The Time to Focus on Training Is Now
As fall approaches so does the hustle and bustle of Back-to-school and “mom’s/dad’s” taxi service, the holiday season, cooler temperatures, and a million and one reasons to focus on everything and everyone but yourself.
Not one thought of the swimsuit season until January? But why? If you start now and stay focused you will have 34 weeks until Memorial Day weekend to lose 30-45 pounds (1½ pounds/week). This may be a low estimate, many can lose more weight with dedication, loyalty, and attitude.
It is easier to get take-out food or make a quick stop at the drive-thru than make your own dinner.
It’s more relaxing to sit in front of the television than to take a walk around the block. A few extra drinks at happy hour, stress at home and the job, a few sleepless nights and before you know it you are not the person you once knew. These behaviors may seem to be easier, maybe more “convenient” but truth be told these behaviors are your worst enemy.
All your vitality has been sucked out of you. Lack of essential nutrients, lack of movement, and very little rest leaves you feeling old, weak and tired. Forget about sex. You are as run down as an old jalopy/clunker. Doing very easy tasks like climbing a flight of stairs or carrying groceries becomes arduous. The enemy is upon you when all the things you enjoy are unattainable. Easy things that become difficult, spill over into feelings of unhappiness or depression just because you “can’t” take pleasure from the things that you enjoy doing and you “can’t” do what you used to do.
Think of it like being in the military. You have one choice, fight and win. There is no toleration for excuses. You need a mission and a strategy. No complaints just focus and do it.
I pay this forward because it is profound. The warning: stop training for a short time and very quickly time becomes your adversary too. This quote is simple, clear and right on target. Stay on top of the game and consistently train.
Korean War Veteran Pasqual Torres and dedicated grandfather passed these words of wisdom to his grandson.
“If I miss a week of training, I notice.
If I miss two weeks of training my buddies notice.
If I miss three weeks of training, my enemies notice.
Never stop training!”
There are some similarities between civilians trying to lose or maintain weight and the military who must stay in shape, although certainly not to the same degree. If there is a long lapse of time without exercise or eating right, you are at a greater health risk and quite possibly may jeopardize your life.
Just because you are not a Marine, doesn’t mean you can’t still use similar tactics to be prepared for the unexpected. Under any situation: family dinners and family stresses, holiday parties, birthdays, vacations…no matter what, your mission to live a healthy life should include the overall:
Strength to carry out your goals;
Physical strength to meet your objectives;
Food to nourish and
self-Interest so that you are not your own weakest link.
I created this acrostic for my drill instructors at Pure Power Boot Camp, NY. The marines are tough and can even be a little mean but they are focused, dedicated, supportive and care…and all these are absolutely necessary qualities that you must have for yourself. I share this to inspire you to avoid excuses as to why you “can’t”:
Strength, without it your mission crumbles.
It must be the foundation that maintains the decision’s mental, emotional physical aspects of your mission.
Emotional strength also contributes to using good judgment. It should be used to keep positive thoughts and supportive ideas at the forefront of your mind. Feelings of distress, defeat, hopelessness have no place here. Mistakes are learning opportunities, not excuses to breakdown.
Mental strength gives you the power to say YES to staying active and NO to staying on the couch. Mind control allows you to make the best decisions to keep with your mission. Use the mind to picture success. And then use it to block any potential for interference.
“A Marine has the ability to deal with anything under any circumstance”
Physical strength is important in that it allows you to move. If you had no strength you would not be able to pick up a pencil or even stand. As strength grows, so does muscle. Lean body mass (LBM) grows with rest, proper nutrition and exercise.
Exercise almost every day, be active daily, just as you wake up every morning. Exercise should be part of the same routine as getting dressed and brushing your teeth. Modern man sits at a desk all day and has little opportunity to move. Various exercises and activities serve different functions but all make positive changes to the body, increasing lung capacity to breathe better, increase bone density, regulating bowel movements and sleep patterns. What happens to these body systems if you decide it’s too cold or there are too many things to do and you just do not have the time to train? If you need help answering this, see paragraph 4. Building lean body mass increases metabolism, certain medical conditions like insulin resistance warrant daily exercise because it acts similar to insulin and diabetes medications and if that is not enough, sex gets better too.
Rest anytime you are not moving you are at rest and you do this more than you think. Adequate rest helps strengthen your mental and emotional state of mind, lowers stress levels and boosts immunity. Meditate, stretch, sleep on average 7 hours per day.
Food should be consumed for its nutrients and value to fuel your actions.
Interest in yourself with active goals. It is impossible to win the battle of the bulge or stick to a dedicated exercise routine if the focus is on others. This is your crusade, own it.
There is one more important element to this that is not included in my mantra, but this one is unique for you:
Fear does not always serve a negative purpose but it must be present in order to avoid going back to old toxic lazy ways. It must be strong and with you all the time until good habits are ingrained without an ounce of complacency.
