Every time that most adults begin a weight management program, the first question in our minds and quite often out of our mouths, is “How long will it take?” I was naive enough to ask David this question when I first began lifting heavy. Not wanting to discourage me, he didn’t give me a direct answer immediately. As time unfolded I began to understand the answer that he finally gave, “The rest of your life.”
In programs where I just wanted to lose X number of pounds, I could safely estimate how long it would take. When I began David’s Way however, everything changed. I was losing pounds but I was also gaining lean muscle. When I achieved a specific number of pounds lost, my goals changed. Now I wanted to add shapely muscle. I wanted to be strong and look like it. That first goal of “Lose 20 pounds.” (David), was met quickly with Intermittent Fasting but that was only the beginning. I had achieved a quick loss of pounds but was nowhere near the type of body that I wanted or the strength. It was necessary to press on. I wasn’t there yet.
There are sessions of weight training that are long and arduous. There may be moments that surprise you with a gain in strength that you didn’t expect at that moment in time, but for the most part, hours, days, weeks and months will pass in blood, sweat and tears or what seems like it anyway. It will be hard. You will want to quit. You will feel inept. You will also feel like the King/Queen of the World. You become formidable. It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your confidence will soar as you realize that the same will that raises you from a heavy squat will get you through anything that life throws at you because nothing is any harder than that squat. You will refuse to let go. You can’t go back. You are a Winner.
As the Iron begins to change your outside, it is changing your inside to. The deltoids in your shoulders/upper arms that were not there before exemplify the confidence and determination that is building inside your mind and heart. The power that you thrust into getting that deadlift to move will move you to conquer the “little foxes that spoil the vine” on your job. “There’s always something.” (Gilda Radner) that has the potential to ruin your day or your entire life if you allow it. When you realize that you are in control of that barbell that is a true beast, you will realize that you are in control of almost everything in your life by controlling your reaction to those things. We call that being proactive instead of reactive. Take control of things in your life just like you take control of that bar and you will increase your strength in all areas.
As I move along in my program, I constantly look for flaws in my form because I have high goals for myself and form is everything. With good form I will be able to lift more, longer, stronger and hopefully injury free. I do everything in my power to avoid injury. When I see evidence that a specific program or lift is known to cause injury, I know that is what I don’t want to do. I question the intellect of someone who readily accepts injury as a normal part of their fitness regimen. Healthy living should avoid injury, never running towards it. As I continually work on my form, I gradually buy equipment and accessories along the way to help me with that. My best idea as of today was my power rack that gives me a place to dump the weights safely if they get too heavy or if something goes wrong. So far the only injury has been to a cell phone, may it rest in peace. Word to the wise, if you are using a standard bar with locks, use them…every time. One of the greatest things about my Olympic bar is that I don’t have to use locks. These are things that you learn as you go deeper. I never thought that I would use “one of those big ole’ bars”, (an Olympic bar that weighs 45 pounds and is 7.2 feet long) but now I can’t imagine lifting any other way. Occasionally for a light lift, I’ll use my standard bar. I can’t wait to get back to the big ole’ bar. I love my Olympic bar. It means that I’m a badass who has worked hard to get to where I am and that bar can take me anywhere that I want to go.
Do It Again
As I struggle to perfect my deadlift, David has realized that my valsalva, a breathing maneuver used to increase power during lifting, may not be right. He was right. Although I knew what to do, I was losing focus and losing tightness throughout my body during my deadlift which was allowing a bit of a curve in my spine. This can’t be. It has to be corrected. I have been using a velcro closure lifting belt that will stretch a little. That can contribute to lost tightness so David advised me to get a latch belt, which I have ordered. I have also ordered a hex bar, which allows you to stand straighter during your lift. I have been lifting for about a year and a half and have just done these things. In lifting as in other areas of life, we are ever learning and ever correcting.
No, We Are Not There Yet.
We will have many twists and turns and detours and as long as we keep giving it our best effort our lives, and our lifts, will improve. We will not just magically “arrive” one day and be at the end of our destination. David says that “We don’t own our present level of fitness. We are only paying rent.” This means that we must continually search for better ways to do and be better at what we do. If we quit working at it, we will lose our fitness. When I finally got that answer, “The rest of your life.” in answer to “How long will it take?” I was already beginning to understand. The more you fix in your body and in your life, the more you find to fix. In order to be our best selves, we must continue down this path indefinitely. Anything else is falling short of our full potential. Come on. Stretch yourself. Get accustomed to doing and being your best. Work at it. Strive for it. Never quit. Always endure. You are all you’ve got so make yourself excellent in all ways. It will not be easy but it will be worth it. Just get up and go again.
