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Cardinal’s Fitness Tip of the Week: Accountability
Whether you are new to Fitness, and just getting into a healthy routine, or you have been training for over a decade, and think it impossible that you would ever “fall off the wagon” it is important to have some accountability to keep you on track. With the technological advancement of the past 20 years staying accountable is easier than ever. Exercising with a close friend is a great way to start, but following up by keeping track with a mobile app, and getting to know others who are involved in the same activities will help you maintain your health long-term as well as develop meaningful, healthy friendships.
Get Involved in Group Fitness Classes
Group fitness classes are a great place to start if you are just beginning, and a motivational place to exercise and learn new skills if you already have a basic knowledge of health and fitness. Classes combine the best elements of accountability to make your exercise regimen the best that it can be. First, classes involve others. Having other people who are both fitter than you and less fit than you is beneficial for staying on track. There are people who you can encourage, and people who can encourage you, people who you can look up to and people who look up to you. It is a good environment for positive change to just happen once, but to continue for a long time. There is a special bond that forms between friends who go through something difficult together. Now a single exercise session probably isn’t going to be one of your life's most difficult feats, but there is still a friendship bond that can develop between individuals who are united in one goal, and who each get out of their own comfort zones to accomplish it. When you can find a place that offers smaller, more personal group fitness classes then you know you have found something special. Small fitness classes not only enable you to get to know the others participating in the class, but the instructor as well. This is helpful because as the instructor gets to know you better he or she can help you with questions you have along the way, and even structure the workouts so that they are more conducive to the small groups goals.
Find a Good Environment
This one almost goes without saying, but many people get trapped in a contract that they are uncomfortable with. If you are going to join a gym, it needs to be a place you are comfortable in. Beginning a new phase in your journey to better health is a daunting task, and requires that the people helping you through it are supportive and personable. Look for a gym with smiling faces, a friendly environment, and people that want to get to know you. Don’t let yourself be pressured into signing a contract, find a place that will give you wiggle room. You never know how your life is going to change so having a no-contract option is always a plus. Having people at the place you work out who know who you are will encourage you to keep on coming back and help you stay committed to your fitness goals. A recent study of brain activity found that when people hear their own names it releases a signal in the “pleasure” portion of the brain. It is important that the people at your fitness center know your name, and take time to make your experience personal.
There are many ways that technology can make getting healthy easier than it was a few decades ago. There are also many sites that are misleading or completely false. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, chew up the good and spit out the bad, your pursuit of knowledge will pay off soon. Collect a few good blogs, podcasts, or youtube channels that will help you condense the information you let in. This will help you avoid the confusion of trying a million different diets or training protocols, instead you can start with the basics and build from there. A few words of warning: when looking for good sources of information stay away from extremes, if someone says that eating a certain way is the only way to go and if you sway from it you may die (doesn’t sound reasonable, but trust me it happens) then they aren’t a trustworthy source of information. If someone encourages that you seek information and question what they say then they are worth listening to. A few sources I recommend are the youtube channels: Biolayne, and The Macro Experiment. Podcasts from iTunes: Physique Science Radio, and The Fat Burning Man. These are good places to start, and may lead you to find other channels or podcasts that you like.
Another great way to use technology to help you reach your fitness goals is mobile apps. There are many good apps to keep you on track both in regards to exercise and nutrition. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: MyFitnessPal, MyMacros+, and MindBody Connect. MyFitnessPal and MyMacros+ are both apps to help you track your diet. Studies show that just keeping track of what you eat can result in weight loss simply because you become more aware of everything you take in. These apps are both great, and make tracking easy because many products are already in their databases. Instead of typing all the ingredients in everything you eat you can just scan the barcode and it will enter it automatically. MyMacros+ also has a feature to track your weight every day and graph it over the course of a week so you can see if you weight is going up, down, or maintaining. Some people do not like tracking their weight daily as it can lead towards an unhealthy obsession with a number, but if you don’t think your prone to that I encourage you to try tracking your weight daily- or at least a few times a week. This is because you can see every day whether or not you are getting closer to your goal.All of these apps improve accountability by making tracking extremely easy
A Great Place to Start
Cardinal’s Fitness is a great place to start. The combination of affordable no-contract memberships, and top of the line equipment and trainers makes us a beginners dream facility. We offer an extensive list of group fitness programs to help target any area of fitness that you feel you lack. Our staff wants to know you and looks forward to making your fitness journey a success. Each of our instructors takes time to learn new guests names and encourage each member in their class.
We also make Mindbody Connect available to anyone who wants to come to our classes. This app makes it easy to reserve your spot and view what classes we offer on any given day. We also offer affordable nutrition counseling, to help cut through the confusion and get you going on the right track. Come into Cardinal’s today and try a class for just $5!