Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fitness Goals

If you open any magazine right now, you will read about a Great Get Fit Plan for 2012.  You are going to be healthy and full of energy on your quest to a bikini body!  You will also find articles about making goals and sticking to them (ahem), recipes that will wow, achieving the perfect night’s sleep, how to make more money, and better sex!  But let’s face it – if everyone who read the articles followed the advice and became perfect – we wouldn’t need magazines.  Success at anything requires more than just reading an article and following the steps.  There is something in you that must click before it will all work. 

I am reading this amazing book right now:  A Hand to Guide Me by Denzel Washington.  Yes – that Denzel Washington.  It has stories of being inspired by someone in your life whether it is a parent, coach, or neighbor.  It shows how much impact a conversation can have.  What a difference a little encouragement can make.  How everyone needs a push in the right direction.  Even someone with a lot of drive to succeed had a moment in their life, or someone in their life, and they had a turning point where they knew that they could do more. 

I am hoping that I am finding a turning point now.  Switching to a vegan diet has done a lot for my energy and my spirit and I am ready to move on to the next step.  My friend Jill recommended I sign up for a race or sport to foster my competitive spirit, have something to hold myself accountable (like a race date or team counting on me), and have set goals to reach for (like a training program or practice schedule).  Since I am not athletic and I actually enjoyed running three years ago (before my heart literally rebelled) I have decided to run a 5K on February 25.  Jill is going to help with a training schedule and I am so excited!

Exercise has so many benefits that it seems like a no-brainer.  Besides getting in shape physically – exercise benefits your heart and brain and your other insides.  Regular exercise helps with depression, stress and anxiety, insomnia, low energy, and so much more.  But sometimes it’s hard to get off the couch or make time in our schedules for it.  So I want to bring you some stories of others who did – set and reached their fitness goals.

My friend Andi is amazing.  I totally want to be her when I grow up.   She is a Mom, wife, Realtor®, blogger (check out The FroRo I Know), and still finds time to work out.  She set a goal to complete a half-marathon in under 3 hours and began a 12 week training program.  She had to run at least three times a week on non-consecutive days and sometimes had a hard time fitting in her long runs on Saturdays (I don't know why - she doesn't have anything else going on).  Andi realized that having a running buddy would have helped her deal with running longer than 5 miles and when asked about what she would have done differently she says, "I would have trained 4:1 intervals (4mins run, 1min walk) as this is how I ran the race and it felt great.  I would have had great running shoes from The Running Store from the get go. I would have run a few smaller races during training.  All in all I came in at 2:38 about a 12minute mile for 13.1 miles... it was a great sense of accomplishment and I will do it again next year."

My Aunt Rebecca also took on a fitness venture - in the name of charity.  She participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer several years ago.  The event was 60 miles in three days and she had to also raise $1900.  Through support with the program, friends and family, my Aunt Rebecca was able to finish the walk and raise over $3000!  "I had a pulled hamstring in the middle of my training (and in the middle of a 10 mile training walk). I learned that I couldn't slack off in my daily training and try to make it up on the weekend.  Also - on the 3rd day of the actual walk I had 4 huge blisters. I walked 16 miles, each step painful, just by reminding myself of what was waiting for me at the end -- my family!"  

My Mom is definitely someone who has inspired her friends and family in the name of fitness and health.  I remember her beginning to walk around a neighborhood track and then start to run.  She ended up taking on a job as a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor and then was the manager of a gym.  She once led my friend and I through an ab workout when we were 13.  Our stomachs were so sore the next day it hurt to laugh!  When I asked her about goals, she filled me in on how she has kept it all up through several major set backs (including foot and knee surgery) as well as maintaining an exercise habit through busy work and family schedules.  "Training for races by setting a structured work out schedule was always fun for me and motivating.  I use a calendar to mark off my daily work outs and hate to see blank days.  If it is an intentional rest day, I will write that down."  She explains:  "All the goals I have set with fitness are not the end of the road.  It is a constant journey without a finish line.  To live a healthy lifestyle is not a set weight or single achievement.  There are ups and downs - on the scale, with time and other life issues - that one needs to adjust to. The biggest issue seems to be gaining and regaining balance. How do you measure that?"

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