Why in the hell do I care about you?
Why do I give a damn about helping you to manage your weight through good lifestyle habits of proper nutrition and physical fitness?
Because obesity is a human tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.
Every year, the percentage of people who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese continues to unnecessarily rise. Every year our expenses for medical care continue to rise as well. We can sit around and bitch about Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Insurance and the government all day long. Yet, none of this bitching ever addresses our own personal responsibilities towards our health care expenses. If you are broke from health care expenses, you had better take a deep look inward towards how you live your life. If you have a gluttonous appetite and do no exercise, you are solely responsible for your health problems short of a few maladies.
Our lack of control over our own damn appetites is killing us.
Our lack of self control and discipline causes our obesity which is directly responsible for causing inflammation in our bodies, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, cancers and more. Every bit of this is preventable if we gain control over our appetites and move our asses with exercise. Movement that gets the blood flow going with an increased heart rate. Movement that burns off your glycogen stores and then fat. Movement that does not accomplish glycogen and fat burning is better than nothing at all, yet is damn near useless in helping you to live a healthier life. Counting actions such as running your vacuum cleaner as exercise is not going to win you any prizes, it will not even get you into second or third place. Nope, this kind of movement only means that you are just one step ahead of the total couch potatoe. Maybe not even that much.
Your life will always become the business of someone else when you are careless with it.
You might think your life style is no business to anyone else, but what happens when you need extended care from family, friends or health care professionals. Can you say it is still not their business how you live? If you believe you can, you are some kind of selfish. Your actions will always impact others in your life. Even when we step up to care for our loved ones with no complaints, and provide care for you out of pure selfless love, your lifestyle descisions can and will affect others. This is a truth in life you can not avoid. Even if you decide to live as a hermit and die unattended and alone in your home, someone will have to live with the mental impact of delivering your corpse to the morgue. Hopefully, you have not decomposed too far when they arrive to retrieve your body.
Obesity is dooming our children to a life of illness.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. Nearly one in five school age children and young people (6 to 19 years old) in the United States are obese. This is unsatisfactory and unnecessary as obesity is preventable. Parents, if you are allowing your child to become obese, you are doing them no favors in life.
About 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have a chronic health condition according to CDC. They have chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, behavior/learning problems, and other health conditions that can all be traced back to unhealthy and improper nutrition and lack of physical activity.
Parents, you owe your children guidance in living healthy. While they can recieve nutritious meals in school, you have a responsibility to feed them healthy foods at home. Get rid of the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals that you are feeding them for breakfast. And for heavens sake, quit feeding them from fast food drive throughs simply because you are too lazy to prepare a porper meal for them at home.
If you have the time and money to feed your kids from a fast food drive through, then you have the time and money to feed them a healthy home cooked meal. Using the reasoning that you are too tired to feed them healthy is a lame ass excuse that comes from laziness on your part. Your children deserve better out of you.
From US Library of Health and Medicine, Nation Insitute for Health:
Psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Over weight children, followed up for 40 and 55 years were more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases as compared to those who were lean.
Let this sink in to your thoughts for a few minutes. If you do not do anything to contribute to your childs good health, if you let them eat crap foods and not exercise, you are directly responsible as a parent for their current and future health problems. If reading this causes you to be angry, I really do not care because the anger can only come from you not accepting your parental responsibilites to your children. Being as your children did not ask you to bring them into the world, you must place their well being first and foremost over everything else in life.
Ponder this young lady’s sad story I found on a weight loss forum:
I am currently 348 lbs. I am 23 years old.
I have major health problems associated with my weight. I have major heart issues, my heart rate gets up into the 200’s with me just standing up. I have type 2 diabetes, I have chronic pain in my bones and muscles. I have been obese since I was a kid.
I suffered from depression and anxiety growing up. I was bullied a lot. I had suicidal thoughts when I was just 8 years old. Food was, and still is a gateway to ease the pain.
I have two beautiful children. But, I am unable to care for them on my own. I can’t enjoy my life. My days are mostly sitting around watching everyone else live. I am unable to exercise due to my heart rate. But, I was told that if I lose 45 lbs, they will do a pacemaker. I’ve seen multiple heart doctors. And all have suggested weight loss surgery.
This is a truly sad story, and it is not unusual in it’s very nature when you follow any type of weight loss/management social media forums. Read this young lady’s story again and consider how many lives are being affected here. Seriously consider what lifestyle actions could have been taken to prevent this unfolding tragedy. If you are a loving parent of a child who suffers from obesity, please love them enough so this does not become their sad life story too.
