How to stick to your New Year’s Resolution fitness goals….for real this time!

I myself personally am not big on setting new year’s resolutions.  What’s so special about starting something on the first of the year anyway? Why not mid July or even November?  It can easily turn into a placeholder to push something off only to fail again.  That’s just my personal take on it, however many people see it differently and actually see this as a chance to start over and get serious this time around.  It’s a fresh start to a new year.  If you’re one of those people and you just so happen to have a fitness goal then I’m here to help 🙂  You can also take what you learn here and apply to other goals you’ve set as well.

Whatever your fitness goals may be whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up, or even increase cardiovascular endurance, it can happen this time around.  I know you’ve probably tried a million times and set the same goal each year only to find that you’ve fizzled out before February even hits.  Have you ever actually taken time to figure out why?  If you haven’t don’t worry because I have!

First off you need to change the way you set your goal(s).  Saying you’re going to lose 20 pounds is too much pressure.  Instead say that you are going to start going to the gym….simple as that.  Why?  First we want to build the habit that is going to help us reach our goal.  The key here is creating the habit.  We are not concerned about how many pounds you want to lose, we simply want to get in the habit of going to the gym.  Sounds easier doesn’t it?  I’m using this as an example so there are other ways to create a habit.  Another example would be to say I’m going to start walking. Remember keep it simple and vague with no defined goals such as I’m going to lose 20 pounds.  That’s a no no.

Next we decide how we are going to create this habit.  The key here is to start out slow (baby steps) with something that is not overwhelming and easily achievable.  How does that look you ask?  Let’s take our goal of creating the habit of going to the gym.  To start out you may start off by going to the gym at least twice a week.  This is a goal that is not overwhelming and definitely achievable.  You’re taking baby steps.  What tends to happen is a natural progression to increase the number of days you go to the gym.  You begin to be proud of yourself, you’re seeing results and you figure going an extra day out of the week could only help.  So now you increase from 2 days a week to 3 days and it’s easier to stick to that goal because 2 days has become a breeze.  Notice how the focus is never on losing those 20 pounds?

So you’re working on creating the habit of going to the gym, you are going to start out going 2 days a week, you’re at the gym….now what?  Well that’s the beauty of it, you’ve put all the time and effort into getting to the gym so there is no way you’re going to waste that effort.  You’re not going to go there and do nothing.  You may have a rough day every now and then and not give it your all.  The important thing is to do something.  You may only do 30 minutes of cardio and go home and that’s perfectly fine.  What I want you to see is that creating the habit creates a ‘trickle down effect’.  I had this same problem.  I’m going to explain how these tips worked for me and highlight the trickle down effect that happened from me creating the habit.

My Story:

Of course we all know I’m into bodybuilding and for as long as I can remember up until this year (2014) I was very inconsistent.  I would go to the gym steadily for a few months and then it would just fizzle out and I’d stop going for months.  Of course this happened over and over. As mentioned at the beginning of this article I finally sat down one day and took time out to figure out why I was so inconsistent. What you are reading now is what I came up with, tested and proven by yours truly.  Of course my ultimate goal was to build muscle BUT I scratched that and set a goal of going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  To take the guess work out of my workouts when I got to the gym I would find a bodybuilding program on bodybuilding.com (shout out, great site! 🙂  ) and complete the workout for that day.  If figuring out what to do once you get to the gym is a problem I would encourage you to find a program to follow.  The funny thing is I never gave 100% at all times.  Sometimes I’d go in and wouldn’t feel like working out so I’d only give about 50% BUT I did complete the workout.  So what started happening is after about three weeks of going to the gym 2 days a week consistently it started to feel like it was part of my daily routine…..kind of like going to work.  You go even when you don’t want to.  So I’m about 2 months in and have been going to the gym consistently for 2 days out of the week and I notice my physique beginning to change.  I’m seeing muscle where there once was none, I’m seeing cuts, my shirts are fitting a little tighter….this was awesome!  I got very excited and began going to the gym 3 days a week, Why?  Because I wanted to see more of the results that I was beginning to see so I became more excited about going to the gym and wanted to put more effort into my workouts.  I eventually increased my gym days to 4 times a week.  I saw myself getting stronger with more muscle so the increase was no burden at all.  I was giving at least 90% in all of my workouts because I saw that it led to me seeing better results a lot quicker.

