10 Steps to Optimize Your Fitness Efforts

10 Steps to Optimize Your Fitness Efforts

10 Steps to Optimize Your Fitness Efforts

 

 
Where Did the Truck Go?

 
Have you ever done something, thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal at the time, only to discover you did way more than you thought?

Today is one of those days. Right now, I feel like a Mack Truck rolled over me. Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but my body hurts. And there’s a reason.
 

Knowledge Alone Doesn’t Cut It

 
I’ve studied health and nutrition for decades. In my thirties, I was into bodybuilding. I was serious about it, training a couple hours a day, six days a week.

I did this for about 15 years. Then my business took priority. I went from a very fit woman to one who gained a bunch of weight, didn’t move much except to grab another doughnut and had unexplained body aches.

The type of body aches that come from a sedentary life, rather than an active life. Add to that both my parents passing on and I had the perfect storm for, “Poor me. Ain’t it a shame,” when I would explain away why I was so out of shape.
 

The Doctor’s Wrath

 
With a stern warning from my doctor to either drop some weight or risk health issues that often appear in our fifties and beyond, one day I decided to make a change. And make a change I did. In 2011 I made some critical lifestyle changes that paid off.

Over the last two years, I’ve gotten heavily into the sport of running. I’m not a fast runner, but I’m very consistent.

I also do resistance training a few times a week. Not like when I was bodybuilding, but certainly strenuous.

During the summer months, I can be seen riding my bicycle, kayaking and taking my dogs to the park for a brisk walk.
 

Upping My Game

 
Knowing I’m capable of more, I recently registered for a training program to prepare for a half marathon in May of this year. Last night was our first session hosted by Run Hub in Eugene, Oregon. There was a lead trainer and several others who were assisting her.

There are 45 people in the group. We come from all walks of life, all skill levels, speed and age. I’m in the slower group because I’m a slower runner. One of my goals is to reduce my time by 20 % when I run the half.

The training last night was pretty simple and actually kind of short. It was about a two-mile run where we would push ourselves on our run for two minutes, slow down for one, run for two, slow down for one and repeat a total of five times.

It was a nice change from what I usually do. And it seemed relatively simple (and easy). I didn’t feel like I had overdone at all.
 

As If That Wasn’t Enough

 
Knowing I would be doing an evening run, I went to the gym yesterday morning. I decided to do light weights with high reps. Each exercise consisted of 100 reps. At the time, due to the light weights, it didn’t seem like a lot.

I left the gym feeling like I got a decent workout, but did not feel I had overdone by any stretch of the imagination.

That is until I woke up this morning. Oh, my gosh. Between the weights and the new pacing in running, my body was hurtin’ for certain.

Add to that my running schedule required I do a three-mile run/walk today. By the time I was getting ready to head to my office, what I really wanted to do was crawl back in bed and take a sick day. Yet, I’m not sick. Just feeling some muscles that are waking up.

I chose not to play hooky. It’s not that I couldn’t have taken the day to lay in bed, but I had commitments to clients. I felt it wouldn’t be fair to them. Mostly because I’m not sick, just sore from pushing myself.

Shoot, if I give up due to a bit of pain, I would never accomplish much of anything. Yet, how often do we give up when what we really need to do is keep going?

I know within a couple of days what hurts now, won’t. I also know that if I want to do my best for the race in May, I will have more days like today where my body plain and simple hurts.
 

Pain Causes Gains… when it’s the right kind

 
It is from the pain I will develop myself in mind, body and soul to know when I cross the finish line I gave it my all.

The key to all of this is to make sure I have checks and balances in place in order not to cause injury. There’s a huge difference between the pain of pushing myself and out and out injury.

The bottom line is this; when we exercise, and eat right, we live a more vibrant life. Yet, the temptation for many is to overdo, thus risk short-term, even long-term, injury.

Here’s the thing, had I not been in relatively great health when I did my “push” day, I likely would be hurting a heck of a lot more than I am right now.

If you’ve not exercised for quite some time, start off slow and build up. When I run miles at a time, I’m very clear there is no way I could have done this when I first started out. I had to build up to it.
 

10 Steps to Optimize Your Efforts

 
It’s the same with whatever you choose to do for exercise. You need to build up. Here are 10 steps to optimize your efforts.

  1. Hire a coach or trainer who knows what their doing.
  2. Utilize their services. It takes more than simply paying them to get a result.
  3. Cross train. I love running but running as my only form of exercise will not give me the results I want. I have to add in other forms of exercise for breathing, stretching and muscle tone. To not do so puts me at more risk of injury.
  4. Pace yourself. Again, don’t go from 0 – 60 with nothing in between. Be smart about what you’re doing.
  5. Check your attire. Not only is there certain attire that makes your exercise safer, it also makes you feel more like exercising.
  6. Eat health. Ahhhhh. I know this is where many people will say, “Yeah, but…” As one of my mentors once said, “The only but you need is the one you sit on.” (okay, I know it’s spelled butt, but you get the point)
  7. Join a group of like-minded people you can train with. I know that by joining the group training for the marathon, I will enjoy myself more, gain new friendships and raise my own bar of performance.
  8. Avoid relying solely on what others are doing. This sort of goes against #7, but be careful not to use others lack of effort as an excuse for your giving up.
  9. Be in it for the long haul. In the short-term you may not see many results, but over time you will. That is, if you stick with it and are honest about your efforts.
  10. Visualize what you want to accomplish. Getting a “picture” of where you want to be helps you to stay the course. In addition, measure where you’re at when you begin. With the marathon training I’m in, everybody completed an assessment. This not only gave our trainers an idea of our level, but it will show us, in black and white, our progress over the next 14 weeks.

 

It’s All About Personal Responsibility

 
The older I get, the more I know how important it is for me to take complete responsibility for my health. I want to live as vibrant a life as I possibly can. I want to do as much as my body will allow me to do.

I know by following a good health, nutrition and exercise regime, it’s possible.

Oh yes, there’s an 11th step that can make a huge difference.

11. Notice who you surround yourself with. If you hang out with couch potatoes, chances are you’ll be a couch potatoe. On the other hand, if you hang out with vibrant people, you will be more vibrant.
 

Are you Ready to Rock & Roll… At Any Age?

 
One person I absolutely love being around is Joan Lubar. At 74, she’s a force to be reckoned with. She has more energy than people half her age.

Recently, her book Rock & Roll at Any Age; A rebellious look at life, health & spiritual wisdom from the Sassy Sage, was released.

In it, she shares where she was at in her forties and what it took for her to go from tired, overweight, sluggish and not feeling good much of the time, to someone who literally Rocks & Rolls in her seventies.

Check it out at Amazon. CLICK HERE

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