If you were to walk into any gym you would see people of all shapes and sizes exercising. You may see the guy in the corner finishing up a set of “ABS” and then lifting up his shirt to see if he now has developed a six pack. You may see the businessman texting on his phone as he spins aimlessly on a bike. The point that I want to stress is that everyone has their own way of training which is fine but I would like to share with you five habits of successful exercise.
1. Exercise must be mindful
In her book Deep Nutrition Dr. Catherine Shanahan, M.D. talks about the benefits of mindful exercise for fat loss. Let me ask you a question, do you have a plan every time you go into the gym or do you just ‘wing it’ and go through the same routine day in and day out? Do you zone out on the bike while watching Judge Judy? Your mind needs to play a key role in your training. Here is one way you can do this. This week either train outside or try something totally new to stimulate a new response for your body.
2. Monitor your progress
If you are a runner do you track your distance? If your goal is fat loss are you tracking your RECOVERY between intervals? My point is you need to monitor your results. For less than $100 you can purchase a very good heart rate monitor. Instead of just saying “I feel better” let's track some numbers to show the real benefits of your hard work. If we start to measure something we can then improve on our results.
3. Have the END in mind
What is your goal? What are you trying to obtain? Is it fat loss you’re after or is your goal to do 10 pull ups? Having the end in mind BEFORE your start is a powerful motivator for people.
4. Everything matters
Congratulations on having just finished a 45-minute spin class at 6 am. Good for you. However if you go home and eat all processed food, drink energy drinks and caffeine all day and stay up past midnight playing Candy Crush you will see no benefits from the spin class. We all know that sleep, hydration, nutrition and happiness all play a key role in our health but how many of us are giving our bodies what it actually needs? Contrary to what most people think, over the course of the day the “little things” really matter in the end.
5. Time management
We are all pressed for time these days. Some people are fortunate and they may have 60-75 minutes per day to train. Others like me have a smaller window where we need to manage our day to ensure that we get in a training session. When I go to the gym I see so many people wasting time. They may do a set and then spend the next three minutes complaining about how the sauna is broken for the third time this month. Or you have the group of ladies arguing about one person taking ‘their’ spin bike.
Give me a break. Next time you train, have a plan and get after it. I'm not saying you can't say hello to people but your time is precious. Get in, get out and get on with your day!
Start to build good, healthy habits and monitor your progress. You will see some strong gains in how you look, feel and perform.
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