Recap:

So what happened was what I referred to earlier as the ‘trickle down effect’.  I started with a simple goal of going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  Although I didn’t give my all in every workout I still saw results which led to me  WANTING to increase to 3 days a week as well as giving more effort in my workouts.  Of course I began to see even better results than before thus I increased to working out 4 days a week with even more effort during my workouts.  The increases were nearly effortless as I was excited about the results I was seeing and wanted to keep it going and gain even better results.  So you see, the simple goal of going to the gym 2 days a week helped me reach and maintain my ultimate goals of gaining muscle without that even being my main focus.  However, it is important to keep your main goal in the back of your mind but it should never include a number like lose 10 pounds or gain 8 pounds of muscle.  If you do that then you are just falling back into the trap.  Just a simple goal of ‘gain muscle’ or lose weight’ will suffice.  The only reason this is important is because it determines what type of workout or program you will do when you get to the gym.  If you want to lose weight then you shouldn’t go into the gym lifting heavy weights because it won’t do much for reaching your ultimate goal.  So the undefined ultimate goal serves only as direction for your workouts and that’s it!

Like I said, I’ve only provided examples thus your habit may differ from the ones mentioned.  It may be to walk around the block one day a week or eat healthy 2 days a week.  Whatever it may be just remember to create the habit and the rest will come!

I wish you all nothing but the best in your fitness endeavors!  Happy New Years!!!!!!!!

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Review: HBS-730 Bluetooth Headset by LG Electronics…Usefulness in fitness world

What is it?

This is a hands-free Bluetooth headset worn around the neck that is used for making calls, listening to music, and voice commands.  I purchased this product back in August of 2013 and continue to use it daily.  What I will explore in this review is it’s usefulness in the fitness world.

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My 2 cents:

PROS:

The HBS-730 does pretty well at least in my realm of fitness which is bodybuilding.  It syncs fine with my iPod and allows me to listen to music as I workout.  For this to be a Bluetooth device, the sound is fairly decent and the noise cancellation is very effective thus allowing me to really get into my zone.  It also ensures I don’t miss important phone calls or even text messages.  If a new text message comes in it does a short vibration that you feel on your neck.  If a call comes in it does an extended vibration until you either answer or ignore the call which can be done via voice activation if enabled on your phone.  The rubber material on the HBS-730 is very comfortable and you barely even notice that you’re wearing it.  As long as I have the proper sized ear buds (comes with different sizes-see below), it stayed securely in my ear during the duration of my workouts.  It’s also important to note that I’ve been using the HBS-730 for over a year with no issues and it’s still working fine so you can say that it’s very durable.

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CONS:

If you’re a runner, cross-fitter, or have very active workouts this may or may not be the device for you.  Once I started sweating profusely, it created an issue and I found that the ear buds continously slipped out of my ear.  This often times took me out out of my zone which is no bueno :(.  Even though I find that this device works great in my realm of fitness, there are times where it didn’t fit the bill.  When I did exercises such as the bench press, sit-ups, or anything that required me to lay down on my back, the HBS-730 would slip off of my neck and fall onto the floor.  What can you do?….gravity.  Also, if you’re really into hearing the bass when you listen to music you may want to go with something more professional like Beats by Dre.   The music gets a bit choppy when there is a high amount of bass which sounds more like noise than music.

Where to purchase?

Of course you can purchase directly from the manufacturer (LG) by going here for a suggested retail price of $69.99.  When I purchased mine, I got it on Amazon for $59.45.  This was in 2013 when they were fairly new so I’m sure you can get them on Amazon or even eBay for a lot less nowadays.  If you use this product or found this review helpful feel free to comment.

Review: ‘Trainer in a Bag, Military Strap Suspension Trainer’ by Woss Enterprises

What is it?

Some may consider Trainer in a Bag a bootleg version of the TRX suspension trainer.  Call it what you may but I’m a firm believer in finding bargains when it comes to fitness and the price of the TRX trainer was a bit steep at $200 or even $300 for the advanced TRX system.  I began a search to find something similar with the same capabilities but not the same price.  I purchased the Trainer in a Bag in February of 2013 so I’ve had quite a bit of time to thoroughly test this product.

