Keeping a positive attitude can be difficult when there are so many stresses in life. It can be hard to stay motivated to improve work performance, meet all of your family obligations, maintain a social life, and stay happy and healthy on top of that! It can seem like a never ending race that doesn’t have a finishing line. Staying positive is probably the best tool you can use to get through all of your daily tasks. When you have a positive attitude you are able to stay more focused and creative on the task at hand. One of the best ways to boost your mood and stay positive is through exercise.
As hard as it can be to want to work out sometimes when you are feeling stressed it can be the best thing to elevate your mood. There is a lot of research showing that exercise is an antidepressant. The problem is that most of the time when you are feeling bad it can be really hard to motivate yourself to get up and workout. The best way to get yourself motivated is by lowering the initial barrier to exercise. If you always make it so that exercise is a big task where you go to the gym and do a big workout then it may feel like too much of a challenge to overcome.
Lower the initial barrier to exercise by setting an easy goal to attain. One of the best strategies for doing this is to just go for a walk. Walks can be a great way to improve your mood and give you a positive attitude. The combination of the fresh air and getting your blood flowing will be great for you mental state. The real trick is that going for a walk can actually lead to more exercise. Instead of going back inside after your walk you may go to the gym or do some other exercises at home. Just keep in mind that it isn’t really the goal to do more exercise after the walk. If your expectation is that you have to do more exercise afterwards then you are still creating that large initial barrier. A walk is still great exercise and it will give you a positive attitude!
Exercising will help you keep a positive attitude to get you through your daily tasks but I also think that approaching happiness in general can work the same way. I think that most people get frustrated and start to feel unhappy because they can’t control the circumstances in their lives and put a high benchmark on what happiness needs to be. I think we forget that maybe life is meant to be hard. Trying to extract a lot of meaning out of life may lead to disappointment. We struggle to find meaning like love, happiness, and a purpose. We think that being happy is how life is supposed to be and stigmatize feeling unhappy and struggle. This is probably going to be an unhealthy attitude in our modern world. This may sound like a defeatist mentality but I don’t think it has to be that way. Maybe realizing that feeling bad isn’t something to be scared of will give some kind of satisfaction that it isn’t abnormal, because it definitely is not.
I am sure there are plenty of other strategies to staying positive like looking at the bright side, and remembering all the great things in your life, but in my opinion there is nothing more annoying than hearing that stuff when you are feeling bad. I feel like most people would agree. That is why I say you should exercise instead because that will actually make you feel better. Nothing gives you a better sense of well-being than exercise. If you have to then lower that initial barrier and just go for a walk and remember that it’s okay to not always feel happy and change your outlook about how you should feel. Doing those two things will give you a positive attitude about your situation and help you focus on the next task.
Life can be difficult sometimes but that doesn’t mean you should feel like that makes you a bad person that doesn’t deserve happiness. Please, keep in mind this is all just my opinion but I really do think that lowering your expectation of how happy you should be does give you a more positive attitude is some way. People get upset because they think life isn’t fair for them but in reality life isn’t fair for anyone and that realization can be humbling. I really hope that this can help you or that you have your own strategies for keeping a positive attitude.
Aside from thinking about happiness differently I think the best way to give yourself a positive attitude is still through exercise. Trying to shift your attitude through thought can be difficult and you are probably lying to yourself more than anything, but working out and getting that feeling of well-being and accomplishment will genuinely make you feel better! If it is feeling too difficult to motivate yourself to workout then lower the initial barrier by telling yourself you will do something easy. Always find your own strategies that will give you the best workout and positive attitude because it will help other aspects of your life. Remember most of all to have fun!
Making progress on a consistent basis is the key to any good training program. Of course, there are people that are fine with maintaining their level of fitness, but at some point they had been focused on making progress, and more than likely they would like to make progress again in the future. Making progress involves continuing to push yourself harder and in different ways. There is a very important law in physiology which is called the Law of Adaptation. It states that your body will adapt to whatever stress is being applied. The Law of Adaptation can also work in the other direction. If you don’t put your body through enough stress then you will regress your level of fitness. Your body is very good at adjusting to exercise, food, sleep, stress, and many other factors. It can adjust to being sedentary by adding fat and deconditioning the body or it can adjust to higher demands of exercise and activity by progressing your level of fitness.
