This season let's all try to avoid this statement: “After the holidays, I’m going to start.” Kick that mindset to the curb. Start now. You can still rock around the Christmas tree, it's just that this year, you won't feel like someone secretly shrunk your pants in the dryer. It honestly isn’t too hard for the holidays, you just have to attack your healthy living with the same gusto that you attack that Christmas shopping list.
Most of the time we really don’t have a burning desire to decorate gingerbread houses with the little ones, we just know that gingerbread houses = massive amounts of candy that you might accidentally eat 42 pieces of. The truth is, if we didn’t want to have that candy, we would be building Christmas log cabins with the kids out of popsicle sticks. That way nothing sweet and tempting would be scattered about on the kitchen table.
It's all about avoiding temptation and getting our mindset right. It is possible to live a healthy lifestyle, but you have to believe that you can do it. It has to start with you. To get you started, I've complied a list of tips that will help for this holiday season.
1. This is the season to believe, so start by believing in yourself. You may think, well, that honestly seems just a little too simple. But some people, when setting a goal, will tell themselves, ‘this is going to be soooooooo hard.’ Instead tell yourself, ‘I am going to do this.’ I mean literally, tell yourself. Speak it out loud, put notes around your room, your kitchen, wherever. Write out encouragement for yourself!
2. Avoid temptation. This doesn’t mean that you have to become the Grinch and avoid every holiday party as you sit in isolation in your living room with a Shape Magazine on your lap. On the other hand, you don’t have to make seven trips to that amazing homemade chocolate place to get candy for everyone and their mother, where you end up buying three boxes for yourself. This year, get people candles or gift cards instead. Be creative, outside of the sweets department.
3. Prepare. I’m sure that your spinach and artichoke dip is to die for, but it's killing you on the calories. When you go to holiday parties, bring a healthy option that you like, so this way you can't use the infamous excuse, “there was nothing healthy to eat there, so I just ate all desserts.” A fruit tray with a variety of cheeses or a veggie tray with reduced fat dip are two great options.
4. Drink! …………. “now she is talking!” Well, I’m actually talking about drinking water. So many people will mistake thirst for hunger when really all they need is a tall glass of H2o.
5. The gym doesn’t close in December. Try not to get that seasonal allergy to the gym this year. Stick with your workout routine! Get a workout buddy to hold you accountable, work with a personal trainer, get into those exercise classes! Keep your body moving, it will thank you afterwards.
6. Your wish list. Think of a couple of gifts to put on your list that are going to motivate you to get to work! Maybe you want a new dry-fit workout outfit, or an iTunes gift card to get some amazing music that motivates you to move! When we get new things, we want to try them right away… and hot sneakers are looking better than hot chocolate mix this year.
7. Pie has portion sizes, too. Sometimes you have to try that homemade pie that your best friend made, but you don’t need a quarter of the pie to feel satisfied. Take small bites and put your fork down to talk in between. Our minds aren’t on the same page as our stomachs, so sometimes it takes our brains a few minutes to realize that we are, in fact, full.
8. Doggy-bags are for dogs. You don’t want leftovers. There. I just made your mind up for you. You don’t need to take home cookies on a plate from that party, and you don’t need to take home that extra bacon burger from the restaurant. Unless the leftovers are leafy and green and resemble something like a chicken breast, it's best just to pass.
9. Sleep. I feel like a hypocrite writing this one. I know what its like to be so busy you don’t feel its physically possible to get it all done, but even if you have 20 minutes between doing errands, working, and taking the kids to basketball, take the nap. Little rest and poor nutrition cause our cortisol levels to spike. That's our stress hormone, and we want it as low as possible.
10. Happy for the Holidays. Keep your spirits up and play music that puts you in a great mood! The happier you are, the better you feel. You want to feel good all year long, but this is the perfect season to start feeling even better! Oh, and smileeeeeee. You look more attractive that way.
*Kate is a Personal Trainer at Elevations Health Club.
To receive more information on nutrition and weight loss, please request the Elevations special report on How to Lose Weight Sensibly!
So, you're shopping for a health club. The first thing that 99% of consumers do is to call local gyms and ask "what's your price?" Now, I could tell you that's sort of useless because all gyms are NOT created equal
. You should visit any club you are interested in. Try it out. Meet the trainers. Take a class or two. Determine the value of the facility to you before you worry about the price.
But, sigh, I know you don't really want to do that. You want answers and you want them now. So, I'll tell you a secret. Try this...
What's your cancellation policy?
Not only with that freak out the gym employee (nobody ever asks that), but it will tell you quite a bit about the facility you are calling.
