The definitive guide to getting fit in 2012

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Midnight struck on New Year’s Eve and 2012 arrived. You pat yourself on the back because you survived a very stressful 2011; you turn back to your friends, throw back another shot and continue to party. The next morning you wake up feeling like you were hit by a truck, you stagger to the bathroom, look in the mirror and you’re disgusted with your own reflection. You begin to panic, and you promise yourself this year is going to different.

New Year’s Resolutions almost never come to fruition, especially ones associated with weight loss. They’ve almost become something we throw onto our annual self-improvement list instinctively, along with learning something new and doing better in school, without first considering what it takes to reach that goal. If you really want to make a dramatic physical life change for 2012, wait two weeks to reconsider if the desire to get fit remains.

After all the hoopla surrounding New Year’s is gone, the semester is underway and life returns to normal. If you still feel driven  to change your lifestyle, you’re ready to follow my workout for three days a week. Follow this plan for the next four weeks, increasing the weight every week. Make it a priority to get to the gym to do your weight workout and make the effort to complete 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on days with workouts and on days without.

Need further motivation to workout? Here are 10 steps to achieving a healthier you.

Step 1: Set long-term and short-term goals using the S.M.A.R.T principle.

The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

Specific- “I want to lose 20 pounds”

Measurable- progress can be tracked

Attainable- create goals that with the available resources, mental

Faculties, and help can become reality

Relevant- make goals that you are actually willing to do the work for.

Time-Specific:  give yourself a date that you will achieve your goal(s) by.

Step 2: State your intentions to everyone you know.

The reason for this is accountability when you state your intention to exercise, everyone in your circle becomes a part of your surveillance team. Let the people close to you aware of your goals, they’ll keep you committed.

Step 3: Find a workout partner who shares your newfound affliction for self-transformation.

There is strength in numbers, and you will have a higher tendency to be more consistent in your efforts if you have someone to share the struggle with.

Step 4:  Go to the Ryerson Athletic Center (RAC)

90 per cent of winning the battle is simply showing up, then once you’re there earn the last 10 per cent by doing something.  Don’t know what to do? The next tip should be helpful.

Step 5: Don’t be intimidated to ask questions.

When it comes to fitness, there are no dumb questions. Ask as many questions as you need to, to achieve your intended goal.  Ask one of the RAC’s awesome staff members what to do, how to do it and how much of it to do.  I have my own policy called befriend a big guy. Anytime I go to a gym, I always find the most muscular person and I make friends with him or her. If they are bigger and more muscular than I am, they most know what they’re doing.

Step 6:  Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others in the gym.

Even though my befriend a big guy policy is in effect, I am mindful not to lose myself in trying to emulate that person’s regime.  I keep it relative by reminding myself that I am training for my own reasons.  Strive to be the best you can be. Don’t let what others are doing interfere with your own weight training.

Step 7: Mix it up

Men, there are other exercises then bench press and biceps curls.  Ladies, go to the weight room, the cardio equipment will still be there when you’re done. Our body is a system of bones, muscles, organs and systems that carry out various processes.  When you are putting together your training plan keep this fact in mind: when you train you are improving your operational processes and structures. That’s what makes you look and feel healthy. In order to maximize the productivity of your workout, it’s imperative to diversify the areas of the body you’re focusing on.

Step 8:  Challenge yourself

Each time you workout, make an effort to be better than your last. Try increasing the weight a little bit, maybe complete one more repetition or go for another 30 seconds on your run.  Allowing your workout to become stagnant is not just mentally redundant it also has adverse affects on the body. The body’s adaptation period is around four to six weeks. After that, regular changes in your workout are needed to continue with physical progression.

Step 9: Rest and Relaxation

Taking time to rest your body is just as important to achieving your fitness and weight loss goals as the training itself.  A solid eight hours of sleep is the ultimate rejuvenator. Believe it or not, every night before I go to bed I sit cross-legged on a cushion with my eyes closed, hands clasped, and reflecting for 45 minutes. Find an activity that you’re able to find solace in.

Step 10:  Don’t take yourself too seriously, it’s only a gym.

The gym is just one of the many tools at your disposal to supplement life, it should never consume it.  Remember it’s only weight training. You’re lifting heavy inanimate objects in the name of self-improvement.  Never evaluate yourself by what your performance in the gym. No matter how difficult the workout, do your best and always have fun.



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