Fitness : Inspiration, Perspiration, Dedication

Fitness : Inspiration, Perspiration, Dedication
    Coach Vince Lombardi
    My clients are generally highly motivated. Celebrities have everything to gain by looking their best. Looking good is part of the job description in Hollywood, and actors and other performers can miss out on parts, have a hard time getting through their stage performances, or even get fired if they show up on set looking overweight and out of shape. Looking good on your wedding day, on a first date, or at a class reunion is important—as big a deal as a role is big a deal as a role is to a television or film star.

    You cracked open this book, so I’m sure that you’re motivated, too. Sticking with any exercise and eating program, no matter how bad you want to lose weight and get in shape, is difficult, as anyone who’s ever tried it knows—including me. You have to be ready—ready to work—and you have to want to achieve your goal. If you don’t really want to lose 10 pounds or fit into that size 8 dress or walk into your twentieth-anniversary party looking fit and fabulous, then there’s nothing I can say or do or teach you that is going to change that.
    The definition of motivation is simple: “Having the desire and willingness to do something.” In other words, it’s on you. I’m not some psycho drill sergeant who’s going to bark at you (in print!).You don’t need that. This book is in your hands because you’re a self-starter with a goal in mind. I’m your coach and your trainer and what I can do for you is offer specific, personalized tools that will make it easier for you to succeed. I will build your confidence by helping you create a program that’s right for you and help you track your results so that you can see the progress you’ve made and be motivated by your success. What I will also do is remind you, from time to time, Yes, you can! You really can.
    All of us learned
    how to change the way
    we ate for the rest of our
    lives, so that we can
    keep the weight off 

    Joanna’s Story

    Six months before my wedding, I needed to lose weight, so I reached out to Gina. I knew everybody would be looking at me, so it was the one day in my life that I wanted to look and feel my absolute best. I started way ahead of my wedding because I wanted to take my time and lose weight in a gradual way.
    After doing all kinds of tests and assessments, Gina put me on a healthy diet composed of carbs, veggies, protein, and a little healthy fat. I cut out wheat and dairy after finding out I had an intolerance to them. Before that, I wasn’t a junk-food addict; my problem was consistency. I’d munch on this and that throughout the day. But with the eating plan, I was able to focus. I also exercised five or six times a week, doing mainly cardio. By my wedding, I had lost 15 pounds.
    Both of my parents decided they wanted to lose weight, too. My mother wasn’t overweight, but she had been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and needed a plan to build her bones. Gina helped her change her eating habits and encouraged her to walk and do weight training. Though my mom had never exercised before, she ended up in the best shape of her life.
    My father was a different story when he started. He is six foot one, weighed about 300 pounds, and had high cholesterol. 
    We had been pushing him to lose weight, but the wedding got him motivated. He went on a healthy, protein-rich diet with no alcohol and no added table salt, and Gina got him to power walk. By the wedding, his weight loss was dramatic. He had lost 50 pounds in four months, and he’s been able to keep it off.
    At the wedding, I felt wonderful, and everyone was commenting on how great both my mom and dad looked. The reason it worked for us is that the approach is very reasonable. It’s not at all extreme, and it makes sense. Plus, it’s a lifetime plan. All of us learned how to change the way we eat for the rest of our lives, so that we can keep the weight off. 

    Motivation—Just the Facts

    Because I’m a numbers person, it has been important for me to understand inspiration, motivation, success, and failure from an intellectual standpoint. In other words, I like data, research, the facts. So I looked at the results of a survey of trainers and also conducted a study of my own to find out what makes some people stick to a plan, while others drop out or never get started. I was also interested to understand why people thought they were in the condition they were in. In other words, how had they reached a point where they needed me? I surveyed 800 women and men on my Web site and asked them, “Why do you think you are overweight and/or out of shape?”Here’s what they said:

    • 43%: Lack of motivation
    • 42%: Laziness
    • 5%: Lack of time
    • 5%: Lack of exercise/bad eating habits
    • 3%: Illness
    • 2%: Pregnancy

