How many times you have tried an exercise or diet routine but, for whatever reason, it just never “worked out” for you? Perhaps you had some success initially and then, as time progressed, you lost interest or your results weren’t significant enough to keep you going.
Could this be the year for an altogether different approach to your exercise routine and diet habits? Many of us complicate the process of getting — and then staying — in shape. We need to return to the basics and remember to always keep it simple. Think about your diet and workout history for a moment. What worked for you initially, and what inevitably did not? Fundamentally, it’s all about mindset: being in the right frame of mind to do what needs to be done. To position you for fitness success this year, we must first work on changing your mindset as the new year approaches.
“Your mindset is your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits. And your thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do. Your mind-set impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of you.” (credit: http://sourcesofinsight.com)
Now that you’re starting with a clean slate, be honest about exercise. If you are like most people, you may not even like to work out! If that is true for you, it’s not a problem. You must, however, be mindful of it and be more creative with your thinking in terms of how to add more movement into your day. You need to make a list of the top five to ten activities you like doing or would like to try — instead of the traditional types of exercise you tried in the past — and then incorporate these items from your new list. Maybe it’s yoga, hiking, trail running, dancing, an obstacle course race or a boot camp type class with friends.
As Michelle Segar, PhD, states in her informative book, No Sweat (Amacom, 2015), don’t think of it as a chore but more of a gift to yourself. Everything you do during the day can start to count as “exercise” if you think of it differently. Dr. Segar believes, as a result of more than twenty years of research, that there are six ideas that create the context for successfully negotiating more physical activity within a persons busy life and “cultivating lifelong sustainability.” Dr. Segar goes on to state in her book:
“Having a learning mindset and goals will lead you to intrinsic motivation, persistence, and resilience so you can better sustain your behavioral and well-being aims.”
In addition, you may need to change your mindset in respect to nutrition and how you’re fueling your body on a daily basis. The goal here is to start with one small nutritional change, be successful, and then move to a second small change. It could be as easy as drinking more water first thing when you wake and again before each meal. It may include eliminating the “extra” calories you’re taking in daily through alcohol, sports drinks, soda, juices, etc. Maybe it’s adding more protein into the mix, to keep you satiated longer; your body always works harder to digest protein compared to fats or carbohydrates. That is a good thing because you will expend additional calories for this particular metabolic process to occur. This could be the year that you finally work on getting more fiber into your daily diet. A good goal could be 14 grams for every 1000 calories you consume.
Finally, one small change that could unleash significant changes in body composition is to eat less added sugar each day. Remember that we are not talking about fruits, vegetables, or milk but everything else out of a can, package, box or carton. Eat no more than 38 grams a day (150 calories) or 25 grams a day (100 calories) for men and women respectively. These are just a few examples of small changes that could pay back big dividends over the course of the next few months if implemented now. Your goal is to find activities that you like to do and the by-product will be “exercise” then make one small nutritional change each week over the course of the next month. Maybe it’s more simple than some of us have been lead to believe.
– Michael Wood, CSCS, Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub
Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.
About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.