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Resolutions that get Results: How to set great goals.

img_5401-1Here we are in week one of January and you may already be struggling to keep up with your resolutions. Maybe you have a goal but it’s vague and uninspiring and has already left you wondering how you will ever achieve the end results you desire. Not to worry, we are expert goal setters here at Lynx Fitness, LLC and we’re here to help you create the kind of resolutions that lead to success.

First things first: What exactly is it you want to accomplish? Good, attainable goals are specific. “I want to lose weight this year” is not a specific goal. You need the what, when, where, how and why to get you to victory.

What? Instead of “I want to lose weight”, try “I want to lose 15 pounds.” That is a specific goal that gives you something to measure. Every goal should be measurable. If you can’t measure it, you will not be able to determine whether you have succeeded. Moreover, you won’t be able to track your progress, and progress is the MVP when it comes to sticking with a goal.

When? This is a dual purpose question. First, when do you want to have achieved your goal? One year from today? Before your beach vacation this spring? Determine an end date for your goal. This will keep you pressing forward instead of aimlessly meandering toward a far-off desire that isn’t really a goal, but a wish.

Along with an end date, you will need to decide when you will actually work toward your goal. Try something like this:  “I want to lose 15 pounds by March 1st. I will do so by exercising at 7 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.” Now, you’re getting specific. You’ve got a goal with an end date and the days and times of when you will work toward that goal.

Where? Where will you be working toward your goal? Will you exercise at home, join a gym, or go jogging at the local track? These details will help you to be prepared as you move toward who you want to be. So, at this point, you’ll want your goal to look something like this: “I will lose 15 pounds by March 1st. I will do so by exercising at Home Town Fitness Center at 7 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.”

How? Now this is where people seem to get off track. How exactly are you going to do this? If your plan is to exercise, you have to know how you will exercise. Do you need to hire a trainer, find a few exercise DVDs, hire a babysitter to watch your kids while you work out, sign up for a gym membership, buy running shoes? You have to think through all of the details because any one of them could send you off course if you have not planned well. What if you go out for a run only to find that your 12-year-old sneakers hurt your feet because they’re worn out? Or maybe you get to the gym (which is half the battle) but you have no idea what to do once you are there. The anxiety or boredom you feel at that point may overshadow your desire to work toward your goal. Make sure you have decided exactly what you will do and take care of all the details beforehand, so you can be confident when you begin.

“I will lose 15 pounds by March 1st. I will do so by exercising at Home Town Fitness Center at 7 a.m. each Monday Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, using the plan my trainer has put together for me. I have obtained a gym membership, purchased 12 weeks of personal training, and have appropriate apparel to wear while exercising.”

img_0160Why? This should actually be the first question you ask yourself. Why are you setting this goal? What will losing 15 pounds do for you? If it were easy to accomplish this, you would have done it already, which means you are going to need some powerful inspiration to keep you on track when things get uncomfortable. So what is it? Is your ‘why’ important to you?

“I will lose 15 pounds by March 1st because I want to fit into the cute clothes in my closet.”

Go deeper.

“I will lose 15 pounds by March 1st because…”

What is your why?

“I will lose 15 pounds by March 1st because I am borderline hypertensive and I don’t want my kids to become my caregivers because I haven’t taken care of myself. I will do so by exercising at Home Town Fitness Center at 7 a.m. each Monday Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, using the plan my trainer has put together for me. I have obtained a gym membership, purchased 12 weeks of personal training, and have appropriate apparel to wear while exercising.”

Now that is a good goal.

Make it specific. Make it measureable. Make it personal. This is YOUR resolution after all.

Attack your fitness. You are worth it. 

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Take your hard work in the gym with you when you leave

Exercise is challenging, but not just physically. It will test your mental fortitude as well. Most of us fight the discomfort of physical and mental exercise, but I’d love to tell you how it has changed me for the better because I believe it can do the same for everyone.IMG_5408

Most of us know the basics about the mental benefits of exercise. It releases endorphins that make you feel great, it relieves stress, and it reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of those positive mental effects of exercise, but here are a couple more to add to that list.

Exercise can build good characer traits. You are building self-control when you choose to go to the gym as planned even though your friends just planned an impromptu happy hour, or when you choose the higher reps or the heavier dumbbell or the longer run when you know less, lighter, and shorter would be easier.

We do not want to be impulsive people who don’t have the ability to tell ourselves no, so let’s take every opportunity in the gym to improve our self-control.

The same goes for perseverance. We want to be people who can survive hard things without giving up. Exercise is meant to push you. You can absolutely expect to want to give up sometimes, but it’s what you do in those moments that tells you what kind of character you have.

