Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When what seems impossible, becomes possible: Setting and achieving goals

My wife and I watched a great movie this past weekend called McFarland USA.  If you have not watched this movie, I highly recommend it.  The movie is based on a true story and is about a boys’ cross country team in a small town in California that had many challenges to overcome to compete and succeed. While I was watching the movie, it made me think about how everyone can relate to this team’s struggle in comparison to the everyday struggles we have to be healthy. There were a few points I took away that can help us be victorious in our goals to be and stay healthy.
  First, you need to have a goal of what you want to accomplish. The goal should be precise with a time frame attached to it. I ask people to write down their goals, and many times they write very vague, open-ended goals. The team in the movie set a very specific goal, they wanted to win a state championship at the end of their season.  Our goals should also be specific.  For example, I want to be at a certain body fat percentage by the end of 2015. Don't be afraid to aim high, but also be realistic on the time frame for what you are trying to accomplish.
  Once you establish the goal, then the real work begins.  This is one thing that viewers don’t think about when watching a movie.   We get excited about how a movie ends, but we don't think about the struggle and hard work that it took to reach that outcome. So, the second thing is to have a daily focus. It's easy to write days off and forget what your goals are and why you are doing what you are doing.  I’ve been guilty of this, and I’ll say I don't feel like working out today or eating right today. But those days usually lead to many bad days in a row. If you can be consistent in your daily activities you can accomplish your goals. The point is not just about being healthy, but also being successful in other things like raising our children, doing our jobs, or going to school. If we had a daily focus to do our best work, we would be unstoppable. Just focus on one day at a time.
 The last thing I learned from the movie is it’s better to accomplish things with others help than on our own. If you ever played a sport and everyone was on the same page, I bet your team was successful. It's the same with our health, if you have others there to push you and encourage you the task will be easier. I used to workout by myself all the time. I would struggle with my workouts at times, so I asked a friend to workout with me. What a difference that made for me! I push myself so much more, and on the days I don't feel like doing what I should, I have someone to hold me accountable. We've even added to the group, and it has been that much more beneficial. So, find someone that can give you that accountability in helping you with accomplishing your goals. 
What really got me excited from this movie are the parallels I draw from this cross country team to our Training For Warriors groups. At TFW we have challenges that we do quarterly that we can use to gauge how our fitness levels have improved, which in turn are helping us accomplish our personal goals of better health and smaller waistlines, etc.  At TFW there are daily workouts that help us achieve our goals, but also guidelines for nutrition and rest to get the most from our training. If you follow these, you will be ahead of the game. Finally, this biggest thing I took from the movie that parallels TFW is the teamwork. We want everyone to be encouraging, and to not just focus on yourself but helping others as well. We use the term Familia to describe what TFW is all about. There were family members on the team in the movie, but the entire team acted like a family.
  If you are interested in learning more about TFW please contact me, and if not at least watch the movie, I think you will enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the beginning...

               Working out and eating right are not just things you do to get ready for the beach or for a wedding that you’re attending, even though those occasions are great motivators.  Working out and eating right are how you achieve a healthy lifestyle. This is not something I learned the easy way, but when I did come to this realization it drastically changed how I live my life.  Let me share with you my journey to becoming a personal trainer.  I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not love sports.  Like most teenagers, I played multiple sports all through high school. I even went on to play soccer and basketball in my college years.  During this time, I fell in love with weight lifting. My dad had given me his old weights and he taught me how to use them.  My activity level drastically decreased after my college years, but my eating habits, unfortunately, stayed the same and possibly even got worse.  A couple of years into this new sedentary lifestyle, I looked at a picture of myself and realized just how overweight I had become and it really bothered me.  At the same time, I started playing recreational sports and realized how this extra weight was really affecting my performance.  I decided then that something had to change, so I set out on a journey to get back into shape.  
            It was not easy at first, but I tried to stay focused on my goals and to be consistent in training and eating well.  My strategy was to run for my cardio three times a week and do strength training three times a week. For my diet I started eating every three to four hours and didn't worry as much about what I ate but rather how much I was eating.  Since then I have learned that what you put into your body is also very important, but I’ll save that for a future post.  I started my fitness journey around the middle of February that year and by the end of April I had lost 25 pounds and had become addicted to a healthy lifestyle.  I was young then and my greatest motivation was to look good and to be able to perform well when I played sports.  As I started getting older, my focus started to change from just looking good to realizing how important it was for my health and well being.  I also yearned to share my passion with others by helping them to reach and maintain their fitness goals.  I realize how much of a struggle it is to eat well and to find time to exercise as you try to balance family and job responsibilities.  I have two little boys who take up a lot of the free time that I used to have to go for a run or play sports, but just like everything in life you have to learn what's important and what can be given up.  
            I feel like the struggles I had with my weight and health have helped me to be a better personal trainer.  I think it helps me with assessing where my clients might also be struggling and shows me how to help them overcome those struggles and achieve their health and fitness goals.  As I said previously, it is a lifestyle and it must be approached this way in order to maintain your weight and health.  If you reach your goal and then fall right back into your previous lifestyle and bad habits, then you will also fall back into your old body.  So, today I have shared a little of my journey to show what has led me to my rewarding career as a personal trainer.  In future posts, I plan to give advice and tips that will help others in making healthy lifestyle changes.