Planning is Key to Success
By Stacy Vanzant
YMCA Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor
Have you figured out your New Year’s resolution yet? Many of us get on the resolution bandwagon and the majority of those resolutions are for self-improvement. The most common, of course, is to lose weight. Sure, we’ve all been there thinking “this will be the year.” The sad truth is that only eight percent of us actually accomplish our New Year’s resolution.
You’re probably thinking that’s because a lot of us don’t even set a resolution, so we don’t fall short. In actuality, 40 percent of the U.S. population sets a New Year’s resolution. With only 40 percent setting a goal, eight percent is still a scary low figure.
Why is it that so many of us fail in accomplishing our New Year’s goal? The most common problem is that we weren’t dedicated in the first place, so we are somewhat destined to fail — until now!
Proper planning is the only way one can succeed in anything. Have you ever been to the grocery store and “planned” to grab whatever caught your eye for supper? It never fails that when you get home you have forgotten that one key ingredient or totally botched your day because you were hungry when you shopped. With proper planning you can succeed; you just have to be dedicated to the planning process.
People who know me know that I’m completely addicted to lists. I make a list for everything in my life. My daily “To Do” list, grocery list, weekly meals, packing list, and the “lists” go on and on. The one thing that everyone can take away from the list method is that it keeps you focused. It keeps me on track and I don’t waste time scurrying around trying to remember what I need. Another great advantage is that when I check off items on my list, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Plan Your Meals
When you go to the grocery store, stick to the list. Only purchase items that you need and that are going to help your body increase its potential. Keep the sugary and processed ingredients off the list. Stick to the outside border of the grocery store. That’s where the freshest and best ingredients are found.
Prep and Plan
When you get home, prep your veggies and fruits. Clean, cut, and place them in portion-controlled containers. Then as you are packing lunches or going to grab a snack, you already have everything planned out for you. Grab a portioned amount of baby carrots, or an apple that is already washed and sliced.
Carbs Are Your Friend
I hear all the time from people dieting or getting into fitness that carbs are bad, so they don’t eat them. Carbs are fuel for your body. Your body needs carbs for energy. That doesn’t mean you can get away with a box of carb-loaded donuts, but healthy carbs are the fuel that will give your body energy and get you through the day. Below you’ll find my quick list of healthy carbs to use in your diet.
You Got to Move It, Move It!
Most importantly, just keep moving! Regardless of the type of job you hold, keep moving throughout the day. Get up and walk around the office, or step outside for a trip around the building. Your body was designed to move as a hunter or a gatherer. You don’t have to run several miles a day, but your body will function much better with active movement. Park a little further from the door at the store or grab a pal and take 15 minute walk at lunch.
Yes, yes and yes! The complaint I most often get from my personal training clients who have just increased their water consumption is that they are constantly running to the restroom. Well, yes that will be the case, but to remove toxins and impurities from your body, this is how they are going to have to come out. So, embrace the water and drink, drink, drink! The other most common complaint from clients is that they don’t like the taste of plain ol’ water. No problem. Toss in a few lemons or strawberries or whatever natural flavoring you like and enjoy.
Win Without A Gym
Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of my life in the gym. Many gyms offer great New Year’s discounts and it’s a perfect time to sign up for a membership. But you don’t have to have a gym membership to succeed. Gyms are great for education on how to use equipment, to stay motivated with friends, and to learn about new fitness opportunities, but you can also do some key strength exercises and cardio at home to achieve the same thing. Here is my “Win Without A Gym Winter Workout.”
Rotate through each set three (3) times. After you complete each set three times, go back through the warm-up for 30 seconds each. This will give you two minutes of cardio between sets.
Be Accountable – Set The Appointment
Whether you choose to work out two days a week or four days a week, make an appointment with yourself that you won’t have a problem keeping. My gym time is as important to me as a business meeting. Days that I am in the gym are marked on my calendar just like other appointments. My office knows that if I’m leaving to head to the gym at the end of the day that time is non-negotiable, and issues that arise will have to be dealt with at a different time. Make your appointment and keep it. This goes back to the planning! With a little practice, you’ll be amazed how easy it can be to set this appointment and keep it.
Don’t Be Scared
Ask anyone who has lost a noticeable amount of weight or started a new fitness plan that was a success. They didn’t lose their 50 pounds overnight. It takes time and there are going to be ups and downs. Take your mind off the scale and set other goals instead. If you can only do five jumping jacks, great! Next week push yourself to 10. If you can run for three minutes straight, awesome! Next week try for five and then eight and then 10. Small steps are the best way to see success. If your goal is to lose 25 pounds, you aren’t going to wait on the celebration for 25, you’ll celebrate at five, 10, 15 and so on. Keep that philosophy and you will see results!
Quick List Of Good Carbs