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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Finding the Motivation to Swim Pays Off!

swim-blognewYou have heard it over and over again: If you are not swimming, you are missing out on a great low-impact, total-body workout. If you were sore from beating yourself up from running on the roads or lifting earlier in the week, you will find yourself feeling much better after a good swim.

If you are like me, though, swimming is not your first choice of exercise, and you find it hard to find the motivation to get to the pool when there are so many other options that you find more enjoyable. 

I am fortunate enough to have a great group of ladies who are committed to heading over to the IU Natatorium twice a week to get in a good swim session. Swimming is not my favorite fitness activity, but it has grown on me and I know that it has great health and fitness benefits*. So I have convinced myself that I need to do it! Even though we are all very committed and consistent with our swimming, we still try to talk each other out of it.

Common discussion and thoughts before and on our way to the pool:

  • Are we really going? Why are going? What if we just go run or bike or lift or do yoga instead?
  • I can’t go today. I just went spray tanning.
  • I think Starbucks is open?
  • Cold walk all the way over there! Can we go to the steam room, sauna, or whirlpool instead (or before)? 
  • I really shouldn’t even go until I get my new suit, which will be on its way as soon as I order it.
  • Wait, should we check to see if the pool is closed today?
  • Am I out of visits? Too bad if I am, because I don’t have my wallet.
  • Oh no, there are no empty lanes. Maybe we should do this another time?
  • The water is so cold…is this colder than it usually is? Why are we doing this? Can we go get coffee instead? It’s not too late!
  • Is the warm pool open today?
  • We have been sitting here with our feet in for 15 minutes. If we don’t get in soon, we will have to leave.
What we are thinking during the workout:
  • What is the workout again? 
  • If I can get through this, I can have coffee after.
  • This is hard. I can’t breathe. My arms are tired. Why I am not getting better?
  • I kind of need to use the restroom…I think I can hold it…I better just hold it.
  • Why do I do this to myself?
  • This pool got really hot all of the sudden.
  • Wow, I’m getting better at this! I am fast!
What we talk about and think about after:
  • That was great! I feel so much better than I did before we started.
  • I am awesome!
  • When are we coming back this week?
  • What is our next workout? I think I need more speed work next week.
  • I really need to buy longer fins and a new swim cap.
  • I am going to sleep good tonight.
  • I can’t wait for this warm shower and lunch.
  • Why do we complain so much? I now understand why people have a hard time committing to exercise. But it feels great at the end!
  • Another one in the books!*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.
This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: motivation swimming accountability nifs staff attitude

The Right Attitude to Get You Moving

ThinkstockPhotos-179777962-1“Start somewhere today. Don’t put it off. You can do something, no matter how ‘small’ you think it is in terms of your long-term goal. Every step you take is one you’ll be thankful for when you get there. Remember: You're lapping everyone who’s still on the couch.” —Caressa Sharp

You see the quote above? It screams at you to get moving, doing something. In this post we talked about doing 95 percent of the work. Have you tried? If so, bravo. If not, why not?

In my quest to make you enjoy your workouts, it seems you may need more encouraging. Okay; if you started, there’s no need to be chastised. You’re on your way. Just keep at it! Let me talk to you, those who have not moved off the couch.

I made an interesting observation while attending my son’s sixth-grade (first year in middle school) open house: The teachers with the best attitude had many posters about positive attitudes, while the dull, monotone teachers had none. My take from this is to surround yourself with so much good attitude, including words, pictures, and people.

Group Training May Be the Answer

The people you workout with can pull you along. The problem just may be finding them. At NIFS, there is a great group of active older adults “kickin’ their own butts” as I like to say (I even told them this and they laughed).

We have started small group training for this very reason. I am looking for members who are searching for a training partner or group to help them get moving. If you are interested, please contact me.

Bottomline we want to find you and help you get healthier. DEMO classes are a great way to see if a training group would be just the kick in the pants you need. Any task done with a friend or partner is much easier accomplished—even if those people aren’t exactly your “best buds.”

Get active, stay active, live better!

Yes! I want to try small group training

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, NIFS Personal Trainer. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: staying active group fitness group training attitude

Top 5 Tips for Morning Workouts

466265051As a natural-born morning person, many people frequently ask what my secret is for bursts of energy before the sun rises. While I may naturally be a morning person, there are a few things that I do in order to guarantee a successful morning workout because, believe it or not, there are times that even I find it hard to drag my bod to the gym to start my day.

