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The S.M.A.R.T Way to Keep Your New Year's Resolution

I planned to go for a run, but it snowed.”

“My week has just been too busy to get to a fitness class.”

“Everyone from work went out to happy hour so I skipped my personal trainer.”

“After taking care of the kids and running errands, I was just too tired to do that fitness DVD.”

“I just got laid off, so I don’t have the money for a trainer or a gym.”

What’s your reason for being bad to your body?

Whatever your barrier to exercise is, there is always a way to fit in your fitness. The secret is in goal setting—and what better time to start than the New Year? Most barriers to exercise are not real, they are just perceived. The first step to beating your barriers is to write them down and brainstorm ways around them.

The most powerful barrier, expressed by many, is that they have been out of the workout cycle for too long. The answer is to get S.M.A.R.T. To make your fitness goal S.M.A.R.T, it needs be Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timely.  

The S.M.A.R.T system was developed by the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) as a tool fitness trainers can use to motivate clients. It comes from organization’s text book, Personal Fitness Training Theory & Practice. Here’s how:

Be (S)pecific: Define your goal by how many pounds, miles, minutes, etc.

Make sure the goals are (M)easurable: For example: “I want to jog for 20 minutes without stopping.” Twenty minutes can be measured—and celebrated— when achieved.

Be (A)ction oriented: Write down exercise details such as the time of day you will exercise; the day and time a particular class is held; the day and time that will be set aside for a weekly bike ride and the distance you will go, etc. Also, give some thought to the days you will push yourself (Monday, Tuesday and Friday, for instance) and the days that will have easier workouts or rest.

Be (R)ealistic: Chose an appropriate goal. It’s not necessary to run a marathon; aim for 20 minutes of sustained movement to get you going and work diligently towards that goal. (When it starts to feel easier, you can add more time to your workout but that may take a few weeks.) Attaining a small goal builds confidence and helps keep you motivated.

(T)ime goals to a future date: Getting married? Want to make everyone jealous on the first day of summer? Husband coming home from deployment? Going to a class reunion?

Wipe out excuses, start the S.M.A.R.T way, and fit in your fitness!

One MOVE

If lack of time is a barrier to exercise for you, do shorter workouts and multitask your moves. (That is how and why I designed my fitness DVDs to fit an hour-long workout in just 30 minutes.)

I recently heard a woman refer to the underside of her arms as “bat wings.” I thought that was a funny way to describe that trouble-area that so many of us want to slim and chisel—the triceps. This move, which I call the French Press Lunge combination, can be broken down into two parts when you are just starting out. First, single task it and focus on toning your arms. Then, lunge for the legs and get your heart rate up and burn calories. Once you get accustomed to the moves, put them together and multitask the combo for even more timesaving toning and calorie busting!

Single-task: Start with a 5-10 lb weight and hold it with both hands overhead. Keep the elbows and underside of your arms close to your head and your chin lifted to look straight ahead, not at the floor. Lower the weight behind your neck and then lift it back overhead for one rep. Do 15-20 triceps French presses (named after the coffee maker), then put the weight down.

Now perform “elevator” lunges by separating the legs, right leg in front. Keep the feet separated and slightly apart like “railroad tracks,” not directly in line as if walking a “tightrope.” Keep your feet about 12 inches apart from each other, then maintain that distance as you step the leg back about 3 feet. You’ll know you are in correct lunge position if, when you bend your knees and lower the “elevator,” your front knee is directly over your front ankle, not over or past the toe.

Raise up and down 10 times, then switch legs. With the left leg in front repeat the move 10 times. (Trainer’s tip: Keep the back heel off the floor the whole time, see photo above, to make sure you are going up and down like an elevator, not forward and back like an escalator.)

Multitask the two moves: Separate the legs with the right leg in front and perform the elevator lunge at the same time as you do the French presses. Do 10 reps, then switch legs for the second 10, and continue pressing the arms down as you lower into the lunge, then raise the arms as you rise up and straighten the legs. After one set, put the weight down and do jumping jacks or jog in place, for 1 minute. Do a second set. Repeat one minute of cardio, then do set 3.

Still need help getting to that daily fitness resolution? Repeat this mantra… and fit that workout in before it’s too late today!

One MANTRA

If you worked out when you first thought of it, you’d be done by now!

One MUST HAVE

You might have read about probiotics in yogurt or heard eating them promotes a “flat belly” and helps with constipation. Probiotics do much more than that and there are better ways to get them in your gut than from yogurt which often has too much added sugar, fake chemicals, or leaves you with lactose issues.

Probiotics have many claims including: aiding in the digestion of nutrients, vitamins and minerals; increasing your immune system’s power; balancing PH; reducing the side effects of antibiotics; helping with IBS, obesity, diarrhea and constipation; reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs), reducing adverse reactions to cow’s milk, colds and kidney stones; improving the skin, kidney and liver functioning; reducing allergies, asthma and sinus infections; reducing ear infections and even helping with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The gut is the powerhouse of your immune system, and the probiotics are essential to letting the gut to do it’s job.

The key in adding this powerful tool to your diet, is to get it from a good source. There are ways to cook (and buy) foods with lots of different strands of probiotics that may be better for you than the yogurt you find in grocery stores. Kefir is a product I like. You can purchase Kefir starter kits online that involve cooking milk, adding a powder, letting it cool on the counter overnight. Other good sources of probiotics are: sauerkraut, miso, kim chee, raw pickles, fermented vegetables, Kombucha, buttermilk, raw vinegars, olives, root and ginger beers, sourdough, beer and wine.

As you might have noticed, the modern western diet of refined carbs and fast food doesn’t include many natural probiotics.

If you don’t want to add them to your diet, probiotic supplement suppliers may be for you. I recently added a daily probiotic pill from Intelligent Labs to my routine in addition to eating more fermented foods. (I had started with an over-the-counter brand but then read that many of those bacteria die before they get into your system; getting them live keeps the microbiome in your belly strong.) I even lost weight once I started taking the new brand.

I also researched reviews of the various brands of probiotice. You can too by clicking here.  You’ll see words like flora, acidophilus, CFUs, colonies, million/billion/trillion counts, and more, but don’t be confused or turned off.  Most brands I’ve seen cost between $30 and $50 a bottle.

Learning more about the benefits of probiotics may be the healthiest thing you do in the new year! So get “smart” in your resolution, workouts and your nutrition in 2017! 

 

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