I have learned many things from strength training. Today, with guidance from my Trainer, I have learned the greatest Truth of the Iron. “When we fix our lifts, we learn how to fix our lives.” (David Yochim)
“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.” (David Yochim)
When I first began heavy weight lifting I was at the physically weakest point of my life. I didn’t know this until I picked up a barbell and could only squat 35 pounds. If I’ve ever been any more embarrassed, I don’t remember it. I don’t usually get embarrassed. What is, is. But, when I squatted with 35 pounds and struggled to stand up, I could have just gone through the floor to escape facing the truth of my physical condition. I daresay that was not a deep squat either. Although I squatted as deeply as I thought I could at the time, now I know that it was nowhere close to proper depth. I have discovered that not hitting depth puts an incredible strain on me because I don’t activate my glutes and hamstrings properly to stand. I was making what was already hard, harder with improper form. We do the same thing in other parts of our lives. We make things harder than they have to be by doing them the wrong way or just allowing ourselves to do less than our best. If we give every nuance of every lift our undivided attention to detail, we will do much better. The same thing applies to other aspects of our lives. I have an extremely difficult, high-stress job. The better I focus, the easier the job is. If I allow myself to lose focus while doing a menial task at home, that task becomes difficult. I have learned this from the Iron. Since my weights are heavier now, focus is not only mandatory for the lift, it’s mandatory for safety. This applies to a road trip. Don’t lose focus on the interstate at 80 mph. It could end badly.
Last night, although I was front squatting a weight that I had not squatted before, I was not pleased with my lift. I wanted to get more reps. As I analyzed what might have been wrong, I thought about my preparation. Last week when I was pleased with this lift, I had gone out of my way prepping. My calories were perfect and I ate them early enough that they were pulsing through my system when I needed them, I had an excellent pre-workout, I had the most adrenaline pumping music in existence blasting in my dungeon. Last night, I struggled through a mandatory continuing education course, stuffed the remaining calories for the day in my mouth at the last minute, skipped the pre-workout and started lifting without music. There was so much wrong with this picture for me because I know what I need to have a good session. I didn’t do it. I was not pleased with the results. How often do we do this in other areas of our lives? I got bit by a rattlesnake in 2016 due to stupidity. I know exactly what I did wrong. We do things like this all the time with that still, small voice screaming instructions in our ears. The Iron will not yield to me unless I approach it prepared. Everything works this way.
Even as I lumbered up the stairs to my bedroom, I began to analyze my lift. Without analysis there is no learning. I combed each moment of my approach, my breathing, my focus. It was in this moment that I began to see the discrepancies between this week’s squat and last week’s squat. Unless we examine ourselves, we will never improve. I was not happy with that lift. I wanted more. Even though lifting is a lifestyle, not an ever increasing exhibition of strength and ego, I still wanted more. I knew that I was off and when I began to analyze my day, a cascade of differences in this week and last week flooded my brain. How often do we encounter difficulty and disappointment in other areas and we just chalk it up as a lesson learned when nothing was actually learned because we did not analyze our behavior? Self examination is necessary for growth and mastery of every area of our lives. I have learned a very practical application of this through the Iron. Unless I analyze my behavior with it, there will be no progress. I must correct myself as I go. Most of the time when we stall out in life it’s because we do not correct ourselves. We’re too busy correcting other people. Regardless of what I do to that Iron, it’s me that must yield and adapt. Only then will my relationship to the Iron be all that I want it to be. This applies to every relationship. Analyze your behavior, adjust, adapt.
I was one of the ones who thought that weight lifting was just picking up heavy stuff and putting it down. That’s because I had never lifted heavy. I had lifted but not heavy. There are so many benefits to exerting my muscles to their limits, pushing as hard as I can, refusing to quit and doing it with proper form. This is true work. I have learned that I can endure and accomplish more than I would have ever believed. The key here is proper form. Do it the right way. I cannot make progress in the number of pounds that I lift over my lifetime, unless I do it the right way. If I do not learn and practice proper form, sooner or later I will fail and most likely get seriously injured. This is true of life. We can haphazardly go about our lives if we want to because it seems easier at the time but we will never accomplish all that we are capable of unless we do it the right way. The right way maximizes our efforts, that’s why it’s the right way. The heavier the weights, the greater the risk and the greater the benefits. This is also true in other areas. Hard jobs with a lot of responsibility and power and influence over other people’s lives are high risk for the employee and the people affected by their performance. The benefits of those jobs are immense for all concerned when they are done right. Great relationships with intelligent, articulate, creative people are wonderful when treated with mutual respect. Everything has to be done with proper form.
