A More Successful Start To Home Workouts

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Getting to the gym is sometimes seriously challenging for me. Let me step back. Getting a solid workout in is sometimes a challenge in itself. In the mornings I am running around dropping my kids off at school. Before recently I would have had to spend hours commuting to and from work along with an abundance of meetings would leave the thought of a mid-day workout unlikely. The evenings would be filled with a lot of the same commuting to and from work, schools, after school activities and sometimes we’d fit the gym and take my son to kids club for an hour if I was lucky. Sometimes the only way I could get a workout in was at home.

My first purchase was a pair of dumbbells. Eventually a stability ball because everything I read said these two things was all I needed. (This was before I became a trainer). Eventually I ended up with a light weight punching bag to get some heavy bag work in, a jump rope, barbells, free-weights, battle ropes, TRX, resistance bands, BOSU ball…should I continue? The crazy thing all of this fits into my apartment. I have plenty of space to use all of it. If I had to say one thing to everyone before you start working out at home is to create a designated space to workout.

I see people dedicate rooms to a home office, to hobbies, two rooms to eat…kitchen and dining room, a room just dedicated to sitting on your ass and watching TV, but won’t dedicate a room to being healthy or staying fit. Once you find that dedicated space, plan your equipment around your space and your goals. Don’t just buy equipment because it sounds neat or fun. Buy what you will use and what will fit your space. Spend the money on quality equipment. Cheap equipment breaks too often and then it will sit and not be used.

Think outside the box and get outside the box. Find some stairs nearby…apartments have stairwells, many houses have steps and offices do. Use them for cardio. Step into your hallway and jump rope. Go to your parking garage and do sprints up and down the ramps. Obviously keep safety in mind and do NOT endanger your life.

If you get stuck, well call me. OK well get in touch with a personal trainer. A good trainer will help you to be able to design your home or office gym, assist you with purchasing the right equipment and make recommendations, and best of all help you design a workout to fit your environment.

 

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Self Discipline, The Magic Pill

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There really is no magic pill for getting in shape, getting that perfect body, getting strong enough or fast enough to compete. However, there is something that is effective and it is called: self-discipline.

Self discipline is the only quality that truly gets long-term success in every area of life. Relationships, work ethic, diet, fitness and a myriad of other things all require self-discipline to in order to have the best chance of success and long lasting success at that. It is the number one trait needed to accomplish any goal, to lead a healthy lifestyle and in the end be happy.

According to a 2013 study by Wilhelm Hoffman, people with high self control are happier than those without. The study suggests that people who are self disciplined are more adept at dealing with conflicts when it comes to goals. The self disciplined spent less time struggling with indulging in behaviors detrimental to their health and did not allow their choices to be managed on impulse or feeling. Instead they were able to make positive more informed, rational decisions more easily and quickly without feeling overly stressed or upset.

The good-news like pharmaceuticals and diet pills you can get self-discipline. But it comes more in the DIY (Do It Yourself) kind of variety. It is a learned behavior. It requires practice and repetition daily. Establishing this type of regimine will allow to live a happier more fulfilling life, making healthy choices not emotional ones. Get control of your life by making simple changes to your everyday routine.

An article in Forbes written by Jennifer Cohen suggests these 5 methods for gaining self-discipline:

  1. Remove temptations. Out of sight. Out of mind. Removing temptations and distractions from your environment is a crucial first step when working to improve self discipline. i.e. toss the junk food. Turn off your cell phone. Remove clutter from your desk or your home. Designate a clear area for fitness. Block distraction websites like Facebook, Youtube, even e-mail.
  2. Eat regularly and healthily. Low blood sugar is not your friend. We’ve seen the Snickers commercials. There is some merit to those. When you are hungry, your ability to concentrate suffers, you become grumpy and pessimistic. Often you will feel a weakened sense of self control in all areas of your life – diet, exercise, work, relationships..Stay well fueled through the day with healthy snacks and meals every few hours. Focus on your goals not your stomach.
  3. Don’t wait for it to “feel right”. “When a behavior becomes a habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot”. Changing up your routine will feel wrong at first. You mind will resist. Just like learning to do something with your off hand it will feel uncomfortable at first but keep with it will become natural.
  4. Schedule breaks, treats & rewards. When practicing self control and self discipline think in terms of training your body physically. Schedule breaks and specific breaks. Set up targeted practice. Set up rewards for yourself. Working on controlling your spending? Allow yourself a $25 splurge at the mall on Sunday. Leave the credit cards at home and bring cash only. Trying to lose weight, reward yourself with a massage after a month of making all your gym trips. Learning self-discipline is hard. Reward yourself.
  5. Forgive yourself and move on. There are going to be good days and bad days, ups and downs, success and failures. The reality, probably more failures than successes. When you encounter a setback, acknowledge it and what caused it and then get right back in the saddle and move on.

