Fitness: Viv’s hot proven tips to keep your motivation foolproof! Part 2

A warm greetings to all my readers,

I hope you enjoyed last week’s article and many thanks for checking out my bro’s blog. It really was a nice surprise for him and for me as it was my highest hits day of this year! :-)If you haven’t read his inspiring article on ‘Olympic Dedication’ yet, here his link: http://springboardyourself.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/olympic-dedication/.

In part 1, I shared 4 out of my 8 proven tips to keep my motivation foolproof. You will have noticed they all focused on organisation and strategy. The tips I will be revealing in this article will be focused on the mind-set. To start we need to work on our mind-set and need to understand the importance of fitness in our lives. Moreover the reasons why we workout.

What are your thoughts on fitness? What comes to your mind when you think about fitness?

Are your thoughts positive or negative?

If positive then you are starting with the right attitude. If you are thinking about fitness in a negative light, such as it’s too hard or it requires a lot of time, then you will need to focus on your mind-set to a greater degree. This is because everything starts from your feelings, the way you feel about people and things which affect your thoughts and consequently your actions. Not to worry here are my four proven tips to keep you motivated to fitness success!

Tip 5 : Make your goals visual with a Visualising Board

Use a visualising board to keep you motivated. Put pictures of the body you want to get and when you don’t feel motivated, look at it – believe me it works… When you visualise your goals clearly and specifically, you create a positive state of mind for changing your exercise behaviour. Make your mental rehearsal vivid and specific — see yourself exercising and achieving your fitness goals. My two visual boards are located in strategic places: one on my fridge and one in my bedroom next to my pillow so I always remind myself of my fitness goals before I go to sleep or after I wake up. In addition to this I have one as a screen saver in my laptop for back up during the day. By building your visualising board today it will keep you focused and motivated to achieve your fitness goals!

 

Tip 6 : Choose your workout music

This is very important because all of us have a different taste in music. For example some music that will help motivate me, may not have the same effect with you. Download into your iPod, your favourite upbeat music and use it during your workout, you will see the difference it will make in your speed and results…It also will keep you going when you think you have already  given your 100%, music makes miracles…Personally I can’t live without it!

 

Tip 7 : Choose who you let into your health and fitness circle of influence carefully and make your goals public!

Surround yourself with healthy people and those who love exercise and fitness. Enter some Fitness Challenges to hold you accountable of your actions and your results! I have recently entered two and they have made a huge impact to mine!

Make your goals public – maybe not as public as I’ve been doing with my articles! By telling other people what we want to do helps us to commit. We feel that we have to train otherwise we would be letting everyone down. Also people can encourage and support too. In this way we become motivated.

Having a peer group with similar ambitions will help keep you on track. You will find the topic of fitness will be in regular conversation, what to eat, how to train. All of this will reinforce what you set out to do. I actually want to thank all the members who participated in the challenges I mentioned previously, they have played a big part in supporting me to my success! If you don’t have anyone who is involved in exercise you can subscribe to health magazines, fitness quotes, fitness clubs, etc. This will have the same effect on your mind-set as spending time with a physical person…I know it’s more fun and it’s more enjoyable to have someone to talk to about it but it still works when nobody is around!

 

Tip 8 : Work on your mind-set and focus on the ‘Feel Good Factor’!

It’s important to identify thoughts that undermine our desire to exercise regularly. Countering those thoughts with messages that reinforce our motivation can help us achieve our goals. Paying attention to what goes through your mind when it’s time to exercise will help you change the thoughts and habits that could be holding you back. Write down each thought, such as, “It’s too hard,” “I’m too out of shape,” “I don’t have time,” or “I’d rather watch TV”, etc. After you do this replace the mentioned sabotaging thoughts with “positive self-talk” – such as encouraging yourself to exercise and acknowledging your accomplishments by making positive statements to yourself for example ‘Well done!’, ‘Better performance’, ‘Great results!’, etc. If you think it’s too hard to exercise, write out a plan to gradually increase your exercise intensity. Becoming stronger will give you greater endurance for exercise and will make your workouts less challenging. Don’t forget to read over your goals and reasons for exercising on a daily basis as it helps to reinforce your motivation.