And then there are those days… You know… Those days when you prepare and analyze and do it right and apply everything you know and the Iron still won’t cooperate. The people won’t cooperate. The Universe won’t cooperate… Those are the days that my Trainer sums up like this. “It’s heavy.” (David Yochim) Sometimes stuff is just hard. Don’t quit. It’s a lifestyle.
I absolutely love getting out and hiking in the deep woods for not only great exercise, but also as a means to drastically reduce the stress in my life. At fifty five years old, I find myself feeling like a kid again when discovering new trails. It matters little whether the trail is easy with a well prepared walkway. Or a tough one as in today. I completed what turned into a grueling eleven mile hike on a completely natural trail that ranged anywhere from moderate to difficult skill levels to navigate.
A good portion of my hike today was on very rocky paths that took me up and down very steep hills. This picture does little justice at displaying how steep the trail was.
I chose this trail today for it’s level of difficulty. I embrace challenge. Over coming tough challenges helps us to grow as individuals. When we kick a challenge in the ass and find success, it bolsters our confidence to do even bigger and better things in life. Traversing this rocky trail without rolling an ankle was about as tough as some of my weight training sessions. Getting through obstacles such as steep hills with loose rocks and wet clay brings the same satisfaction as I receive in my weight room when I squat down with a heavy barbell on my back, and then manage to stand back up in order to complete another rep or two.
Creating challenges for ourselves to defeat helps us to also overcome other life challenges. We may have a tough job that is a daily grind physically, or mentally. Or we may have very difficult circumstances in our homes such as caring for critically ill family members. Being capable of overcoming great physical challenges might not make our jobs or home lives any simpler, but the confidence we earn through getting through overcoming goes a long way in keeping our stress levels down. When we are confident, we can face the day without fear. When we are confident in ourselves, we can keep chaos at bay. When we are confident in meeting the most difficult of challenges head on, we become capable of maintaining a cool demeanor when the proverbial shit is hitting the fan. My hike today was tough enough to make me realize that everything else I was going to face this weekend pales in comparison to ascending a twenty four percent grade hill on a path that was covered with loose rocks, or slicked up with wet clay. There were points on this hike, climbing the steep terrains, where my legs were beginning to spasm from the the exertion along with my electrolyte balance being a little off. The spasms were quite painful, yet comforting as I knew that nothing else in my day was going to challenge me as much as I had challenged myself.
Of course not every length of todays trail was difficult. I did have a few areas that were quite the respite from that which was kicking my ass. AS much as I embrace the challenge of difficult exercise, I also enjoy just being in the outdoors on an easy path where I can just take in the nature that surround me. I love these trails over the course of the year where you can watch as the trees and undergrowth all come back to life in the spring, the greenness of the summer months, followed by the beatiful colors of fall. Even the winter months bring joy and stress relief as with all the vegetaion going dormant for the cold weather, this time of year affords you more opportunity to see the wildlife what call these woods their home.
There is actually very good reason why being outdoors in the woods makes us more relaxed and happy people. The Japanese have a practice called Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku is a practice that celebrates the health improving qualities of the forest.
There have been studies conducted which have confirmed that spending time out in the woods or forest can reduce psychological stress, depressive symptoms, and hostility. I believe this as I have never, not once, have I encountered anyone on a wooded trail that seemed to be anything other than content and happy. I’m not saying they do not have stressful difficulties in life, hell I have my difficulties along with Post Traumatic Stress too. Yet the woods are soothing to anyone who ventures out and set their minds free to enjoy nature in it’s grand splendor.
Studies have shown that a day in the woods can help you sleep better and make you feel more lively while you are out. A day in the woods has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and to lower your blood pressure and pulse rate.
Studies have shown that even just the smell of trees has positive health benefits. Chemicals secreted by trees, called phytoncides, have been linked to improved immune defense as well as a reduction in anxiety and an increase in pain tolerance.
Other studies have shown that children with ADHD who play in a green outodoor environment, rather than inside, have a decrease in thier symptoms. I’m not sure why this even requires a study to figure out as playing outside forces a child to learn to use their imagination to expand upon their natural creativity in order to have fun. Who can argue this point. Is their anything healthy or creative about allowing your child to sit on the duff, playing video games while snarfing down sugary sweet treats you likely bought for them. It is not rocket science to see the change in children over the last couple of decades where it is no longer unusual for a child to live an obese and sedentary lifestyle their parents have foolishly given them. If you want to do your children a huge favor in life, get rid of all the snacks, unplug their electronic devices and make them go outside to play. My God, we have children and adolescents living on psychotropic drugs in this modern world, when what they really need is to discover life as it is meant to be lived.
