A common reason people begin new fitness/health routines is because they begin to feel the effects of aging, whether that be weight gain, achy joints, or experienced weakness. Many people fear aging for these reasons but it doesn't have to be a fast slide into the prison you imagine it to be. A good preventative medicine plan includes strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance training. Sometimes it may seem counterintuitive to think of regular resistance training as a method of reducing discomfort, particularly because it may not seem like a comfortable activity while working out.
This is where a good coach comes in, so you don't have to design your own balanced, properly weighted program; your coach should be someone you enjoy working with, someone who inspires you and pushes you beyond what you thought was possible. I have never been stronger, felt better, and been pushed harder than when I was trained. We all have blind spots and a good coach illuminates those areas for us.
Even if you aren't ready to begin a full program, begin stretching yourself in your workouts. If you aren't accustomed to doing any exercise, that's ok; begin small by taking walks in the park or around the block. Start slowly increasing your distance and pace. As you feel more comfortable with these strides, begin incorporating some body weight training, such as squats and wall push-ups.
A common misconception about exercise is that you have to commit to a program that is going to kill you, and that simply isn't true and in fact will lead to greater rates of burnout. You are much more likely to stick with and enjoy an activity that you have slowly acclimated to.
Peak bone mass happens in our twenties and slowly declines as we age. Strength training helps slow this process, as weight bearing activity increases bone density. Studies have indicated that aerobic activity has a positive impact on those prone to or who have Alzheimer's disease. The best bet is to incorporate both aerobic and strength training into your lifestyle at a pace that works well for you. The payoff is priceless in the long run.
Chances are you have been on the health and weight loss hamster wheel for a long time. Every new diet and/or exercise routine you try brings nothing but more of the same.
If you start a new technique or go back to one that has brought you positive results in the past with the same mindset you can guarantee that your results will be the same. With that said, there are weight loss methods that aren't healthy and can actually exacerbate health issues or create new problems. For this reason it is best to not assume that a program or technique is safe or healthy without doing research.
Diets that entirely cut out macronutrients (e.g., carbs) can have health implications that you may not be aware of. Exercise routines that do not balance the body's entire muscle system or do not take into account preexisting conditions can create injuries or make existing injuries worse.
Once you have determined that a program or routine is best for you, the next step is to check what other assumptions you are bringing to the table.. By this I mean your mindset. Are you spending your hard earned money and your limited time and effort on this program but deep down you really don't believe it will work, or you see it as deprivation and punishment?
We all make assumptions and when they go unchecked, we fail to see where the root of the problem is and therefore are constantly stuck on the never ending wheel. Healthy eating and exercise are two excellent modalities but usually aren't enough to get us to reach our goals. Understanding your conditioning is crucial and no one can address what they cannot see. Make a list of all the assumptions you are making about diet and exercise before you start another program so what has been unconsciously stopping you is finally illuminated and can be worked with.
When you are walking down the street and see a fit woman do you feel envy? Do you curse her in your head and rationalize all the ways in which her life must be miserable in order to look that way?
We have all been there in one way or another. Our mind loves to make up stories about everything and everyone. It will never stop for as long as we have a body.
Here is the thing though, you cannot have that which you hate or push away. Why? Because you rationalize all the ways it isn't fulfilling to be fit and healthy, how hard that woman must work to look like that, and how unhappy she must be.
If you are torn between hating those who appear to have it all figured out and wanting to look fit and be healthy then you have essentially (unconsciously) instructed your mind to do nothing. If we do not give our mind a clear direction to take, it will take none at all. We cannot be torn between wanting and not wanting.
Do not panic if you are torn. There are ways to work with this so that you can get clear on and have what you consciously want. It takes some effort and elbow grease but persistence is rewarding.
I don't know about you but every single good thing I have in my life today is because I kept cracking at it. It doesn't even necessarily have to be that hard, but the drive to keep growing must be there. When the drive feels like it isn't there or is too faint to see, that's when a good coach comes in to help you clear the brush in your mind.
Health and fitness is a billion dollar industry but rising health care costs and rates of obesity show us that this investment isn't paying off. How can that be? It starts in our mind. We will never be or have that which we cannot see first in our mind. Your limitations are whatever you believe they are. Without coaching, I would never be where I am today because I was unconscious of my own limitations and barriers.
You deserve to feel and look good. Don't let your mind haunt you any longer and take conscious control of what has been holding you back!
The ego's only perspective is based on survival. Survival is the exclusive focus of the ego, therefore thriving is not our natural default and our ego will interject and sabotage our efforts toward change. Yes, this includes health related changes that might actually cause you to survive for longer. Your ego can only make decisions based on the past.
From a biological perspective, we have evolved to conserve energy so that it is there for us to use when we need it. Our wiring essentially is pulling us in the opposite direction than where we need or want to go. Our society has created foods that are tasty and have done a great job marketing them. We collectively recognize these brands and consume them regularly.
Most prepackaged snack foods are convenient, cheap, and widely available. Until recently, we didn't have much information about the health effects of such foods. With more information we are realizing how some of our food and health choices have determined where we are today. Knowing the negative health consequences usually doesn't stop us from consuming these products and doesn't incentivize us to exercise more.
This explains why most diet/exercise routines fail. WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO FIGHT A WAR AGAINST OUR OWN CONDITIONING. Willpower is like the big bad wolf; it works for just long enough to convince you that it works but when the ego has had enough, it steps in a sabotages your efforts.
