Reaching the End Goal with Small Steps

Man on top of mountain

Last week I talked about the issues around setting extreme goals. I love to talk about long term goals, about where we visualize ourselves in a year, two years, or five years down the road. It gives us a destination, something to see ourselves at in the long term.

There’s nothing wrong with setting high standards for yourself, but it’s important to take into consideration the path we have to take to get to the destination. The end goal is only a small part of the journey you will take to get there.

Sometimes, even just setting big goals can seem impossible. Surmounting your obstacles and achieving your goal can seem as difficult as reaching the peak of Everest. It’s a long way to the top, and there’s going to be a lot of difficulty on the process. For some, this is the hardest part of starting at the gym; just making the plan to start on the journey.

So how do you reach these big goals? To answer that, I want you to think way back to your time in school, or perhaps during a particular job you had to be trained for. I like to think about a math class in grade school, where we were introduced to basic multiplication tables.

Now I don’t know about you, but I remember multiplication tables were extremely confusing to me. We had to write out and memorize hundreds of tables, and just when I was starting to get the hang of the 7s (7 times 3, 7 times 4, 7 times 5…) the teacher would throw 8s at us. It was a huge challenge, and sometimes it felt insurmountable.

But a year later, I had it. And my class and I were moving on to division. And then basic algebra, and then geometry, and so on. Today, it might take a few seconds to recall the numbers, but doing basic math is second nature anymore.

Boomer Fitness does the exact same thing with fitness. We think about your end goal, and we plan a roadmap of how we’re going to get you to your exercise destination. We break up the time you’re coming into the gym into 4 week segments, and discuss what the short-term goals are for each particular segment.

When you come into the gym, we don’t automatically start exercising with the 45 lb. dumbbells. We start you at 10 lbs. And then if you make progress with those, we move up to 15 lbs. And then when you make progress, to 20 lbs. After a few months, you’ll notice those 10 lb weights don’t feel like anything anymore, especially when compared to the weights you’re lifting now.

Achieving something doesn’t happen in a 2 minute montage, like most 80s action movies lead us to believe. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work, and sometimes it seems like progress is insubstantial. But when we look at where we’re going, and where we’ve come from, we start to see how much progress we’ve made.

So make those long term goals. Plan on climbing a mountain, but make sure you reach base camp first.

Ready to start climbing your mountain? Email Me, and we’ll get you set up with a tour of the gym!

Setting Goals, and Knowing What it Takes.

DSC_1194I love setting goals. Giving us a target to aim for is the very first step of visualizing ourselves at the end of the journey. It allows us to see how much progress we’ve made, and how much farther we need to go to complete our journey.

Whether it’s running a marathon, summiting Dog Mountain, or walking up the 3 flights of stairs unwinded, each long-term goal is equally worthy of your time.

But what about setting goals that push us even farther? What if you have bigger dreams, like running in the next Iron Man. Maybe you see yourself competing in a bodybuilding competition, or just getting down to 10% body fat. How hard could it be?

Far be it from me to tell you what you cannot achieve. If you can set your mind to it, you can and will become the next Iron Man or Woman. But what about the other side of getting lean? We see movie stars and bodybuilders who have the 6-pack abs, the enormous muscles, and the extremely low levels of body fat percentages. What does it really take to get to that level of fitness?

What I want to do is make sure you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into before going down that long road, and determine if you even want to go down that road to begin with. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience getting to a low body fat percentage.

During my time as a Personal Trainer, I’ve seen a lot of colleagues go through the difficult process of getting ready for a bodybuilding championship. Keep in mind that this is with personal trainers who live and dream personal fitness. As they get closer to the big day, the competitor must make their fitness the most important part of their daily lives. Diets become extremely restricted, with a big focus on high protein and no excess carbohydrates.

Instead of just visiting the gym when it’s convenient, bodybuilders must be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to exercise. Resistance training and cardio become daily activities, making sure the body is working to its highest potential.

Time dedicated to working on their body starts to cut into their social life. Hobbies and personal time will start to get pushed aside for more time that could be spent at the gym. Socializing at events where food is involved becomes more difficult, as dietary needs take a higher priority.

