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 Frequently Asked Question: Strengthening Arms and Legs

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’m a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area, I do also frequently get asked questions. They come to me from all over the country, as well as some from close to home. One of the questions I recently got from Karen M. is one that I often get from people.

Karen, like so many others, contacted me through Facebook in order to ask about how she can go about strengthening her arms and legs. She is retired now and looking for a way to build up strength. While she’s looking for a few good pointers, they can also be helpful to others who are seniors, retired, or who are baby boomers looking for a way to build up strength.

First of all, let’s look at a few of the reasons why it is important to build up the strength in your arms and legs. It doesn’t matter how young or old someone is, it is important to have strong arm and leg muscles. When you build the muscles in your arms and legs you will be able to perform activities more easily, such as biking, walking, taking the stairs, or whatever it may happen to be. Being fit and strong is also going to help you avoid injury, give you more speed, and as a senior it is going to continue to ensure you will have more independence.

Having muscle strength in your arms and legs is going to help you maintain your range of motion as you age. Once you retire, if you end up sitting around not doing anything your muscles are going to atrophy, or weaken. It is crucial that if you want to live good healthy retirement years that you build muscles in your arms and legs and you maintain them as you continue to age.

So what can you do to build that muscle and maintain it? First, I suggest working with a personal trainer, such as myself, so that I can put you on a program that is tailored to you and your lifestyle. Beyond that step, I would suggest you combine total body conditioning with strengthening your core muscles. Add in the arm and leg exercises to your already existing workout. A few things you can do include:

  • Take a barbell and do some walking curls with it. Start with a comfortable weight, but increase it over time. You will want to do 6 sets of this, with 8-10 reps per set.
  • You are familiar with sit-ups, but try the “chopper” sit-ups. To do this you will get in the sit-up form, come up as you normally would, but you will take your right hand and reach it over to touch the floor on your left side. Do the same with the other side. For this, do 6 sets that have 10-15 reps per set.
  • Start a routine of doing push-ups in order to help build your arms. Be sure to check out my post that explains how to start a push-up routine and build your arm strength.

These are a good way to get you started on building the strength in your arms and legs. As you age it is essential to maintain your strength. Working out each week is the only way to help you get there. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area and would like to work with a personal trainer who can set you up on a plan just for you, be sure to contact me.

For more ways to strengthen your arms and legs CLICK HERE

Facebook Frequently Asked Question: How to Get Motivated

Whether I am taking questions from my followers on Facebook, or meeting up with my personal training clients in the Vancouver, Washington area, many have similar concerns. One recent question that I received from a Lisa H. on Facebook involved getting back into shape after not exercising for so long. Perhaps you can relate!

Lisa explained that she hasn’t worked out in years, and although she used to be in great shape, she has gained a significant amount of weight over the years. Like many people, she plans to start a new routine each Monday, only to not see it through. So she wants to know how to get out of the cycle so that she can make her way back to a healthy lifestyle. Great question!

This is one of the top challenges that I run into with baby boomers who I work with in personal training. They want to exercise and be healthy, but they lack the motivation to get them going in the right direction. The key to this, I believe, is in having a strong reason for why you are going to exercise. You need to feel and believe it, so that the motivation from it not only gets you started, but carries you on. Most people tend to beat themselves up when they have not been active in a while. They may feel guilty, frustrated, overwhelmed, and even feel they are on a path to self-destruction.

The first step in stopping this cycle is to re-invent yourself and remember your dreams. In a past blog post I wrote about reclaiming your identity. What I mean by that is: Who would you be if you were to achieve your goals? Who are you really? Start there! Once you have identified who you really are, it is time to make some goals, both short- and long-term. Examples of short-term goals may be to do weight training three times per week, and go for a 30-minute walk six times per week. A medium-term goal would be to do a 5K, fit into your clothing again, or take a 5-mile hike. Long-term goals are the ones that include losing 50 pounds, wearing a special dress to your daughter’s wedding, completing a marathon, taking an adventurous long hike, or doing a local bike race.

It’s important that you also celebrate your successes on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Just be sure to make them healthy celebrations, rather than junk food rewards. Take a moment each day to write down how your identity is improving and you are moving closer to being your true self. By doing this you will start to reinforce the best characteristics of who you are.

Now, on to the part of overcoming the exercise drought if it has been a while. The first thing to do is get some accountability by hiring a personal trainer. When you do that, you will be more likely to stick with it because you are paying for that service. Here are some additional tips for gaining momentum to get started:

  • Define what success in your exercise plan is going to include.
  • What dreams did you give up on and really want back in your life? What are those things that get you excited and motivate you to be your best each day?
  • How do you feel about your starting point? Do you have health concerns, for example?
  • How do you rate your confidence level in reaching your goals? What can you do to improve that confidence level?
  • What can you do to improve your desire to exercise?
  • What are some of the comments that people have made about your health, and how do you view your health?
  • If you could change one thing about your views, what would it be? How would your life be different if you were to do this?

By taking the time to answer those questions, you will have a good starting place. This should put you in a good position to get motivated and start exercising. You only have your health once and the most important thing you can do for yourself is to take care of.

Here is a plan that will keep you motivated CLICK HERE

Boomers, Training, and Olympians

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do baby boomers and the Olympians have in common? For those baby boomers who want to live life to the fullest, a lot! It may seem like baby boomers are just living their lives and going through the motions to some people, but for many of them their heart is filled with the same thing that fills the heart of an Olympian. And I mean beside the blood that’s pumping through it.

I’m talking about passion, drive, and perseverance. A baby boomer who wants to live a healthy lifestyle, train and get fit can learn a lot from an Olympian. No, they don’t have to become an Olympian, but picking up the attitude is going to make a world of difference.

The attitude of an Olympian is passion for what they are doing. They could not put in the time training that is required to make it to the Olympics if they were not passionate about what they were doing. They have a drive that keeps them going. If someone tells them they can’t do something, they push past it and keep going. They continue to persevere at every turn and every time there is a challenge that steps in their way. They don’t come up with excuses. Instead, they come up with plans, routines, and solutions that will take them from where they are to where they want to be, which this year is Sochi.

What does this have to do with baby boomers who want to be healthy? Adopt the same attitude and you will succeed! You have to want it, you have to work for it, and you have to let nothing stand in your way. If you continue on in your journey for the quest to be fit and health you will make it. You won’t let anything stand in your way.

There is a lot at stake for an Olympian. If they don’t make the cut they will have to find another job and the dreams of their passion may die. But there is a lot at stake for a baby boomer, too. If they don’t follow the plan to get fit and persevere, their health is at stake. They will likely experience a weakening of their body as they age, they will have more difficulty getting around, and they will probably not live the quality of life that they want to. Both the Olympian and the baby boomer have a lot at stake and following through with their goals, plans, and workouts are what is going to help them be successful.

Nobody can hold back an Olympian with a goal and a dream. The same can be said for the baby boomer on a mission to be healthy. It’s like the old saying goes… those who want to do something find a way. Those who don’t really want to will find an excuse!

One of the best places to start for your fitness goals is right here.