MIKE Z. KNOWS FITNESS
By Mike Zarraonandia
Let’s start 2011 off right. Beyond all the great training centers, amazing workout DVDs and knowledgeable instructors and trainers, there is only one thing more important: Your own resolve! And as experience shows, your resolutions are only as good as your resolve.
New Year’s Resolutions
During the course of my 20 years as a personal trainer, each year when January rolls around I hear the those three words uttered by people hoping to magically shed body fat, improve their health and feel and look better than the previous year. This year I decided to take back the
buzzword “resolution” and start over, so I looked it up and found the following synonyms.
Resolution: Decision, energy, tenacity, guts, heart, fortitude, firmness and courage.
These describe someone who wants to make a change. Ask yourself the following questions: 1) Do I have the mental tenacity to adhere to my goals; 2) Do I have the intestinal fortitude, or guts, to keep it going when it gets tough?; and 3) Do I have the will and energy to follow through?
While no magic formula exists, there is a list of intentions you can write to keep your focus and stay the course. Start with what you want to do. Lose body fat? Gain muscle? Get more energy? Write down an affirmation, or resolution that you can manage.” I will be active every day.”
Here comes the hard part. Mental toughness. Your True Grit. You decide on an activity, and then you do it. The 6 p.m. cycle class that you avoided all last year now becomes “hard scheduled” in your planner. That yoga class you’ve been putting off, because it doesn’t sound all
that fun, now becomes part of your routine.
Now the toughest part: The test of fortitude! When someone says, “Hey, It’s Taco Tuesday,” you say, “Sorry bro, I have bootcamp class. Why don’t you come with me?”
The toughest part of all: keeping it consistent. Your energy will wane. Count on it. Test your mettle and challenge your resolve by planning ahead, eating for nutrition—not fun—and getting enough rest.
Here’s an example of a week you can start with. Channel your inner Matthew McConaughey, and as he says, “I try to break a sweat every day.”
Monday: Start the cycle! Wake up early and go for a walk. If you’re at a more advanced level, take acycle class. Do your best to build the intensity as you go. Get a buddy to go with you so you can’t back out.
Tuesday: Push it! Start with 100 pushups by completing five sets of 20 pushups, taking a moderate break in between sets. This could be enough for the day for some, or could just be a warm up. Push yourself to do 100 reps a day of all your favorite exercises, including bench press, shoulder press and squats. Take your time and don’t try to get fit all in one day!
Wednesday: Stretch it! Take a yoga class that matches your ability and add it to your schedule.
Thursday: Step it up! Stadium steps have long been the choice of the choicest athletes, so why give it a try? Find a local high school or college and take it one step at a time; spending 20 minutes the first time. Call your best bud when you go again and make it a habit.
Friday: Ab Fab it! This is where you test your guts—literally. It’s the core strengthener called plank. Hold your body in a pushup position as tight as you can for one minute, and then repeat five times. Lying on your back, bring your elbow to the opposite knee slowly, completing as many repetitions as possible.
Saturday: Repeat your favorite exercise! Be the trainer, bring a friend and inspire someone.
Of course, make sure to get your doctor’s OK before starting your new regime. Challenge yourself to make changes for a better you. Write down your plan and keep adding to it. Because the better your resolve, the more successful your resolution!
—Mike Zarraonandia is a certified personal trainer (CPT) at FIT Athletic Club in downtown San Diego. Have a burning question about your crunch form? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.