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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

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.

Topics: exercise nutrition stress goal setting attitude

Sabotage: Overcoming Mental Obstacles to Fitness Success

I had a great conversation with one of youSabotage Warriors
about the fact that challenges of “change” are not found only in the kitchen and in the gym. A huge challenge can come from your social circle, friends and family. It’s a common issue with recovering alcoholics, when their so-called friends liked them better when they were a drunk. The same dynamic can happen to someone who is trying to lose weight and be strong, fit, healthy and happy. Unfortunately, some people in your inner circle can be big players in sabotaging your success (cue the Beastie Boys).

Why Your Friends Might Not Want You to Be Healthy

There are many reasons why someone might take this stance and aid in your backslide into unhealthy behaviors. I think the biggest one is that they are not happy with themselves, and it hurts them to see someone improve, so they react negatively to your improvement. Maybe it’s a quick insult, or they minimize what you have accomplished simply to bring you back down to where they are and how they feel.  

My recommendations here are limited because there is just one: Build a better inner circle! Be involved with likeminded people and ditch those who are not. This may sound harsh, but consider it happy or unhappy, healthy or diseased, life or death.

The Drawbacks of Being Seen as a Fitness Expert

Another challenge of success is that now everybody considers you to be the expert, and all they wish to talk about is nutrition and exercise. Some people relish this. If that is you, fantastic. Inspire millions. For some, it is a battle everyday to stay focused and on track, and discussing it all the time could bring some pretty emotional stuff to the forefront that could result in some negative behavior.

I feel that, like everything else, this has to be in balance. It’s great that family and friends see you as someone who can help, but if your improvement plan is still in progress, you may not be in the place to offer advice and solutions over and over again without some backlash. If you are that person who has reached the point of feeling comfortable talking to others about your progress and the steps that got you there, you have to keep your focus on others in balance with the focus on yourself.

How to Deal with People Who Want Fitness Advice

My wife, a professional massage therapist, had a very good way to deter people from constantly talking about aches and pains. When someone would mention what the ailment was (after finding out that she was a therapist), she would simply say “I would see someone about that.” That was her way of balancing the conversation. Here are a few ways to help you balance your conversations:

  • Say “Thank you for noticing all of my hard work. What have you done today to better yourself?”
  • Change the subject.
  • Remove yourself from a conversation that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Be choosy about the events you attend.
  • Have a support system in place.
  • Journal.
  • Give them my card (just kidding, but I do have extras).

Be safe out there and keep a lookout for the sabotage. It could be closer than you think.

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Health Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.


Topics: NIFS exercise fitness nutrition fitness center motivation attitude

Alicia Peters: Training for the NIFS Summer Showdown

School is in session and the six weeks of training for the NIFS Summer Showdown are complete! Participants completed a workout of “partner 100s” at the beginning of the program for time. Each pair trained with a NIFS Health and Fitness Specialist to get better at the exercises required to complete the partner 100 Summer Showdown workout. After six weeks of intense training, plenty of sweat, and just plain hard work, the teams completed the Summer Showdown workout a second time to see how their times decreased. There are no winners or losers in the Summer Showdown. Each pair competed to beat their own time…and succeeded!

Alicia Peters is in the spotlight as she shares her experience of what it was really like to train for the Summer Showdown as she prepared for her upcoming wedding!

NAME: Alicia PetersNIFS member


I am 26, live and work in the Indianapolis area, and like to stay fit! I particularly enjoy participating in group classes at NIFS.


Summer Showdown


I was encouraged to join the program by Stephanie, who is one of my favorite staff members! I always get a good workout when I participate on her program teams. The timing was perfect because I am getting married in September and the extra motivation to get to the gym for class was helpful during these months leading up to the wedding.


My fiancé was my partner for the Summer Showdown program, so this was something fun for
us to do together!


I was surprised by how challenging some of the exercises were—especially the ropes/cones and the inverted TRX rows!


I like the TRX suspended push-up.


I’ve noticed that my arms are a little more toned*!


Getting up at 5am for the gym is NEVER easy, but where there’s a will there’s a way!


I feel better physically and also feel more confident when I exercise.


Thank you for offering these great programs!

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

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Topics: NIFS fitness center motivation group training NIFS programs