If you are always exercising the same way you will not progress. Your body will only build the necessary amount of muscle and conditioning as it needs. Building muscle takes a lot of energy. The body is very efficient at conserving energy so it will not build muscle unless it is necessary. In that same sense the body also loves to hold onto fat because it is stored energy. Your body will not change unless you change what you are doing with it. There are many different aspects of your routine that you can adjust to get a desired effect. Knowing which one to use to get the best result can be tricky, but usually doing anything will help.
It can be very easy to get caught in a rut with your training. It is easy to get comfortable doing the same exercises or not push yourself hard enough. You will underestimate how powerful doing something different can be on your progress. Think of a time when you worked out with someone else and just by doing that you did something different. Remember how you felt those deep down muscles that you so often neglect? That is what progress should feel like! It should give you a new feeling in your body and a sense of accomplishment. To consistently make progress you need to constantly change your methods and exercises in order to target different muscle fibers and energy systems.
One easy way that you can achieve this is by switching the plane of motion of your exercises. Most people will rely too heavily on the front to back plane of motion. Doing exercises like squats, bicep curls, and crunches. All of these exercises are working in the sagittal plane. Think about any exercise where you are just pushing, pulling, moving forward or backwards, or up and down. It is a lot of your main exercises. You are probably neglecting exercises in the side to side and the rotational planes. These planes are called the frontal and transverse planes. Exercises like side lunges, core twists, lateral resistance band walks, and rows with a rotation. These exercises will take you out of the sagittal plane and force you to work different muscle groups. These exercises can be very important because they will help you to stabilize your body.
Making a new program or routine should also include increasing the intensity by adjusting sets, reps, or weight. Knowing the proper set and rep ranges can also be important if you have specific goals. For example, if you are training for strength you need more sets with less reps and heavier weight, or if you are working for muscular endurance you need more reps with a lighter weight. You should also know that if you would like to make overall progress that you should switch programs between various goals. That is a way to make continued progress because you are constantly training new modalities.
Having better form can help you progress. When you do an exercise with better form you are targeting that muscle in a more effective way. By stabilizing the rest of your body and concentrating on targeting the main moving muscle of an exercise you will be able to put more load on that muscle. It will cause greater time that the muscle is under tension which will make the muscle grow. You also won’t rely on other muscle groups as much that may cause injury. If you are doing an exercise wrong then you risk injury because too much of a load on the wrong movement pathway can be damaging to your joints and muscles. Adjusting your form can also help just for the fact that it will help you switch how you do an exercise so that you target different muscle fibers. However, that does mean you need to be switching to better form and not worse.
At the end of the day making progress will come down to one of the factors that I just talked about. Of course, there are other ways but these are the most available and fundamental methods to progress. It is all about switching up what you are exercising to target different muscle fibers and adjusting your intensity. Get out of what feels comfortable! Making or getting a new program that takes into account where you are starting is very important. If it is a good program it will properly integrate all of the factors I just mentioned. It will help you focus on switching up your movement pathways and using proper intensity. Just remember that making progress is definitely something that can happen with just a few well-focused changes.
What are the reasons for having a personal trainer? Most people say that a big reason to get a personal trainer is for the added motivation and accountability. There are other benefits like proper program development, decreasing your likelihood of injury, decreasing your risk of chronic disease, and even some mental benefits. Even just having somebody there to push you can give you a better workout. I can tell you from my personal experience that I get a better workout when I am with other people. Even for experienced lifters it can be great to have an outside perspective and for beginners there is a lot to learn. Having someone teaching you is the fastest way to get to your goals.
First, let’s see how much of a benefit you may expect to get out of personal training versus just working out on your own. One study showed that in a five month period where physical activity was supervised, followed by a 5 week unsupervised period, that health markers including muscular endurance, cardiovascular efficiency, and physical activity participation, increased during the five month supervised period then decreased in the 5 week unsupervised period. In one of the tests they measured how many push-ups participants could get in 60 seconds. At the beginning of the study the average was 19 push-ups, after the 5 month supervised period it was 31.9 push-ups, then after the 5 week unsupervised period it was back down to 23.2 push-ups. This shows that there was a real decrease in activity back to almost baseline after supervision (personal training) ended. This clearly shows the benefit of a supervised exercise program versus unsupervised. After the study only 24 percent of participants said they could keep up the exercise programs on their own (Fennell 2016).