Let me tell you that this is from personal experience. During my time getting ready for a show, the time I normally spend socializing with friends and family was profoundly affected. The time I wasn’t working was almost entirely dedicated to prepping for the show. Eating wasn’t something I could enjoy anymore; it was entirely dedicated to making sure I had enough proteins and nutrients, and absolutely nothing in excess.

Take a look at this diagram from Precise Nutrition, which outlines what you can expect when you start to reach the upper limit of personal fitness. The more fit you become, the more time it requires to maintain your physical standard. The lower body fat percentage you are aiming for, the less margin for error.

Why am I telling you this? As a personal trainer, aren’t I supposed to be keeping it positive? Why tell you about the negative parts of body building?

As a personal trainer, I want you to know what it’s going to take to attain your goals, good and bad. I don’t want to scare you away from attaining any of your goals. You might be willing to go on a severely restricted diet. You might be willing to put in the extra time and extra repetitions required. And I can tell you right now that when you’re walking on stage at the next Bodybuilding competition, or when you’re crossing the finish line at the next Iron Man Triathalon, I will be cheering the loudest at the sidelines.  What I want to do is make sure you know exactly what’s required.

Keep you eyes open for my next blog, where I’ll write about setting healthy goals, and how even small steps can pave the way for big changes.

Mixing it up at Boomer Fitness

DSC_0943Last Tuesday, I had a bit to say about breaking up routine. Doing the same exercises every time you head to the gym will get easier, but that doesn’t mean it will be better for your fitness growth.

Like a lot of fitness advice, sometimes it can appear to be easier said than done. Routine is hard to break – it’s natural for your body to want to take the easy way out. How to we shift our focus from doing the easy program to doing the correct program?

At Boomer Fitness, we know that taking the easy way doesn’t help us reach our goals. Progress becomes an illusion as our bodies exert less energy each time we repeat. You have to exercise new muscles and make your body find new challenges.

So enough about why. How do we break up routine? How to we get out of the rut of doing the same work-out over and over again?

The first thing you have to do is stop watching the calorie counter on the treadmill. To this day, I don’t understand how these fitness machines can claim they know the exact number of calories you have burned. Every single person walking on that machine has a different background, different fitness goals, different body types. No digital calorie tracker on a workout machine is going to accurately measure how much energy you have burned.

Instead of letting a machine record it’s version of the truth for you, it’s important to keep track of your past history in the gym yourself. If you spent some cardio time on the cycle machine the last time you were in, try the elliptical. If you were on the elliptical last time, challenge yourself with the stair master.

At Boomer Fitness, we can help you break out of your routine even more. All of our trainers track our members weekly progress including the exercise schedule, the repetitions, and the amount of weight used. Each program is unique, which means we will base the days workout on what needs to be focused on to reach your pre-determined goals.

When we’re starting you on your fitness plan, we will usually break up your schedule so we work on a different part of your body each time you come in. Each program is broken up into four week intervals, which allows us to mix it up a little and get all of your muscles involved.

The next day you come in, we might focus primarily on legs. We can do squats, burpees, lunges, and other workouts best suited for your legs .The next day might be arms with some weight machines. Next time, we might focus on your core. And then the next day we might work with your back, your chest, your shoulders… every day is a new variable.

It’s difficult, and your body will certainly resist changing up your schedule every time you come in. You’re going to want to work on the things you know, because doing something different means learning how to use new muscles. No one ever said making the change is easy. But you know it works because you are working for it. You will feel better knowing that you put in a solid day of work at Boomer Fitness.

Email me when you’re ready to make a positive change in your life. The hardest part about making a difference is taking this first step.

What Happens When I Sign-Up for a Fitness Plan?

DSC_1218Congratulations! You’ve just finished the hardest step of starting a workout regiment: telling yourself that you can make a change in your life.

I’m completely serious in saying this. Lifting dumbbells and doing burpees are small potatoes when compared to making yourself realize that now is the best time to start. That making a change in your life starts at this very instant.