You can bet that kids who are allowed, and encouraged to be active outside are on fewer psychotropics than chldren who are allowed to vege our in front of their televisions. I can say with certainty that playing in the woods as a young boy helped me to develop my problem solving skills for life. Building tree houses and secret forts to hang out in with buddies, along with building temporary dams down at the creek in order to have a private swimming hole were the order of the day. We partook in all of these activites and grew into well adjusted adults.
Being outdoors in the woods means there is a fair degree of exercise taking place. Physical exercise is a proven solution for many ailments, including fatigue, depression, anxiety and of course obesity. Combining the benefits of movement in a wooded environment is a healthy method of overcoming many of your ailments in life. If you want to do one really healthy thing for yourself today, get your butt outside and go for a good walk around your neighborhood, or even better, go take a hike in the woods.
If you are interested in taking your hikes up a notch, read our article on the benefits of using trekking poles here.
I Commend You
If you are a regular reader of David’s Way, I commend you for improving your life. There are so many people who are content with the status quo, whatever that is. That’s fine as long as the status quo is good but, have you ever known the people who are content with disaster? You know, the ones who just accept that “things are bad”? If things are bad, change them. You are most likely geared to make your life better if you are reading this blog, because that’s what we do. We try to make our lives and yours, better.
One More Time
The main difference between those who succeed and those who fail is simply that the successful people just don’t quit. We keep getting up no matter how many times we are knocked down. When people choose to give up, it’s quite often just before a victory. Think back to the times that you have been so tempted to just quit trying. Shortly after that moment passed, something changed a bit for the better somewhere in your life that made you glad that you did not give up. Hang on. Your victory is at hand. Get up, one more time.
How Were Things Before?
So, if you decide to quit, what do you expect to happen? Will you suddenly be content with a sub-standard life? Will the misery and dysfunction just suddenly cease to exist? Probably not. If you were discontented enough to begin a change, what makes you think that you will somehow be content with the same situation now? Press on to your goal. You will encounter great difficulty, no doubt. Anything worth having is a lot of trouble. If you want an easy life, good luck with that. We are supposed to work hard. We are mysteriously and wonderfully made and incredibly resilient. Don’t ever think that you can’t do anything. If you want to, you can. If you remind yourself of what you will return to if you quit, you will most likely keep pursuing your goals.
Create Your Life
It’s true. Most people would quit. Do you want your life to be like theirs or do you want something better? Quitting will give you a moment of relief, but only a moment and then the stress of dysfunction will overwhelm you. Decide what you want and then research about how to get it. Once you have done your research, dig in and work for what you want. The lazy people who quit will never have what you will have.
If your job is hard, rejoice that you can pay your bills. If you can’t, get another job. If withdrawing from sugar is driving you crazy, rejoice that you have the initiative to improve your health. If it rains out your hiking trip, rejoice that you have a chance to catch up on all that blasted paperwork that you keep putting off. David has a twist on the glass half full or half empty perspective that I love. He says that it doesn’t matter if it’s half full or half empty, refill it. Refill your life and celebrate.
Potential Is Everything
Every time that you are tempted to quit, think about the potential of not quitting. There is an equal positive reinforcement to the negative reinforcement that makes you want to quit, so if what you’re doing seems impossible, you can rest assured that the reward of conquering that issue is hugely rewarding. Before you quit, think about the reward.
If you were strong enough to begin this journey towards self-fulfillment and health, you are strong enough to continue. Breaking out of old habits of failure and sickness is hard. Making that decision is the hardest. You have shunned traditions and habits of everyone around you. You have become”different”. Stay different. Get healthy and stay that way. We’re here for you. Read the Homepage and discover all of the tools available to you here at David’s Way at absolutely no charge. Take advantage of all that we have to offer you and create and live your best life now.
At Davids Way we teach to be proactive instead of reactive. This simply means to be creative and in control of your life as opposed to just accepting every negative event that life throws at you as inevitable. Believe me, this makes all the difference in the world in your level of happiness. If you believe that your “weight problem” is genetic rather than a result of what you put in your mouth, you will always be overweight. David wrote about genetic contributions to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in his article here
It’s Up To You
Genetic links to obesity have been studied at length. According to T.H. Chan of the Harvard School of Public Health, while there are genes that can contribute to obesity in ways such as interaction with fried foods in a unique manner, everyone who has these genes does not become obese. (1) It is not your destiny. It is still your choice. If fried foods make the scale go up, the answer is, “Don’t eat fried foods.” I don’t. It’s a choice.