Always focus on how good you feel after making the decision to workout, you’ll never regret it! ‘Tough times are like physical exercise. You may not like it while you are doing it, but tomorrow you will be stronger because of it.’ :-)

 

In my own pursuit of learning more about the mind-set I have had the pleasure of being inspired by another very talented guy who has recently written a very powerful article on its implications in elite performance. He points out there is a commonality among high achievers such as Usain Bolt and Steve Jobs … don’t forget to read his final paragraph, it’s so inspiring and very motivating! Here is his link: http://qitrading.blogspot.co.uk/p/trader-psychology.html

 

To boost our motivation to exercise, we need to change our thoughts to affect our feelings and consequently our actions and results. Positive thinking is a very good starting point! :-)

 

 

This last tip is the most important of all as your results will depend on your mental strengths so don’t underestimate it’s power! You can’t have both excuses and results together! Get rid of your excuses and you will see your tangible results!

How do you feel now? How are your thoughts about health and fitness now? Still the same or have you noticed any difference?

 

Are you NOW motivated to keep your routine workout?

I actually can hear some of you saying: ‘I wish it was so simple’. The thing is that it really is this simple, just it isn’t easy. Otherwise everyone would have a healthy and fit body and it wouldn’t be one of the hottest topics on this planet! I have been struggling with this sector of my life for a long time. After giving it my very best and obtaining great results, I was so surprised to realise how simple this all is! I know how you are feeling now as I have been there many times and this is why I urge you to follow the tips above and you will experience a turnaround of your health and Fitness levels:-)

The first stage, the starting point is quite possibly the hardest step you will make in your journey to improve your health and fitness. Just remember ‘you don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great’. Once you have started and won the ‘Monday there is a new me’ scenario, you need to find a daily motivation to keep going for the rest of the week and to ultimately achieve your health and fitness results. Do not be concerned, as ‘behind you is infinite power, before you is endless possibility, around you is boundless opportunity, your strength is mental, physical and spiritual.’ ~ 50 cent. Then we need to balance out between exercise and nutrition to get results as ‘fitness is 100% dedication to your exercise and your diet’. When your short-term goals become a challenge, remind yourself each day that your long-term goal is permanent health, fitness and longevity especially in the middle of the week. When we are half way through our fitness goals, we need to stay strong! Work really hard and make conscious decisions. Stay focused and remember your goals! If we are disciplined and have a strong mental metal to go through all the previous stages, we finally get some results and that is rewarding because ‘obstacles are placed in our way to see if what we want is really worth fighting for.’ Only if you achieve your health and fitness goals, the last stage of the fitness process, you will find out that the following quote are absolutely true: ‘I never regret a workout. I only regret a missed one and as long as we persevere and endure, we can get anything we want.‘ ~ Mike Tyson. The magnificence of it is that you can now have a successful formula which you can apply to every aspect of your life! Is that not a priceless gift worthy of  our efforts, dedication, hard work and endurance? Definitely, it is. :-)

 

The truth is that no matter what your fitness level may be, it is not always possible to be motivated. Mahatma Gandhi said “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” I am sure you agree with me that it is difficult to argue the truth of this statement, but it is also difficult to live by it as a reality. While it is often difficult to stick with fitness goals, people don’t realise the motivation is within them so don’t give up in front of any setbacks, if you fight them through, they will make you a stronger person, I can guarantee you from personal experience!

Remember that you have the power to change what you don’t like and to create your future!

I want to conclude this article with one very inspiring quote which keeps me going when I don’t feel motivated to exercise:

‘Get going. Move forward. Aim high. Plan takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runaway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me. You’ll love it up here.’ :-)

In the last two articles, I have shared my 8 hot proven tips that I use to maintain or boost my levels of motivation. Just remember that ‘the way to success is to follow the work out motivation tips that work for you knowing that all the days that you wake up. You got one job, and that’s to get better every single day.’ ~ Derrick Rose

To conclude, I want to leave you with the most valuable tip I can give you as my gift for reading this article to the end: please don’t wait for someone/fitness coach to ask you to share your fitness experience. Don’t wait to research more about exercise, don’t wait to get started. I have experience all of this myself and I feel sadden and ashamed that I tried for so long to get healthy and fit without knowing what I was supposed to eat and what type of workouts/muscles I was supposed to exercise. I didn’t take action to learn and really wasted so much time and health! However I turned this negative situation into a positive one and used it to motivate me to work harder. So don’t worry how negative your past experiences have been, use it to push you to success this time around.

Why do you not make this Olympics season memorable and a milestone in your health and fitness journey?

Please don’t wait another day, start NOW to reap amazing results!

 

Thanks for allowing me to share your and my own health and fitness journey with you!

Now I am off for my run! Hope to see you on the road (of Health & Fitness)!

To your long-term increasing motivation which leads to your continued success!

Viv :-)

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Fitness: Viv’s 8 hot proven tips to keep your motivation foolproof! Part 1

A very warm greetings to all my readers,

I firstly wanted to share with you the success that my blog pushed through the 200,000 unique hits mark today which is incredible considering that it has been live only for eight months…Thank you for your support and for the nice words and comments received…I really appreciate it!

In the last few articles, I have touched upon the subject of fitness. I felt that the Olympic season made this topic all the more relevant, as many of us no doubt have been inspired to either get into shape or start a new sport.

Can you feel how much greater your motivation towards fitness has become since watching the Olympics? But what will happen now that the games have ended?

 

To keep you motivated whatever season we are in, I am going to share my 8 hot proven tips! I’ll cover the first 4 in this article and the rest in the next one.

Make sure you are in a comfortable position to read this article! Remember that sometimes you just need a few tweaks here and there to make a huge difference in your own results. I suggest taking notes to fully benefit from this article.

Let’s crack on then…

You will agree that exercise is important, but unfortunately just knowing that is not enough to make an impact on your body. Knowledge without action is pointless as you will not achieve any results! Getting in a steady amount of exercise each week can be demanding but is essential to your overall health.

So how can we ensure we manage to fit in our weekly workout routines?

We can achieve health and fitness through a balanced approach that includes daily attention to diet and exercise. Short-term solutions, such as excessive exercise or fad diets, prevent us from committing to permanent lifestyle changes. Our aim is to have a balanced and healthy regime which requires equal attention to choosing nutritious foods, engaging in physical activities every day, building regular exercise into our week and taking time for recreation.

 

What choices do you make over your health and fitness?

 

What choices do you make over your diet and nutrition?

 

Why do you make these choices?

Answering these questions with honesty will uncover some important truths about you and your decisions in life! It’s very powerful to be self-aware of why we make our choices. This knowledge allows us to make changes that can move us closer to achieving our desired results!

As I covered in my last article, the key to creating a steady workout routine is finding activities you enjoy, making a space in your schedule to do it and then not feeling guilty about taking the time for yourself to go and do them. When you exercise, you feel better overall, and become more productive in other areas of your life.

Daily tips and motivation can help you stay focused, encourage you to make informed choices and help you make a lifelong commitment to a permanent and healthier lifestyle.

Below are the first 4 tips which cover the technical and organisational strategies I use to keep my motivation levels high. The next 4 will focus on mind-set.

 

Tip 1 : Decide your fitness goals

 

Decide exactly what you want to achieve and create specific fitness goals. These might include increasing stamina, increasing resistance, losing weight, developing muscles, etc. One of the initial reasons why my progress was limited was because I was just focusing on losing weight. This in itself may or may not be fitness related so I essentially didn’t have a fitness goal to achieve. Now that I personally have set some, I know that losing weight is a by product of my health and fitness goals and I don’t need to focus on it anymore.

I suggest having a fitness coach as he/she can also suggest exercises that make your workout more efficient. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym, like the saying goes work smart not hard. In addition to running 3 times a week I only exercise 24 minutes a day. This is especially helpful if you are as hard pressed for time as I am. A fitness coach is also beneficial for demonstrating how to effectively perform exercises. This is very important to achieve the full benefit of your training and to ensure your safety.

Once your fitness goals have been decided stay focused on them. Do not be distracted by other people. Fight the urge to change your goals until you have achieved your desired outcome, this is very important if you want to see tangible results.

 

Tip 2 : Make workout appointments in your diary, create a fitness routine and commit to them!

 

This one is particularly useful for those of us with very busy schedules. Essentially make workouts a part of your daily routine by setting exercise appointments. The only way to ensure that I exercise regularly is to integrate health and fitness as part of my business routine. Look at your current schedule and determine when you can reasonably fit in a workout and decide on a day and a time for your fitness exercise and commit to it, just like you would with a business appointment. Try not to double-book yourself or do anything else that may cause you to miss your appointment.

If you don’t feel like you have the discipline yet to stick to a weekly routine attend classes as they require you to turn up and leave at certain times and days of the week. Missing one would be like missing an important appointment at work. An added bonus is that they change things up and make things more fun. Personally I attend some classes to ensure that I execute my exercises in the correct way as it is easy to get bad posture and the workout will not be effective as it should be.

 

One method I found to be particularly useful for myself and others with packed diaries is to get into an exercise habit or ritual. Program yourself to train on certain days at certain times of the week. This will help you get and sustain momentum with your exercise goals, making it more difficult for you to skip a workout. Commit to a routine for at least a month so it becomes a habit. It really works as you train your body to exercise and will get you in the habit of doing so regularly. I can talk from personal experience that your body and mind will alert you when you skip your exercise, it’s like having an internal clock. In fact I can’t go to bed unless I have done my daily workout!

This time is your time and, because of the benefits that exercise can have on your health, happiness and well-being, it should be treated with the same degree of importance as any other crucial appointment. My diary is crammed with both business and personal appointments every day, you see it’s not about finding the time but making the time to exercise. I see it as my most important appointment for the day! I owe it to myself and you do too!

 

Tip 3 : Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail!

‘Preparation is the key to success!’ This concept is exceptionally valid with regards to your nutrition. I found that since I plan and organise my meals and my exercises on a daily basis not only physically but mentally it definitely helped me stay motivated with my fitness plans. Honestly I have always struggled with skipping meals as I am always on a go and often, I found myself going all day without eating anything! So now I eat little and often and drink plenty of water. Also as my meals are all planned and ready they are rarely skipped! It gave me an extra edge and far better results both in life and in business!

 

 

Tip 4 : Track and monitor your progress and reward yourself!

Create a chart to track your progress both with your exercise and with your nutrition. A notebook with the days and times of your workout and food consumption works fine. Also take measurements of yourself (arm, waist, navel, hip, thigh, etc) and compare it on a weekly basis to monitor your results, it’s very motivating! If you find that you are taking the opportunity to exercise at a different time of day or are going shorter or longer in your sessions, adjust your schedule accordingly. Track your speed, number of reps and any exercise you do and write it down. Every time you exercise, your aim should be to beat your previous time and rep numbers, etc. even if it is only one rep or second better, it’s still an improvement! It’s like having a competition with yourself every time! In this way, you will progress and have more motivation to exercise as you will look forward to testing your fitness level each time! Believe me, it works! Don’t forget to celebrate every little result and progress you make towards achieving your fitness Goals – there is always an excuse to celebrate and reward yourself:-)

 

The tips above have definitely helped me to improve on what technical and organisational strategies I need to employ to keep my focus on and to strengthen my determination to keep going until I achieve my health and fitness goals. I sincerely hope that some of the tips above will be beneficial to your motivation levels.

The way you care for your body determines your level of health and fitness. You make important and conscious choices each day about diet and nutrition, physical activity and emotional wellness. Your choices can help you reduce your risk of developing chronic medical conditions, diseases and increase your overall health and wellness. It’s all about choices and making conscious decisions on a daily basis. Remember that we have the power to determine what we do on a regular basis because No matter who you are. No matter what you do, you absolutely, positively do have the power to change and to become what you want in your life!

I want to take this opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who is sharing my health and fitness journey with me. You are certainly helping me to achieve my fitness goals. Finally a big thanks goes to those that have supported me to start writing articles on this topic! I have been blown away with all your encouragement, I really do appreciate it! A special thanks goes to my dear bro who inspired me to take the first step to train and achieve my health and fitness goals. He has been a real role model, thank you! I invite you to read his last blog which funny enough covers the same subject on ‘Olympic dedication.’ As they say great minds think alike! It’s very inspiring, please have a read and let him know as today is a very ‘special’ day for him. As the content of his blog is so relevant to life I feel that it should really be more widely shared. To celebrate his special day, let’s make sure we give it the highest hits of the year! Here is the link: http://springboardyourself.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/olympic-dedication/

To your long term health and fitness achievements,

Viv :-)

Fitness: 10 ways to keep your motivation to exercise

Dear readers,

I hope this article finds you well!

Whilst enjoying the Olympic Games some of us might have wondered:

Where do these athletes find the motivation and determination to stick to their gruelling exercise plans?

Improving our fitness or losing weight could easily have been one of our New Year’s resolutions. To think that was only just seven months ago!

Was one of your New Year’s goals related to health and fitness?

How are you doing with your fitness and health goals? Are you on track or have you fallen behind?

While many people start an exercise routine, the American College of Sports Medicine states that only one in three people manage to stick with it. People who drop out of exercise often cite lack of motivation as a reason for not continuing with their workouts.

If you are on track, I applaud you. Well done to stick to your health and fitness plan! Personally I am actually slightly behind schedule. If you are falling behind like me or have completely given up I urge you to find out why this might be happening. It could be something constant that is continually reoccurring each time you set a new goal. It will be down to us to do something about it to ensure that this will stop happening.