So now what? You’re ready to make a change, but maybe the next step is a bit daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with gyms, or personal fitness. If you’re reading this blog, you probably know a little about Boomer Fitness and what we do, but you might not be clear on how we get you started.

I want to tell you a little bit about what you can expect from our sign-up process, so you don’t feel anxious about coming in. This way, you will know what to expect from the minute you walk in the door.

When you first come in, you’re going to meet with me, Brian Stecker. I’m a friendly guy, I promise! During our initial talk, I like to get to know a few things about you, like your past history in fitness, your current physical status from your point of view, and why you want to make a change in your fitness regimen.

We’ll talk about specific goals you have, any injuries we need to look out for, and discuss how we can fit in your busy schedule.  When we’re setting goals and building nutritional plans, we break up your schedule into 4 week blocks. This gives us just enough time to make progress in manageable, measurable blocks of time. We’ll take some initial measurements to get a baseline to measure your improvement as we move forward.

During our talk, there is absolutely no such thing as a stupid question. The whole reason I’m here is to introduce you to a healthier lifestyle, and there’s no better way to do this than by learning.

Think about it this way: Even Body Builder Lou Ferrigno, famous for portraying the Hulk in the 70s, had a first day at the gym. There was likely a time where he had no idea what kettlebell was, much less what you do with one. Everybody has to start somewhere, and I’m here to help you get that start.

Once we’ve finished planning your fitness regime, I’ll give you a brief tour, and show the various stations we will be using. We’ll take a look at our cardio machines, the free weights, and the host of other tools we have in the gym.

After that, we’ll introduce you to our host of friendly personal trainers here at Boomer Fitness! We’re a family here at the gym, committed to getting you the attention you need to achieve your fitness goals.

And then from there? You start changing your life for the better.

Have some questions about getting started? Shoot me an email with any questions you might have, and we’ll get you on your way to a healthy life.

Facebook FAQ Part III – Continuing with Mobility Work

Picking up where we left off from the last two blog posts, we will look more at mobility workouts. Many people are unclear about what mobility work is and why it’s important. Whether you are a personal training client of mine in the Vancouver, Washington area, or you follow me on Facebook, there are benefits to mobility workouts that everyone needs. It is especially important for seniors and baby boomers to make mobility work part of their weekly routine.

Mobility, by definition, is the ability to move. As they age, many people complain to me that it seems more difficult for them to move. They don’t have the mobility they once had. Well, that’s because they are no longer doing the things they once did. As many people age they become more sedentary. When that happens, they will begin to lose their mobility. Doing mobility work each week is not only going to keep you more mobile, but it’s going to make it easier. The best way to have mobility that is free and easy is to do the work to help your body get there and stay there. It doesn’t matter how old you are, either, because mobility is something you can work on and achieve at any age.

When it comes to mobility work, follow this workout plan:

Monday – Mobility/Workout 1

Tuesday – Mobility/Cardio

Wednesday – Mobility/Workout 2

Thursday – Mobility/Cardio of choice

Friday – Mobility/Workout 3/Cardio of choice

Saturday – Cardio of choice

Again, when we are discussing cardio as we have in prior posts, it is important for you to do activities that will get your heart going. This can include walking, jogging, biking, hiking, row machines, or any other activities that will get your heart rate up more. Here are some specific mobility work examples:

1)    Piriformis stretch

2)    Glute stretch

3)    Spiderman stretch

4)    RDL

5)    DB Row

6)    Step-up

7)    Push-ups

8)    Lateral lunge

9)    Leg Raise

10) Bird dog

11)Side plank

You will want to do all of your mobility work in 2-4 sets, with 8-10 reps, or if you are doing  static hold go for 20-40 seconds. Be sure to add in the day one mobility work, as well as the day two mobility work. For the resistance training, you will want to do:

1 round week one 15-20 reps

2 rounds week two and three 15-20 reps

3 rounds week four and five 15-20 reps

During week 6-8 do three rounds, bringing the rep range down to 10-15 reps. Also, focus on bringing up the intensity. You can do that by increasing the weight you are using, but always keep form in mind, as it is priority. If you can’t control the weight or maintain form, then do not increase the weight.