I know it might sound odd to focus on how you'll end this relationship before you've even decided to start one. Sort of like writing a pre-nup before you've even gone on a date. But, here's what you're looking for...
1. how far in advance does a cancellation have to be submitted?
2. how long do I have to be a member before I can cancel?
The answers to these questions will tell you how customer-friendly this facility is. The answers may also help determine how much you'll spend with this gym, perhaps more so than the monthly price will tell you.
For instance, I once spoke with a club owner who told me that his club has a month-to-month membership...but they also have a 60-day cancellation policy. So, their month-to-month membership is really a rolling 3-month commitment, and just considering the monthly price is misleading.
Or, let's say you join a gym with inexpensive monthly dues, but it has a one-year contract and a requirement for 45-days written notice, sent via U.S. mail, in order to cancel. So, your total investment will be at least a year's worth of dues. Then, if want to cancel, your letter will have to arrive 6 weeks before your contract is up. If your letter doesn't arrive on time, you will likely be obligated to pay another month, or whatever your contract says will happen after your first year.
Is there anything wrong these scenarios? Absolutely not. As long as a gym makes clear its policies, and honors the process, then it will be your responsibility to manage your account.
But, from a consumer's perspective, 14-day lead times are better than 60. Written notice in email is easier than certified U.S. mail. Month-to-month contracts provide more flexibility than annual contracts.
Understand how a gym allows you to end your relationship and you'll be closer to understanding if you even want the relationship!
*For more help with finding a health club that's right for you, please consider downloading our free special report How To Choose A Quality Health Club.
There are a number of ways at Elevations Health Club that we help new members succeed with their New Year's fitness resolutions. We encourage new members to strike up friendships with other members and staff. We help them find something they enjoy doing, whether it is classes, swimming, lifting weights, or watching TV while they do their cardio. We provide instruction on the equipment so that everyone feels comfortable making their way around the gym. All of those things, and more, help someone become a regular exerciser.
But we also want you to underestimate yourself! (Hint: You will NOT look like this at the end of January.)
Don't be someone who says, "It's the New Year so I'm going to workout 5 days a week!" Um...you won't. Trust us. It's simply unrealistic to go from "zero to 60" when you were doing nothing on December 31st. All you're doing with thoughts like that is setting yourself up to fail.
After all, if your plan is to go "every day!" and you don't, then you'll be disappointed in yourself and give up.
So, underestimate yourself. You had been going to the gym...what was it? oh, yes...zero days per week. So, how about you shoot for one weekday and one weekend day in the New Year? That's a pretty low bar, and once you jump over it, you'll feel like you've accomplished something and want to take on more.
There you have it. Ask less of yourself to get more out of yourself in 2012!
You're lacking motivation...or your workouts aren't want they could be...or you just don't want to think when you're at the gym. So, you've decide to quit. No, I'm just kidding! You've actually decided to hire a personal trainer. (but first, name this quote: "I want to quit the gym!")
There are a myriad of factors to consider when hiring a trainer, such as the trainer's education, certifications, personality, ability to relate to your personal challenges, and many more. You certainly need to find a "love connection" with this person who will get to know you so well.
One factor often overlooked by training clients is the employment status of the personal trainer. Is he or she an employee of your health club, or a contractor? There is no right-or-wrong status, but it's important that you know.
Contract trainers work independently from their host health club. They might pay rent for the privilege of training, or they might pay a percentage of their revenue to the club. They come-and-go as they please, set their own prices, and have the freedom to work anywhere-and-everywhere they'd like. They typically do their own scheduling and often manage payments from their clients. In short, they are independent business people working for themselves.
Employee personal trainers are part of the same team that you see every day at your gym. The trainer works for the gym, and you are a client of that gym who happens to have a particular trainer. Prices are set by the club's management, the trainer has a boss, scheduling is likely done through the front desk on behalf of the trainer, and the trainer gets paid when services are rendered.
There are upsides and downsides to each relationship. Contractors have total flexibility in how they charge you, and where and when they train you. But they have nobody managing them, and if you think you'd like to try a different trainer, you may be on your own to break the news to your current trainer and look for a new one.
Employee trainers have to play by rules that they don't set, so they can't negotiate prices or payment terms for their clients. But, they will likely have closer management to help guide and develop their skills, and there will be a "higher authority" for you, as the client, to raise any concerns or problems that occur. Employee trainers are also likely part of larger team so that if you want to experience a new trainer, you can likely find one.
Again, there are no right or wrong business relationships among you, your trainer and your club. Just make sure you understand those relationships and think through the impact they might have on your relationship with your new trainer.