If you see diet/exercise as a source of pain or discomfort then you will move away from staying with it EVERY SINGLE TIME. This will play out over and over again without you even realizing it unless and until you work with your unconscious mind.
You looking good and feeling good is not on your ego's agenda and never will be. Working with what comes up, the resistance you face, is the way THROUGH resistance. You can't casually walk around the obstacle that is stopping you or it will get you again and again. You must move through it, wrestle with it, understand why it is there, and there you will emerge with a different perspective that will never stop you again.
Part of being independent involves a healthy lifestyle. The better we care for our bodies, the more independent we can be. One of my grandmothers cared for herself up until the day she died and the other is currently in a nursing home. She suffers with Alzheimer's and will need constant care from now on.
Is there any way to guarantee we will age without needing care? No, but if you see exercise and a healthy lifestyle as preventative medicine, chances are you can rule out a lot of factors that make aging such a nightmare.
Why you should exercise and practice a healthy lifestyle as you ease into aging:
1.) Studies have recently revealed that aerobic exercise improves cognitive function which is directly related to Alzheimer's disease.
2.) Peak bone mass occurs in your 20's and slowly declines as we age. Weight bearing activity helps strengthen bones.
3.) Lifting weights strengthens not only muscle and bone, but also connective tissue. Strong connective tissue helps keep our joints stable and reduces injury.
4.) Balance is something all aging people are afraid of losing and strength training helps maintain it.
5.) Exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
6.) Physical activity can positively impact your sense of well-being.
If you aren't accustomed to strength and aerobic training, it can be easily overlooked. Knowing the importance of exercise and incorporating it regularly can ease some of the discomfort of aging and some of the costs associated with frequent doctor visits.
How do you see yourself in your mind? Olympic athletes use visualization when preparing for their event. Not only do they visualize the win but they visualize the obstacles they will encounter during the event and how they will move effectively through each. By seeing what they may encounter, they are setting the stage for success by coming prepared; they know defeat isn't an option. They didn't make it to the olympics by saying,"I can't do this; its too hard."
Does this mean we have to be, train, or compare ourselves to olympians? No, but we can learn from them. They spend time thinking about their goals and contemplate their actions ahead of time; we can apply this technique too.
When I first started out as a trainer, I couldn't do a pull-up. Honestly, I didn't believe I could. You don't see many women doing pull-ups and I knew women didn't have the muscle mass men do so I just put it out of mind basically. I didn't even consider it as a possibility.
One day though, I was walking through the gym and I saw a woman do 10 pull-ups, uninterrupted, in a row. I was amazed. She wasn't muscular looking or even skinny; she looked like a normal person. Witnessing her changed my life.
Once I saw it in my mind, it set the stage for being able to do them in real life. I began doing a pull-up (jumping at first) every time I passed the pull-up bar. The more I saw myself being able to do them, the more excited I got and the more I practiced. Before seeing it as a possibility, I didn't even try.
Do you see your goal as a possibility clearly in your mind? Can you see YOU possessing or being that goal? If you can't, it won't come to be. Your ego may trick you into thinking that you can see it clearly, so continue to check in with yourself. This combined with a good coach pushing you beyond your comfort zone to see and achieve more than what you can imagine is a winning formula.
No one wants to feel like they can't rock their cute summer shorts! Let's be real, cellulite sucks and it is embarrassing. Us girls will change an outfit a million times to avoid showing it. Is there another way than just covering it up? Yes!! Does it involve a pill? NO!!!!!!!! Does it involve some effort? YES, BUT the thought about the effort needs to be reframed. You taking the steps I am about to mention are not just about addressing your cellulite concerns, they address many other aspects of your health that you may not realize need to be considered. What I mean is, you can eliminate cellulite and simultaneously increase your bone mass, improve connective tissue and muscle in your body; you can slow the process of aging, improve flexibility, drop pounds, decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve body image, and improve your sense of happiness and well being.
If you choose exercises that are appropriately weighted (in other words-not too easy so gains aren't made and not too hard that you cause injury), appropriately balanced (challenge all muscles, not overly focusing on one aspect of the body), and consistency in your routine with progression in exercise, then you have the winning formula for tackling your cellulite and other benefits mentioned above.
If any health or fitness professional offers you a quick solution, you should run for your life b/c you will probably get hurt in some capacity. If you are offered a quick pill or supplement, know that most supplements aren't FDA regulated and can contain heavy metals, chemicals, fillers, and often do not contain what they claim in the amount listed. Not all supplements are created equally; there are some good ones but make sure they are 3rd party tested.
Beyond the quick solution, lifting weight increases your resting metabolism, which means you burn more calories not only when working out but after your workout too. MUSCLE NEEDS MORE CALORIES TO SUSTAIN ITSELF THAN FAT=MORE CALORIES BURNED ALL DAY! Fat is easily manipulated and sits in those ugly pockets we call cellulite. Building muscle is the quickest and most sustainable way to eliminate cellulite.
Ever hear of skinny fat? Skinny girls who have cellulite don't lift weights; or if they do, not consistently. This is not to judge ANYONE, only to provide information to help you look and feel amazing! You deserve to feel great in your skin!
Julia Broome is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise. She is most excited about educating women on the short and long term impact of exercise and proper nutrition on pregnant women and their baby.