In the previous study you can see a big drop in exercise participation without someone there to push them, but having a personal trainer can also be very important for doing the right type of program. A personal trainer will educate you on proper techniques, good form, and tips to keep you motivated with your diet and exercise. They will have you doing a comprehensive program that is right for your body type and goals. It is more than likely that you would not have a planned out program if you were just working out on your own. The most immediate aspect that a personal trainer will teach you is the proper form of an exercise. Proper form will increase the effectiveness of a workout and it will also decrease the likelihood of injury. When you do an exercise wrong you use improper movement pathways which put the wrong muscle to work. A good trainer should be able to spot this and correct your form. Working the proper muscle is very important to getting the most out of an exercise.
The mental benefits of physical exercise are so important. Of course, you can get the mental benefits from working out on your own, but as we have already seen you will get a better workout with a trainer. Especially when you consider that you are probably far less likely to workout at all if you don’t have a trainer. A personal trainer can also just be someone to talk to about your problems. I have listened to many of my clients’ stories and issues (which of course I would never tell to anyone) so I know firsthand this perk of personal training. Clients tell me it is nice that they can come to me with their problems. It is a very rewarding part of the job.
Chronic disease reduction is a very powerful benefit of working out. The risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can be significantly reduced from exercising and eating healthy. One study found a maximum risk reduction of 75% for breast cancer, 49% for cardiovascular and heart diseases, 35% for diabetes, 22% for colorectal cancer from exercise (Kruk 2007). This should usually be enough to get anyone to exercise. Showing this is always so important to demonstrate that the benefits of physical exercise greatly outweigh the negatives. I know at the end of the day most people will still exercise out of vanity, but it is good to know there are incredible benefits like chronic disease risk reduction.
On top of creating a proper program for you a good trainer is just always there through the process to educate you on the little things that can make exercising more effective and fun. When you are struggling on an exercise they can remind you why you started or how far you have come, tell you the next jean size is right around the corner or that progress can take time. They can also help you with defining your realistic goals. They have the experience to know what you can and cannot achieve in a given period of time. This can be very helpful for knowing what you need to work for and know what is possible. It is common that a new client will have unrealistic goals for themselves, which is fine, but it is always a lot more helpful to know what is possible to avoid disappointment and burnout.
At the end of the day a personal trainer can really help you get towards your goals much faster than you can do it on your own. All the research points to the benefits of physical exercise on the body and mind, and having a personal trainer can be very important to motivating you to stick with a proper program. A personal trainer can also be a great friend and someone that will listen to you and help you feel better about yourself. The benefits of having a personal trainer are definitely obvious. Now you just have to make the choice for yourself!
Fennell C, Peroutky K, Glickman EL (2016) Effects of Supervised Training Compared to Unsupervised Training on Physical Activity, Muscular Endurance, and Cardiovascular Parameters. MOJ Orthop Rheumatol 5(4): 00184. DOI: 10.15406/mojor.2016.05.00184
Kruk J. Physical activity in the prevention of the most frequent chronic diseases: an analysis of the recent evidence. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2007 Jul-Sep;8(3):325-38.
Eating red meat can be a slightly controversial topic. Many people enjoy it and many people do not eat it at all and think it is the worst thing to put in their body. Who is right? Shouldn’t we look at all of the positives and negatives of red meat before we make a decision? My personal opinion is that you should eat some red meat in moderation. Unless of course, you are a vegan and do not believe in eating any meat. For the sake of this blog post we will not consider ethical reasons for not eating meat. We will solely focus on the health reasons for why you should or should not eat red meat.
My opinion on red meat does come from when I was a vegan. I was trying a vegan diet because of health and ethical reasons. I was seeing videos and articles about the benefits of a vegan diet so I decided to give it a try. While I was vegan I was having trouble with my memory. I just felt burnt out and had a mind fog. I was trying to supplement vitamin B12 but it was still an issue. I was worried and decided that I should try to eat some meat again and I felt better. Now that I am no longer a vegan I don’t have that issue. I believe it was those B vitamins that come naturally in red meat. Again, this is just my opinion. Let’s see what some of the research says.
