America is in the midst of a health crisis. The National Center for Health Statistics warns that 42% of Americans may end up obese by 2030 (up from 36% in 2010), and 11% could be severely obese (or roughly 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight). These numbers are frightening!
It’s also been estimated that food borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States every year. In fact, the top three killers of Americans are heart disease, cancer, and stroke—all of which are strongly rooted in lifestyle choices. And while the number of health clubs and gyms has skyrocketed over the last few decades, statistics show that two out of every three gym members never use their memberships. Something has to change!
You can avoid being a statistic by committing to a fitness plan that meets your goals and supports a healthy lifestyle.
Know your fitness goals.
Every journey needs a destination and this holds true for your fitness program. You should know what your goals are. Having a goal in mind keeps you motivated and keeps your progress measurable.
When you choose a goal, be mindful of your current fitness level, your likes and dislikes, your time and your budget. For example, if you’ve been a smoker for many years and your diet consists of Twinkies and soda, setting a goal to stop smoking and eat nothing but whole foods within your first week is probably not realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure! Instead, use the SMART method of goal-setting; make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Once you have a clear fitness goal in mind, choose a program that supports that goal. Here are some things to consider to ensure that you will stay safe, motivated and on course during your fitness journey.
Determine your current fitness level.
Start with a visit to your doctor to determine your current fitness level. If you’re suffering from a chronic condition such as heart problems, hypertension, diabetes or obesity, it’s especially important to get the “all clear” from your health care provider before launching into a fitness program.
Consider which fitness activities you like—and the ones you dislike.
It’s hard to commit to a fitness regimen that doesn’t excite you. If the thought of lacing up your sneakers and going for a morning run makes you cringe, for instance, then it’s probably best not to choose a jogging program. If, however, you love to dance, then picking a dance-based fitness program is a good bet to keep you motivated. Bottom line: You want to be excited about your fitness journey!
Consider your time and budget.
If you’re short on time or watching your pennies, you might consider a home-based fitness program such as P90X, Insanity or 10-Minute Trainer. Home fitness programs have come a long way since the days of Jane Fonda and the ThighMaster. Many of today’s programs are based on the latest research and science and offer a comprehensive approach to fitness and nutrition. And the advantages of working out at home are clear: Home programs cost a fraction of gym memberships and weekly classes, they require no travel (and no babysitters for the kids!), and can be completed on your schedule.
Find an accountability partner.
You had a lousy day at work. The kids need to be fed. You absolutely must know who’s going to picked as this season’s American Idol. There are a million excuses to keep you from working out and you’re going to want to use every one of them from time to time. That’s why we suggest you find an accountability partner to hold you accountable to your daily workouts. This can be a family member, a friend or a virtual (online) workout buddy—anyone you trust to provide positive and constructive accountability.
Celebrate your new commitment and stay on course.
The fact that you have committed to taking care of yourself and getting in shape is huge! Be proud of that! Once you officially begin your journey, make sure you log your workouts and meals each day. And as you grow stronger and move towards your goal, take time to celebrate! Then go out and share your accomplishments and inspire those around you!
After all, what good is living a long and healthy life if you don’t use it to help others do the same?
Team Full Life is owned and operated by Shawn & Jasmine Logue, a husband and wife coaching team. Team Full Life offers elite home fitness programs (including P90X, Insanity, TurboFire and Tai Cheng), natural and vegan nutritionals and certified wellness coaching. Our monthly online fitness groups are limited to 5 people each and include free coaching for motivation, accountability and support. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-293-8551. Like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamFullLife.