Monday, August 18, 2003

Desire can get couch potatoes up, moving

By Dave Patania
Personal trainer

Question: I know you have heard this before but I really am swamped with work and my 7-year-old son. I am a 39-year-old male who is tired of being out of shape.

Answer: I can understand your situation because the American household is always under a time crunch these days. However, if you really are sick and tired of being out of shape, there will have to be a full throttle effort on your part to get physical activity into your everyday life. Not wishful thinking and a couple of weekend bicycle rides per year, but rather true, consistent effort.

I had a guy stop me at a get-together and tell me how much he wanted to lose weight. He drilled me for tips and suggestions for at least 45 minutes. About a week later, I saw him at the mall in the food court tearing through the biggest basket of french fries I have ever seen. It is all about desire and action.

I understand that with all of the pressures of parenthood and work, it is hard to make time for yourself, but it must be done. If you think outside of the box, I am confident that you can find a way to reach your goals.

For example, a friend of mine used to say that she could never find the time to exercise. The kicker is that her doctor told her that she was in such bad physical condition that she needed to change her habits or gear up for some really bad health problems.

She found the time to take things seriously, buy a stationary bicycle and ride four or five days a week. She got up 20 minutes earlier every morning and rode her bike for 20 minutes before breakfast and 20 minutes in the evening after dinner 4-5 days a week. Along with a change in eating habits, she is now out of the danger zone and considered a "normal, healthy adult."

Don't wait for a doctor to warn you, but rather take the initiative to be creative. Remember that there is no fitness blueprint that works for everyone. Take an assessment of your lifestyle/schedule and creatively find ways to incorporate healthy activities into your life. Rather than organizing a happy hour for work every week, try organizing volleyball games a couple of times a week.

I know of a guy who was sick and tired of being out of shape and sent a company-wide memo to everyone asking if anyone else was sick and tired too.

The response was so great that he started a run/walk club. That guy is one of my clients and he has been directing that club for the past 12 years. Whether it is sneaking in a quick run for half of your lunch hour or getting up early to go to the gym, I am sure you can create a positive situation for yourself.


Contact personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail:

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