Sunday, April 8, 2012


Some people that workout just “go through the motions”. It’s easy to take it casual and fool yourself into thinking that you are getting fit.  Don’t get me wrong, something is better than nothing. However, if you are one of the majority that is NOT working hard enough to meet Health Canada’s guidelines for physical activity don’t despair. There really are only a few main principles that you need to follow to get you on the right track.

First and foremost – INTENSITY RULES. You must get out of your comfort zone. Ask anyone that has lost significant weight and kept it off – it wasn’t easy. But nothing worth striving for is, - is it? The concept here is Progressive Overload.

If you’re reading a magazine while on the treadmill or watching TV on the cross-trainer – it better be just a warm-up. If it’s cardio you’re after put the book down turn up the mp3 player and pick up the pace – get into the 70 or 80% Max. heart range. Or try High Intensity interval training. If it’s weights, put away the 10 lbs and go for 20. I’d rather see 8 quality reps that require effort than 20 reps that do anything but make you sore.

And this isn’t just for the guys. Sorry, most women don’t get it. The ones that do have the body’s that most other woman envy. Male or female you must concentrate on getting strong. The secret is using only a few basic exercises for each major body part. Strive for 5 to 12 reps per exercise. A total of 30 to 100 repetitions for a major body part.

The main exercises MUST include: squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench presses, dumbbell rows, standing shoulder presses, pullups.

Now guys, if you’re not getting stronger, odds are you aren’t getting bigger either – muscle wise. And ladies, you will NOT grow big muscles. That is, unless you are taking illegal steroids it just won’t happen. What will is a nice toned figure.

To get results you must have engagement. It comes down to attitude. BELIEVE you can accomplish it. You can do anything you put your mind to. If you are there to exercise – do so. Visualize what you are trying to achieve. Leave the socializing until after you are done. This is where a mp3 player or ipod comes in handy.

At the end of the day it is you and only you that is accountable for your own results. In no time you will see your self-confidence increase as your capabilities improve. This becomes habit forming. You end up fighting the temptation and excuses and as a result, get MORE done, not less.

Your body must recover from it’s workouts. You do not get stronger at the gym, but rather when you are at rest. Rest is essential so that you can repair your muscles, rebuild and strengthen.

For athletes and those committed to fitness a key is to avoid overtraining. By realizing that you must limit your workout volume, listen to your body and allow for sufficient recovery time, - you will see fantastic results.

The nice thing about rest is that it helps to maintain a balance between home, play, and work. Besides, if you are following the other three principles listed above you will welcome your rest days.

. This falls right in line with the Blue Zone’s values which emphasizes 9 lessons to longevity (1).  Associate with people that reinforce the right habits and can challenge you mentally building a support group you can truly trust.  Spend time with family.  Join a group that promotes positive habits – a walking club, fitness class or team group or club.

The nice thing is if you follow what I’ve suggested, you will spend less time in the gym and see substantial improvements.

As with anything in life, if you aren’t moving forward you end up slipping backwards. There’s no such thing as standing still – you’re body will deteriorate. Everything in the universe either grows or dies. You must continue to grow. And don’t blame AGE. Like I mentioned above about focus, it’s your mental attitude that will help get you there!

Remember – USE IT OR LOSE IT.

Striving for health and wellness requires a holistic approach – including the mind, body and spirit. Your ultimate goal should be to improve your energy levels, be free from illness, full of strength, vigor and above all happiness. Really, isn’t that what living life to the fullest is all about?

(1) THE BLUE ZONES - 9 Lessons for Living Longer, From the people who’ve lived the longest DAN BUETTNER National Geographic Society Copyright 2008 Washington, D.C. ISBN 978-1-4262-0948-2