Question From Ann, NewYork City: Every time I begin a fitness program, life gets in the way, I start stalling and before I know it I’ve fallen off the wagon and gained 5lbs. I can’t really afford a personal trainer but I can see how they can help you stay on track. I’ve tried DVD’s and classes with no success. Is there anything out there that can help me?
Answer : Thank you Ann for your honesty, I know many women have similar frustrations while pursuing their fitness lifestyle. There’s a lot of new research out there in the Fitness world and from that dearth of research is a new hybrid of personal trainers. They’re called Fitness Lifestyle Coaches, they can provide both exercise and behavioral guidance and they are a cheaper alternative to a Personal Fitness Trainer. I will address your question in the mindset of a Fitness Lifestyle Coach so you will catch a glimpse of how the lifestyle fitness coaching process can work.
So, lets get down to basics and define fitness, which includes three elements. First you need a cardio challenge where the heart and breathing rate are significantly raised. The second ingredient is strength training where the muscles are challenged with resistance work. Thirdly is Flexibility, muscles need to stretch to maintain mobility. Remember, you get stiff then you get old. Trying to take on all 3 elements in the beginning may feel daunting, so don’t.
Pick one element you enjoy; all three are equally important so choosing one can be the key to starting a lifestyle in which you can consistently participate. Once one element becomes a habit, because you enjoy it, which usually takes 28 days, you can add another. Add each element gradually and in small doses so as not to overwhelm your self. Of course, if you enjoy two or even all three fitness elements, dedicate a small amount of time to each so you experience success with the designated time for each element. Be realistic in your time allotment, if you can’t live up to it you’ll feel like a failure, so choose smaller time frames and experience success. Think ‘do a little less and emphasize success’ and it builds self-confidence.
You need to find what motivates or turns you on, so to get motivated you need a Fitness Vision. This vision entails using your imagination to project into your future. Ask yourself what it would look like to see yourself living your fitness lifestyle successfully after a year or two? Visualize how you’ll look, act, eat, sleep etc. until you can feel it, see it, smell it, breathe it. By making it as real as possible to yourself you’ll start to feel the excitement bubble up in you. Now that’s getting your mojo working for you.
Now set goals for you to make that vision happen. Where am I now? How can I get closer to that vision in 3months/ 6months? On a weekly basis, what do I do? Start with small weekly goals, so you can feel a sense of accomplishment every time you meet your goals. Then every week, add a little more challenge and because you are living up to your goals successfully, your self-confidence grows.
We all know how life gets in the way, that progress is never linear. So get creative and for see possible problems. In your mind play out how these obstacles can stop you and how you can find ways to work around them. This way when the problems come up your not caught off guard and you’ll be better prepared to deal with the situation and stay on track with your fitness lifestyle.
Yes, hiring a trainer makes it easier to stay on track with your fitness, but doing it yourself can be satisfying, rewarding, and even more empowering because you have thoughtfully come up with your own solutions instead of just following orders.
A Personal Trainer shows up with exercise programs that challenge you and keep you progressing to higher levels of fitness. Where as a Lifestyle Fitness Coach challenges you to get creative, problem solve, know yourself better and break through barriers, helping you break old habits, building confidence to develop healthier new ones so you can maintain a fitness lifestyle independently.