By Fyonna Vanderwerf, B.A, B.Sc, canfitpro PRO TRAINER
With 1,440 minutes every day until that first week of September, it’s never too late to get in shape and create some really great habits to keep as we move through 2019.
What is the biggest barrier? I can tell you right now, it’s the space between the ears on our head. It’s listening to that inner chatter that says you are not able to stick with a habit. That’s what goal setting is, planning a better you, whether it’s being able to say no to drinking too much at the backyard barbeque or deciding that it’s no longer exclusive territory of Michelle Obama to rock every sleeveless outfit she owns!
You have this in five steps. Note, I did not say ‘easy’ – nothing worth a change ever is, but I assure you sticking to these steps 90% of the time will get you to 90% of your success. That other 10% is up to that space in your head to do make up the difference.
What’s at stake here?
- A better mindset.
- A confidence that people see and feel around you that inspires them to try harder. That is the ultimate gift – the world gets a little extra help from you.
- A body that is stronger, more mobile, and less fearful.
- An ability to progress through change and make adjustments for long term results.
- The integrity and chutzpah that comes with achieving something you’ve worked hard on!
It makes you accountable, either by an app or in a book. It reminds you of your path. It is also an extra way to gain resilience in the brain to follow through. You’ve thought it, you’ve documented it and by writing it down daily you are keeping accountability to yourself. Journaling the night before for five minutes gives your brain a reboot so you begin with success the next day by absorbing ideas and intentions. A few ideas to reflect on daily: three successful parts of the day, three ways you are grateful, two areas to work on, and a yummy quote to keep you going.
Action step: Find a blank journal/ app to record and start.
2.Feed the Mind
Now is the time to make that noggin work for YOU. Start manifesting your success by reading inspirational and motivational content. Books that have given me the mental focus to follow through on my goals (competing at Worlds for bodybuilding and placing third in an Ironman triathlon for my age group) are; The Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow; Make Your Bed by William McRaven; and one of my most absolute favourites, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Not a reader? Try a podcast.
Action step: Google “motivating books” or find one in the library, online, book store, from a friend or co-worker.
3.Find a Workout
I’ve had clients who wear their gym clothes to bed so when they wake up they are ready to go, with one less excuse. The challenge with finding that perfect workout is the volume of ideas out there, along with every food plan known to the planet to shrink this, build that and eradicate that wiggly skin on your elbow. Listed below is a simple program using a dowel, broomstick or the floor. This program can be done as seen or elevated on a platform, if getting to the floor is not a fit. No gym required, just arms that want definition.
Each exercise is done in a circuit of 30-45 seconds each; repeat all exercises two to three times. Stay mindful of your breath.
Press Backs: Stand or sit, dowel behind your back. Find your power posture, shoulders down and back in set position, lift dowel and pulse to hit the triceps.
Triceps Dip and Taps: Posture tall, arms strong and steady, legs bent 90 degrees. Allow glutes to drop down, hinging begins at the elbow, engaging the triceps (Fig. 1). As you lift up, touch toes or knee with opposite hand while balancing (Fig. 2).
Do the other leg.
This is super functional and modifiable for many levels. It’s quite common to hold your breath while balancing.
Moving Planks: Assume the typical plank position, using knees or on toes.
Place weight on elbows under the shoulders.
Move forward and backward as if you were sawing.
This targets the shoulders and core.
Happy Canoes: Standing in a lunge, either shortened or full lunge, dowel out in front at shoulder height (Fig 3).
Turn and dip dowel as if it were a paddle (Fig. 4) and then dip to the opposite side (Fig. 5).
For added fun, do this as a moving lunge across the room. It’s definitely harder than it looks, but it works everything well.
Triangle Pushups: On the floor or elevated surface, on knees or toes, turn hands inwards so your thumbs and first fingers on each hand resemble the outline of a triangle – it could also be a bigger triangle for more stability.
Lower down, keeping elbows pointing out, as low as you can go.
Push hands into the floor to come back up.
This is a fun way to work the arms and shoulders as well as the chest.
Action Step: Try the program above, email me to let me know what you think or email me something that worked even better to rock the arms.
4.Food and Friends to Nourish
Eight out of 10 things that go in our mouth should aim to fuel cells, muscles, growth systems and rest patterns. Think about food neither being good or bad – just what you can pull from it.
You spend 75% of your time with the same four to six people. How are they nourishing you? If they knew you were focused on getting healthier would they encourage you to bring healthier food to that barbeque or would they offer to have more selection? Surround yourself with people that root for you. Let them know you are making some changes and I’ll bet that some of them will jump on board that train to be a part of it.
Simple food strategies in the summer could include hydrating more – lime in water is a quencher on a dock as much as we pretend that gin and tonic is. Pick crunchy rice crackers, fruits and veggies over chips and Cheezies. Reduce those highly processed items and go simpler – a cleaner protein over a sausage or store bought burger.
Action Step: Read through that journal and see what 10 items you have chosen to eat.
5.Control is Not Just for Janet Jackson
As busy multi-taskers, we all love to tackle everything. Guess what? You’d be better at what you do if you did less and delegated more so you could focus on your game changing skills. Ask yourself these three questions: what do you do the same, what do you do less of, and what do you let go of.
Action Step: Look at three habit patterns you have that are keeping you from being healthier or not as strong and see which ones fall into each question.
So there you have it, five strategies that can help make your summer fitness goals easier to reach, just in time!