Here are my top 5 tips that will prepare you for a successful morning workout.

1. Plan it into your schedule. 

Personally, I can’t just wake up and “wing it” when it comes to my workouts. I need to have something planned ahead of time. Whether it’s meeting a friend for a workout, taking my favorite group fitness class, or planning out a treadmill run, taking the guessing game out of my morning workout gives me something to look forward to and helps me mentally prepare the evening before.

2. Lay out your clothes and anything you need for the next day the night before.

Even though I may be a morning person, it still takes me a bit longer to do things first thing in the morning. Also, if I have my clothes (shoes, socks, and undies included!) already laid out, I feel like there are no excuses keeping me from the gym if I wake up feeling a little less than motivated. If I am going somewhere after the gym (like straight to work), I make sure to have all bags packed, ready to go, and laying by the door so I don’t have to do any extra work when I first wake up.

3. Pack/plan breakfast.

For me, I always eat a little bite of something before my early morning workouts. Despite my little pre-workout snack, I am almost always starving by the end of my morning workout and I’m ready for an actual meal. Packing a breakfast (something like overnight oats or hard-boiled eggs and fruit) allows me to get the nutrients I need to start my day so that I keep that energized feeling going throughout the day. Having a healthy breakfast packed and ready to go also helps me avoid less healthy yet ultra convenient breakfast options.

4. Go to bed early.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I honestly think it’s the most important thing on the list. Sleep is so, so important, and if you stay up late or get inadequate sleep, you won’t be doing your body any favors. Getting enough shut-eye will ensure that you are strong for your morning workout and in a great mood throughout the rest of the day.

5. Remember how great you will feel AFTER.

You know that feeling you get after a super-sweaty workout—energized from the inside out, that slight shake in the muscles as a little reminder of the hard work you put in, and you look at the clock and realize most people haven’t even eaten breakfast yet! For me, that feeling of “getting it done” before the day has even started is invaluable. Now, when you come home exhausted from a draining day at work, you can kick back and relax without a hint of guilt.

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: healthy habits motivation workouts attitude

Healthy Living: Just Be Yourself

126868686For people new to fitness, creating a healthy body image can be as challenging as creating a workout or diet plan. What do we consider healthy and why?

Unfortunately, for the majority of our lives, Americans have been shown and told through various media what it means to be healthy. This heavy load of misguided information can lead individuals down the road to anorexia, depression, low self-esteem and unhealthy choices. The obsession with body image can be overwhelming, but with good advice, a smart goal set in mind, and a positive attitude, you may have a clearer path to fitness prosperity and healthy living.

Change Your Attitude

As cheesy as it may sound, the first thing you will want to do to reprogram your outlook is to list a minimum of 10 good things about yourself that have nothing to do with appearance. Then set some realistic goals, keeping in mind that you should not compare yourself to others in that we are all given a completely unique set of DNA and are different. Fad diets only work in the short term, provide little to no answer and can compromise your health by creating a “yo-yo” effect.

Tools for Getting Started on Your Fitness Journey

In moving forward with your program, there are some tools that can be very effective and healthy to get you on your way. For individuals wanting to know how many calories they should consume in a day, there is the Resting Metabolic Rate test (RMR for short). The RMR test can tell you if your calorie intake is too much or too little for what your body and goals require.

For the scale obsessed, I suggest a much healthier option, the BodPod, which measures body fat percentage and composition. Your body composition is linked to health; risky high body fat percentage is linked to various health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Yet another option could be meeting with a registered dietician (RD). An RD is educated and trained to help you excel in your goals using wiser diet and nutrition choices, along with exercise. Find out more about NIFS nutritional coaching options.

With all the pros of having a positive body image, including improved self confidence, lower stress and a healthier body, the only question is, “Why didn’t I start sooner?” Your first step to fitness prosperity lies right in front of you. Take a chance with a new outlook and just be you.

Start your new journey right with a free fitness assessment at NIFS.

Free Fitness Assessment

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, NIFS Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits motivation weight loss attitude

Sports and Character: 5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Playing Football

152141547The fall season is probably my favorite time of year. The weather is just how I like it, crisp and comfortable during the day and cool at night. The colors that arrive with the turning of the leaves are a demonstration of how creative Mother Nature can be. There is another phenomenon that takes place during this time of year that I anticipate all summer long, and that is FOOTBALL!

