Monday, January 24, 2011

1 + 1 = 3!

This time of year is about rejuvenation, starting fresh, finding ways to improve yourself and reconnecting with what’s important in your life. There are many different professionals that are equipped to assist you. Some have skills in fitness and exercise while others have unique expertise in pain, mobility and health.

We all have different priorities that guide our decisions. Here I give you the information you need to make the best choices about your health.
If help with body weight, strength, flexibility and stamina is what you seek then your best bet is to find a personal fitness professional in your area. What to ask:

1. How long have you been training?
a. Beware novices and people who are just ‘part-time’ trainers. It takes about 5 years of work with clients to become proficient at maximizing results.
2. Are you certified? What is your education in the field of Health and Fitness?
a. There are many, many certifications and all are not created equal. Some reputable organizations are ACSM, NSCA, NSPA, ACE and AFAA. If they don’t name one of these, they’d better have some good formal education credentials.
3. What is a typical session like?
a. Key words to look for here include: warm-up, flexibility training, cardiovascular conditioning, variety, pace, energy, education, FUN! That last one is lost on many. If you’re enjoying your experience you will have a better outcome.

Other people are seeking ways to decrease their overall pain levels and increase their mobility. Now, this is a job for a good Physical Therapist. The field is widely misunderstood as a place where you go if you’ve had surgery or a major accident. Physical therapists do some of their best work picking out smaller problems that will prevent larger ones in the future. Here’s what to ask:

1. What is your specialty?
a. PTs are licensed by the state in which they practice. Their formal education is rigorous and in-depth. However, some PTs address issues that others do not. For example, if you have joint pain, it may not be wise to see someone who specializes in fibromyalgia, a nerve disorder.
2. How long have you been in practice?
a. PTs are thought of as novice practitioners inside of 3 years from their licensure.
3. What is your approach or method for diagnosis and treatment?
a. There are many valuable techniques and methods. The key is that the PT can explain them to you sufficiently so that you are certain you’re getting the experience you need.

Of course, the best situation is being cared for in a place that does both of these in synergy to maximally benefit their clientele. These clinics are out there if you look hard enough.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Resolve to Succeed

This time of year, we each make promises to ourselves. We say that we're going to get back into the gym, we're going to eat better, we're going to remove stress from our lives and appreciate those around us more. Our hearts are always in the right place but most New Year’s Resolutions fail because of poor planning and because we set lofty and unrealistic goals. That's if we set goals at all!

The resolution of losing 20 pounds in January is possible but unrealistic. From a health stand point, it’s plain-old not healthy to lose weight that fast.

Saying you will go to the gym every day only sets you up for failure as it's practically impossible, and in most cases, generally a bad idea. This one is especially hard if you’re not accustomed to exercising on a regular basis which is where the majority of us struggle.

Here is the formula for making a lasting change in your health and wellness this 2011
1. Break this goal down into attainable and measurable short term goals. Weekly goals are great, monthly goals might give us too much wiggle room and negatively impact our planning.

2. Consult with a professional to set a realistic long term goal.

3. Keep records to easily track your progress

4. BE HONEST with yourself and those who are helping you. If you strayed from your "perfect" meal plan, then note that mistake. Note why it happened. Did you miss a workout that you thought was well planned out? That's ok. We will all make those mistakes. Learn why it didn't work for you that day/week and adjust your plan so that you know where you stand in the terms of your long term goal.

5. Keep the goal in mind. Sometimes you will want to jump ship. Sometimes it may not seem worth it. If so, reexamine the long term goal. Consult with your fitness pro. While it might have been realistic, it may not have been practical given your circumstances.

6. Make the adjustments and keep improving. The trick is to set all of your goals and measures up in a way that even if you fall just short of any, you will come out at a better place in the end.