Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Put me in coach!

The first dive into the oasis of healthy living is setting goals for ourselves. What's the point of working towards something if you don't know what you're set out to achieve?

I can't even go on a run outside without knowing where I am going and what should be the finish line!

It's important to set long term goals for health and short term goals as a road map to how your going to get there. The long term goals are important in order to achieve the ideal life style and outlook on health. The short term goals are immediate actions and successes you will do in order to work towards the bigger picture. I can't tell you how many short term goals I have made in order to work towards being happy and strong.

The wonderful thing about the human body is that it's adaptable, not only in healing but in growing as well. Over a year ago, I made the commitment to do an 8-day open water kayaking course with Outward Bound. Naturally my upper body is slender, and well... I have some gangly, long arms. So in order to be fit for the trip I spent hours of muscle building and kranking (upper body cycling) for three months to build my arm strength. For the trip it was perfect, I was one of the better kayakers, but honestly, my clothes were tight and comfortable, and I felt bulky and burley. Then after the trip I focused on getting back into cardio, and tried yoga for a month to length my muscles back out. And lets just say, I don't look like a man anymore.

During the time I was working towards my goal of being a professional wave cruiser I resulted to posting my workout regimen on the refrigerator as a daily reminder of what I needed to accomplish. After every workout I would get to highlight what I completed that day. Not only did this method keep me accountable to myself and my goals, but also got my roommates involved, because I made them promise to hassle me if I failed to do any exercise that day. Of course, my roommates merely made joking side comments, but it also made me conscious of what other activities I did that day instead and whether it was worth it to miss a workout. And no, watching a Man vs. Food marathon on Travel Channel didn't match up! In this case, I couldn't miss my strength training because it meant that I would have been unfit and a liability on my trip, and while it might seem extreme it worked and I accomplished my goals!

Every time I get bored with a workout or feel my body plateau then I start to assess a new workout and what I want to accomplish with the next set of goals. Its feels so good to know that I have reached my past goals and can move forward on to the next.

Most importantly with setting goals, is to start small and first get your feet wet before doing a cannon ball.
This can be applied to eating and exercising habits.
With exercise, its important to progress, your body isn't going to be able to run 5+ miles to start, so begin at 2 miles or 20 mins of jogging and each week add distance or time. Along with strength training, start with light weight or resistance then as you feel it get easier add more weights or repetitions.
However, no matter what the exercise, the workout should never be easy.
If you want to get in shape than every workout should challenge your body. The only way people grow in mind and body is to overcome challenges! So throw a few curve balls into your workout to continue to trick and test your body once a workout becomes comfortable.
Furthermore, with eating, if your goal is to loose weight, then start off by cutting down proportions of food, and then eliminating the bad crap out of your diet and replacing them with better fuel.

Here is an article that helps with setting certain types of goals.

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