Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creating A Fitness Routine - Part 3: Keeping Records

If you're new to our series on becoming more fit, please check out the first few posts.  In part one we talked about how we've all failed at fitness in the past.  We all do it - just admit your with the rest of us and move on.  Failure is critical component to success.  It wasn't the first time you failed and it won't be the last.  (We'll be getting into this later in part six.)  In part two we talked about SMART goals.  As an experienced personal trainer I feel this is top-three important!  Working out for the sake of working out very rarely works - so don't try to be the exception.  Read about creating a SMART goal and you'll find a lot about yourself and your motivation.

In this post I'd like to talk about record keeping.  One of the biggest challenges I have is keeping good records for my clients.  Doctors have nurses and administrative assistants to take notes and update records.  But it's up to me and me alone to take notes during my sessions with clients and then record them on their programs so that we know where we've been, what we've discussed, and new developments and goals as the come up.

And you?  Maybe you're not the detail orientated person for the job.  But you should be - and here's why.  Writing down what you've accomplished is a great way to reflect on the physical activity you've done.  It also ensures you have accurate records for two, six, eighteen months down the road.  Even if you have a perfect memory I guarantee you'll appreciate looking back at your workouts in a couple years to reflect on where you've been.

This record keeping can take various forms.  Do what works best for you.  Some examples:

Google Documents - you can share (online) with friends, family, trainers (like me)
Word or Excel file on your computer
DailyMile.com - the Facebook for athletes in training
Journal - I love my Moleskin notebook
Or whatever works for you.

So what will it be?  Give it a try and tell me how you're making it work.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Creating a Fitness Routine Part 2 - Goal Setting

This is part two of our J2K Fitness Challenge.  In part one we talked about how we can learn about ourselves in our failures, and that in fact failure is essential for success.  I ended part one with instructions to write down some obstacles that have gotten in the way of your training programs in the past.

Now with those in the back of our mind, let's start writing some goals.  Goals, both short and long term, are extremely important in creating a fitness routine.  In college as I was learning about physical and health education we learned about S.M.A.R.T. goals.  At first it seemed a little over the top, but over the years I've come to realize how important each component is to the success of your goal.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals:

Specific           (What *specifically* do you want to happen)
Measurable     (How will you know when you've accomplished your goal?)
Attainable        (Is your goal within reach but still challenging?)
Relevant          (Is it your goal or someone else's; how does it fit in your life?)
Timely             (To be completed next week, next month or next year?)

Without a goal we will never accomplish what's important to us.  The world distracts us in many different ways, so we need to focus.  And when we establish a goal, it needs to have the five SMART components.

Take that sheet of paper and start formulating your S.M.A.R.T. goals.  Nothing is written in stone, remember?  You may write these goals and then make some changes a few weeks into the program.  Life is a series of adjustments.  But we'll continue our J2K Challenge by writing some goals.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Creating a Fitness Routine Part 1

Admit it - you haven't had that much success in this area.  You've had a few exercise routines come and go over the years.  Maybe you've tried running or getting on the bike, but it didn't last more than a couple weeks.  You've tried some diets that didn't produce the results you expected.  And weight lifting - after a week you were so sore you never made it back to the gym.

Score:  Intentions 44  

            Results   0
Deep inside everyone knows they could be a little healthier.  We all want to eat a little better and workout a little more.  We have something to prove to ourselves.  Forget the guy at work who always gets a good workout in - we have something to prove to ourself!

This is the first article in a new series called J2K.  Kind of catchy, right?  J2K.  It's a project for you, by you, with me.  But mostly it's for you.  This is a story you're going to write about your fitness experience.  "But Hans my fitness experience, if I'm really honest, has been a story of failure."  I'm with you.  I've failed too.  But luckily history provides proof that even when we fail, we can still learn and succeed.  Here's how the J2K Fitness Challenge derives its name.

Virgin Atlantic Airways is an airline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin label, a forward-thinking business group known to be highly innovative.  In 2000 they made a $67 million investment to create sleeper seats, reclining seats for their business class.  
Although sleeper seats had long existed in first class, airlines had not yet adopted them for business class. Virgin was the first to announce it would be offering "a bed in business," says Joe Ferry, Virgin's head of design, who led the design of the J2000 seats. Within a year, however, Virgin's idea was one-upped by its chief competitor, British Airways PLC (BAB ), which rolled out a truly flat bed. While customers were initially enthusiastic about the J2000, some complained about sliding and discomfort. In the end, says McCallum, it "was wildly unsuccessful. Everybody acknowledged that it was not as good a product as our principal competitors'." Agrees Ferry: "We were an also-ran, which didn't really sit well with us."
But Ferry didn't get fired.  In fact, CEO Gordon McCallum entrusted Ferry with more money - $127 million to over-haul the upper-class seats.  The new version, launched in 2003, has been a solid success.  Called the "upper-class suite," Ferry's makeover made a design leap beyond merely being flat.  Flight attendants flip over teh back and seat cushions to make the bed, allowing for different foam consistencies for sitting and sleeping.  While Ferry hoped the new seats would eventually improve Virgin's business-class market share by 1%, they've already exceeded that goal.  (Source: businessweek.com)

Failure is not the end of the story.  Many leadership experts and business professionals would testify that failure is in fact necessary for success.  So we begin J2K with a look at our failure.

When you think back to your attempts at creating an exercise program for yourself, what has gotten in the way?  What's made your routine fall apart?  What one aspect would you do differently to improve your chances at success?

The first part of the J2K Fitness Challenge is to get one piece of paper for some thoughts.  Write "J2K Fitness Challenge" at the top and brain-storm a couple reasons why exercise hasn't worked for you in the past.  That's it.  Come back in a couple days and we'll talk about what to do with those thoughts and we'll formulate some goals.  But not just any goals - we'll formulate S.M.A.R.T. Goals.