A lack of motivation could be the result of stress or poor nutrition, but there are several ways to stay motivated to exercise and reach your long-term health and fitness goals. Whether you’re training for a marathon or want to raise your fitness levels, you can take steps to increase your motivation.

I have spent quite a long time surfing on the net to ensure I don’t miss out on valuable tips from the experts. During this research I cannot believe how much useful and easily accessible information is out there. In just a few hours, your knowledge can increase greatly but above all your health and fitness will take a turn for the positive!

So after a great deal of research and analysis, I have grouped all my discoveries into ten main motivational tips for you to benefit from. I am sure they will help you stay focused and encourage you to stick to your fitness plan to achieve your desired goals.

Here we go with the 10 ways to keep your motivation to exercise.

1. ESTABLISH AND WRITE YOUR FITNESS STATEMENT

Write down your reasons for working out, make sure you have a strong ‘WHY.’ Without a purpose you will not feel compelled to achieve your desired outcomes. Once this is done keep revising your goals to focus your attention and remind yourself why you train and continue to do so. A fitness statement is a powerful way to keep motivated to exercise.

2. SET SMART GOALS

Don’t just exercise in a meaningless way. Setting goals is a proven method of enhancing your motivation as you can monitor your progress. Set a specific long-term goal and ensure you can measure your development. Setting and meeting achievable exercise goals increases the efficiency of your workout. Break your long-term goal down into realistic short-term goals. This is an effective way to reach your desired outcome no matter how ambitious they are. Finally ensure that each goal you set is time-bound, and so has a deadline.

Another strategy is to write your goals down several times to imprint them in your mind. This keeps you focused and helps you to commit.

3. HAVE FUN

If you’re stuck in a workout rut, then think about how you can make things more interesting. Choose a workout which you will enjoy, have fun and add variety to your exercises.

The sheer variety of activities is countless and ensures we really have no excuses as there will be something we like whether that is dancing, aerobic classes, skipping, etc. Once you discover your passion you will find it difficult to miss a workout. Thus actively looking forward to exercise will help you to commit to your routine on a regular basis.

4. RECRUIT AN EXERCISE BUDDY

Another way to increase your motivation is to find a workout buddy who can be accountable for your fitness goals. This will help to assist you to stick to your plans, as not working out would mean letting your buddy down. To add more incentives for training harder you can encourage friendly competition and challenge each other to really go the extra mile.

Remember to choose your workout buddy wisely as you both want to benefit from the partnership by having similar goals and fitness levels.

5. VISUALISE

Visualising yourself achieving goals in an effortless way will help you to obtain your desired outcome. Many top athletes use this technique when training for competition day. Visualising your success will also help keep you motivated in front of setbacks along your fitness journey.

6. MUSIC

Download some of your favourite songs to an MP3 player or listen to CDs which have the power to put you in an optimistic mood. Personally I find upbeat music makes my workouts more enjoyable and increases my motivation to continue.

7. GET COMPETITIVE

A natural aspect of our lives is competition, the act of winning encourages and motivates us to work harder. This is no different in fitness, so look out for opportunities to participate in competitive events. 

If you need some advice or ideas, you can look for local sports leagues or in local fitness events such as marathons, biking races, etc. If you can’t find any in your area then, you can create your own among friends, workout buddies or compete with yourself.

8. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES

Your mind is the most powerful thing you possess so use it to the fullest. Taking charge of your thoughts can prove to be a very effective way of staying motivated to work out. Think about motivating or positive words before, during and after you train. Reading quotes in books or online will also help when you are not exercising as they will affect your subconscious mind. The benefits to your health will be countless.

9. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Measure your progress on a daily, weekly and monthly basis by keeping a journal or log of each session as you can see how far you have progressed since your first workout and how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. It helps to look back at where you have started as it shows how much progress you have already made and how far you have come during the setbacks along the way. This will help your commitment to your fitness goals as you can see what you have achieved so far.

Measurements might include how many reps you do, how fast you run, your weight, what you eat in your food diary, etc. You can also visualise your progress by taking before and after pictures.

10. CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS!

Ensure that any goals that are achieved, long or short term are rewarded. Don’t take this as an  opportunity to indulge in chocolates, instead focus on reinforcing good behaviours such as new gym equipment, a day out cycling, or may be a eating a healthy meal with friends.

One bit of advice would be to check with your doctor before starting or adjusting your exercise routine. It must be personalised to and your level of fitness. Your doctor will be able to advise you of what your body is capable of and what type of nutrition you should follow to accompany your routine. This addition of professional help will provide an edge to your workout plans, and thus will greatly benefit your results.

