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Keeping the Fire Lit

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People often say the motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar

Even the most dedicated super athletes require regular doses of serious motivation.  In fact, they probably need more than the average person.

Do you have a fitness idol?  That cursed friend, sibling or trainer who appears to effortlessly engage in exercise and reap all the brilliant benefits without ever seeming to struggle with commitment?  Do they never seem to have ‘off’ days where they look miserable about being in the gym?  Do they never fall off the wagon, refusing to let vacations, busyness or the holidays derail their progress?

It’s not that it’s that easy for them.  The couch calls just as loudly to their tired and achy bodies as it does to yours.  The biggest problem these fitness gurus have solved is how to stay motivated.

They understand that motivation (just like that morning shower) will simply NOT stay fresh unless it is deliberately maintained.  Motivation isn’t a one shot deal.  A commercial, a great quote, or a health scare can all be great jumping off points but it won’t take long before the single effect from that one form of inspiration will begin to fade.

Not to fear, though, you just have to pursue the types of motivation that work for you and continually keep showering yourself with it.  Don’t stick to one kind – have back ups.  If your only motivation is seeing the numbers on the scale get smaller, you risk a huge setback if you plateau in your weight loss.

Find words, pictures and stories that inspire you.  Quotes are great – succinct little combinations of words that powerfully convey truths.  They can be perfect to help light your fire and remind you that you have no excuses.   Keep them front and center on your computer, your phone and on sticky notes.  When you feel your yourself starting to lose your will, refer back to them.  Its also great to find stories of people overcoming adversity with a positive attitude and perseverance.  Seeing their strength helps remind us what we as humans (YOU) are capable of and helps fuel our resolve to become our best!

Set progressive fitness goals.  Set one, achieve it and set another.  That way you always have a focus.  Maybe it is to do double time every other bell, a full two minutes of sit ups or throw a roundhouse head height – the options are endless.  Don’t be afraid to reward yourself every time you reach a goal!

Spend time around people who push you.  Training with others that you respect and who may be further along in their fitness journey is awesome incentive.  It shows you what is possible!  Your Hit is crammed full of remarkable ladies who have been right where you are at and know how to be encouraging.  When it comes to motivation, it’s okay to let others do some of the work for you!

Happy Hitting!

Getting good at something!

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Getting good at something is amazing. You feel confident, unstoppable, and ready to take on the world. When you get good at one thing, the effects trickle into other areas of your life and you’ll find you start getting better at everything. There’s no magic formula to getting good. We all know this. It’s just practice. Though it can seem tedious, repetitive and sometimes requires threats from your mother to make you do it, practice pays off, both in the process (if you embrace it) and in the outcome.

It’s a good idea to think of exercise (and more the specifically, the 30 Minute Hit circuit) as something you practice. Practice is defined as ‘repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill of proficiency.’ It’s valuable to approach it with the mindset that you are going to get GOOD at it. People who think they can get bored by repeating the same thing over and over haven’t yet experienced how rewarding it is to master a skill. The funny thing is that practice is never boring, if you’re truly focused, engaged and intent on improving. Every session is different and full of opportunities to learn about your body and mind. One day during your workout you may feel like all your blood has been replaced by sand. You just feel slow and heavy. Or maybe you just feel like you body and brain are not communicating. That’s ok. Not every workout is great and you often learn the most about yourself when you power through the tough days. But then there are those light-bulb-over-the-head-something-clicked-‘Ah Ha!‘ moments. Maybe you’ll feel like you’re snapping your jab faster or following through on a roundhouse kick. Finally one day uppercuts will just feel right. You’ll keep your head up for a full two minutes on turtle kicks. Each new victory, small or large, is incredibly rewarding and keeps bringing you closer to being really good at something.

Practicing regularly helps you tune in to your body. You notice even the slightest differences from one workout to the next. You can tell if you feel stronger on sit ups than you did last time. Maybe the double times are a bit less agonizing. Repeating the same movements regularly enables you to measure your growth. Something that was inaccessible all of a sudden is! What a surge of excitement and motivation! You see changes, even the subtlest ones. Your body teaches you all the time about itself. If it was energetic and lively and the next time extremely tired and achy, you can ask yourself what you did differently. Maybe you didn’t drink enough water or missed your stretching or ate wrong. Your practice begins to allow you to recognize what your body needs to perform at its best.

Like the saying that life is about the journey not the destination, when it comes to the Hit it’s as much about the practice as the outcome. While the movements may be similar, the experience is always different. The results, when we are willing to put our minds to becoming truly good at something, can be much more than slimming and toning for our bodies- they can be powerful and life changing.

Don’t Stop Believin’ (or Movin’!)

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Exercise should be a life long endeavor, an element that is constant.  We all know the benefits, though they are worth being reminded of.  On the days where your vanity can’t get you to put your gym shoes on maybe the fact that you’ll sleep better, live longer, get less wrinkles, have a healthier pregnancy, avoid osteoprosis, be happier, have more sex, be a better parent, have a more effiecient brain, be less likely to suffer mental illness, experience more happiness, and be more adventurous will help you lace up those kicks.  Maybe, though,  you need to know what happens to your body when you choose to STOP moving?  (It’s the carrot or the stick form of motivation – whatever works for you.)

