Why is it that so many people struggle with the same challenges year after year? Most of us have experienced this phenomenon in ourselves or witnessed it in others. A great example of this type of challenge would be our bodies. Did you know that a large percentage of people that go to the gym on a regular basis are frustrated by the fact that they see very little change in their physique?
Why does this happen?
There are a variety of reasons why people fail. Some are physical, most however, are psychological. Most people actually fail before they begin. What do I mean by that? It’s quite simple; they have very little understanding of the p-r-o-c-e-s-s of changing their body. Consequently, they quickly become frustrated and give up. I have written this post specifically for those of you who consistently “hit-the-wall” when it comes to changing the dimensions of your body.
The human Body is an amazing machine. If properly cared for it will function at a high level creating a strong, healthy and lean physique. If improperly cared for it will become weak, sickly and obese.
So let’s begin the story of how you are going to get your body back. The first thing I would like you to know is that your body works with the laws of nature. Like gravity, these laws work 24 hours a day 365 days a year and are predictable.
Changing the shape of your body does not require fancy equipment, a trainer or a $200 DVD program bought on a late night infomercial. However, it does require 3 things:
- A Solid Plan
- Realistic expectations
- A willingness to do certain things over and over again until you get the desired result.
A Picture is worth a 1000 words.
Have you ever looked at pictures that were taken of you through the years and wondered what happened? Those pictures are a historical representation, a visual diary of sorts, of how you have cared for your body up to this point. Are you pleased with how you look or displeased? Most people are displeased.
Understand this… Your body has adapted to your daily thoughts and habits. To change your body you have to change your daily thoughts and habits. The majority of people work on changing one but not both, that is why they fail.
What You Resist… Will Persist!
True change always begins by making a decision and then committing to that decision. Commitment is critical to any worthwhile endeavor. When was the last time you made a commitment to yourself that you kept? Has it been a while? Now is your chance. You are worth it!
“True Commitment is doing that in which you said you were going to do, even though the mood in which you said it has left you.”
Okay so you are now committed to begin the process of changing your body. You know that inspiration and motivation tend to diminish in short period of time. Because of this, in the past you gave up. So why is this time going to be different? Because I’m going to teach you what to expect when using this plan.
A great analogy for making changes in your body is rehabbing an old house. First of all, if you purchased the house you obviously saw potential. You had a vision of what the house will ultimately look like. The same goes for your body. The first thing I want you to do is get a vision of what you will look like when you have reached your goal. I want you to create a very Precise Vision. At night before you fall asleep with your eyes closed, imagine you are sitting in a theater by yourself watching the “you” that “you” are becoming on the screen. It’s important that you create and notice details about the new you that you are becoming. How you eat. How you move. How people look at you differently. Your energy level. Again, the more detail the better. Clarity is power. Have fun with it! By doing this nightly you are creating a mental target or blueprint for your mind and body to follow. This step is critical.
Let time be your friend
Like any process in nature, time is required for change to occur. Choosing a time frame correctly will help keep your expectations in check. You probably know the saying, “A watched pot never boils.” I always tell my clients to allow themselves a minimum time frame of 18 months. Trust me… 18 months goes by quickly if you stay focused on the process of becoming a better version of you. In a span of 18 months, many transforming things occur both physically and psychologically. These gradual changes will not only change the way you feel but also dramatically change your habits.
Take out the garbage
Okay back to the analogy of rehabbing the house. Typically, the first step of rehabbing a house is tearing out all of the old out-dated materials so that new more functional materials can be put in their place. Your old habits and behaviors are to be looked at in the same way. They function but they are no longer useful in helping you to attaining your goal. In fact, they are counterproductive. So from now on, I want you to look at any thought, habit or behavior that is not drawing you closer to your goal as Garbage. Begin the process of eliminating them. Know that in the beginning your mind and body will argue with you. This is great news. Welcome it! This lets you know you are the right track.
Thoughts are things!
I cannot possibly emphasize how important your internal dialogue is when it comes to achieving your goal. The thoughts that you accept are very powerful because they drive your daily behavior. It’s your daily behavior that either moves you towards or away from your goal. When confronted with a decision always ask this question… Is this moving me towards or away from my goal? Then choose accordingly.
Fats & Sugars
Did you know that your body has the amazing ability to burn two types of fuel? Fats and sugars. If you are overweight and have a lot of body fat, you burn mainly sugar. Did you know your body can be coaxed to burn fat by simply changing the way you eat?
It’s a proven fact that the over abundance of carbohydrates in one’s diet causes a variety of problems. For our discussion however, the main problem it causes is weight gain and obesity. To make serious changes in your body you need to begin eliminating carbohydrates from your diet. As you remove carbohydrates begin adding more high quality proteins and vegetables. As your intake of sugar/carbohydrates drop off your body will begin “choosing” fat as a source of fuel. This can take a while but the results will make you very happy.
Are you retaining water?
Did you know your body holds on to water if you are not properly hydrated? Drinking more water is a must. The rule of thumb is half your body weight in fluid ounces per day. Example: If you weigh 100 pounds you should drink 50 fluid ounces of water per day.
Time to get moving
Many people despise exercise. In fact, they equate it with pain. In reality, it is a wonderful tool if properly used and understood. I want you to look at exercise as a tool. Exercise is a very efficient way of putting a specific demand on your body. There are two forms of exercise both will help you to sculpt out a new body. Exercise five days a week.
Remember: This is an 18 month process start out slow!
I’d like to teach you the secret of burning fat. To burn fat you have to get your heart rate into a range that is specific for YOU! Ones size does not fit all. Everybody is different!
So how do you figure this out? There are several ways, this I have found to be the easiest. 220 – (your age) X 70%= Your Target Heart Rate. Let’s say you are 30 years old. Here is how the calculation would go 220 – 30 X 70%= 133. So if you were 30 years old, your target rate would be 133 beats per minute. This is basically 70% of your maximum heart rate for your age. When your heart is beating in this zone your body’s chooses fat as a fuel. When your heart rate exceeds this your body chooses sugar as a fuel. We do not want this!
Ideally, you would slowly bring (over a period of 5 to 10 minutes) your heart rate up to your target rate. Once you achieve your target rate, the longer you stay there the better. Start out slow maybe 12 minutes. Over time work up to 15 minutes. Soon you will be doing 45 minutes to an hour.
I always advise my Wellness Clients to buy a Heart Rate Monitor. This is not necessary but it makes monitoring your heart rate much easier. In my opinion Polar Heart Monitors are the best. The heart monitor becomes an invaluable tool. I call it my coach. It will let you know when you are above or below your target rate. It also helps you to create a target zone. Bottom line, it makes doing this EASY!
Strength training or weight training typically involves lifting weights or using weight machines. Doing push-ups, pull-ups and squats also can be used to do strength training. The procedure is straight forward try to incorporate several exercises that hit all the main areas of your body. As mentioned above you could do push-ups for your chest. Pull-ups for your arms and back and squats for your lower body. Work your way up to where you can do 3 sets of 12 reps. Over time you will get stronger.
Exercise 5 days a week.
Do aerobic exercises one day and anaerobic exercises the next day. Start out slowly until you develop a good base and then expand on that base.
Discipline is not an end in itself, only a means to an end.
Remember that the past does not equal the future. You failed in the past because you simply did not understanding the process. You now understand that your body works with the laws of nature and by following the above plan, you will be partnering with these laws. I wish you success. If you have questions please leave a comment.
Yours in Health, Naturally!