Genes Are Not King
The research has made it clear that these genes make a very small contribution to obesity risk. Genes are not your destiny. Healthy lifestyles can more than compensate for these cellular differences. While there is a single gene mutation that can contribute to how often or intensely we feel hunger, it is rare and can be managed. If I eat empty calories, foods with little nutritional value, I stay hungry. If I make every calorie count with quality nutrition, I rarely experience true hunger. The key is to make absolutely sure that every calorie is a good nutrition source. I have to get the recommended amount of protein for my body as a heavy weight lifter and avoid all added sugars.
When I was growing up, my mother was obsessed with my weight. While that was not really a completely good thing, one of her strategies to control my weight was to remove empty calories. She provided healthy, wholesome meals and baked a cake no more than once a week. Sometimes she would go weeks without having any desserts in the house. When I followed her plan, I would lose weight. I had friends who appeared to be genetically blessed to be thin. When their moms furnished an abundance of junk foods with sugar, those genetically blessed creatures would fatten up. This supports the statements in the various studies that a healthy lifestyle can change your destiny while poor food choices can exacerbate the tendency to put on weight.
Genes Are Not The Cause
While genetic anomalies have been observed, the number of affected genes is an incredibly small percentage of our total gene pool. Their ability to affect the amount of fat on our body is insignificant when we make good food choices and get active. The genes of humans have remained largely the same throughout history so it is changes in society that have made a negative impact on obesity rates. Environmental changes that make it easier to overeat far outweigh any genetic input. Changes that curtail physical activity also contribute to the current explosion of obesity. Easy access to food 24 hours a day contributes on a large scale. The current trend to sit all the time even after leaving our jobs is deadly. While I love the internet, I do not allow it to prevent me from working out. I turn this off and get under that barbell or bridle up my dog for a walk. Sometimes I grab my backpack and head into the wilderness for a long hike. On those days, I fuel my workouts with adequate calories of healthy foods but never use that activity as an excuse to overeat. I actually gained weight one time because I would swim laps for two hours and then go to the yogurt shop for a “healthy” sundae. There is a huge influx of added sugars into our diet. It’s up to us to cut it out of our lives if we want to be healthy. Our habits create the body that we live in.
Knowledge is power. Since you have read this article, you can no longer use genetics as an excuse to be unhealthy. What will you do with the information provided here on the blog? Will you continue with unhealthy habits and pay the ultimate price with your health and eventually your life? While some people believe that they had rather die than change, death is not usually quick or painless. Death caused by the complications of obesity is usually long and painful. Make a decision today to be your best self. and live a rich, rewarding, full life able to be active with your grandchildren and enjoy doing things that only a healthy body can do. It’s up to you. Get proactive today. Read about being proactive here and here
If you want to make positive changes in your life:
Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it.
Go out. Make a change.
Smile more. Be excited.
Do new things.
Throw away what you’ve been cluttering.
Do not follow negative people on social media.
Go to bed early. Wake up early.
Show more gratitude.
Do things that challenge you.
Every day someone, somewhere makes a decision to begin getting their body more physically fit. They randomly decide on an exercise program they believe they might enjoy and then once the going gets tough, they burn out and quit. There are many thousands of homes where fitness equipment which is no longer being used has turned into a high dollar clothing rack, a convenient place to hang clean clothes as they come out of the washer and or dryer.
Once your treadclimber has become a fancy clothing rack, your level of fitness you may have achieved with it is going to drop off more rapidly than it took for you to achieve it.
You do not own your level of fitness. You must continue paying your dues for it, or it will leave you high and dry.
Do your research before you begin!
If running has never been your interest in the past, then it would be unreasonable to go out and spend several hundred dollars on a spiffy new treadmill will all the different programs and workout levels.
If you have never been one to consider strength training, then do not purchase the nicest weight equipment at your local sporting goods store. A squat rack can hold a lot of hanging clothes once you have tired of it.
You will find that once you have tired of your new workout regimen, the different internet market places such as Craig’s List is full of used gym equipment being sold for pennies on the dollar. If you want to buy home gym equipment, then try and find decent used stuff online that way you are not out near as much of your hard earned cash if you do not stick with it.
I hope you have done all of your homework and have decided on how you are now going to whip your body into shape.
I’m going to mainly use weight training as an example in this piece, but the principles can be applied to any type of exercise if you are an absolute newbie to physical fitness. If you want to be serious about physical fitness, you owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can about your endeavor before you spend a bunch of money on equipment.
