Equation for Exercise Excellence
Yes, it’s the New Year, and everyone knows they should lose weight and exercise more. But what does that mean? What is the best approach? Over the years, I have noticed common characteristics among clients who have achieved the best results from their exercise programs. Under the careful guidance of their trainers, clients have developed these traits into a formula for fitness success. After analyzing many clients’ records, checking the alignment of the stars, reviewing physics textbooks and gazing into a crystal ball, I have developed an equation Einstein would have been proud to call his own:
R=DC+2E: There it is, easy as Pi. Results equal Desire times Consistency plus Effort times Effectiveness. Let’s look at each component separately.
Results: Your goals, what you hope to achieve. Results are the fruits of your hard labor. Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Desire: The more committed you are to achieving your goals, the more likely they will be achieved. This means exercising when you are tired, when you’ve had too much wine the night before, or when you’re bothered by a mild cold. You have to want it…no one else can give you the will to become fit and healthy.
Consistency: Consistency requires you to make time to exercise—not fit it in. Whether it is strength training, cardio or eating better, taking a moderate approach over a long time horizon is what allows for incremental progress while reducing the risk of injury. It is critical to stick to a schedule. If not, a weekend warrior will become a weakened warrior.
Effort: Change your workout routine when it gets easy. Squeezing out the last two repetitions with good form even though your biceps are on fire. Having only coffee for dessert. “May I substitute steamed vegetables instead of the pasta?” Saying no to a second glass of wine.
Developing your character as a winner by taking you to the edge of your performance envelope is what trainers do best. When clients ask what I want from them, I respond, “One thing…More!”
Effectiveness: What if you have developed realistic goals and are exercising hard on a regular basis without the success you hoped for? If this is your scenario, the effectiveness of your eating and exercise programs needs to be reevaluated. People tend to do what they like and avoid what they don’t. As a rule, the exercises you dislike the most are the ones you need the most. In addition, subtle variations on familiar exercises and eating themes often provide dramatic results. For example, did you know that performing abdominal crunches on a Swiss ball is 20% more effective than doing them on a mat? Or that adding two or three servings of vegetables a day could help you lose weight? Are you aware that doing fewer repetitions with heavier weights will yield greater strength and better muscle tone than performing more repetitions with lighter weights? Or that eating a bigger breakfast can actually help you to lose fat and gain energy? Learning to eat and exercise effectively is not intuitive; it is learned, like calculus or Latin.
Whether old school or new school, if you are weak in the science of exercise and nutrition, it is important to seek the help of a qualified tutor. A Certified Personal Trainer will employ a mix of algebra and alchemy, physics and philosophy to develop your personal formula for fitness.
Set fitness goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. How much do you want to be fit? Your commitment and desire are everything. The rest is easy—establish a consistent schedule of exercise and a progressive and challenging routine. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate if your plan is not as effective as you would like it to be.