spasms, strains or tears if you’re not in shape. Even shoveling snow the wrong way, clambering awkwardly over snow banks, slipping on sidewalks and wearing the wrong kinds of clothing can all pose the potential for spasms, strains and sprains.
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I have heard this question often: “Can exercise lower my risk of type 2 diabetes?”
The answer: Absolutely! In a recent study of 41,000 women, it was found that moderate exercise (walking, biking, etc.), done four times per week, cuts the risk of diabetes in half as we get older. This is a very exciting finding! It was also found that 8% of diabetes found in inactive adults may have been prevented with moderate exercise. Although there are genetic factors involved in acquiring type 2 diabetes (previously called adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent), the biggest culprits in the development of the disease are inactivity and excess body fat. This research shows yet another debilitating disease that can potentially be avoided through moderate exercise.
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Want to add fast and easy upper body fitness to your day but find you are crunched for time? Here’s an exercise that is as simple as washing your hands. In fact, you should do it every time you wash your hands, or every time you are in front of a counter. Here’s how:
Every time you are in front of a sturdy counter, sink, or bar, do ten or more push ups. That’s it. It’s that easy. It is amazing how often we are in front of a sink or counter and can do this in such a short time. Place your hands shoulder width apart on the counter and slowly lower your chest to the edge of the counter. The stronger you are, the farther away you should place your feet from the counter. You can also vary the width of your hands to place the emphasis on different muscle groups. Place your hands closer together for more triceps (back of upper arm) work; place your hands farther apart for a greater emphasis on your chest.
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Research has shown that if your workout is not one of your top four priorities of the day, it won’t get done. Do I believe this? Absolutely! I have seen it in my 30+ years as a fitness professional as well as in my own life. If your workout or exercise time is not on your “have to do” list, it is likely to get pushed aside for other things.
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“I’m already thin… Why should I work out?”
This is one of those lines we don’t hear as much in the fitness industry as some others, but it is a question that deserves some attention.
Working out, including resistance training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility, is not just for people who wish to lose weight. Fitness training is for your health, not just your looks. Thin does not necessarily mean healthy. Research has shown that someone who is thin and unfit is actually less healthy than someone who has a few extra pounds and is fit. People who are thin and unfit can have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. just like people who are overweight and unfit. A sound exercise program can also make your body look and feel even better.
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Everyone has the same 24 hours in each day. Amazingly, people who never have time to work out find time to eat, watch television, socialize, etc. You can spend just a few hours a week for your health, but the key is to schedule your workout time as if it is any other important appointment that cannot be canceled or skipped. It is, in fact, one of the most important appointments you can schedule for yourself. Many people have work and family obligations and neglect their health by not exercising. When you schedule your workout, don’t answer the phone, schedule something new, take on an additional commitment, etc. Research has shown that if you do not make working out one of the top four priorities in your day, you will not get it done.
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Many resistance training exercises can be done both seated and standing. Doing any exercise seated supports the back and allows the exerciser to do the exercise without rocking, swinging, using the back, using the legs, or using momentum to move the weight. While seated, the exerciser can concentrate on form and using the intended muscles to move the weight. Think about sitting for the exercises that can be done seated. It is a great way to concentrate on form and really work your muscles without cheating. Many upper body exercises, especially those using dumbbells and barbells, can be done seated as well as standing.
People often ask me about skipping meals as a way to lose weight and, more specifically, to lose body fat. Many people feel that they can skip a meal without even missing it. Skipping meals is a big “no-no” and here’s why:
Skipping meals actually does just the opposite of your goal and makes it harder to lose weight. Skipping meals lowers your resting metabolic rate (how fast you burn calories at rest), lowers your energy level (no fuel to burn), and makes your body think it is in a state of starvation (therefore “rationing” the fat on your body). Skipping meals also creates cravings, throws off your hormone levels, and alters the chemicals in your brain. Rather than skipping meals to lose weight, use healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, to fill in the time between meals to boost your energy levels and your body’s metabolism.
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