As the days get shorter and the temps get cooler, our activity levels drop, and we tend to eat more. A lot more. In fact, the average American gains 2+ lbs over the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. And it’s not just the holidays that lead to weight gain. The CDC estimates that over 40% of Americans are overweight or obese. That statistic is alarming, but what is downright frightening is that the CDC also states that obesity is linked to our Nation’s top killers: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. So, what do we do to avoid succumbing to statistics like this? If we need to lose weight, how do we do so successfully? (Hint: it DOESN’T involve trendy diets or repeatedly starving ourselves of calories.)
Over many years I’ve worked with countless clients on some aspect or another relating to weight loss- whether that be a primary goal, or a secondary one. During that time, I’ve found there are a handful of changes people make who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Here are my top six:
I have had CPR training of sorts for more than 30 years, going back to the time I was a Boy Scout, and culminating with a refresher course I took last year, yet I never thought I would really ever need it. In fact, I’ve asked instructors at times if they had ever used their CPR training and only a handful have, ( former EMTs or those currently in the medical field.) Yet I, along with two other training camp attendees, were thrust into this situation several weeks ago when we happened upon a cyclist, who had just crashed and was unresponsive.
Anyone who's ever made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape knows, developing and maintaining a sustainable fitness regimen is much easier said than done. And the key to doing so is to develop the habit of fitness. When a habit is ingrained, we are more likely to throw a leg over the bike, get out and run, drive to the pool, go to the gym, or unroll that yoga mat in the living room, regardless of the circumstance in which we find ourselves. But again, we all have the best of intentions, but the grand majority of us tend to fall short. However, there are that small percentage of people that seem to never miss a workout or skip leg day- they are constantly eating healthy, and always look fit!
So what makes those weekend warriors able to develop a sustainable fitness regimen? How come they never seem to lack motivation, are able to navigate hectic work commitments, the kid’s carpool schedule, and still keep those abs looking good and the run times dropping?
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the entire world is breathing a sigh of relief as we get this most difficult year behind us. So much has changed in just 365 days, with a global health crisis dominating so much of our lives for what has seemed like an eternity. Entire countries have been locked down and huge events such as the Olympics, the Boston marathon, and the Ironman World Championships (along with almost every other athletic event) have been cancelled or postponed. On a smaller and more personal scale, families have been separated for weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthdays, and holidays. In short, it's been a really hard year.
Yet, as with all hard things, there are a few lessons we can learn from maybe the most globally challenging year in our lifetime.
Like many of you, there is a lot I’ve learned over the last 2.5 months hunkered down with my wife, our dog Bella, and our little guy Evan in a 1,000 sq ft apartment. Certainly I’ve learned a lot about myself, and my family, but I’ve also learned from you. All of us have gone through unique experiences during this time of quarantine - and many of us have gone through very similar ones. Hopefully we can come out on the other side of this with some lessons learned that will serve us in times of peace as well as times of crisis.
While the pandemic casts a dark cloud over our lives currently, hopefully we see the silver lining of perspective - of lessons learned from this pandemic and lockdown. Here are 6:
This weekend is the highly anticipated USA Olympic Trials for the Marathon in Atlanta, GA. I’ve been counting down this date for several months, so excited to see which three women and three men get to wear the red, white, and blue for Team USA in Tokyo later this year. It will be an incredible display of talent, grit, and determination for everyone to see. Some of these athletes are full-time professional runners, but most wear many hats in addition to being elite runners. With over 700 in the field, their backgrounds and stories vary wildly.
However, each of those runners have a few things in common- and those are things as amateur athletes we can all take note of. In fact, the best athletes across ALL disciplines share several keys we can utilize to help us become better or faster or stronger:
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2019 was as good to you as it was to me. And I also hope you’re looking forward to an even better 2020. It’s not just the start of a new year, but an entire new DECADE! What a great time to evaluate our lives and examine the challenges, opportunities and blessings we’ve been granted over the past 10 years, and think about where we want to be in the next 10.
The Marine Corps Marathon happened here two weeks ago, and it was anything but optimum conditions. With rain, 98% humidity, and soaring temps, it felt more like racing in Florida than in Northern Virginia. Ironically, the unofficial Marine Corps motto is “Improvise, adapt, overcome”, and that is exactly what tens of thousands of runners had to do in order to complete this most challenging of races.
“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” is a great mantra for not only the Marines, or for running the MCM, but for ALL exercise endeavors.
The winter months always make me think of running. When I lived in California, “winters” were spent running through miles and miles of trails, through the lush foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I’d travel back to Utah during the Holidays where most days I would wear cold weather running gear, throw Yaak Trax on my trail shoes for added traction, and head out in the snow for an hour or two of frosty solitude. Now that I’m in DC, I don’t make it back to UT or CA as much, but I still focus on running during the winter months. As such, I’m a bit more observant of other runners- be it outside or on the treadmills at the gym.
As I engage with other runners, I am reminded of some essential keys that every runner should understand. At the same time, I see the pitfalls that MOST runners commit in the quest to become faster or fitter. Hopefully, you don’t fall into the trap others do. See if you’re guilty of doing any of these 5 Pitfalls Runners Make:
With increasing demands on our time, our gym time, pool time, or ride time suffers. And while some fitness stalwarts are able to adapt their schedules to still get in that all important workout, there are those who adopt the ‘all or nothing approach,” choosing to forego ANY workout if they can’t get their intended hour of gym time, or 8 mile run, or 20 mi ride in.
For example, I recently learned of the husband of a client, who really needs to get back into shape. A former athlete, he didn’t feel like the ‘time was right’ for him to start working out again because he “couldn’t give it 100%.” While the desire to give everything you have to an exercise routine is noble, at times it’s simply not practical.