Let’s start by looking at the negatives. One of the biggest reasons why people might not eat red meat is its link with cancer. That would probably be enough for someone to want to slow down their consumption, right? Is there an actual link between cancer cell growth and red meat? One study found a 12- 17% increase in colorectal cancer when red meat consumption was increased by 100 grams per day (1). Other studies suggest similar results. Some would say that knowing this fact alone would deter anyone from eating red meat. However, many people continue to eat it so let’s look at some other factors.
Another negative of eating red meat is that it is high in saturated fat. Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and cause heart disease. In a study that had a group of men eat a diet higher in fruits, vegetables, and less red meat versus a group eating what they called a ‘western diet’ which contained more red meat along with higher amounts of grains, processed meats, and sugar showed an increase in heart disease in the group with the high red meat ‘western diet’ (2). However, it is hard to separate what may have been caused by the other aspects of their diet.
If you are going to eat red meat I recommend that you stay away from processed red meats. Studies show that unprocessed red meats carry less of a risk of developing heart disease compared to processed red meats (2). The difference being that processed meats contain more sodium and preservatives compared to fresh unprocessed meats. This means you should stay away from things like sausage, salami, overly processed ground beef and burgers, and any other foods containing red meat by-products.
There are also benefits to red meat. It can’t be all bad, right? One of the benefits is the iron contained in the meat. Iron is contained in red meat because of the hemoglobin found in the blood. Iron is best absorbed from sources derived from hemoglobin. Iron is important in the body because it carries oxygen on your red blood cells to your muscles. Iron deficiencies can be especially pronounced in woman, so it may be important to keep red meat in mind as a source of iron. Iron deficiencies can slow down the production of red blood cells which can cause fatigue and other issues.
As I mentioned earlier, red meat contains vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 only exists in animal foods. B12 is important for creating new blood cells. It is also important for DNA synthesis and proper nerve function. B12 deficiencies can cause many issues like fatigue and as I mentioned earlier, memory loss and confusion. I don’t know for sure if I was having problems with my memory because of a B12 deficiency, but what I can tell you is that while I was vegan was the only time in my life that I have felt that way, and I have not always had the best diet even as a meat eater.
There are other reasons why red meat might have benefits like the fact that it is high in zinc, or that it is nutrient dense, and high in protein, or that it contains omega 3’s which are important for heart health. Each one of these may not need their own paragraph to demonstrate their benefits because they are all generally thought as healthy and beneficial. It can be argued that all of the benefits found in red meat can be gotten from other sources, but in my opinion I think that the nutrients like B12, iron, and zinc are most readily available to the body in red meat. It is the natural source of those nutrients and getting it elsewhere may be less efficient.
It should be up to each person to decide for themselves if they should eat red meat. The benefits and risks are becoming more and more known. For the most part the recommendation is that you eat red meat in moderation and it should be fresh unprocessed meat. I personally still eat the best quality steaks possible. I think I get a good energy boost from eating red meat that I don’t really find when I eat other foods. I am not really trying to tell you one way or another what you should do. I just think you should stay informed about the topic and make your own decision not based on fear of what other people tell you.
1. Faruk Aykan, Nuri. “Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer.” Oncol Rev. 2015 Feb 10; 9(1): 288, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4698595/.
2. Hu, Frank B. Eric B Rimm, Meir J Stampfer, Alberto Ascherio, Donna Spiegelman, and Walter C Willett. “Prospective study of major dietary patterns and risk of coronary heart diseasein men.” Am J Clin Nutr, October 2000, vol. 72, no., 4 912-921. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/72/4/912.short
3. Micha, Renata. Georgios Michas, Dariush Mozaffarian. “Unprocessed Red and Processed Meats and Risk of Coronary Artery Disease and Type 2 Diabetes – An Updated Review of the Evidence.” Current Atherosclerosis Reports, December 2012, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 515- 524. https://link.springer.com/ article/10.1007/s11883-012-0282-8.
1. Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol can have dramatic effects on your health and well-being. In addition to being extra calories at the end of a day it will also slow your metabolism. When you drink alcohol your body uses it as energy immediately which stops fat oxidation. Any excess food that you eat will be converted directly into fat. Just think about how much extra you are likely to eat while you are drinking. It is a bad combination. Heavy alcohol consumption is linked to excess belly fat (1).
2. Eat a higher protein diet
A high protein diet is very beneficial for a couple of reasons. It will help maintain muscle mass which will increase your metabolism. A higher amount of protein in your diet releases the hormone peptide YY which keeps you fuller (2). If you are feeling fuller you won’t need to eat as many calories from carbohydrates and fats. Higher protein diets can also increase thermogenesis (3). Thermogenesis is the process of burning calories to increase body temperature. Protein can be a good way to curb your appetite, drop the belly fat, and keep you stronger!
3. Decrease stress
Stress releases cortisol. Higher cortisol levels increases appetite. Especially, when you are stressed you may be tempted to eat bad foods. There is a reason why they call it comfort food and usually that comfort food is not the healthiest option. Decreasing stress will help you lose belly fat. You have to try to decrease stress any way that you can. There are always different methods that you can use to decrease stress, but you need to find your own methods. Try to disconnect from work or find some time to relax. Decreasing stress will help you decrease belly fat and improve your overall well-being so it is definitely worth doing!
4. Eat less sugar and refined carbs
Almost everyone can agree that eating sugar is not good for your health. Calories from sugar are empty calories but there are also other reasons why sugar can make you gain weight. Sugar does not have much of an effect on making you feel full, so it is easy to eat or drink a lot of sugar and then eat more on top of that. You can see how this might have a negative effect on weight gain and belly fat. Sugar can decrease insulin sensitivity (4). Decreasing insulin sensitivity also means that your body will not take in nutrients as effectively which can lead to diabetes.
5. Increase cardio
This one seems obvious enough but it is important to always drill the point home. It can be very easy to forget to do your cardio workouts. Doing cardio will burn calories, simple as that. The more calories you burn the less you need to rely on your diet to create a caloric deficit. This is probably the one that everybody thinks about when they want to lose belly fat, but do they actually follow through?
6. Resistance training
Resistance training will help you burn belly fat in two ways. First, it will burn calories while you are actually doing the exercises. Doing big total body lifts like squats, deadlifts, and cleans will get the most amount of muscle recruited for the exercise which will burn the most amount of calories. Resistance training will also increase your lean body mass which will increase your metabolism. Muscle requires a lot of calories to function, so the more muscle you have the more calories and belly fat you will burn when you are just doing nothing. Don’t forget to push yourself during a workout. You won’t get the same effect if you are lazy during a workout.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep helps you recover and decrease stress. Studies show that people that get less sleep have higher amounts of belly fat (5). Your body will not perform as well if you are not properly recovered. This can cause a downward spiral where you eat poorly, exercise less, and increase stress. As we already know, all of those factors can increase belly fat, so it is important to get enough sleep!
8. Track food intake and decrease calories
Tracking your food intake can be one of the best ways to lose fat. If you track your calories you can effectively eat less than the amount of calories your body needs which will result in weight loss. You may have to take some time to learn how many calories you need in a regular day. Do this by tracking your calories, weight, and how you feel over a couple of days. Once you find out your metabolic rate you can then start to eat fewer calories. Start modestly at around 100-150 calories per day less than what you need. After some time you will see that you are losing your belly fat.
9. Drink green tea
Caffeine in green tea induces thermogenesis which burns fat. As we learned earlier thermogenesis is the action by which the body increases body temperature by burning calories. Many fat burners on the market are made up of caffeine and green tea extract. I would not recommend fat burners because they are too harsh on the body, but they help to prove this point. Drink green tea every so often to get a metabolic boost and burn that belly fat!
10. Eat healthy fats
Fats are an essential part of your diet. They play a big role in hormone production, so it is important to get fats in your diet. You should try to eat as many healthy fats as you can. These fats are easier to break down in the body which can lead to decreases in fat storage. Unhealthy fats are also usually associated with the worst kinds of food. Fried foods top that list so it is important to avoid those foods as much as possible.