This is the time of year that all levels, from peewee to the pros, are padding up and participating in a game that I have loved and played my entire life. I took my first snap when I was 5, and the game has been a part of my life ever since. From the time I was an undersized defensive lineman, a coach, and now as a super fan, football has provided so many fond memories and learning opportunities.

With football in full swing, I find myself thinking of the times I spent in two-a-day practices, Friday night games, and early Saturday film sessions. Flash forward to my time as a coach of some very talented young men as they got started on their football journey as I did so long ago. Through all of these experiences and all of these years being around the game of football, I have learned so much about so many aspects of life that I have carried with me, and which has had tremendous impact on my life. Lessons of character, hard work, and being part of something bigger than yourself are ones that I would have never learned in a classroom. I would like to share with you the top 5 lessons I have learned from being around this great sport of football.

Setting Goals

Preseason was a time to set goals for what we wanted to accomplish as a team for that season. We would usually post these in some fashion that acted as reminder of what we were working so hard for. This was a very important step toward our success and I was lucky enough to have coaches who held the standard of knowing what you want to accomplish, writing it down, and keeping it visible. Of course my goals are much different these days, but the process is still the same. Write down your goals and make them visible as a daily reminder of where you want to go.

Be On Time

This should go without saying: punctuality says a great deal about you as an individual. A huge lesson I learned is that you don’t let coach beat you to the practice field. You were to be strapped up and ready to go at the start of practice, or you were given a choice of “up/downs” (you know these as burpees) or “gassers.” Either one was not very fun in full gear. To this day, I get pretty anxious if I feel I may be late for whatever it may be. I learned long ago that it is always better to be waiting on whoever I am meeting with—not the other way around. Burpees still are not very fun!

The Bigger the Dream, the Better the Team

During my last season as player, our team was nicknamed “The Dirty 30,” and it was a name we embraced fully. This name had nothing to do with us playing “dirty”; it illustrated our small team of 30 varsity players doing what it took as a team to reach our pinnacle. We all played a role in any successes—or failures, for that matter. We embraced that responsibility as a team, and we worked together to make us better. What I learned then is something that is apparent to me every day: you can’t do it alone. I talk a great deal about forming your “Power Circle” and using those like-minded individuals to help you succeed in life in any capacity. Making the others around you better and being more excited about their successes than your own will always pay huge dividends.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake

“Fly around and don’t be afraid to make a mistake” was a phrase I heard a lot during my days as a player. Being in your head too much and holding back for fear of missing an assignment or failing usually led to missing that assignment and failing. More importantly, it would rob you of the opportunity to learn. I learned a huge lesson in those days, that success is a result of failing. In his book Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, John Maxwell defines adversity as the catalyst of learning, and problems are opportunities of learning. If you blow an assignment on one play, in a matter of seconds you get the opportunity to learn from that mistake and not commit it again on the next play. That’s learning, and it’s that learning that leads to success. Mistakes are inevitable in life, but growth is optional. Don’t shy away from risk; embrace it.

Being Yelled at Is a Good Thing

One of the biggest lessons I learned playing the sport I love so much is that when coach is yelling at you, it’s a good thing. I remember being told a few times that when coach stops yelling at you, that’s when you should be worried. At the time, I thought my coach was crazy for saying that, because it was never fun when coach got inside your facemask and ripped your head off.

But soon after leaving the game and moving on with my life, I realized what my coaches meant. They believed that I was better than I was performing at that particular moment, and they were not going to let me quit or be satisfied with mediocrity. So when coaches would stop yelling at you, it meant that you might have peaked and their help would more than likely not make you better. I know it may sound weird, but I think it’s okay to be told “you suck” (not actually, of course) from time to time. It gives you a little knot in your stomach, and it’s that knot that makes you want to be better. I think it’s when we lose that knot in our stomachs that we have, at some level, given up. If you have lost that knot in your stomach, reevaluate some things and find a coach to call you out now and again.

There are countless other lessons I gained from playing the great game of football. These are the top five that, without learning them, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have thus far. Nor would I understand that learning and growing are no way near over. I hope you were able to gather some takeaways from the lessons I have described. If nothing else, please leave with this: Never Be Satisfied!

To see how NIFS can help you train for any competitive sport, click here to learn more.