 

Improving Stamina Through Progression Running

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Progression runs are great for building stamina, mental strength and learning to run increasingly faster at the end of a race. A progression run is a run with structured pace increases from beginning to end. The distance and pace will vary based on your specific training goals.

Practicing this is also a method that can be applied during races. A runner can learn how to make a long solid sustained push at the end, which can be particularly devastating at the high school and collegiate level.

The way a progression run is structured, it forces runners to start slowly. While learning mental patience runners have a chance to allow the body to fully warm-up. Progressions runs can be incorporated several times during the training cycle without fear of over training or injury.

The goal of a progression run is to become comfortable running your goal race pace on tired legs at the end of your workout. They should be designed to boost your stamina by introducing speed gradually over the course of your training run.

There are ton of variations but below is just a basic sample. You can mix this up by doing a paced run out and a more aggressive run back to your starting point, go by times, etc.

A sample progression run:

Mile 1: Warmup pace
Mile 2: 10k pace
Mile 3: 5k pace
> Optional 5k End <
Mile 4: 1 mile pace
Mile 5: 10k pace
Mile 6: Warmup/Cool down pace
> 10k End

Run, Run, Run, Run, Run…

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I am of the opinion that no one really enjoys running. All of us who do run, appreciate the benefits that running provides. Running helps to build your cardiovascular system, your muscular endurance, your mobility, strengthen your joints and muscles in your legs, pelvic region, core, upper body and arms…basically everywhere…

Running has been shown to help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers and a host of other unpleasant conditions. What’s more, scientist have shown that running vastly improves the quality of your emotional and mental life, and helps you live longer.

Running becomes even more important and vital as your body and mind begin to age. Think of it this way. You want to keep your battery charged the same way you do your car.  Every other day you want to take your car out and drive it around for 20-30 minutes to keep that battery charged. Probably less frequently than that for a car. But for you a human 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes will do wonders.

At a moderate paced run you will burn enough calories to stop any scale from moving upwards and in fact may move some scales downwards. I am not a huge scale person but I am interested in body fat percentages. Adding a 90 minutes a week of running and jogging, especially out outside will move that body fat percentage down a little too.

Running is something that for humans is innate. We all know how to run. Running can hurt and it doesn’t always feel good. But running isn’t the same as it was in gym class. The limits, the times the goals are only the ones you set for yourself.

 

The Living Fit Project

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First, yes I wiped the entire blog clean to start fresh. I originally started The Living Fit Project during my initial struggle to manage my weight and get it back under control. Over the last 3 years since I started the blog I have learned so much, I have faced some serious personal and professional struggles. The way I look at life, fitness and health is very different now. It is more than just showing up at the gym 3 – 5 times a week and cranking away at weights. It is more than the food preparation and food choices. It is in the activities I choose to do in my free time, activities and the choices I make with my kids and family. It is a complete lifestyle spanning from the moment we wake up in my house to the time we go to bed, and even while we sleep. Yes rest and recovery is equitably important in this cycle. Living Fit is about living a healthy and fit lifestyle. After all my goal is to be able to live longer and have fun while doing it. My goal is to Live Fit!

I welcome you to my corner of the world where this blog will take you on every adventure I go on, ask and answer every question I have. I am dedicating myself to seeking out answers from as many professionals as I can as I take my health and fitness to yet another level.

Getting Myself Back On A Plan

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I was seriously burnt out on all fronts. Life and work became so stressful I lost my focus. Basically I’ve gotten out of shape. Most of my friends say I am not out of shape but to my standards yes I am. I’m carrying an extra 11-12lbs of weight and about 8-9% extra body fat as I enter mid June of this year.

What I’ve learned is that the simplest things can interfere with my goals. I went through a crappy break up after a year of a relationship that was draining me emotionally and physically.

I also learned that maintaining a proper diet is not as hard as I thought but not sticking to it is easy. Most of the diet changes I had I started stayed in tact but I struggled mostly with portion control and allowing myself too many store bought meals.
I had to relearn that I have to put myself first. I had grown comfortable with going to work, going to the gym, coming back home to study, and prepare for the next day. All of that fell out of sync when I started to want to avoid home.

I learned that I don’t like running distances more than 6-7 miles. 5k to 10ks are appropriate for me.

I learned that it is really hard to not let other people influence you and your program.

I also learned that it is important to associate yourself with people who have similar goals and objectives even if they are not on the same plan.

Beware of people who want to support you but sabotage your plan by trying to do your plan instead of their own.

I remembered why I started to get myself back in shape.

I learned so much and had have so many experiences I don’t know where to begin again but I do know I miss the feeling of my body feeling in great shape.

As I lay on the beach today observing people around me I am reminded of the things I like and love to do in life. It’s time for me to reenter that world of self discipline and get myself back on track.

This time I am going to try to be completely transparent in my struggles and my achievements here. This time I will allow everyone around me to hold me accountable openly and in the eye of the public.