You do not know what it is that you do not know.
If you are new to physical fitness, you have on clue how much it is that you do not know about that which you are about to pursue.
Running is not just a matter of lacing up a pair of sneakers and hitting the track. No, it is about learning to find your stride. It is about learning how to breath. It is about learning to put these two factors together in order to build upon your speed and distance.
Weight training is not just about loading weight plates on a barbell and then just picking it up and setting it down for as many times as you can with the heaviest weight you can lift.
If you have went out and bought a weight set, did you first read up and study any type of programming?
Do you understand linear progression and progressive overload?
Do you believe that by simply doing curls, tricep kick backs, along with a few sets of bench press your body is going to become fit and toned? Do you have any idea that for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, or for any other improvements to be made, your body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced?
Are you truly ready for hard work?
When you first begin lifting weights, your strength will increase fairly quickly for up to the first year while you are in the newbie stage. This can extend out a few more months, but eventually those gains are going to slow down and stall. Are you prepared to keep after it when the going gets fucking hard? Or, are you just going to puss out and quit?
More people just quit than there are people who keep leaning forward and driving on. Are you a quitter or one who refuses to quit? Have you ever tested yourself to even know if you have what it takes to keep pushing once your gains slow to a trickle? Champions are the types who ever quit even when it would make their lives much simpler.
Will you have days where your physical fitness comes first over everything except your your job?
Physical fitness requires dedication. If you set aside days and times to exercise, then by god use those days and times for your exercise. It becomes easy to make excuses to skip workouts. And the more you do this, the easier it becomes. When you skip a day of exercise, that day can turn into a week which can turn into a month or longer. Next thing you know, your strength gains have been all but lost and you are finding the motivation to begin once again to be quite elusive. If you are not a natural self starter, that motivation might be as hard to find as Sasquatch. Physical fitness requires an all in attitude for it to have any significant relevance in your life.
No matter which endeavor you take on to improve your level of physical fitness, remember that success is less about the big wins than it is about the little things that we do every day to build upon our health and fitness. We have to make our exercise sessions into regular habits of life, as habits are what we fall back on when we are stressed or do not feel like pushing ourselves through another workout.
Three considerations for physical fitness:
- Cardiorespiratory endurance. This element is the sustained ability of the heart and blood vessels to carry oxygen to your body’s cells. The best aerobic activities you can use for building endurance are brisk walking or running, swimming, cycling, rowing and aerobic dance. To gain the best health benefits, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity over the course of most days is sufficient. For the best of cardiovascular endurance you need to perform moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise three to five times per week, with each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes.
- Muscular fitness. This physical element consists of strength. The force a muscle produces in one effort and endurance. Your muscular fitness hinges on your ability to perform repeated muscle contractions in quick succession. Perform moderate intensity resistance workouts at least three to four days per week for no less than 30 minutes per session.
- Flexibility. This element refers to the ability of the joints to move without discomfort through their full range of motion. This ability varies from person to person and from joint to joint. Good flexibility is thought to protect the muscles against pulls and tears, since short tight muscles are more likely to be over stretched. Perform flexibility exercises three to four times per week.
Ten exercise guidelines:
- Set realistic goals for yourself. It serves no purpose to set goals that are so lofty you never have a chance of achieving them. If you set high goals, be sure to set many short term goals as a part of your plan to reach your final objective.
- Do not do too much, too soon. Just as sure as you attempt to do too much too soon, you are likely to either get injured or burned out too soon. Or, you can become injured and burned out at the same time. Remember, nutrition and rest days are as important to your routine as your actual exercise.
- No pain, no gain is a myth you should not get caught up in. Being in pain is not a sign of a good workout, as not feeling pain is not a sign of a poor workout. Pain is a warning to you that you had better check yourself to avoid injury and or to not worsen injury. Do not be a fucking hero and and try to work through injuries. Take you lumps and knock off until you are healed. Only a dumbass will continue stressing an injury.
- Control your movements. Rapid, jerky movements can set the stage to fuck yourself up.
- Watch your form and posture. This is extremely important with all lifts, but especially the squat and deadlift. Bad form can and will hurt your ass.
- Do not bounce when stretching. When you bounce, you increase your risk of tearing a muscle. If you are going to stretch, make sure you ease into all of your stretching.
- Use good and proper footwear. If you want to run, damn sure get good shoes that fit your feet snugly from heel to toe, side to side, top to bottom. Ensure you have proper arch support. If you are weight training, be sure to have shoes that do not have a sole that is compressible. You want your feet solid with the ground when lifting heavy weights on squats and deadlifts.
