Training with a Friend

Our friends are always the ones we spend time with on weekends, in the evenings and even at the office, so why not bring that relationship into the gym and both benefit?  Training with a friend always brings out a higher level of accountability as well as an added edge of competitiveness!  This can serve as the perfect source of motivation to begin the fitness journey and have a lot of fun while you’re at it!

Who’s Your BFF?

Who’s your Best-Fitness-Friend?  What about your best friend who’s been telling you he/she needs to get to the gym?  A co-worker?  A family member?  Couples can have great success training together as well.  Bear in mind, just because you’re friends doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make great training partners.  When choosing a training partner, it’s important to find a person who has similar fitness goals as yourself and is at a similar fitness level.  This will allow the training sessions to flow better, making them more efficient, and you’ll get more from your one hour.

Sync Your Schedules and Goals

Making a plan of attack on times to meet, as well as coordinate your specific fitness goals is in my opinion, just as important as the work out itself. The work out schedule needs to be convenient for both parties so that there are no excuses.  Sit down together and plan out a schedule; put it in your calendar just like any other appointment, and then stick to it.  Make a pact to help each other stick to it.

Take some time to individually identify some SMART goals and then review them together to ensure they are in sync. And here’s the best part about training with a friend:  use the buddy system to hold one another accountable and push each other to reach those goals.  This is a proven recipe for success!

Dare To Suck!

What I mean by “dare to suck” is this:  you will always be what you’ve always been if you always do what you’ve always done.  Step out of your comfort zone and use each other to get fired up and complete your mission. Don’t be afraid to challenge each other and dare to suck while doing it!  The important thing is that you’re daring to go beyond your limitations, and this is when the magic happens.  In terms of fitness, this is how you get results!

Study after study show that support is the key to success in anything we do!  Getting healthy is no different.  Here are some of the many benefits of training with a friend…

  • Extra motivation and accountability
  • Fosters friendly competition – to make each other work harder!!!
  • Fun and enjoyment
  • Saves money OR allows them to train more regularly
  • Encouragement and support
  • Improves relationships
  • Increases chances of success and gets results!
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Goal-Setting Leads to Faster Weight loss

Ask yourself, “would you take a road trip without mapping out a plan”?  Probably not.  When mapping out your road trip, what’s the most important thing to consider?  Your destination, of course, where are you going?  Starting a journey without a destination in mind could leave you wandering around aimless, not really getting anywhere.  Most people, however, use common sense when planning trips, events, holidays, etc., in order to ensure a desirable outcome.  Then why is it that, when it comes to our health, well-being, fitness, and exercise, we don’t apply the same prudent approach as we do when planning other important things in our lives?  Why is common sense not so common when it comes to good nutrition and exercise?  Many a times, we may have the right intentions, but somehow end up side-tracked and going against what we know to be common sense.  Why does this happen?  The answer is plain and simple – lack of focus.

Are You Fuzzy or Focused?

It has been said that successful people are successful because they are very clear about their values.    Unsuccessful people are fuzzy or unsure.  Complete failures have no real values at all.

What’s Important to You? – What do you value?

You must begin by determining what’s important to you.  Do you value your health?  Is your future well-being and quality of life important to you?  Do you value yourself enough to make healthy lifestyle habits a priority?  These are big questions that must be addressed before you can move forward to devise a plan.

Set SMART Goals

Most of us have, at some point, made resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or lose weight.  But what happens to these resolutions as time goes on?  They usually fizzle out.  Life gets in the way, and for whatever reason, our resolution fades into the background and is no longer in the forefront of our mind.

Resolutions are often just wishful thinking, and until you put it in writing, it is simply a pipe-dream. Writing out your goal makes it concrete, now it becomes a commitment, and now it can act like a map, guiding you to your destination.  Goals are not difficult to set, however, effective goal-setting involves some thinking and planning.  The most effective type of goals are SMART goals.

