Monday, September 15, 2003

Social links can make it easier to exercise

By Dave Patania
Personal trainer

Question: This past spring, I said to myself that I would really work hard to look good for this summer. Well, this summer is almost gone and I didn't work out that much. Winter time is when my activity and eating habits get bad. What can I do?

Answer: The people who are successful at staying in proper physical condition are those that simply make the time to do it.

You have to make the true commitment to make time for yourself to maintain your physical fitness. The human body is an amazing thing and even mild activity three times per week can go a long way in maintaining a healthy, vibrant body.

Many people think that in order to get in good shape and look good they need to lift weights like a bodybuilder and jog until they collapse.

Although high-level activity is great, it must be pre-empted by a basic foundation of nutrition and activity. Before you even think about awesome results, you must first think about building your fitness foundation. Start slowly by doing the basics, and then work working toward higher levels of conditioning. You are not going to reach your goal by rushing or doing fad diets and activities, so relax and make a plan. This includes finding or rediscovering activities you like to do.

Many people hear about some gadget or diet, use it for a while, slack off after the novelty wears off, and then look for some other product or activity. Instead of looking for the newest fad, find people who like to do the same activities you do, such as walking groups, volleyball leagues or swim clubs.

These groups are usually composed of busy people who make the time to stay fit. On a daily basis I have people calling me to ride bikes, do sprint workouts at the track or hit the gym.

Having that collaborative makes it easy to make the time to get in some sort of activity because it is social, yet aimed at reaching goals. Sharing workout and nutrition tips with people who are all consistently exercising makes a big difference.

Once you are consistently working out (at least three days per week), you can then shift your focus to specific goals because you have created your foundation and prepared yourself for more effective activities and techniques. Knowing that winter is coming, look for activities that you can do to push through the winter "slack-off period" and go for it.

With just minimal planning, you can set up a framework that is geared for success, not failure.

Take baby steps, get involved with others focused on getting in shape and slowly work toward more and higher levels of activity.

---Contact personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail:

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