Friday, August 14, 2009

Superstar Secrets to Fitness Success

Brett Favre earned himself one of the most dubious distinctions in professional football when he threw more interceptions (288) than any other player in NFL history during his 2007 season!

Fortunately for Brett, the Superbowl MVP also holds records for the most touchdowns ever thrown (464), the most total yards thrown (over 61,000), and the most total completions (5377). For Brett, the upside potential of completing a touchdown pass always exceeded the risk of throwing an interception: you couldn't score it if you didn't throw it.

Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player in history, is famously quoted as saying that "I missed every shot I didn't take." During his amazing 19 year career, Michael actually missed more shots than he made ... attempting 24,537 shots and making just 12,192 for a career average shooting percentage of just 49.7%. But in the process of actually sinking less than half of his shots, he set NBA all time records for the highest points scored average per game (30.4), the most 30+ pt. games (563), and many others. For Michael, you couldn't score if you didn't shoot, and when the game was on the line, he wanted the ball and the shot.
None of us have this kind of talent, nor will any of us come close to producing these numbers. But each of us can learn from these 2 superstars as we face choices each day that do effect our health and fitness. We may never take the last shot of the game, or toss up a game winning pass, but we do regularly face simple lifestyle choices that add up enormously in the short and long runs.

How often and when will I exercise this week? What will I eat for breakfast? Am I getting enough sleep? As a fitness professional, it's interesting, if not fascinating to talk about high intensity interval training, and adding lean body mass to reduce body fat, and the need for long, slow cardio activity in your week.

These things matter, and they matter enormously in designing effective exercise programs, but you know what?

They are equally unusable unless you actually show up!

August is traditionally one of the softest scheduling months of the year for us. And one of the quietest months in the gyms around town (I get around!). Late summer vacations, long weekends out of town, class reunions, family reunions, you name it ... there's always something going on in August! And they all seem to get priority over consistent exercise. But that doesn't mean you need to forfeit the progress you've made up to this point.

Michael and Brett will assure you: you can't score if you don't shoot! Making progress = making the effort. And, if my 4th grade teacher was right when she said that 80% of your grade in life is just showing up, then 90% of your grade in fitness is just showing up.
So then, here are my Top 5 Tips for Keeping on Track in August:
  1. Plan an Active Vacation ... take your program on the road with you!
  2. Plan for a net zero loss in August exercise volume. Skip your Friday workout if you're heading out of town for long weekend, but make up the missed workout by adding in a different day either the week before, or the week after to keep from loosing ground.
  3. Schedule exercise into your calendar, and don’t move it unless there’s a death in the family. Make your exercise appointment the most immutable appointment of the day.
  4. Be accountable to someone. It helps if you have a personal trainer waiting on (and charging) you for the appointment whether you show up or not, but it is also helpful to have a training buddy/partner. You’re much more likely to show up when you know someone is waiting for you.
  5. Establish, write down, and publish a very specific health lifestyle goal for the next 3 months. These are things like: exercise for 90 minutes 3 times per week; or walk for 60 minutes 6 days per week; or make every scheduled exercise appointment. Lifestyle Changes. Then, take these goals and chunk them into 6 week cycle goals.

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