The secrets of the athletes have been revealed, now it is within your responsibility to TAKE ACTION……..

So what is your next step?

Only you will know which one of the above techniques needs to be implemented into your life. Once you have things figured out make your decisions concrete by implementing them in your workout plan. ‘There is no one giant step that does it, it’s a lot of little steps’ – P.A. Cohen.

As already mentioned in my previous article, as far as I can remember I have always struggled with the topic of fitness. As a result I am working hard to ensure I constantly am finding new and more effective ways to motivate myself to success‘I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying’ – Michael Jordan.

In my article next week, I will provide you with my proven tips for keeping and increasing my motivation whilst exercising in order to acquire a healthy lifestyle.

To conclude I would love to share these two very powerful motivational quotes with you:

‘When you feel like quitting: Think about why you started’

‘One of the greatest moments in life is realising that just two weeks ago your body couldn’t do what it just did!’

You know you can do it, you have the power to achieve your fitness goals…

Let’s start now and keep going until we get the results we deserve. Know that along the way there will be challenges but facing them and overcoming them will be well worth the effort ten times over!!!

To achieving motivation in your fitness lifestyle,

Viv :-)

Fitness: How much can you tell from appearance?

A warm greetings to all my readers,

As people are caught up in the London Olympics, the Spirit of the games and of competition, I’ve been in a constant state of reflection. Isn’t it amazing to watch the sheer determination and dedication these athletes are showing during the games?  They must have spent a lot of time, energies, efforts, dedication, hard work, and money to get to the level they are at. They must have sacrificed a lot of fun, nights out, certain types of food, relationships, social entertainments … to fully focus on obtaining their desired goal. But was it worth it? I’ll let you answer that based on the results you are seeing or previously have seen from the Olympics…

I have always been a big fan of fitness, and really love sports. Just seeing how other people get into shape, their determination, their full dedication and results have always motivated me to reproduce the same characteristics to achieve my life’s successes as through hard work, commitment and dedication that I accomplished any life goals. Based on this, I have always believed that your level of fitness was shown by the appearance of your body structure as a result of your hard training. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? Those dream guys with the 6 or even 8 pack, well sculptured biceps and triceps, calves, quads, hamstrings, chest…the list of muscles can go on and on. They look fit, don’t they? Will you exercise in a class next to them or run a competition with some of these guys? I usually wouldn’t but a few weeks ago I ended up training next to some in my favourite class. Can you imagine how I felt? Believe me they were really looking fit, I could see the structure of their muscles through their T-shirt…I thought that it would have been a very tiring class to keep up with them! The following words were screaming in my head: ‘ Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final bell sounds’ As I strongly believe in these quotes ‘If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?’ & ‘Winners train until they can win. Champions train until they cannot fail – Jay Choi’. I was well armed with a lot of determination, competitive spirit and the fact that I did not want to show that I was intimidated. I just went for it and gave it all the energy I had. Here we go, the session started!

Can you guess what happened during the class?

The two guys could not keep up with me during the warm up and the class had not even started! We just ran 5 minutes and immediately after we were skipping for another 5 minutes and they couldn’t keep up! I was in shock! Looking at them you would be a fool not to believe they had very high fitness levels, however they could not keep up with me!!! (What is amusing is that I’m actually quite a chubby girl). I was in shock to see how I was easily able to keep going through out the hour session while they ended up tired and out of breath. All of this was to their disbelief too! They kept saying that my fitness level was shocking and they felt ashamed. This reinforced my belief that your fitness level is not always an actual or accurate representation of your appearance!

Since that event, I really took a pause for reflection to understand why the consensus belief is that the way you look is a representation of your level of fitness. Most people might have been proud of themselves after that training session – WOW beating two young sculptured guys – and I should have congratulated myself and my hard work for the past few months of hard training – every day exercising and going to bed every night with muscles aching finally paid off! However what stopped me from celebrating my fitness success was this quote I took to heart: ‘Somewhere, someone is practicing. When you meet that person on the fields, face to face, one on one, he will beat you. Unless that person practicing is you. So run the stairs, crank the corners, hit the wall, and when you feel like giving up, think: Is that  person giving up?’

