Fitness Formula: 3 Critical Steps for a Healthy 2013
It's 2013, like it or not. Some people revel in the opportunity of a new start, some people cringe at the relentless passage of time. I do a little of both. I love the "clean slate" concept, the chance to erase past indiscretions and look to starting over, doing better. And I also think, "Holy Sh**, where did the year go, I'm older than Keith Richards."
The Mayan Apocalypse never came. So, like it or not, it's time to move ahead!
Joe and Lorena have already offered their take on how to set yourself up for success with regard to New Year's Resolutions, both of which were spot-on and insightful, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I'm going to do the same.
Here, then, are my 3 Steps to Success in 2013:
Step Number One - Where are you?
Ask yourself this question: "How does my health compare today to this day one year ago?"
Are you in exactly the same place? Are you in better overall health? Have you regressed?
If you're in exactly the same physical condition as last year, that's only good news if you were in really great condition last year. I'm talking about fitness level, nutrition, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure; the works. If you have maintained excellent health, congratulations, you're on the right track. If your health wasn't good last year and it still isn't good, you need to do something different. Unless you want to die young, in which case, congratulations, you're on the right track!
If you're in better health, that's great news! You're trending in the right direction, so continue to do what you're doing or step it up even more.
If you're regressing, and that matters to you, you need to make some changes.
But you can't go anywhere until you figure out where you are.
Step Number Two - Where do you want to be?
It's okay to dream. What do you want to fill your bubble with?
Now, once you've determined where you are, ask yourself where you want to be one year from now. Where do you want to go? Do you want to stay the same? Do you want to improve?
I'm serious about this. Don't be cavalier about this question. This is your life; it's yours, it's short, and the clock is ticking. Take some quiet time to sit with yourself and be truthful about what you want your health to look like.
First, what do you need? Are you at risk? Obese, high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, pre-diabetic? These are your first priorities. These conditions will shorten your life, so you need to get a grasp on them first.
Second, what do you want? Once you're certain your basic health is in line, then you get to dream a little. Do you want to fit into smaller jeans, have flat abs, run a seven minute mile, be able to do 100 burpees in 5 minutes, join us in a race this year? Figure it out, be specific.
Clearly define your objectives.
Step Number Three - How are you going to get there?
How are you going to reach your destination if you don't have a plan for getting there?
Once you've assessed where you are, in which direction you're heading and where you want to go, it's time to determine how you're going to get there.
Don't take this lightly. Intention is nice, but it's not a plan. What you need is a plan. For example, I have a goal of running 600 miles this year, so I've broken it down like this:
600 miles in a year means.....
50 miles a month, which means.....
11.6 miles per week, which means.....
2.5 miles Tuesdays, 3.5 miles Thursdays, and the balance on Sundays.
That's a plan.
If you want to lose 50 pounds this year, that means:
4 pounds per month, which means.....
One pound per week, which means.....
A calorie deficit of 500 per day, which means you need to....
Clear out all (or most) of the junk food from your house to reduce temptation, eat breakfast every day, pack a lunch so you don't eat out, and.....
Use MyFitnessPal every day and network with other people who use it for support and encouragement, or go to Weight Watchers meetings once a week and log your points EVERY DAY!
That's a plan.
You get the picture.
Without a plan, you just have a wish. Wishes get you nowhere. Plans and maps get you places. I can have a wish to get to the North Pole and head out my front door fall fired up and ready to smash it! But if I don't have all the logistics worked out (and a map), I MIGHT get there, but I will certainly get lost along the way and it will absolutely be a much tougher, longer journey. Lack of planning and strategizing leads to frustration which leads to quitting.
So, in conclusion....
Resolutions, goals, commitments, they aren't things you just declare out loud and accomplish. You don't just post your desires on Facebook and assume that, because you went public with it, you'll be inspired to achieve them.
Put some thought into this. Plan it out. Create a strategy. Get some help. Don't know how to do that? Ask someone for help. Can't do it on your own? Hire a personal trainer, join a group fitness studio, sign up for CrossFit, meet with a nutritionist, join a walking group.
Look, I'm not an expert on how to do this. But I think we all have enough experience in falling short of our expectations and dreams up until now to be experts at what NOT to do. So, set yourself up for sucess. Step up and plan this out like it matters.
Because it does.
Jonathan Aluzas is the owner of Arena Fitness, a personal training, semi private training and group training facility with gyms in Northridge and Encino.