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My 2 cents:

PROS:

Overall this is a great product.  You can do ALL of the same exercises that you could do with the TRX trainer.  Setup out of the bag is seamless as you can pretty much set it up without necessarily reading the instructions.  It seems very sturdy as I’ve done everything from push-ups to tricep dips and there is not so much as a tear in the material.  You can easily make adjustments as appropriate for the exercise you’re doing.  Last but not least, the biggest pro is the price.  I was able to purchase this product for a whopping $22.49 with a total price of $29.96 after taxes! Can’t beat that!

CONS:

For those of you that need to have the fly and flashy things in life, this may not be for you.  There’s nothing fly and flashy about the Trainer in a Bag compared to the TRX trainer.  Also, it doesn’t come with an extension like the TRX system does.  This is useful if you’re trying to hook up to something that’s a little thicker such as a tree trunk for outdoor training.  Another thing to mention is that the handles don’t appear as sturdy as those of the TRX trainer as they are made out of heavy duty string versus a continuation of the material from the extensions for each arm (see image below).  This may be an issue for those that may weigh a bit more as it may not feel as safe.

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Where to purchase:

I purchased this from Amazon and you can view this product as well as additional reviews by going here.  If the link doesn’t work (page may have moved), just go to Amazon and type in ‘Trainer in a Bag, Military Strap Suspension Trainer’.  This may be the best method as you can search for the lowest price for this product.  Feel free to comment if you’ve used this product or found this review helpful!

 

Fitness Bands….Are they useful to bodybuilders??

If you are even remotely into fitness then I’m sure you are aware of the fitness band craze.  They seem more geared towards people wanting to lose weight or simply be more active.  From a distance it doesn’t appear as if fitness bands are of any use for the typical bodybuilder….I mean they can’t track reps, push-ups, squats, and things like that.  They typically track things like steps taken, calories burned, distance, and even our sleep pattern.  A lot of them interact with some type of application that provides us with a dashboard view of our accomplishments.   So the question for us bodybuilders is….why even bother?

Well I’ll tell you why, at least for me personally.  I absolutely hate cardio or should i say ‘organized’ cardio.  You know…..the treadmill, stairclimber, elliptical, exercise bike….those types.  It’s boring to me, but I do it because I have goals I want to reach but I’m inconsistent to say the least.  This is where I believe a fitness band can help so I’m launching an experiment to see how it goes.  My spouse bought me a fitbit flex (see pic below) that I can wear on my wrist and it’s also waterproof so I can shower in it as well.  It tracks steps, calories burned, distance, weight and body fat percentage (entered manually). It also tracks sleep patterns but I’m not going to use that feature.

The experiment:

Right now I’m following a 12 week bodybuilding program and I am about 4 weeks in (I will post about it).  I’ve had my fitbit flex since about the middle of week 3 of my program and it’s allowed me to see just how inactive I am.  That’s all I did in week 3 was observe.  Then in week 4 I began working towards my goals that were automatically set for me with my fitbit flex (the goals are adjustable). The fitbit flex syncs via bluetooth with your computer or phone and posts your information to a dashboard after you’ve download the required application on your device.  Below I’ve posted a screenshot of the dashboard so you can see what my daily goals are.  What I plan to do is cut body fat using the fitbit.  What I’ve noticed so far is that it’s made me more aware of my daily activity which forces me to get up and take more steps in order to reach my daily goals.  Sometimes at the end of a workout if I haven’t reached my daily goals I’ll jump on the treadmill and walk until I reach that goal.  It doesn’t seem so much like ‘organized’ cardio since I have goals I’m trying to hit which makes it more like a game.  I’ll even go play racquetball for a while if I don’t feel like hitting the treadmill.  I’ve already seen a slight drop in my body fat percentage. There will be weekly posts with my accomplishments titled ‘Weekly fitbit stats’.  I’ll keep you guys updated and create a final post detailing my results at the end of my 12 week bodybuilding program.  Wish me luck!

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