    Since lack of motivation was the number one reason people ended up out of shape and overweight, I decided to look closely at what caused people to lose motivation. From a survey of trainers, coaches, and other professionals who work with clients, here are the top seven reasons clients don’t stick to the program:
    1. They don’t know what to do to get good results or are bored by the program.
    2. They don’t like working out.
    3. They don’t have the discipline to stick to it.
    4. It’s too expensive (gym memberships, home equipment, etc.).
    5. They’re too busy.
    6. It’s too hard (inconvenient) to get to the gym.
    7. They’ve tried losing weight before and failed.
    Finally, and most important, I looked at the positive—what does motivate someone to work out and eat well, or at least to begin making changes? Here’s what respondents said:
    • 44%: Someone’s holding me accountable.
    • 41%: I love feeling good.
    • 10%: I’ve got a big event coming up.
    • 4%: I don’t like how I look or how clothes fit.
    • 1%: My doctor said I had to.
    The best kind of program is interesting, varied, and somewhat fun; it is convenient, isn’t too time-consuming, makes you feel good, shows your success, doesn’t cost a lot and, finally, works. So with this knowledge plus what I know from working with thousands of clients, I have come up with ten tips for getting motivated and staying committed to an eating plan and an exercise program.
    1. Choose a realistic, reachable goal. People kid themselves: we think we should be able to see dramatic results right away. Fitness books bank on unrealistic goals. “Lean, flat abs in just 30 seconds a day!” “Drop 10 pounds by June 1”. . . but it’s May 30! When you expect a result that’s not humanly possible, you won’t see success and you’ll feel discouraged.
    Choosing a realistic goal increases motivation by allowing you to have a win. And that goal has to be your goal, specific to you and the way you live. Everybody and every body are not the same. For example, if you’re muscular already, you might lose weight very quickly. But if you have a family history of obesity, it may take longer. So it’s key to work toward a reachable goal for you. As soon as you begin to see results, you’ll be pumped up and inspired to work even harder.
    2. Ask the hard question—what is ruining you? How is this extra weight affecting your life? Then use that answer every single day to keep you moving toward your goal. So if your weight and physical condition are making your clothes too tight, keeping you from walking up the stairs without huffing and puffing, causing people to make fun of you, or getting in the way of your meeting your soul mate, think about these feelings when you don’t want to work out or every time you want to eat something that isn’t good for you. This will remind you why you got started in the first place and spur you to go on.
    3. Have a clear method for measuring your results. Statistics don’t lie, but people do. That’s why I use numbers and graphs. I look at pounds, of course, but I also take measurements, including body fat. So if the numbers have gone down, clearly the program is working. There’s no gray area. Seeing results—in black and white—builds confidence and increases will-power.
    4. Make sure your program is tailored to your specific lifestyle. Your eating plan and workout program have to be comfortable (well, at least for the most part), convenient, and easy on you; otherwise you’ll want to skip and cheat. For instance, if you hit the snooze button five times in the morning and have to drag yourself out of bed, exercising in the a.m. isn’t going to work for you. Instead, you’d do better working out at lunchtime and then eating afterward—or having a healthy snack around 4 p.m. and then exercising after work. Another way to make your program fit into the way you live is to adjust your current lifestyle to make room for exercising and eating right on a regular basis. 
     So instead of getting out of bed and going straight to your computer to check your e-mail—and leaving no time to eat breakfast before running off to work—change things up. Eat breakfast first to get it out of the way, and then go to your computer. Or check your BlackBerry while you eat. The important thing is to make it work for you.
    5. Create small wins. Come up with targets that are real to you and that you can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. Like losing 1 to 3 pounds a week, or 2 inches from your waist in two months. Your targets don’t have to focus on your body. You might aim for getting in 1 hour of exercise a day, or cutting out the calorie-rich coffee drink and replacing it with a nonfat cappuccino. These kinds of small wins add up and prevent you from feeling frustrated and wanting to quit.
    6. Reward yourself. As you achieve your smaller targets and bigger goals, allow yourself a reward, like new clothes, a trip, jewelry, a movie, or whatever makes you feel good. (By the same token, if you miss your targets, abstain from any rewards or extra fun until you have earned your way back.) The reward reinforces your success. Food, obviously, isn’t the best reward.
    7. Keep the game fresh. Have you ever seen people doing the same workout for years? I have. And they don’t look any different. They seem almost robotic when you watch them. Change your routine periodically! It’s best for you and best for your body.You get better results when you put new stresses—good stresses—on the body.
    8. Make adjustments when things aren’t working. If the routine, the time frame, and the meals you have chosen aren’t fitting you, make adjustments so that they do. There is always a way to fix things and get on track. Believe me, I have seen and heard every problem, excuse, and disaster. And I have always found a way to make it work.
    9. Follow-up is key. Keep track of your changes. Be aware of your weight, body fat, number of push-ups or other exercises you can do, and so on. If your goal is to change your measurements or lower your blood pressure, monitor these things. Make regular visits to your doctor if you are currently on medications for illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease. I have seen many people get off and stay off medications after getting on the right eating plan and exercise program. That should be motivation enough!
    10. Make good habits a habit. The changes you make in the way you eat and exercise shouldn’t be temporary, just to lose weight. Looking good, feeling healthy, and staying in shape is a lifelong process. Be sure that the changes you make stay in your daily routine and become your new habits. Once your new, healthy ways become routine, they feel comfortable. The easier you make things, the more you’ll want to do them.

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