Breaking Through Your First Obstacle: Yourself
So you’re not in the best shape. I’ll tell you now that it’s imperative you come to grips with this. Why, you may ask? You’ll need to be prepared for your first few weeks of exercising and I’m not going to sugar coat it – they’re going to be uncomfortable, annoying and even draining. But that’s because you’re out of shape and once you break through this phase, exercise becomes second hand nature. Maybe even a fun, positive obsession.

I’m guessing you’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now, thinking how can exercise be fun? I’ll let you in on a little secret. After a few months, you’ll see your hard work coming into play and begin liking what you see. That adrenalin starts pumping through your veins and before you know it you’re craving results and not wanting to miss a workout. You’ll be sick less often too. Even feel more confident and have clear mental focus. You’ll want to feel and look this good all the time! Excited yet?

Breaking Through Your Second Obstacle: Yourself
Why haven’t you begun exercising yet? My guess would be that you’re making excuses or haven’t made any time to make yourself a priority. I’ve heard all the stories and I get it, you’re busy. Work. Kids. Errands. Social life. Things get hectic and it’s usually your health that suffers. Eating right and finding time for the gym is a constant struggle– especially since you don’t know you’re way around the gym or if you could even afford one. And then there’s always that self-conscious feeling that gym members look so much better than you and again, you give in to your insecurities about what others might be thinking.

The funny thing is, anyone that does notice is probably commending you on your efforts to get up and be active! Remember, they’ve been there too.

Where To Begin
First things first – Make sure you consult with your physician before beginning an exercise regimen. Once you have clearance, make the decision that today is the day. I hate that lousy excuse – “I’ll start on Monday, since that’s the beginning of the week.” Monday turns into Tuesday. Tuesday turns into next week. And next week turns into a year. Once you’ve decided you’re ready, take that day to plan everything out. The purpose of planning ahead of time is to create consistency.

Evaluate how fit you are for your chosen physical activity. After assessing your fitness level, set some workout goals. For example, do you want to run a marathon, or just be able to jog at a nice pace without getting winded? Setting realistic goals will definitely encourage you along the way. Then decide how active you want to be and plan out your week/month accordingly.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week. The key here is to get up and get that booty moving! I’m not saying you have to spend 2 hours pumping iron at the gym, but if your goal was weight loss make sure you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.

The best part is there are so many exercise options to choose from – walking, jogging, running, golfing, volleyball, karate, aqua aerobics, circuit training, soccer, basketball, mountain climbing, hiking, zumba, yoga, pilates, plyometrics, football, pole dancing, kick boxing, gymnastics, rock climbing, canoeing, frisbee, tennis, racquet ball, skating, tae bo, spinning, badminton, jump rope, skiing, obstacle courses, and weight training. The important thing is to choose activities you enjoy because that will increase your chances of making exercise a habit. Switch up your routine every few weeks or try something new and kick boredom to the curb!

Ready. Set. Go! But Start Off Slow.
Make sure you warm up and do some light stretching before your workout begins. This will get the blood flowing through your muscles but you can save the majority of your stretching for after the workout.

I can’t stress this enough – Start Off Slow! You’ll be tempted to overdo it and starting off your exercise routine too aggressively can cause some fall backs. You may end up too tired, too sore the next day or even injured all because you thought this way of working out would produce quicker results. Ease into your training.

You can walk around your neighborhood until you build up enough endurance to run, jump rope through the park or go for a bike ride down town. If you know you’re one of those people that will need someone to hold them accountable, join your local running club. If you prefer to start out in comfort of your own home you can get down with squats, lunges, pushups, vertical leg crunches, planks, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and vertical jumps. These condition your body by using your own body weight as resistance. To boost your strength and aerobic capacity, you may also want to invest in some home exercise equipment.

If you need a little more insurance, find a gym that you feel has beneficial features and hire a personal trainer. A great way to boost activity and curve boredom is by involving yourself in the numerous club classes and activities they’ll have going on. Then once you begin your personal training sessions you’ll be guided by a true professional. And odds are, when you’re paying for something and have appointments scheduled, you’re more likely to progress and stick with it since you’re financially invested.

The Last Plan of Attack
Surround yourself with supportive people. Having supportive people in your life is like putting antibiotic and a bandage on a cut. These are the people that want to see you heal and genuinely want to see you succeed. Keep them in your corner! They’ll boost your confidence and be there when you get to brag about how hot you look! In return, you may inspire them to jump on board and follow your lead.

Being active is the fundamental key to your health. You are the one that can change things if you are 100% committed. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be.

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My Inspiration

I heart James Todd Smith (LL Cool J). But not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. There is so much more to this rapper/actor icon and entrepreneur than his chiseled body and sculpted face.

When Life Gives You Lemons . . .

I was finally diagnosed with a chronic bladder pain syndrome in the summer of 2010 after over a year of being poked and prodded by doctors trying to find out what was wrong with me. It was mentally and physically devastating to realize I would have to live like this for the rest of my life. And because this was an invisible illness (I looked fine on the outside even though I wasn’t on the inside) it made things even harder and most people just didn’t understand. Not knowing how to handle this, I let myself get out of shape. In November 2010, I picked up LL Cool’s book – I Make My Own Rules – and it gave me the power to take back control of my life instead of letting this pain control me. Let me explain.

Todd Smith had a childhood filled with chronic pain. He was born handicapped with an arm that wouldn’t move. He witnessed his father routinely beat up his mother and even watched as his own father shot his mom and grandfather, all by the age of 4. After his family recuperated from these injuries, Todd’s mother dated a physical therapist she had met during her recovery. Though the therapist treated his mother well, he physically and verbally abused Todd for years.

Make Lemonade . . .

Todd admits that he made mistakes along his journey through life but never fell victim to his circumstances or lack of a father and owned up to his missteps. He didn’t allow his upbringing of pain to define who he was and would become. His story empowered me to realize I had allowed myself to become my illness. The very thing I didn’t want to happen!

Getting myself out of this state of dissolution to a fit and centered life meant more than just beginning a workout regimen. It meant waking up every day knowing today was going to be a phenomenal day and making it my mission to spread joy and motivation to others. It meant pushing myself through difficult workouts, planning ahead and preparing healthy meals, dreaming big, setting goals, celebrating the success of others, surrounding myself with positive individuals, and being proud that I had challenged myself to be the best that I could be in my quest to make a difference in this world. And with that I began my transformation of living that healthy lifestyle.

And The Moral of the Story Is . . .

Life is not easy and challenges us all the time. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be. “Challenge yourself. Exceed your highest expectations. Raise the bar. Go beyond what you ever dreamed possible. Take charge of your body, and in the process, take charge of your life.” – Todd Smith, LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout

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