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, Health Fitness Specialist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: motivation goal setting attitude mental team training sports

Why 95 Percent Effort in Your Workouts Can Be All You Need

179095316Everyone is demanding you give 100 percent effort on this exercise program or that workout plan. We say (or you hear), “You need to give 110 percent to achieve results. Or even better, “You’re nothing if you don’t give me your all.”

Your entire life, the pros keep hammering the same things. But what if you just can’t give that 100+ percent? My guess is it will kill your motivation, and you will not give any percent. This article is for all of you who are so far from being a “workout junkie” that you would not know a dumbbell from a kettlebell. (A kettle-what? Yeah, just as I thought.) So I ask you: If you give 95 percent effort, isn't that better than 100 percent of nothing?

Yes, 95 Percent Is a Lot Better Than Nothing

Think about this:

  • If you put only 95 percent of a tank of gas in your car, it will still run, right?
  • In school, if your kid brings home a paper with a 95 percent on it, it will still be an “A,” won’t it?
  • If you eat only 95 percent of the food you order in a restaurant, you will be full, won’t you? (And you will actually save yourself many unnecessary calories.)
If you’re still sitting on the couch waiting for the workout wagon to come and swoop you up (it won’t, by the way, but it is still stopped outside waiting for you), give my 95-percent-effort routine a try.

The Other 5 Percent

What about the other 5 percent, you ask? Well, I just want you to smile. Yes, you read correctly. Just smile. Be thankful for what your body just gave you. Your effort will be “A” work, and that smile will do wonders for your stress levels.

Smiles are generally divided into two categories:

  • Standard smiles, which use the muscles surrounding the mouth.
  • Genuine or Duchenne smiles, which engage the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes.

Previous research shows that positive emotions can help during times of stress and that smiling can affect emotion. Here’s what you will do: Move your arms and legs, hold your core (plank), and get your heart rate up. Give 95 percent of your effort; and when that is done, give yourself 5 percent of a big ole smile!

See my previous blog post from our Fit and Forty Plus (Fabulous) series and get yourself moving. You will soon be ready for the next step: THE WORKOUT JUNKIE (or not).

Reminder, before starting any exercise program, make sure you get a checkup from your doctor. If you do any moves that cause pain, please stop and get medical advice.

Good luck, and make your 95 percent your best, and your 5 percent smile so big we can’t wipe if off!

This blog was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

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Topics: exercise fitness motivation workouts attitude

The Battle to Keep the Right Fitness Attitude

the-battleDo you ever think about who you once were and how it compares to who you are now? What is different? Do you like the differences between the two? While you contemplate, think about how you became who you are today: the process, the trials, the ups and the downs, the victories and the losses, and maybe most importantly the way you now process thoughts and behavioral triggers.

My road hasn’t always been easy. This might be hard for you to believe, but I wasn’t always the happy-go-lucky guy I am today (wink, wink). I know, I can be a little intense, but I used to be far worse. I had to make a change! I have had some help along the way—mainly my beautiful wife, Teri. It has still been a battle, but one I am now happy to fight.

One passage I came across, a Cherokee legend, really spoke to me about my journey. Maybe it will speak to you as well.

The Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that was going on inside himself.

He said, “My son, it is between two wolves. One is evil: anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.”

I know the “evil wolf” remains as my former self, lying dormant until I feed it with old behaviors. I feel this is how I process challenges now, and I refuse to indulge the negative thoughts, actions, and attitude that will wake the wolf I have worked so hard to quiet.

Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager and leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at ELITE.

 

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Topics: fitness fitness center motivation attitude

Four Common Character Traits in People Who Exercise Consistently

exercise priority

Do you find yourself to be inconsistent with your fitness routine? One week you are completing all aspects of your program without missing a beat, and the next you are struggling to get just one workout in? There is a laundry list of ideas for people to adapt to keep themselves on track with their fitness routine, but what are the major character traits seen in individuals who have a consistent workout routine? The best part about these traits is that they can be developed by anyone over time!

1. Exercise Is Valued

Whether material or moral based, things that we consider valuable in our lives are given a much higher priority than things that are not. People who are able to stick to an exercise routine place a value on exercise. This may be something that has been inherent and always a part of their life, or something newly developed based on how they have benefited from exercise itself. They have witnessed how exercise has added value to their life overall.

Think about how adding a consistent exercise routine will add value to your life, whether it is for improved health, some type of outlet, or any reason that you believe makes it valuable to you.