SMART goals are written out so they can be reviewed regularly, and thus, are less likely to be forgotten or neglected.  To turn a simple resolution into a SMART goal, you must make it:

  • Specific – State in detail exactly what you want.
  • Measurable – You must be able to measure your goal in some way in order to know when you’ve achieved it.  State specific quantity, time-frame, cost, etc., anything that can be measured.
  • Attainable – What are you willing to do to achieve your goal?  Goal must be within your control, in other words, you must be in control of whether it can be achieved or not.  The achievement of your goal should not be dependent on external factors.  By setting a goal outside your control, you are setting yourself up for failure.
  • Relevant – You must ask yourself, “Can I do this?”  If there is any doubt in your mind that you may not be able to achieve your goal, then you probably won’t put in the required effort.  A goal is unrealistic or irrelevant unless you’re confident about achieving it and are willing to give it your 100% effort.
  • Time-bound – Set a deadline for achieving your goal.  This gives you a target and creates a sense of urgency.

What is an example of a SMART goal?

Not a SMART goal:  I want to lose some weight.

SMART goal:

  • Specific:  I want to lose 20 lbs.
  • Measurable:  Weekly weigh in and recording body measurements.
  • Attainable:  Eliminating fast food and eating more veggies; exercising 30 minutes, 3-4 times per week, reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity
  • Relevant:  Losing 1-2 lbs per week
  • Time-bound:  target can be reached in 15 weeks

Achieving success is not necessarily difficult, but not easy either.  It requires discipline, focus and a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.  Simply stating, ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to be fit’ is not good enough.  If it really were that simple, then we would already have everything we want.  Whatever your goals are, plan them out thoroughly by writing them down, and review them every single day.  This will bring focus and clarity.  Clarity is the key to success.  The clearer you are about what you really want, the more successful you will be.

Wake Up Call! Snacking can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

Yes, snacking can absolutely kill all the hard work you do at the gym.  Unless of course, you are snacking wisely.  Eating smart or eating healthy is not always easy.  We often have the best intentions to stay true to our goals, but for whatever reason, there are times when cravings override sensibility.  But why does this happen?  Why do we crave unhealthy foods?  Why do we consciously make poor food choices and then feel guilty about it?  How can we stop this cycle of sabotage?

The answer to the first three questions is lack of planning.  Without proper planning we will often make poor food choices out of convenience, when a healthier alternative is not easily available or when lack of time is a factor.  A little planning can go a long way and can keep you on track with your weight loss goals.  Plan out an entire week of meals and snacks over the weekend, and prepare a shopping list so you have everything on hand.  At first this may seem time consuming, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  This step will keep you from sabotaging all your hard work at the gym.  Having supportive meals and snacks on hand takes the guess work out of eating healthy.

Remember, guilty snacks are high in calories but offer no real nutrition, these are known as empty calories.  These snacks may taste great but will not keep you full for long, you’ll be fighting a snack attack a short while later.  Healthy snacks, on the other hand, are much lower in calories and are full of nutrition.  They taste great while keeping your blood sugar levels stable, which means you’ll be satisfied longer without having cravings.    Once you compare the nutritional information on the packages of each, you will no doubt make the smart choice.

Here are top 7 guilty food cravings and their healthier smart alternatives.  Make every calorie count, choose the smart snack and stop the viscous cycle of sabotage!

If you’re craving this – instead eat this:

Instead of cookies, go for all natural granola bars.

 

 

 

To satisfy a sweet tooth,  choose dates or dried fruit (no sugar added)

 

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Pass on the donuts and pastries,  choose fresh fruit.

 

 

 

Instead of potato chips, Soy Chips are the way to go.  One serving of these is only 90 calories with 6 gms of protein, and 0 saturated fat or cholesterol!

 

 

 

Water or Crystal Light is always a better option than pop.  The zero calorie pops are full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals.   Sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime is just as refreshing and hydrating.

 

In recent research, it’s been proven that coffee contains antioxidants and other agents that help reduce the risk of various diseases.  Does that mean coffee is good for you?  Not necessarily, it also contains caffeine which is know to raise blood pressure and elevate levels of epinephrine (also called adrenaline).  Green tea is high in antioxidants, especially a particular one called EGCG (epigallocatechil gallate), which inhibits cancer cell growth.  The healing and preventative benefits of green tea cleanses the body of disease causing toxins.  People generally feel energized and refreshed.

 

Frappuccino or Fruit Frapps pack a lot of calories, especially if topped with whipped cream.  Choose a real fruit smoothie or
fruit bottom yogurt which are packed with nutrition.