Get over the wall…That means any wall…with the right help any obstacle is possible.
Train, exercise or just move a little this winter
Attain a positive emotional and mental attitude
Never Stop Training, Exercising or Being Active
All the military stuff scaring you off? You do not need to be a warrior. You just need to be consistent and excuse free. Get your calendar, set your schedule and follow through. You can identify your own activities (tennis, basketball) just make sure you like what you do. If you like it, it is easy to dedicate your time to be more active.
If you do not like hitting the gym, get off the couch and use the television settings to activate a workout video, just move your butt!!!! Don’t want to be inside, go for a jog or walk with just enough intensity to work up a sweat and do not forget to breathe in the fresh air. Dig in the garden, if you do not have one make one. Take a hike – no literally, go take a hike. No time, wake up earlier or go to bed later. No excuses just do it!
Don’t like exercise? I do not like cleaning up after meals but I do it because it’s sloppy and totally disgusting if you don’t. The same thing when you take a whole season off your workout, you get sloppy and disgusting. Sad but true. Think of all the things you may not like: work but you need the money. Going to your in-laws but you need to keep the peace. Food shopping, you need to eat. There are plenty of things in life we don’t like but do anyway. Activity is a necessity.
Exercising already, don’t get too comfy. Get out of your comfort zone. Routine will waste your time. Increase intensity and/or time. Try a new training technique.
Plan An Exercise Strategy
Just starting out? Simple, do what you can. Walk around a track, add some sit ups and pushups to build strength. Include a challenge for yourself. Every activity needs a weekly challenge that pushes you at a minimum, a little harder, faster stronger.
One of the best ways to do this is to add interval training that can be incorporated into any exercise session into your routine.
Whatever you do, do not do the same exercise all the time. Just like your favorite food, if you eat it every day, every meal, you’ll get sick of it. Get an all-over body experience, use different activities to engage all muscles.
Gauge your activity with your own target heart rate range. Lower numbers by 50%-60% if you are not in shape and use the higher numbers 70%-85% if you exercise regularly.
The calculation equation is
220 minus age = y (maximum heart rate)
y times .50-.60 = Target heart rate.
Example: Once you have the target number, check your heart rate intermittently during exercise, by placing your fingers on your wrist for ten seconds, counting the beats of your heart. Multiply by 6 to measure beats/minute.
BIG HINT: Do not use exercise as an excuse to eat more. Walking around the neighborhood will not make up for eating a slice of cheesecake.
Your biggest NEED is to take care of yourself (EXERCISE) and enjoy life each day of the year. It makes the rest of what has to be done doable and more tolerable.
Fuel Up Before Training
If you are not eating right, you will not have enough energy to attempt a workout. You will also not get the maximum benefit of your workout without proper nutrition.
What’s most important? HYDRATION
The healthiest and sexiest beverage you can drink is water. Seventy-five percent of muscle tissue is water. It is important to you because even slight dehydration can affect metabolism and muscle performance.
Thirst is not always the best indicator of dehydration but the color of your urine is. Light yellow means you are adequately hydrated. Bright or dark yellow (can be caused by vitamins too) likely means you are dehydrated.
The daily dietary reference intake for water consumption is 91 oz. for women and 125 oz. for men. In the summer months or for those who train at high intensities for an hour or more up the water and make sure to eat higher sodium foods (olives, peanut butter, cheese, pickles, V-8) to re-hydrate more quickly. Electrolyte (chloride, calcium, magnesium, potassium) repletion becomes more important as training becomes more intense; as they function to support muscles, nerves and bone.
Calculate fluid needs to determine how many ounces you need to drink each day. Multiply pounds of body weight by 0.6.
Feed your muscles with friendly foods for your workout
Meals are important. When you are physically active it is more important to eat food that will maintain energy levels, replenish electrolytes and optimize nutrients.
Make sure to eat real food, stay away from commercially made products that are high in sugar and carbohydrates that drain you of energy, fluid, vitamins, and minerals.
Eat whole eggs, Greek yogurt, organic nitrate-free turkey bacon, sausage and a variety of meat, fish and fowl as mainstays throughout the day. Build-in non-starchy vegetables, nuts/seeds and small portions of lower sugar fruits. These foods provide a wide range of nutrients (vitamins/minerals, healthy fats, protein) that serve to support good health and body sculpting.
Plan to eat 1 ½-3 oz. of protein 30 minutes before and after a workout, as with everything else the amount is based on the length of time and intensity of the activity you choose. The timing of this snack is important to help repair and grow muscle tissue.
Get more specifics on sports nutrition at my web site.
As your lifestyle transitions into consistent healthy year-round behaviors, you will feel better and reap the benefits as all the pieces of the puzzle fit together, mind, body, soul with good nutrition, constant activity, and a positive “do-or-die” attitude. Do not slack off activity for any reason, rev it up during the winter months and holiday season to maintain the good habits you acquired over the summer… because
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”