2. Accountability Is Apparent

Not everyone benefits from the same form of accountability, but this can be achieved in different ways and is apparent with those who have a successful routine. Some people are successful with holding themselves accountable and are guided by the voice in their head. They may take it a step further and write down what they have done and plan to do to have a visual form of accountability. Others join a group and find accountability through a coach or the other individuals that are looking for similar results.

Having a group is an excellent source of accountability; if you start to miss workouts, it will not go unnoticed, and you will have a large group of people there to help you stay on track. Others just need one person to stay accountable to their routine, whether it is a friend that is joining them a few days a week or a supportive family member checking up on them regularly. If you are lacking accountability to your fitness routine, give each of these forms of accountability a try and see which you have the most success with!

3. Satisfaction Is Measured

Finding the right balance of opportunities in our life that bring us satisfaction in a healthy way is important. At the end of a long week, it is common to reflect and determine how satisfyingly the week went in all aspects of life. Individuals who see their fitness routines as a valuable aspect of their life reflect on how satisfied they are with sticking with their fitness routine that week. No, these individuals are not always satisfied at the end of the week. Many miss a workout or two for one reason or the other during the week, but they reflect and determine why they missed it. If they are satisfied with the reason that they missed a workout, they will move past it quickly since it was probably missed due to something else of high value in their life. But if they are unsatisfied with their reason for missing, they will look for a way to ensure that it does not happen the following week.

If you do not find satisfaction from exercise currently, consider trying different forms. You might not have found the right fitness niche to achieve this, or to determine whether exercise is a value to you yet.

4. Prioritizing Is Plannedcalendar

There is always an underlying reason that exercise has become a priority for these individuals. Whether they started to exercise because they were told they should to improve their overall health, they exercise to satisfy a competitive drive, or they have just done it for so long that it is a part of their daily life, these individuals will always make their exercise routine a priority. Although they still may miss a workout, they develop a plan that will best ensure that they will have time to make this priority happen during the week.

Two examples of this include waking up early to make it into the gym before work instead of after because of another obligation that came up during your regularly slated time, or having a backup plan available at home if getting out to go to the gym is not going to be an option. Here are some other ways to help make exercise a priority.

The best part about these traits is that they can all be developed if you are lacking in one or more right now! If you are struggling to stick to a fitness routine, take a look at yourself and see where you stack up with them. Learning to develop these traits as they relate to you individually will help you to stick to your exercise routine.

If you are ready to make exercise a priority in your life NIFS is here to help. Membership at NIFS includes a personal assessment and training programs designed for you by a Health Fitness Specialist. Try NIFS free for 14-days and see how we can help you make exercise a priority.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise healthy habits motivation group training attitude workout

Humble Pie: A Fitness Pro Struggles with a New Workout Program

NIFS Personal Trainer Tony Maloney

Stop me if this sounds familiar: “I am terrible at this new workout program. I don’t feel that I am doing it right, and I think I am just going to quit and go back to the familiar.” If you have thought this to yourself, you are not alone. Many people who have started a program have felt this way and have wanted to give up, but I won’t let them give up. I recently found myself on the other side of this process. As a fitness professional it is not easy to accept that you need help moving, and that you can’t do a certain movement or exercise.

Getting Help from a Movement Specialist

I visited a movement specialist to remedy an ongoing shoulder ailment and a newly acquired knee issue. I had to seek an expert because what I was doing just was not getting it done. I was tired of being in pain and not being able to move the way I have grown accustomed to. So I needed some help. I was assessed, and given a program that I was confident would get me back to getting after it in the gym.

I worked with a fitness coach to go over my newfound program and learn how to reset, realign, and fix my body back into shape. But it was not as simple as I thought it would be going in. I felt very confident about my physical abilities, but boy was I mistaken. I KNOW what it feels like to struggle with movement issues and following a program I am not familiar with and feel terrible at. I did not fare very well this day, the first day of a new workout program, and was very frustrated.

Wanting to Go Back to the Old Way

The next week I flew solo with the program to practice and work on the movements, only to build on my frustration and feelings of wanting to go back to the old way of doing things. But it was the old way of doing things that got me in the jam I am in today. Needless to say, I was quite humbled by my inability to pull off what was being asked of me. Now, I am a pretty big believer that a slice of humble pie from time to time is a good thing; it keeps you on your toes and makes you better than you were the day before. But my humility quickly turned to feelings of

  • Denial: There is no way I can’t do this; they must be telling me wrong.
  • Inadequacy: If I can’t do these movements, what else am I failing?
  • Embarrassment: I don't want to be seen by others as struggling.
  • Frustration (who am I kidding; I was ticked off): Am I ever going to get better?