Following this three part series will help keep your mobility in a range that will have you feeling great and doing things with ease. It’s never too late to get started with mobility work, so make it part of your workout plan today!

IF YOU MISSED PART 2 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

TO GET YOUR COMPLETE BOOMER FITNESS PROGRAM CLICK HERE

Facebook FAQ Part II – The Specifics of an Outline

In the prior post, I discussed how you can go about getting started down the path of health and wellness. I laid out what it is that you need to start with so your exercise routine will be on the right track right from the beginning. In this one, part two, I’m going to take things a little bit further and go into the specifics of an outline for you all.

Every baby boomer or senior citizen I work with comes to understand the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and what exercise can do for you. Working out regularly can do for your body what nothing else can. There is no doctor or magic pill that is going to help you get stronger and healthier. Eating healthy and exercising regularly is the only way that you will achieve this. That goes for the clients that I work with here in personal training in the Vancouver, Washington area, as well as the many people I assist online and on Facebook.

Print this outline of a workout and hang it somewhere you will see it each day, so it serves as a reminder of what you need to be doing to be healthy. First you need to start with your weekly workout schedule, which looks like this:

Monday – Mobility/Workout 1

Tuesday – Mobility/Cardio

Wednesday – Mobility/Workout 2

Thursday – Mobility/Cardio of choice

Friday – Mobility/Workout 3/Cardio of choice

Saturday – Cardio of choice

Again, it is important to remember that cardio exercises are those that are going to get your heart beating faster. The government recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of such moderate physical activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Moderate physical activity includes biking, walking, the elliptical or row machine, or step machine. A vigorous activity would be running.

Here’s what your workout 2 will include:

Mobility

1)    hamstring stretch

2)    IT band foam roller

3)    Low back stretch

4)    Split squat

5)    Shoulder press

6)    Pull down

7)    Rope to neck

8)    Kettle bell dead lift

9)    Y, I, T,

10)Anti-rotational

11)Plank

Do all of your mobility work in 2-4 sets, with 8-10 reps per set, or if you are doing a static hold aim for 20-40 seconds. Be sure to add in the day one mobility work as well. For the resistance training, do:

1 round week one 15-20 reps

2 rounds week two and three 15-20 reps

3 rounds week four and five 15-20 reps

During weeks 6-8 do three rounds, bringing the rep range down to 10-15 reps. You will also want to bring up the intensity. You can bring up the intensity by increasing the weight you are using, but always keep your form in mind, as it is important to have the right form. If you find that you can’t maintain the form then don’t increase the weight.

Once you get started with this workout outline, you will be surprised at just how great you being to feel. Stick with it and over time you will become healthier, stronger, and feel great. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area and need a personal trainer contact me. If you are not in the area, be sure to follow me on Facebook for fitness tips and information that every baby boomer can benefit from!

If you missed part one CLICK HERE

To get your specific workout line GET IT HERE NOW

Facebook FAQ Part I – What does this really mean?

If you are not yet following me on Facebook, you should be. In addition to the personal training that I provide to those in the Vancouver, Washington area, I also answer questions from people on Facebook. Since I specialize in working with seniors and baby boomers, many of those questions come from them. You may be able to relate to the question what it all really means, anyway.

 

 

Recently I posted a question on my Facebook page and I got a question in return. A baby boomer wanted to know what it all means and how to best go about reaching one’s fitness goals. Let’s start with asking the question about how much extra fat you are carrying. Most people want to melt their extra fat away with exercise, so the amount of fat they have is a big issue.  Most of the time when I give an answer about how to get extra fat off of one’s body I get a blank stare in return. It may even be followed with a response such as “I knew I was missing something. Grr.”