- Avoid high impact aerobics and other high impact exercises. Otherwise you stand risk of injury to your shins, calves, lower back, ankles and knees because of the constant jarring. Go low impact and enjoy yourself.
- Make sure that you warm up and cool down as appropriate for the activity you have chosen. This prevents an abrupt drop in blood pressure and helps alleviate muscle stiffness.
- Replace fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise. Do this even when you do not feel thirsty and know that you are as high a risk for dehydration in cold weather as you can be during hot.
What Do You Really Want?
One of the main reasons that people don’t succeed in their health initiatives is failing to prioritize. Some refer to this illusive quality as “Time Management”. The truth is exactly what my Grandmother said, “People do what they want to do.”, implying that we talk a good game but when the chips are down, we do what means the most to us.
Have you ever had a day, or a year… where you kept meaning to exercise but you just couldn’t get to it? What were you doing? Sometimes we defend ourselves by saying that we were doing something for someone else. Whose going to do it when your health fails due to poor health habits? It makes much more sense to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others later.
I Have a Job
One often heard response is, “Well… I have to work.” Most people do. Very few of us are professional athletes or bikini competitors who fly around the world for competitions to earn our living. David and I both work very demanding jobs with long hours but we prioritize our workouts. They are non-negotiable. We both have full lives outside of our jobs that require our time. We both frequently get under the bar when we are beyond exhausted. People do what they want to do. Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to be active? If you truly do, get your doctor’s permission and find an activity that you will commit to do. Make it non-negotiable.
Command Your Destiny
There will always be people in your life that want to commandeer your time. Learning how to say “No!” is imperative. If “No!” is hard for you, you can always speak up for yourself and tell the person that you may have time after your workout but your workout comes first. I once lived with someone who used my exercise mat that I was using at the time for a project of some sort and had something that they wanted me to do when it was time for me to work out. I was doing a very hard circuit training video that absolutely required a mat. I promptly scrambled to the kitchen, grabbed my purse and started out the door and the person said “Where are you going?” When they learned that I was going to Walmart at 11:00 at night to get another mat, they were infuriated. It really didn’t matter. I was working out. I got my mat and got through it. It was a great workout.
“I have to clean my house.” So, you have to work and every spare minute that you’re not working is spent cleaning house? Is there no down time on your phone or tablet on social media? It’s very easy to spend hours on social media platforms and then wonder why we didn’t get anything done. Have you noticed that as social media has become mainstream, obesity has come to be seen as the norm? When we see our “Friends” becoming heavier, we begin to think that obesity is normal. (1) This applies in any social network and we tend to choose friends that are like us. We also spend hours sitting on our bottoms, exercising nothing except our fingers. That time would be so much better utilized with physical exercise that works your whole body. If you think that you have to clean your house, work out, leave your phone alone and clean your house.
The simple truth is that there never seems to be enough time for everything that we want to do so priority is everything. There are known methods for prioritizing. Try utilizing these tips and get your workout done.
1-List everything that you need to get done.
Don’t assign an order to the items at this point. Just list them.
2-Identify what is critical.
Here is where your workout belongs. When David first started training me he told me that my workout was my job on the assigned days. That’s how it works. If it’s your job, fit it in around your paying job. It will be first, timed around your employment.
3-Determine what is the most valuable to you.
Is your health important? How about stress reduction? Recognize the ultimate significance of exercise and activity in your life and give it the place it deserves when you plan.
4-Do the hard stuff first.
If your workout’s not hard for you to get done then why are you always bumping it to the bottom of your to-do list? Get it done and then move on to tasks that take less commitment.
5- Be flexible about other tasks.
The world won’t stop if you don’t make that phone call to the friend that will keep you on the phone for hours lamenting her life. You don’t have to make the most complicated meal ever cooked in history tonight. Work out and do the other things that are necessary at a level that you can accomplish in the time left after your workout.
6-Decide what to cut and make sure that it’s not your workout.
There will be some things on your list that can wait. Don’t go ahead and do them just because it’s a good idea and miss your workout. You can paint the bathroom at another time. There will be tasks like this every single day. Do them on a day when you have a little extra time AFTER your workout.
Practicing What We Preach
Here at David’s Way we never tell you to do anything that we don’t practice. This is how we get our workout done. We recognize it’s importance and prioritize around it. You have to decide if you are being truthful about what you want. When you want fitness with your whole heart, you will make the time for it. As you become more fit other tasks will get easier. Your body will work more efficiently. Your mood will be better. After you have lived this way for a while, it will be your normal. Commit to fitness and reap a lifetime of rewards.