On Your Mark, Get Set, Finish
Ah the new year. A time of promise for us all where we attempt to redefine and reevaluate our habits, and automatically create new behaviors and habits, at the stroke of midnight on January 1st. I worked as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor for 8 years, and in that time I saw my fair share of new year's resolution evangelists that fell by the wayside once they realized, SHOCKER ALERT: you have to work at changing your life. No one goes from years or months of habits, to adopting an entirely new set of habits, behaviors, mindsets, and thus results in a matter of days or hours. True change takes effort, patience, and practice. I could always tell which of my new clients would start skipping out on their personal training sessions based on the passion behind their reason for wanting to get fit. Sadly, some just want the body, they don't want the lifestyle.
Trust me I know the struggle. It's been a year since I've worked as a trainer, and in that time I got a desk job and once I was shackled to that desk, I got no credit for all those years of investing in my body. I had always worked in a gym so my workout was always one break away, but now I had to find the motivation after an 8 hour day, and to be honest, it was hit or miss. I ate well overall but the office environment often felt like I was in a boxing match. I'm bobbing and weaving with my green juice and desk full of teas, but BAM, free donuts in the kitchen, POW the boss says he's buying lunch, and BOOM, you just got off the phone with a nasty customer and now you want carbs and sugar for your troubles. All those years I heard the excuses of my clients, but now I understood them. I lived the fitness world, and now I was out in 9-5dom and had to work a little harder to stay in shape. Today I am at my heaviest, though not my biggest. See chart below.
Age Height Weight Size
15 5'2 155 14-16
25 5'2 136 4
31 5'2 158 6-8
Body composition should be considered with any fitness goal and plan. I have a fair amount of muscle on me so no, I won't be a size 0 anytime soon, but I do know that a size 4 is obtainable and manageable. In 2008 I trained all year for a bodybuilding competition and got down to 122lbs, a size 4 and looked the best I had ever looked, but I can't say that I was healthy. What I learned is that bodybuilding is just that, building an ideal body, it's not necessarily about health, it's about a goal. I lived for my workouts. Cardio at 4am, workouts 6 days a week, no alcohol, no cheese, no bread, no salt, and the supplements, ohhhhh the supplements. I spent a small fortune, but I got the look I wanted.....though not for long. I didn't realize that I wouldn't be able to maintain such a high level of dedication to my physique, and these days I try to keep balance in my life which means no more competing.
So here I am. Inching my way toward the big 160, double digit pant sizes and finding the battle of the bulge to be much harder in my 30s than it was in my 20s. So to get a jump on all the new year's fitness fanatics I decided in October to dedicate two days a week to working out, and eating as healthy 80% of the time. Once I mastered that I decided to dedicate three days of the week to working out and eating healthy 80% of the time, and drink a little less. Once I mastered that I tried to drink less coffee, or use less sugar and start adding more weight to my workouts. The week of Christmas and New Years all that went to hell, but I'm back on the horse, and ultimately that's what I want you to get out of this article.
Being healthy is a journey. You don't have to start on a Monday, you don't have to start when conditions are perfect, and you don't stop trying when you don't succeed. The clients I loved to work with were those I knew could stay on fire about reaching their goals. They came in ready because they had a why, and I just had to show them how. There ain't a trainer out there, an eating plan, a magic bullet, or promise for only 3 payments of $19.99 if you order now, that will change your life if you aren't laser focused on staying the course no matter what. I dedicated my life to helping others get healthy and fit, and still life happened to me, and now I'm back at square one. Life will happen to you too, but as long as you stay persistent, be a slave to hope, and run your race, you'll create a lifestyle that supports your goals. It's not about a new start to the year, it truly is a new start daily, for the rest of your life. Start now!