Following on from my experience in that fitness session I spoke to the class trainer about it. In kind words he expressed that there are different types of fitness, such as muscular endurance, flexibility and so forth. These guys are most probably used to weigh training, however not cardio or circuit workouts that we did during the class … in fact, it was their first class and I have not seen them since…I knew I scared guys away but surely not because of my fitness levels!? :-)

You see, I have just realised that I have always trained with fitness coaches and obviously they don’t only look but demonstrate their fitness levels during classes. In a few occasions I accidentally happened to be training in the same room with my dear bro. He also not only looks fit, but has quite high fitness levels. As a result, I have been blessed on this life’s aspect too as I have always been exposed and coached to a high level of fitness. I can say based on my performance both with my fitness coaches and my dear bro that I am approaching their level even if I don’t look anyway near as close! In fact, my dear bro wrote a beautiful article on his blog on this subject ‘Are you ready to sacrifice?’ where he mentioned his own personal fitness achievements and what decisions he had to take to accomplish them. Have a look yourself and you will be impressed and inspired as I was and as a result of reading his blog, I started to train hard so you might too! You know it’s always competition between bro and sis! Here is the link to my bro’s blog: http://springboardyourself.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/are-you-prepared-to-sacrifice/.

Ironically if I compared my bros fitness appearance with the way the two guys looked, they would win hands down in appearance. However in terms of fitness they definitely fall behind. Deceiving, isn’t it? So, guys & girls, as they say, ‘Don’t judge a book from its cover!’ it’s really true! – don’t be deceived by an individual’s appearance, you must test their fitness levels first. Just a little advice! :-)

What really shocked me is that I am not the kind of person that judges people from their appearance. It really doesn’t mean anything to me! I am always willing to look at inner personality such as values, motives, skills, talents…to understand what drives them to act and behave in the way they do…my experience just shows how it is easy to get influenced and deceived by what the media and the culture values of aesthetics. Just look at what is advertised on a daily basis, and it ends up getting accepted as absolute reality. Instead it is a generalised opinion and far from the truth. In my case I have allowed the concept of ‘appearance’ and ‘aesthetics’ to deceive me from being the best I could be and I paid the price dearly, please don’t let the same happen to you!

So are you fit in appearance, in action or both?

I’ll let you decide after you test your fitness levelsyou will be surprised as I was!

Since then, I started to search about fitness and came across the following paragraph from a fitness website:

‘Physical fitness is defined as a set of characteristics enhancing performance of physical activity and decreasing your risk of premature health concerns, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Your fitness level is the product of a combination of healthy behaviors, such as exercising and eating a balanced diet. Good qualities of physical fitness include a lean body composition, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance.’

It is confirmed here that your level of fitness is determined by your prowess in specific areas such as flexibility and muscular strength. Clearly this doesn’t mean you have to be excelling in all areas, in fact that can be quite impossible. If you think about distance runners, they will not have much muscular strength however will have unbelievable levels of cardiovascular endurance. Strongman competitors will have great muscular strength and endurance but lower flexibility. As a result our fitness objectives ultimately determine what fitness level we end up achieving.

After my light bulb experience, I started searching for what the right percentage of exercise is necessary to keep fit. I have come across a lot of different opinions and have still not found my answer yet…so if you have any ideas please leave a comment or contact me as I am currently very intrigued.

Something that always appeared in every article was that regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy, living longer and feeling better. It helps us to have and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Are you making sure you fit in an exercise routine to your busy schedule?

From personal experience, since I have regularly started exercising my life took a turn for the better…I can’t even find the words to describe my feelings after an intense workout…and definitely it’s not exhaustion if you are thinking about it…but the opposite…

I have to admit that my biggest struggle in fitness was getting the motivation to start and keep going. After speaking with different people, it is actually what most struggle with…so my article next week will cover how to get motivated to having a routine workout…watch this space :-)

During my life, I never imagined I would have written an article about fitness as I really don’t look fit. However according to my fitness coaches I do indeed have high levels of fitness…another incredible discovery for me. In fact, for the reason of my appearance I never felt free to speak on the subject of fitness. The recent events and a push to write an article about it from a certain fitness coach (you know who you are! Thank you!) I am so happy to share my experience with you.

I’ll leave you with one quote that really made me move forward in my conquest to fitness:  

I hate every minute of training, but I said: Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.‘ – Muhammad Ali

To your fitness level discovery,

Viv :-)

7 Steps to Simplify Your Life Today!

A warm greetings to my readers,

Hope my article finds you well.

A subject that I often touch upon when coaching people is simplicity. Life in itself can become very complex. This is why I am often amazed how people love to complicate things even if what they are doing is in itself simple. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be? It’s because simplifying life is just not that simple! It can sometimes be overwhelming and challenging! Would you agree?