These are good practicing grounds. If you can develop this in the gym, you can grow in maturity in your relationships, your workplace and your personal life. We all want to be honest, trustworthy people of integrity. All of those things can be developed in part through exercise.

I know my character is stronger now after pushing through some mentally tough moments at the gym, but my favorite mental benefit of exercise is definitely the increase in self-confidence.

It is so gratifying to know that even though you wanted to quit, you kept working and accomplished a goal. I can’t tell you how many times I have experienced this.

Opportunities for success are abundant in exercise if you set good goals, and so these moments of choice between giving up and pushing through happen every day. It gives me so much confidence to know that I am not a quitter, and that my body and my mind are capable of incredible things, even when I think they can’t possibly go one more step.

I started exercising at my lowest point mentally and emotionally and it has been a huge tool in helping heal my self-efficacy. I am so grateful for that.

I challenge you to go into your workouts with not only physical goals of strength and endurance, but mental goals of confidence and strong character as well. And when you feel like quitting or taking the easiest road, remember that these are defining moments. We have this opportunity to work out our weaknesses and become the person we always wanted to be.

Let’s take it with gusto and let’s bring it out of the gym with us when we leave.

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Women and Weights: My Story of Settling in to the Male-Dominated Section of the Gym

Three years ago, when I decided to start exercising regularly, I knew I wanted to incorporate some weights into my workouts. I had never done much weight lifting before, save for a semester-long class in high school, so it’s safe to say, I had no idea what I was doing.

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Weight training is an important aspect of a woman’s workout plan.

I knew resistance training would speed up my metabolism though, and pushing heavy things around seemed like an appropriate outlet for my stress, so I put together a plan and headed over to the free weights . . . with all the guys.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a few ladies who made their home at the dumbbell rack, but mostly it was occupied by the men. I noticed, of course, that I was the clear minority in this particular area of the gym, but I didn’t give it much attention. Instead, I studied up on all of the exercises I planned to do, watched videos, and got obsessed with learning proper form before attempting the exercises at the gym.

If I was going to be one of the only girls lifting, I wanted to be doing it right.

So, off I went to the weights area in the back of the gym, with a plan to follow, some technique tips, and a little fear that I would embarrass myself. And I lifted the weights. Then, I kept lifting the weights. And I lifted weights until I got good at it and my body got strong.

And a funny thing happened. Those big men started complimenting me and asking questions about my workout plan. So did the women. My confidence grew and I felt like I belonged right there, next to the group of firemen who could curl my body weight.

See, the thing is, no one ever told me whether or not I belonged in a weight room. From the looks of it, maybe I didn’t, but we can all break up the norm every now and then and this norm didn’t make any sense to me anyway, so I went for it. And you can go for it too.

The benefits of weight bearing exercise for women are worth it. This is how we stave off osteoporosis, ladies. We put our bones under some heavy weight so they can get stronger and not break on us when we are in our later years. This is also how we ramp up our metabolism. More muscle equals better body composition and more calorie burning.

Now, I think I know what you might be thinking right about now, because I thought it too: “Won’t I get big?” I know this is a fear for many women. What if you start lifting weights and then you get these huge muscles and look like a man?!

Well, unless you are training specifically for muscle mass, you don’t need to worry about it. What will happen when you start training with weights? Yes you will gain muscle, but it is the kind of pretty, round muscle that gives you all the curves and lines you’ve been wanting, not humongous man-muscles.

Remember, if you want BIG muscles, you have to train specifically for BIG muscles. But, those gorgeous shoulders you see on your favorite celebrity/fitness model/whomever? Those are the kinds of muscles we want and can build with a good weight training plan.

Plus, muscles make you strong. And we need to be physically strong for basic daily life. Pulling weeds in the garden, changing a flat tire, picking up our children, moving furniture around in the living room when we’re ready for a change. These things all require us to have some strength, some muscle.

Let’s honor ourselves by letting go of our fear and building our strength and our confidence.

Here are a few tips for getting started.

  1. Make a plan.
    Hire a trainer, watch videos of exercises you want to try, research proper form and technique, and get prepared before you head over to the weights so you can feel confident in what you’re about to do.
  2. Start light.
    You don’t need to lift heavy right out of the gate. You’ve got time to work up to that if that’s your goal. In the beginning, focus on good form rather than moving a lot of weight.
  3. Take a friend.
    It’s always easier to try something new when you have someone to do it with you. Ask a friend or your partner to do this with you.
  4. Own it.
    There are a lot of things in this life that require you to fake it ‘til you make it. Walk with purpose. Head over to those weights and act as if you belong there, even if you feel nervous and insecure.

If you would like some help in figuring out a plan, contact me at kim@lynx-fitness.com or by signing up to become a client today!