1. Schroder, H. “Relationship of abdominal obesity with alcohol consumption at population scale.”Eur J Nutr. 2007 Oct;46(7):369-76. Epub 2007 Sep 20.
2. Batterham, RL. “Critical role for peptide YY in protein-mediated satiation and body- weightregulation.” Cell Metab. 2006 Sep;4(3):223-33.
3. Halton, TL. “The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a criticalreview.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85.
4. Stanhope, KL. “Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of thecontroversy.” Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2016;53(1):52-67. doi: 10.3109/1040
8363.2015.1084990. Epub 2015 Sep 17.
5. Lopez-Garcia, E. “Sleep duration, general and abdominal obesity, and weight change among theolder adult population of Spain.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):310-6.
Kinesthetic awareness is an understanding of your body. In exercise physiology, kinesthesia means a conscious recognition of the position of body parts with respect with one another as well as recognition of limb-movement rates (1). Within the scope of everyday exercise, kinesthetic awareness is an important part of working out. It helps you control the form of an exercise, it helps keep you safe from injury, and it can help you gain more respect for your own movement.
Your body contains mechanisms that make this kinesthetic awareness possible. There are mechanisms around your joints and in your muscles that help you detect movement and body position. Why do you think it is possible that you can instinctively know your body position when your eyes are closed? The mechanisms send information to your brain regarding muscle length, joint activity, and muscle tension. Instead of describing the entire chain I’ll just describe the muscle spindle. The muscle spindle is a nerve that is spiraled around a group of muscle fibers. Muscle spindles are scattered throughout a muscle to detect muscle length. When the spiral of a muscle spindle is lengthened or shortened nerve impulses are sent to the brain showing the change in muscle length. In combination with other kinesthesia mechanisms the brain can get an accurate picture of what is happening to your body.
So, how does this relate to you? Kinesthetic awareness, or mind muscle connection, or body awareness is a tool. In a way this concept should seems obvious. Of course, you should know what your body is doing and how it is positioned during exercise, but it may not always be so simple. You may get distracted with discomfort or fatigue, or you may totally forget to keep good form at all. It is very easy to slip back into old ways. Just remember that at any experience level kinesthetic awareness can improve your workout so don’t get discouraged. Try to keep something in mind that reminds you to be aware.
When you perform an exercise your goal is to strengthen a muscle by targeting it through resistance. For example, when you do a bicep curl you may be holding a dumbbell that you pull in order to put a stress on the muscle. In order to do this you need to perform that bicep curl with proper form, and this is done through kinesthetic awareness, or with the help of a trainer. The trainer will be able to help guide you through proper body position and movement. It can be very easy to have bad form and begin using the wrong muscles to pull the weight up. Your back might start swinging or your shoulders might get too involved.
(Don’t be like Arnold here)
Your goal should be to concentrate on the muscles you are targeting. Do this by increasing the time the muscle is under resistance or tension. Every time the wrong muscle starts working the muscle you are trying to target loses tension. The biggest mistake you can make is to just do a movement. What I mean is that you just perform an exercise without actually trying to work a specific muscle. When you do this you run the risk of working the wrong muscles which can lead to injury and improper movement pathways.
Next time you are working out be sure to recognize in every exercise what muscle you should be working. You may need to do some research. When you are performing the exercise try to feel the muscle working and see how you can make it work harder. This will usually be achieved by keeping the rest of your body stable or putting yourself in a better position. You could also slow down an exercise or possibly increase the resistance. Try to keep the muscle working for the longest amount of time. Feel how your body responds and adjust accordingly. The point here is that you wouldn’t be able to do any of this if you weren’t staying aware of your body.
Whether you are a beginner or you have more experience the goal of an exercise is to get the most out of it. Developing your awareness will improve your form which will increase your performance. That is why it is so important to develop kinesthetic awareness. This awareness helps you to build a respect for how you are moving. This is a skill that will never be useless. So, next time you do an exercise; start to think about the muscles you are working and how you can target them better. Concentrate on your form and have an awareness of how your body reacts.
1. Powers, Scott and Edward Howley. Exercise Physiology Theory and Application to Fitness and Peformance. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print. Page 129-130.