For example, someone sent me the following message on this very subject:

“Why complicate life?

 

Missing somebody? ….Call

Wanna meet up? …Invite

Wanna be understood? …Explain

Have questions? …Ask

Don’t like something? …Say it

Like something? …State it

Want something? …Ask for it

Love someone? …Tell it

 

Nobody will know what’s going on in your mind…

It’s better to express rather than to Expect…

You already have the NO, Take the risk of getting the YES

We just have one life,

Keep it SIMPLE! :-)

When I finished reading it I thought that this was all so obvious and simple to implement. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks falling off an overloaded stationary lorry. If it is so simple, then why are so many people complicating their lives?

What is the reason why you are complicating yours?

The main reason is the way we process the information and the way we react to it. Our thought process will determine the way we act upon the information assimilated. Another factor involved are our beliefs based on previous experiences. For example, if you loved someone and opened up your feelings, you might have always ended up with the same response i.e. I don’t feel the same way. It will affect you and the way you will act on the next similar occasion.

I don’t want to go to deep into this subject as I promised I will provide some practical tips. So let’s keep things simple, and I’ll cover more on the understanding in future articles.

Firstly, we don’t have to simplify our life all at once. We can focus on one thing at a time and take small steps to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

The secret to simplifying your life lies within how we assimilate information and process it internally on a daily basis. This is because it defines the way we act or react.

As promised, I will share with you 7 Steps to a simplified life:

 

Step 1: Make a short list.

Make a short list of the 3 most important things in your life and prioritise them. This will do two things, it will increase the amount of time spent doing what you enjoy. Secondly it will allow you to focus on what is important to you.

If you are unsure what these three things are then to get clarity please answer the following questions:

What is most important to you?

What do you value most?

What 3 things do you most want to do in your life?

Step 2: Set limits!

Set limits for things you do regularly, i.e. email, TV, tasks, feeds, etc. and stick with the limits without exceptions! For example you might set a limit to reading your emails to 30 minutes per day.

 

Step 3: Simplify your TO-DO list!

Take a look at your daily TO-DO list if it is longer than 10 items, you can shorten it by eliminating and/or delegating some of the items listed.

Note that if you are not using a To Do list I strongly recommend you prepare one, it is an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal.

 

Step 4: Set aside time!

Set aside 30 minutes a day for thinking about how you could simplify your life further. Try to find ways of doing more of the things you love to do listed in Step 1.

How can you find 30 minutes a day?

Wouldn’t that be challenging? We never have enough time in a day to do the things we plan, so how is it possible to include this thinking time? Was this the first thing that came to your mind as you were reading step 4? I know where you are coming from but think about the time you spend watching TV, surfing the internet, reading and writing emails, etc. I am sure if you want it and it is your priority, you will find your 30 minutes a day and you will enjoy it!

 

Step 5: Tidy up your desk and your email inbox!

When your desk and email inbox are clean and tidy, you will have an amazing feeling! You will accomplish more things in a day, if you don’t believe me, try it!

Here are some tips to tidy up your desk:

1. Clear everything off your desk and put it in a pile.

2. For each item, taken from top to bottom of the pile, deal with it immediately, do not defer your decision for later, you either file it in the right folder or put it on your desk if it is an object or put it in the rubbish.

3. Repeat it until your pile and your desk is clear and tidy, make sure to get rid of any bits and pieces.

4. Your desk should have only your computer/laptop, your folders and inbox cabinet and a notepad. This is what a clear and tidy desk is!

5. From now on, put everything in your folder and inbox cabinet and at least once a day, process it in the same way as above.

Here are some tips to clear out your email inbox:

1. Process them top to bottom.

2. For each email, you can make the following choices: delete, archive, respond immediately, forward or mark it with a star and note it on your to-do list to respond to later and after dealing with them, archive them.

3. Process each email like that until your inbox is empty.

4. Each time you check your email, process to empty it according to step 2.

Step 6: Work Smarter!

Find the most efficient and effective strategy to fulfil your task on a daily basis, in this way you will be more productive and have more time to enjoy what you love doing!

 

Step 7: Single tasking!

When focusing on your most important tasks listed in step 1 remove all distractions. It is imperative you resist any urge to check emails, phone messages or any other habitual errands. Stick to that one task until you have completed it.

I hope that the tips provided above will be useful and assist you to simplify your life. Take heed and do each step every day and watch how things change! Let me know how you get on!

Life is simple and short therefore we have to live it to the fullest and enjoy it!

To simplifying your life,

Viv :-)