January 23, 2013
Goal Setting: A How-to Guide
January is a time for reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. Now is the time of year when we tend to set goals for ourselves, calling them “New Year’s Resolutions.” We proclaim things like, “I will quit smoking this year,” or “I will save more money,” or “I will lose those ten pounds.” We don’t always stop and think about these resolutions as goals. We say these things, but we don’t always stick to them because they aren’t measurable and they aren’t meaningful enough for us to hold ourselves accountable.
Setting goals for ourselves is difficult because it requires genuine self-reflection. The most important thing is that we are realistic about our goals and that we think about them in the long-term. Resolutions are things that you hope to change that year. Goals are often major lifestyle changes. Try the following sequence of steps for goal-setting.
Step 1: Start by focusing on something you really want to achieve. In other words, how do you envision yourself in the future? This is the result, not the goal. This achievement MUST be something you’re passionate about. Without passion, there is no motivation. Really think about why you are doing this…you need to have a WHY.
Step 2: Take the result you envision and define the big goal you want to achieve. It has to be something you can measure and track. Put words to it. Write it down.
Step 3: Set smaller intermediate goals that will move you toward your larger goal. If you create milestones for yourself, the big goal doesn’t seem insurmountable. Congratulate yourself when you reach these milestones and use that as further motivation.
Step 4: Once you reach your first larger goal, always set another. Goal-setting is more effective if you make it a habit. If you’re not constantly working toward something, there is a risk of slipping back into your old ways. Remember, the goal can be something new or even to continue to maintain the progress you have made at the level you achieved.
Now let’s take a real-life example to demonstrate how it works:
Suppose you think to yourself, “I want to have enough energy to play with my grandchildren.” This is something you could easily be passionate about, but it is a RESULT, not a goal. The goal has to be measurable.
To define the goal, change the words to “I want to increase my energy level.” You can measure that in a number of ways, such as how many flights of stairs you can go up without getting out of breath, or how long you can do a particular activity (i.e. play tennis, ride a bike, etc.).
From there, you could perhaps set an intermediate goal of adding ten minutes the first month and twenty minutes the second month to the amount of time you are able to walk at a brisk pace.
Once you are able to increase your energy to the level you set (your larger goal), set another goal for yourself, even if it is just to continue operating at the new energy level for the next six months. Continue repeating the cycle.
Finally, if you need help defining and refining your goals, you could benefit from working with a personal trainer. When you have a person there to help set reasonable and achievable milestones as well as keep you on track and remind you of your “why” (that motivation and passion that got you started in the first place), the process will go much more smoothly. A trainer can map out a path to success and guide you as you work to achieve it.
Wishing you drive and perseverance to achieve all your goals in 2013!
November 21, 2012
Whether it’s for business or pleasure (or both), many of us are regular travelers. While we’re on the road, we may not always take the time to incorporate our normal healthy habits into our daily routine.
Let’s get real here; it’s easy to make a lot of excuses for ourselves to avoid working out while traveling. We’re away from the gym, our sleep schedule is often irregular, and we’re “too busy” because we’re working…or sightseeing…or partying. We have some suggestions for incorporating fitness into your travel plans even if you’re nowhere near a gym.
First of all, our travel workout can be done anywhere, including in the comfort of your hotel room. It is a challenging but effective workout. (You can have it emailed to you right from our homepage.)
If you prefer to exercise in the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to do it. One of the best things you can do if you have the time while traveling to other cities is to check out some walking or bike tours. Not only do you get some exercise, but you also get to explore the city. Check with the front desk or guest services, as they can be very helpful in finding different options for you to explore.
Some of the walking paths have exercise stations set up every 100 yards or so, like chin-up bars or dip and push-ups stations. Take advantage of these if they’re available and do some of the stations in between your walk or run. If there aren’t stations set up along the walking path, make up your own! Every time you stop along the way to savor the view, do a set of bodyweight squats, push-ups, or jumping jacks to engage your muscles and get your heart rate up a bit more.
As we all know, sticking to your healthy eating plan is extremely difficult while traveling. Plan ahead—be prepared with healthy snacks for when you are on the go. Inevitably, most of us will overdo it during a dinner meal or two, especially when trying new restaurants. To counteract some of the damage, drink extra water before, during, and after your big meal. Follow that meal with a walk to help the digestion process.
When you overeat, your body starts sending you signals that it wants you to go relax so it can digest and store all those calories. So, instead of returning to your hotel room and crashing in front of the TV, go for a walk and you change the signals you are sending your body. Now, instead of storing the calories, you are telling your body to burn them up. In addition, you will feel much better afterwards and, most importantly, you will sleep better.
Finding ways to incorporate some exercise into your travel plans is important because it can help you feel energized before a big business meeting or conference. It can help you unwind after a long day of attending a training seminar or talking with clients. Or maybe you just want to feel less guilty as you eat that decadent dessert or tropical drink while vacationing with your friends or family.