Being that I’m a nice guy, I’m going to give you the answer. This way you can become the healthiest boomer that you can be. What you need to do, for starters, is create a workout schedule. No moans and groans here, this is the only way you are going to get that extra fat off that you asked about. Here’s what your workout schedule should look like:

Monday – Mobility/Workout 1

Tuesday – Mobility/Cardio

Wednesday – Mobility/Workout 2

Thursday – Mobility/Cardio of choice

Friday – Mobility/Workout 3/Cardio of choice

Saturday – Cardio of choice

When it comes to cardio, you need to do something that is going to get your heart rate up, such as walking, biking, using the elliptical or stepper, or a row machine. When it comes to mobility exercises, you want to do 10 minutes each day. Yes, do them every single day! You will also want to do strength training 3-4 days per week. Your cardiovascular workouts should be 20-40 minutes per day and you will be doing them 6 days per week.

When I post things like this on Facebook, I do get people who respond to say that they don’t know what I mean by these exercises terms. As a result, I created three exercise videos that all boomers can get started with. Here is an example of what your boomer exercise program will look like:

Day 1

Mobility – 1) Cat Dog 2) Wave Stretch 3) Hip Flexor Stretch

Weight Training – Squats, DB bench press, single arm cable row, single leg RDL, barbell curl, lying tricep extension, super man, V-up.

Aim to do all the mobility work in 2-4 sets, with 8-10 reps per set, or if is a static hold go for 20-40 seconds. For resistance training, do:

1 round week one 15 reps-20 reps

2 rounds week two and three 15-20 reps

3 rounds week four and five 15-20 reps

For week 6-8, you will want to do three rounds to bring the rep range down to 10-15 reps. Also, focus on bringing up the intensity. You can do this by increasing the weights that you use, but always consider your form first and foremost. A good rule of thumb is that you if you can’t control the weight or maintain form, then do not increase the weight.

If you haven’t worked with a personal trainer it is a good idea to team up with one. That way a workout routine would be developed especially for you. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area I would be happy to help. If you are not, follow me on Facebook and I can answer your questions there! Check out the next blog post, where I will go more into depth about what your plan should include.

Get your complete Boomer Fitness Program Here…BOOMERFITNESS

Tips for Increasing Upper Body Strength to Do More Push-ups

As a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area, I get a lot of questions. Sometimes they come in person, while other times they come to my Facebook page. One of the questions I frequently get is how someone can increase their upper body strength so that they can do more push-ups. So let’s take a look at that now!

Doing push-ups is essentially a great way to test your upper body strength. Many people, like Patty S., who recently asked the question on Facebook, found that as she was getting older she wasn’t able to do as many push-ups. Today she can only do 2-5 push-ups. In order to increase that, the upper body strength will also need to increase.

Whether you have limited upper body strength as a result of recovering from an accident, like one of my baby boomer clients, or another reason, you can work on this. One client of mine went from being able to do 5-10 on a good day to being able to do 50 within 12 weeks of training. Another one of my clients, who was in the military, needed to improve so she could pass her physical tests. With a five-week period of training she went from doing 5 push-ups to doing 25, which helped her get her passing score and rank.

It is never too late to increase your upper body strength so you can get better at doing more push-ups. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

  • Always focus on form. Your form has to be right so you are building strength and avoiding injury. Good form includes hands being under shoulders, neck being tucked, and hips being in line with your head. Your back should never be arched or sagging, and your head should never be looking upward.
  • Start out by doing countertop push-ups. You can do this with any countertop. In a standing position, place your arms on the countertop, consider your form, and do as many push-ups as you can do in this position.
  • Once you can do 20 countertop push-ups it is time to move up to knee push-ups on the ground. On your knees, maintain your form, and do as many as you can.
  • When you are able to do 20 knee push-ups it is time to do full push-ups. Start out doing as many as you can, and when you can’t continue switch to knee push-ups to get your full reps in.
  • While building up your strength you will want to do these three times per week, working yourself up to 100 push-ups during each workout.
  • It is also important to do reverse push-ups in order to maintain a balance in your shoulders. As part of your work out add in pulling exercises, or reverse push-ups, where you are pulling your body weight and using the proper form and alignment.

Whether you are a baby boomer or not, it is never too late to increase your upper body strength and get better at doing push-ups. Stick with a program and over time you will be surprised at how many push-ups you will be able to do. I help many clients in the Vancouver area to get fit and believe you can do it, too!

To get your program to improve your push-ups and overall fitness CLICK HERE