May 27, 2010

Moving Through the Skinny Life: Motivation to Succeed

Congratulations for graduating the Moving Through the Skinny Life university! Last week you learned about the two different types of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic. Here is a quick review to jog your memory:

“Aerobic exercise is brisk physical activity that requires the heart and lungs to work harder to meet the body’s increased oxygen demand. Aerobic exercise does wonders for our body, including promoting the circulation of oxygen through our blood and strengthening our heart and lungs.”

-Aerobic exercise examples: running, stair climbing, hiking, swimming, bicycling.

“I like to think of anaerobic exercise as the essential key to efficient reflexes and physical responses. This is because anaerobic exercise is any activity in which the working muscles require and utilize oxygen at a faster rate than your body can supply it. Anaerobic exercise is short-term exercise lasting usually less than a minute before lactate and hydrogen ions bring muscle activity to a halt. Anaerobic exercise is essential to the functionality of our reflexes, the strength of our muscles, and the protection of our joints.”

-Anaerobic exercise examples: rock climbing, surfing, jumping on your trampoline, weight lifting.

After becoming an expert on what each type of movement was, I asked you to identify what type of exercise you were already engaging in. I also asked you to balance your movement routine by incorporating the exercise type that you weren’t already enjoying into your movement plan. We want to stoke the fires of your metabolism, get your heart and lungs in tip top shape, pump blood to your brain so it functions more effectively, make your bones and muscles stronger, and streamline your physique!

As I said last week, Moving Through the Skinny Life starts with doing something you enjoy. I don’t advocate a gym routine, unless that is what you enjoy doing! Because all change starts with the mind, if your mind is made up about disliking a particular activity, trying to force yourself to do it regularly isn’t going to work in the long run! And Living the Skinny Life is a permanent program, not a temporary solution!

So you aren’t a gym rat; how do you get the results you crave without breaking the bank or compromising your preferences? The day I began jumping on my trampoline I realized that I wasn’t in the greatest shape to jump. I also don’t enjoy going to a gym; it’s usually out of the way, and I have to rearrange my schedule to make it there. Part of my routine became walking my dogs, because I live right beside one of the beautiful mountains in Arizona. Pretty soon my dogs were getting in such great shape with me, that we were jogging!

One of the recreational activities I’ve always enjoyed was watching movies. When you have limited amounts of time to do what you like, it becomes hard to chose between spending an hour lifting weights or running on a treadmill, or watching the newest flick. Since I tend to watch movies at home anyways, I began to incorporate movement into my movie watching, and morning news. I started using a resistance band, by wrapping it around the back of a chair, and doing punches, bicep curls, and chest flies. Pretty soon my arms, back, and obliques were toned, strong, and lean! After a while I began to lay on the floor, loop one of my feet in the resistance band while holding each end with a hand on the ground, and doing calf presses.

It was all about convenience! Today I can fit my gym into a shoe box: tennis shoes, resistance bands, and 2 hand dumbbells. Oh! And don’t forget the ground you walk on (and a yoga mat if you enjoy stretching, meditating with the body, pilates, or dance)!

To ensure you’re successful in continuing Moving Through the Skinny Life, I want to make sure you’re always motivated, by tracking your progress. The good news is that today’s technology actually helps with this! Here are some suggestions below:

Digital Journaling Your Progress (for FREE!)-

  • If you’re glued to your computer day in, day out, it can be tough to motivate yourself to get up. What if part of your routine included using your computer? Introducing one of my favorite free forums, workout planner, and meal diary: On Spark People they give you a great meter to look at your results, a calculator to timeline your weight loss goals, workout plans, meal and calorie diary, and workout buddy search (as well as the option to blog, join in forums, and get free advice from experts). It’s a powerful tool, and you could easily track your progress and get motivated in that extra 15 minutes during your work hours.

  • On the run? Don’t let your road warrior status keep you from monitoring your activity! There are tons of smart phone apps ready for the everyday traveler.
    • For the iPhone, I suggest Lose It! A free app that works almost like sparkpeople. Track your exercise, food intake, and progress while you wait for your plane to board.

    • For the Blackberry, I suggest Calorie Tracker by Livestrong. Whether you want to calculate your fast food meal, or the calories burned rushing through the airport, it calculates it all for you, and it’s also free!

Find a Workout Buddy-

  • There are many ways to get a motivational fitness partner. I always suggest that when you’re making changes that effect your family to get them involved. Have your spouse go on walks with you, join your volleyball league, or have a contest for who can do the most pushups in one commercial break…make it fun!

  • If a family partner isn’t an option for you, ask friends who have similar desires for their fitness to join you. Make it a club, like a book club, but meet at a juice shop and exchange fitness secrets, or have a competition for the most pounds lost. This can also be a great activity in the work place!
  • Just don’t know anyone you’d want to buddy with when taking your hikes? Look at local community centers like the YMCA, for an activity board. Post a sign up sheet for workout partners, or give them a link to a facebook fan page you’ve created for your workout schedule or goals.
  • Last but not least, you can always look to the web for a great partner that’s can bring some new insights. Spark People gives you a workout buddy search tool, and so does Exercise Friends. You can also search for a local Meet Up Group that regularly has group outings for your favorite activity (or you could start your own!).

Rewarding Your Results-

Nothing says boring like exercising to lose weight, and not enjoying it. Don’t skimp on rewarding your results. Creating a system of reward for your exercise triumphs is a sure fire way to keep yourself motivated in the long run.

Keri, a girl friend of mine, loved to shop. When she realized that none of her clothes fit anymore, she knew it was time to get active. Rather than buy new, larger clothes, Keri made a contract for herself. For every size she dropped, she gave herself an allowance to buy a new outfit. By the time Keri’s beach vacation arrived that summer, her favorite bikini was too big! Imagine having that problem!

There are other methods of reward, like treating yourself to a movie, setting money aside for a dream trip, allowing yourself a small munchy. Whatever it is that tickles your fancy, having to work for it will only make it sweeter!

This week, my homework for you will fit into your pocket, into your schedule, and into your life!

  • Continue your movement plan, and find a convenient way to track it, whether it’s on your computer, in a notebook, or on your phone.
  • Find an exercise buddy (if you’re more of a lone wolf, get an accountability buddy or create a public forum to check in with family and friends, like the suggest Facebook fan page, or a Tumblr blog; a great example of a personal Tumblr blog used to track weight loss, among other things, is: Carl Connor). Schedule a couple of sessions a month to keep you motivated, with goals that each of you will encourage each other to reach.
  • Create a reward contract for your efforts. Be specific about your expectations and goals, and keep it somewhere where you’ll see it daily. I love the idea of setting your weekly goal as your desktop or phone background, and changing it when you complete it!

As your movement routine becomes a central and convenient part of your life, you’ll find that the benefits of exercise are easy to reach! And don’t forget to include me in your achievements-post on my Facebook Fanpage, in my Tumblr notes, or Twitter me with #skinnylife in the tweet. Sharing in your progress is one of the things I love most!

Cheers to your strongest body and mind!


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