Progress: It takes time.

vrONi0DSomething that I’ve heard time and time again is “Why don’t I see progress?” You go to the gym day in and day out, you watch your diet, you dropped the excessive sugars and carbohydrates.

You don’t even drink soda anymore, so what’s the deal? Is going to the gym even worth it?

Well first of all, going to the gym is ALWAYS worth it. And, I can promise that if you’re showing up to the gym and sticking to your nutritional plan, you ARE making progress, even if you don’t see it happening right away. But why does progress seem to take so long?

One of my favorite analogies about the human body and fitness is like rock in a stream. Your body is the stream, and the rock is an obstacle it has to get around. How does the stream do it? Nine times out of ten, the stream is going to flow around the rock, taking the easiest course. It doesn’t want to change course or even move the rock, just like your body doesn’t want to change how it looks.

Your body doesn’t want to lose its body weight because it’s not programmed to lose that weight. If anything, your body is actually programmed to keep that weight! Think about it this way – thousands of years ago when humans couldn’t rely on a solid meal every day, we had to rely on our bodies reserves for energy. We had to sustain ourselves on what we could get, and that wasn’t always a guarantee like it is in our modern world.

So how do we keep faith in our goals of fitness? Trust me, I know it gets hard to stick to those goals. There’s something I like to tell my clients when they’re starting to lose faith in their progress: You have to be happy in the fact that you ARE making progress, no matter how slow it might appear.

Renewing your dedication to fitness means changing that mindset that fitness is somehow a destination. There will always be goals in our future, whether it’s jogging a mile or jogging five miles. The best part about fitness is knowing that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. The fact that you’re appearing at the gym is a sure sign that you’re improving your health.

And best of all, we can measure the fact that you’re making progress, whether you see it for yourself or not. Ask your personal trainer to look at your history, and I can guarantee you that after a month, you’re going to look better and perform better.

Completing a 5k: The Biggest Competition is You!

iStock_000009546366XSmallSpring and Summer is a great time to get outside. Despite the rain, overcast skies and even the wind that comes with early spring, we still get some beautiful days outside which give us a taste of summer time.

One staple of the warmer season are the multiple marathons, triathlons, and 5ks that make an appearance around the Portland and Vancouver area. Whether it’s for a great cause you believe in, or just because it’s something to do, 5ks are a great way to put your fitness to the test.

Some clients at the gym like to get themselves prepared for a local 5k, but I have noticed others don’t even consider the opportunity to take part in a 5k. I like to recommend participating in a 5k for a couple reasons:

It’s A Way to Challenge Yourself – When I bring up running a 5k, a lot of clients outright say “I can’t do something like that,” or “I’m not a runner.” But this kind of outlook misses the point of taking part in one of these events. Running in a 5k is about beating your own limits, not about beating the others in the competition.

Just by signing up, you’re already beating the prior version of yourself who was so adamant that you could never take part in a 5k.

It’s a Tangible Goal – A running event like a 5k as a scheduled start date. It has a measured distance (5 kilometers) and a detailed route, so you know exactly where you’re going to be running. Why is this important?

Because when you sign up for a 5k, you know exactly what kind of improvements you will need to make in order to participate in the event. You and I can work on endurance and spend a little extra time on legs. If you’re feeling some extra incentive, you can even practice on the route before the event even happens, so you can anticipate the kind of track you need to practice for.

It Gives Measurable Improvements – When you first start training for an event like this, I like to measure where you start off, so you can compare it to where you end up on the day of the 5k. Not only is a 5k event a great way to set goals, it’s also a great way to measure how much improvement you make leading up to the event.

Think about it like this: When you sign up for a 5k, you know you have to eventually get up to travelling 5 kilometers at a set pace. That’s a long distance, but we don’t do it all at once. Instead, we make a goal of getting to 1 kilometer, and then we move up from there. Eventually, getting 5 kilometers won’t be so far out of your grasp.

Finishing is Better than Never Starting – Whether you sprint, jog, or walk across the finish line, you are still beating the version of yourself who never started. It doesn’t matter to me what pace you take during the 5k, as long as you are pushing yourself to do the best that you can.

The pace that you finish only matters to one person: yourself. If you have kept the best pace you can and completed the 5k, you have already beaten your prior time. No one can beat that.

Competitng in a 5k really is a no-lose scenario. Most runs in the area are meant to benefit a local organization, like MS research or the Humane Society run. You get a chance to spend some time running outdoors, and most of all, it gives you a goal to work toward. Where can you go wrong?

Let me know when you’re ready to take part in a 5k, and we’ll start a timeline to get you ready for the occasion!