October 5, 2012
Get in the Game: Baseball Playoff Edition
The hunt is over and that means it is time for October baseball! Whether you are lucky enough to have your team in the postseason or are simply cheering for the underdog, everyone will be watching as teams battle it out to become World Series champions. Instead of playing a drinking game while you watch like many fans do, why not sweat it out each inning with your favorite players and try a fitness game? Avoid adding empty calories to your day just sitting on the couch drinking beer, and instead work some extra ones off while cheering for more runs!
Here are the rules of the game: Do the listed exercises each time the corresponding event happens—and don't be afraid to come up with your own to add to the list. Start it off slow and follow these rules for just one team during each game of the division series, but by the time the World Series starts, kick it up a notch and do these exercises in both halves of the innings!
- Every time there is a base hit - High Knees x 30 reps
- Every time there's a strikeout - Jump Squats x 10 reps
- Every time a batter gets walked - Walking Lunges x 10 reps (each side)
- Every time a team scores a run - Bicycle Abs x 20 reps
- Every time a batter hits a home run - Burpees x 10 reps (Grand Slam = 50 burpees)
- Whenever there is a pitching change - Russian Twist x 1 minute (waiting for pitching change)
If you keep up with this game during each round of the playoffs, by the time new World Series champs are crowned, you will be in winning shape yourself! Play ball!
July 30, 2012
Fitness in Paradise
My husband and I recently returned from the Greek Islands, where we were vacationing for our honeymoon. Our trip took us from the romantic island of Santorini, to historic and picturesque Crete, to the charming island of Poros. Our favorite thing about the trip? We were enjoying some of the healthiest, most nourishing, and delicious local foods in the entire world!
While relaxation was, of course, a big part of our vacation, we really felt inspired to keep up with our exercise habits. Throughout the two-week stay, we did quite a bit of hiking through hilly areas and walking on the beach but, as two inerTRAIN clients, we wanted to keep up with our inerTRAIN workouts. You didn’t think we’d skip the baklava on this trip, did you?
We simply contacted our trainer before we left and told him that we needed workouts that we could do on the beach. Just because you can’t get to a gym, doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in fitness here and there. Check out this video to see how easy it was!
Keeping up with our inerTRAIN workouts during our honeymoon allowed us to indulge in all of those Greek delicacies guilt-free while also energizing ourselves for the many hours we spent enjoying a romantic evening in the hotel room. Um…I meant sightseeing.
July 2, 2012
It’s Good to Be on the Rebound
One of our interns, Alex Minch, came into my office and asked me why we have a trampoline in our workout area. First, I said it wasn’t a trampoline…it’s a rebounder. And, second, I told him it is one of the best forms of exercise that anyone could do. Giving me the doubtful eye earned him the opportunity to do a mini-research project and he shares his findings in the blog post below.
Given the choice between running on a treadmill and jumping on a mini-trampoline for an extended period of time, I’m willing to bet that most people would think the treadmill is a much better way to get in shape. If you agree with the previous notion then, you are absolutely, 100%…..wrong.
As it turns out, jumping on a trampoline, also referred to as “rebounding,” is more efficient than traditional running. Don’t believe me? What if a reputable organization like NASA confirmed it?
After close observation of their astronauts some years ago, the folks at NASA realized that their male and female crew lost up to 15% of their bone and muscle mass because their cells didn’t have to work against gravity. Naturally, NASA had to come up with a program to combat these effects before and after their crews spent time in outer space.
So far, NASA has yet to find any exercise that produces better results than rebounding. The up-and-down motion exposes you to the always-present force of gravity, which makes your entire body stronger!
Here’s another statistic to wrap your head around: according to NASA, rebounding is 68% more efficient than treadmills or other forms of exercise. So, to analogize this situation, let’s say you are choosing between two pretty evenly-matched cars, except that one of them is nearly 70% more fuel efficient. Considering the price of gas, I’m going to assume that 10 out of 10 people would choose to save money. Why not choose to save time and be more efficient when it comes to your physical fitness?
Perhaps the most widely known advantage of rebounding is the stimulation of the lymph system, which is the body’s primary way of cleansing and purifying itself. The lymph system cleans out toxins, poisons, and metabolic waste products in the body and can destroy bacteria, viruses, germs, dead cells, and other unhealthy material that doesn’t belong there. Exercise, in general, is the only way to move lymph fluid around the body. Rebounding, however, will do it in the most efficient way possible.
Furthermore, the improved efficiency of your cell-cleansing process will actually help dissipate pockets of cellulite, even if they were previously impervious to other forms of exercise like traditional weight-training. Aha, results!
The bottom line is this: for the small price of a rebounder, you can start feeling healthier, looking healthier, and actually being healthier. You can lower your risk for lymphoma and many other health risks because your lymph system will be working to the max.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that it is also considered to be an anti-aging exercise? As a result of all your body’s cells being stimulated, they are filled with nutrients and spread from head to toe, making your skin tighten and glow.
So, the next time you feel like going for a jog and burning a few calories, do your health a favor and bounce on a rebounder and revert back to the childhood days when you would jump on the furniture. Your body will thank you!