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Feb 20, 2011

Your Fitness Plan for Life

A fitness plan is essential if you want to accomplish your fitness goals. Sometimes we're in such a rush to get to the end, we run as fast as we can only to peter-out in the middle. Not this time. Your fitness plan will be solid and you will accomplish it. Let's get started.

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe"
- Abraham Lincoln

5: Set your new fitness goals
4: Create milestones & rewards
3:  Start a daily exercise program
2: Begin your food and exercise logs
1: Define your starting point and goals

Step 1: Define Your Starting Point & Goal

To figure out the best fitness plan for you, define where you are (Starting Point) and where you want to go (Your Goal)....and this is Step 1 of our 5-step plan. View your plan as a series of steps. Today's goal may be to only to get through Step 1, which is fine. Step 2 can wait for tomorrow, if need be. Don't overwhelm yourself. Take it one step at a time. These steps will help ensure a gradual and continuous improvement that we can maintain. There are no short-cuts. Follow the steps and you'll reach your goals.

For your starting point, start by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) . Play with this calculator to determine a healthy goal weight.
Now that you know your healthy weight range, you have an idea of what your short-term and long-term weight goals are. Getting to this goal weight, will mean that you need to create a calorie deficit (burn more calories than you eat). It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose a pound of fat. To find out how many calories you burn on a normal day, start with this Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator.
Next, you'll need to measure and record: your waist circumeference (males measure at the navel or belly button; females measure the smallest part of your waist); your neck circumference; and your hip circumference (females only - measure at the maximum circumference).
When you take these measurements, click here to look up your body fat percentage (bf%). If you're unhappy with your body fat percentage - that's OK...we all have a starting point. Let that motivate you and refine your goal. You'll feel that much better when you measure your improvements in a just a few weeks.
Your plan is a series of steps. Today's goal may be to only get through Step 1, which is fine. Don't overwhelm yourself. Take it one step at a time. Knowing where you are and where you want to be is a big deal, and it puts you in a better position to leap up to Step #2...

Step 2: The Exercise & Food Logs

The next step is to record your input (food) and output (exercise). I'll be the first to admit that recording food can be a drag, but IT WORKS. I'm more likely to grab one cookie over four, if I have to write it down. It's a change, and we all resist change..but good nutrition is an important element of your fitness plan.

Remember: we need to gradually shift our comfort zone to where we're actually comfortable.

How many of us record bank transactions, car maintenance, etc... Aren't our bodies more precious than these things? My food log has gotten very simplistic over the years and it now just takes me only a minute or two to do a day. If you want to lose weight and more importantly, fat, we need to have a calorie deficit. We'll never know, if we don't write it down.
We must also record our exercise (output). This is fun to record, because it's a ledger of our hard work and dedication. You can record your activity by minutes or miles, and show the calories burned along with your BMR to see what your calorie requirment is for the day (eat more than this number and you'll gain less than this number and you'll lose weight).
As you develop your fitness plan and monitor your improvements over time, I hope you come to see the merit in measuring body fat rather than weight. But the reality of it that most of us know our weight, but do not know our body fat percentage. If you'd like to know what your "ideal weight" is (as defined by a Life Insurance Company), go to: The Ideal Weight Tables

Steps 3: Start your daily exercise program

Getting through steps 1 and 2 of your fitness plan takes a lot of courage and strength...congratulations! Stay focused on your goal. Exercise is necessary for a successful fitness program. Your program should include some of the following elements: daily exercises, walking, hiking, and running. Make sure as you start your exercise program that you 'glide' into it. Start 2-3 days a week. Don't try to do it all at once. Change the pace of your workouts to keep them interesting and fun. And most importantly, add rest rest to your routine.

Step 4: Create milestones and rewards

Give yourself something to shoot for. Goal weight or goal 'jeans' are great, but you should have some treat at the finish line, too. Whether it be a night out, clothing, or a high-tech gadget - give yourself a prize for getting to the top! Milestones & rewards motivate us...write down yours and keep your eye on the prize.

Step 5: Set new fitness goals

The downside of diets and fitting into that bathing suit is that once it ends we're hopelessly directionless. So, set a new target for yourself! You've come this far, why stop? It doesn't have to be a weight; it can be a running race, a hike, a new activity or sport. Whatever your pleasure is, give yourself another goal and keep the good habits going!

1 comment:

Personal Fitness Plan said...

Your digestive system is far more efficient at handling a series of small meals than it is at tackling one large meal.