Have you ever felt this way when starting a new workout program, job, or lifestyle change? Well, you are not alone! Those are hard emotions to overcome, and they are REAL! I think often during this process that if this is how I (someone who loves to move) feel, these types of feelings can be very high in someone who is just starting out or is at a low fitness level. I truly feel for this individual, and would love to pass on a message to them:

Don’t give up, because the goal is at your reach. But you have to do just that: REACH.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Get Support

Step out of your comfort zone to propel your progress and get closer to where you ultimately want to be. Seek out others who are experiencing some of the same things and join them in the gym or in a group training session and work together through the hard times. Failing is a staple of life. It’s how you react to it that will determine your path. Will you lie down and accept defeat, or get up and spit in its face? It’s your choice.

I am happy to report that I have continued with the program and have had great gains and am nearly pain free. I am just getting started, though; there's a long road ahead. But it is a road I no longer dread traveling, and humble pie can be a tasty reminder that struggle equals success!

If you like this article, follow me on Facebook at NIFS Elite - Tony Maloney.

Contact Tony to schedule a Free Fitness Assessment and step out of your exercising comfort zone.

Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager and Personal Trainer at NIFS. He leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Find out more about the NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: fitness center workouts group training nifs staff muscles attitude

The Prime Priorities for Health and Fitness Goals


It takes great commitment to set your mind on a goal and work toward it with gusto and perseverance! I love a particular quote that goes, “Everyone has the will to be a warrior, but only a warrior has the will to prepare.” The commitment it takes to train and not simply exercise is a virtue that we should all be striving for.
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Your pursuit of fitness goals should be a part of your daily life and not simply once you step into the gym. That commitment and discipline it takes to make your fitness and training a priority is what will lead to the results you seek. Don't confuse motion with progress. Blindly going through the steps of a workout and not committing oneself fully to the philosophy and training method as well as “staying in the fight” with your team is motion, and not progress. You must work to train this commitment level every day!

Following are my “Prime Priorities” that I hope will help you be successful in your individual life journeys. I feel these are the top three aspects of “you” that will not only help guide your path, but help you traverse it successfully.

Prime Priority #1: Get and Keep Your Head Right

Mental toughness is a key aspect of training. This toughness should not be exclusive to fitness, but also in daily life. If this Prime is not met, you will find yourself in a defeating cycle that will eventually lead you back down the dark and unhealthy path.

  • Awake each morning with a purpose and the notion that this day will be better than the last and work to make it as such.
  • List the things that are most important to you and make them your top priorities.
  • Surround yourself with likeminded people and remove those who are “toxic.” Create an inner circle of success, and not self-defeating nutritionindividuals who only want to bring you back down to their level of unhappiness.
  • Make time for you: at least 10 minutes a day with no distractions.
  • Identify your “stressors” and fill your toolbox to help you be aware and combat them.
  • Spend time, the most time, with those you love.
  • Laugh out loud as much as possible!

Prime Priority #2: Nutrition

This aspect of your daily life is easily tied with the #1 Prime Priority. But if you don’t nail #1, the other two Primes will eventually let you down.

  • Eat often, not a lot, mainly plants and animals (with thanks to author Michael Pollan).
  • Protein feeds growth, and good fats are not the enemy.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Follow the 90/10 rule: 90 percent of the time you are adhering to the above; 10 percent of the time you are not. This 10 percent should be guilt free and part of a healthy, balanced life.

Prime Priority #3: ExerciseWorkout partner

With perfect harmony between the top two Prime Priorities, this aspect of your life should be a breeze to balance, and the most fun!

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it intense.
  • Lift heavy things.
  • Have FUN.

Trust me, implement these Prime Priorities and you will immediately see a difference in how your day goes, and most importantly in how you view the world around you. If you concentrate on #1, the other two will follow!

Ready to make your health and fitness a priority? Start today by scheduling a fitness assessment with Tony!

Free Fitness Assessment

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, NIFS Fitness Center Manager. He leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at ELITE.

Topics: exercise nutrition stress goal setting attitude