Nobody is perfect. Temptation is very present in daily life. Having the self-control to make the right choices can be difficult. The problem is that being healthy isn’t easy! Every aspect of being healthy whether it is proper diet, working out, increasing the intensity of your workouts, or staying away from unhealthy habits can be a challenge on a daily basis. All of these aspects of health take self-control. It is so much easier to make the wrong choice than the right one.
On your diet you need the self-control to stay away from fast-food, sweets, and overeating. When it comes to working out it can be a lot easier to miss a workout and go home. Especially if you are feeling tired or you are in a rut. Unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking are huge temptations that have significant effects on your health and fitness. Everybody knows it is true but it is still a challenge to kick bad habits.
Self-control may be one of the most crucial characteristics for someone to try to improve for themselves. Typically, what will happen is that someone will be tempted by their vice then they will weigh out the options in their head. They could have the momentary pleasure of the food, drink, or relaxation, or they could progress their fitness. Unfortunately, the momentary pleasure wins out more often than it should.
I will be the first to admit my self-control is not perfect. It probably isn’t even great. I have no problem getting to the gym or pushing myself, but I will be tempted in my diet. What I have learned is that improving your self-control takes a lot of time. Old habits die hard, but improvement is all that matters. I usually think about increasing the time between my lapses in self-control.
If before you were eating a bad meal every other day try to push that to three then four until eventually you have more self-control. Maintain your integrity and self-respect. Knowing that you will be better because you didn’t lose your self-control will be the key to your success, and seeing those results will help you maintain those results. It all just takes time.
Fat loss will be a constant motif of this blog. Losing fat is an invigorating product of a long period of hard work that, I won’t lie, can be difficult to achieve. As a personal trainer one of the most commonly asked questions I have received is how to lose specific areas of body fat. You have your typical suspects belly fat, underarm fat, and maybe around the thighs. When I answer that you can’t target fat loss they give me a look like they already knew that was the answer. They just wanted to know if I had any secrets. Then I’ll start to explain some of the things that go into it and they start to get a sick look and say to me I wish it wasn’t that hard. I explain that it is but I try to let them know the feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t last long. I’ve been there before; I found some information and I felt overwhelmed. I thought to myself, it can’t be this crazy. It is. I’ll be here to constantly remind you that there aren’t really short cuts, but you will always fall into a nature groove of motivation, knowledge retained, and knowledge being utilized. Months after finding all that knowledge and being overwhelmed by it I was using most of that knowledge.
Don’t get mad at me when I don’t give you that many short cuts. Targeting fat loss is not possible. What everybody wants to hear is that they can do a bunch of crunches or tricep pull downs and magically lose their unwanted fat. If you think about it those are some of the smallest muscle groups and you are expecting them to burn a lot of fat from their immediate surroundings. It doesn’t make much sense. Fat comes off as a whole. At the end of the day targeting fat loss is impossible. The real goal is gaining the motivation to take your overall fat loss to the next level. The satisfaction of losing the majority of your fat and finally looking the way you want is unreal. The fact is you have probably lived your entire life constantly worrying that you didn’t look good. I’m here to tell you that if you follow me you will achieve your goals, and that when you wipe away the constant feeling of inadequacy you gain an amazing feeling of purpose.
Fat loss is all about constantly eating less. Fat loss takes time, and it is not about starving yourself, but it is about self-control. Cutting out fast food, drinking less, and cutting out binge eating can do wonders. I also talk about learning how to count calories. I don’t say that you have to count calories forever, but it is really helpful to learn how your body feels when you have eaten 2,000 calories. Overtime you will lose weight and you will gain a valuable hobby. You will start to wonder why you ever wouldn’t live like this because it’s addictive. The challenge is losing that first bit of fat until you see some results. After that you have some knowledge and motivation. Stay consistent for a few weeks in order to see results. One of my favorite ways of staying on track is by having a cheat day. Cheat days give you that great dopamine rush, and they also help you refuel your body for another week of cutting calories.
At the end of the day, targeting fat loss is a myth that you wouldn’t really want to achieve. Fitness is all about symmetry and having less fat in one place would only look silly. I will explain fat loss scientifically in latter posts. Instead of targeting fat loss just concentrate on eating less in order to lose fat as a whole. Every pound will be a win.