 

1 week to 1 month

Almost right away your metabolism starts to slow down from inactivity and your muscles reduce in size.  If you’re not using the food you’re consuming it will be stored as fat.  At this point you will also quite quickly notice disrupted sleep patterns.

 

1 month

Your endurance tanks.  Aerobic condition drops quickly and your endurance weakens considerably after just a few weeks.

 

1 to 3 months

There goes the muscles.  Studies have shown that you can wind up at pre-exercise level of strength after just 4-12 weeks of inactivity!

 

3 to 6 months

At this stage weight gain is particularly apparent.  If you’ve stopped a 500 calorie-burning workout (a typical circuit at the Hit) and you don’t adjust your diet, at this point you will have gained between 12 – 24 pounds.  Ack!

 

6 to 9 months

So if your weight has increased and your cardio activity has decreased, you’re at a seriously high risk of elevating your blood pressure and you’re more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes.

 

9 to 12 months

Watch our for depression.  Your mental health can suffer, as a lack of exercise can affect your self esteem and lead to social isolation.  You’ll also have a shortage of serotonin and endorphins necessary to help elevate your mood.

 

1 year and on

As we age and over time we need to work harder to maintain our fitness.  If muscle groups are not continuously developed then they will weaken.  In the absence of weight bearing activity the bones are more likely to become brittle and the risk of osteoporosis increases.

 

If you’ve started Hitting, don’t stop!!  If you started and stopped, START AGAIN and DON’T STOP!  Pretty straight forward, don’t you think?

The Curse of Procrastination

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We’re all guilty of self sabotage now and then.  We pull up a chair to the fridge when we want to lose weight, max out our credit cards when we’re trying to save money and pick a fight with our hubby when we’re trying to have a fulfilling, rewarding relationship.

The most common and pervasive form of self sabotage is procrastination.  We have a goal, an intention, an action we want to take and yet when the time comes we put it off.  Why? We often procrastinate with things we find aversive or challenging; things we don’t like to do or that make us feel uncomfortable. We don’t want to tolerate the negative feelings so we delay the task.  But in the long run, however, the hold up sabotages our long term goals.

We also often procrastinate because our goals are vague or weak, we say things like ‘I’ll get to that in the next few days’ or ‘I’ll try to workout more this month.’  It’s impossible to regulate behavior will such ill-defined goals.  We’re also easily distracted and highly impulsive.  “I’ll get started right after I check my email and Facebook, read that blog, make another cup of tea…..Ooops, where did the day go?” The whole world is competing for our attention and we have to be careful where we allow our minds to go.

How to stop procrastination NOW?

  1. Get started.

    (Ok, that might be a little obvious.)  A project or task often feels more daunting than it really is when we let it sit heavy in our psyche.  Just getting started in even smallest way can make it feel manageable and “a job begun is a job half done.”

  2. Set clear, structured objectives. 

    It doesn’t mean much to say “I’m going to be more active.”  You can’t measure your success or failure in that intention unless you add specific, measurable goals.  It may not even be specific enough to say you’ll work out 3 times a week.  You may leave it till Thursday and then the kids get sick and it’s impossible to stick to your plan.  Make it as structured as you need to.  “I will go to the Hit before 10 am on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday this week.”  Chances are once you build the habits and exercise becomes something you look forward to rather than dread, you won’t have to be so detailed in your scheduling.

  3. Remove distractions.

    Set aside allotted time for common attention grabbing activities.  When the designated time arrives to hit the gym, finish that work project or organize the clothes to donate to goodwill, put down the phone, log out of Facebook, shut off the TV and get going.

Remember:

A year from now you will wish you had started today.  (Karen Lamb)

 

Do you take steps to ensure you’ll reach your new years goals? If so, how did you manage it? Please share your thoughts below…

Staying on Track

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The holiday season can be enough to derail even the most dedicated exerciser.  You’re busy, you’re stressed, it’s chilly out….so why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year?

Sure, you can always come up with an excuse not to exercise. But slacking off on your workouts during the holidays will only leave you with more pounds — and more stress — come January.  And maintaining a workout schedule is even more important this time of year because most of us tend to eat more than usual!

How to stick with it?

Keep it short and sweet. More than ever, this is the time of year we need a FAST workout.  The Hit is brilliant – anyone can shove 30 minutes of heart pounding exercise in between gift wrapping and the office party,

Find a flexible workout schedule.  If you normally exercise after work but now you’ve got 600 sugar cookies to bake, make sure you can fit your training in at a different time.  (Hits are open in the morning and the evening and you never have to make specific start time.  Just show up when YOU can!)

Stay intense.  The great news about intense workouts is that you can do them less often and still reap all the benefits.  Stick with 3x a week this December and not only maintain your fitness level but increase it!

Make it fun.  You’re a lot more likely to fit a fun workout into your busy schedule. If you don’t find that slogging along on the elliptical sends you into fits of euphoria, maybe its time to switch it up!

Stay on track all holidays long and burst into the New Year at your BEST!