Friday, February 23, 2018

Stay the Course

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Do you have an off-and-on relationship with fitness? If you’re finding it mostly “off” during these summer weeks, stay the course. Here’s how …

Even the most committed occasionally stray from workouts. But, they are living the habit. Those diehards can take a cheat day and not pay the price. Their toned bodies fall off the proverbial wagon and easily have the strength to hop on again. For the less enthused, this can be the first step of a long-term break. These repeat offenders know who they are. The day they skip a workout or binge on junk food sets the tone for an endless list of excuses.

Here are the top excuses, and why they no longer work!

Keep It Real

It is easy to quit something when striving for the unrealistic. Progress is an important motivator. See it in the details, as well as the big picture. If your main fitness goal is weight loss, don’t set expectations too high. Speak with a personal trainer and the on-site nurse to create realistic, healthy goals. Then, wear your most valuable exercise gear every day: determination. Weight will shed in its own time and on its own terms.

Losing too much weight, too quickly is not healthy or practical. Don’t strive to drop 10 pounds in one month. If you follow an impractical–and possibly unhealthy–fitness program, you might accomplish this. However, it does not translate into improved overall well-being. By maintaining balance in your life, and not radically adjusting all aspects for the sake of one goal, you can adapt something like weight-loss efforts into a healthier lifestyle. This is more manageable for long-term success.

Decide to persevere, despite the bathroom scale. Your scale cannot measure lost inches as your muscles firm and tone. It cannot indicate increased energy as your stamina builds. It cannot monitor overall mood improvement as your stress level drops. Keep throwing time at your fitness program. When your body is ready to respond with weight loss, it will.  Meanwhile, reap the myriad rewards of fitness and healthier living.

Get back in action! No excuses.
Get back in action! No excuses.

Thankfully, workouts do not have expiration dates. Each person is unique. Everyone has a bout of non-workout days. Consider them time-outs, not full-stop quits. Then, resume, not restart, your program. It was paused and is ready for action.

It can take up to a year to accomplish weight loss goals (depending on the length of  those time-outs). Be sure to notice all of exercise’s additional perks to maintain momentum along the way. If your efforts are still not evident on the scale, investigate with the Center’s fitness and health professionals. Perhaps a new routine, or way of eating, is needed. Learn more about what to expect, and the many ways to attempt achievement. Be a seeker of knowledge as well as muscle.

Investigate Any Weight Gain

Although some exercisers work out to gain weight and increase bulk, the general population is more eager to see weight loss from their fitness efforts. Gaining weight after starting a new exercise regimen can be alarming. But! This is not an excuse to quit your efforts.

Weight gain may not be your goal, but it could be an indication of your work. Indeed, muscle weighs more than fat. A couple extra pounds on the scale could reflect that. More metabolically active than fat, those extra pounds of muscle help burn calories efficiently, even during inactive periods.

New exercisers also tend to retain water as their body learns to efficiently fuel itself to meet exercise’s demands. Fuel in the form of glycogen is stored in cells, along with extra water. The more you exercise, the more efficiently your body can store and use glycogen, which means your cells will naturally retain more water.

Be Courageous

A new workout routine can be overwhelming and scary, especially if you are a fitness newbie. However, boredom is one of the biggest reasons cited for avoiding exercise. If you find yourself yawning through reps or dragging yourself to fitness class, take action. The Center offers complimentary re-evaluations with a personal trainer every six to eight weeks. Don’t miss these opportunities to learn new routines and experiment with different exercise equipment. Banish fears of flying off the treadmill or lacking the stamina and coordination to complete exercises. With a trainer by your side, you can learn correct form and movement to be successful on the Exercise Floor.

Experiment with aquatic classes. Ironically, some feel intimidated by this form of fitness because they “lack the shape” to be in a swimsuit. Don’t deprive yourself of an excellent cardio and strengthening combo routine because you do not feel swimsuit worthy. Center water buffs are often in it for the therapeutic effects and ability to expand their capabilities in the water’s buoyancy.

An added bonus: With a dedication to water workouts, you likely will accomplish that beach bod without too much sweat. A 145-pound individual burns about 200 calories during 30 minutes of moderate swimming.

The Group Fitness team regularly launches new music and moves for their classes. Take advantage of this learning period where everyone is a “newbie.” Bring a friend for support. Speak with the instructor prior to trying a class to find out about the workout’s intensity, and any modifications you may need to make as a beginner. By connecting with the instructor in advance, you already will know a familiar face.

Keep in mind everyone was a beginner once, trainers and instructors alike. And, veteran exercisers are beginners on a frequent basis as they continues to evolve workouts for effectiveness. That is how they stayed motivated to become veterans.

Discover what you love and capitalize on it, repeatedly. The most committed exercisers describe their workouts as fun, and often don’t even recognize them as work.


Play to burn a bunch of calories.
Play to burn a bunch of calories.

Working out does not have to be work. Save that stuff for accomplishing while on the clock, at the office, or with your boss. It’s your free time. Have some healthy fun. Who knows fun better than children! Follow their lead to incorporate physical activity into your day. Jump rope, play ball, hula hoop, visit a playground or park. (Kids optional.) Have this kind of fun often enough and you’ll notice improvements in your formal workout.

Jumping rope for 10 minutes burns about 120 calories, around the same as a 30-minute jog. Great to keep momentum going when time doesn’t allow for a full workout. Just knowing you managed to fit in fitness helps maintain commitment. Pack a jump rope when going out of town. Surely, you can fit in 10 minutes during a trip to energize yourself.

Take a Holistic Approach

You don’t see people stepping out of their workout for a smoke. You also don’t see a lot of people in line at fast-food restaurants wearing workout gear. (This does not apply to coffee shops. Call it adrenaline rush, or the need for one, fitness buffs can be found ordering up lattes on ice, evidenced by Starbucks lines everywhere.) Statistically, those who work out regularly tend to maintain an overall healthier lifestyle. Good habits beget good habits.

Many parts affect the whole.
Many parts affect the whole.

Embrace the whole package, beyond fitness. Strive for complete wellness, as best your body and mind can afford in this lifetime. Balance your day with proper nutrition, sleep, and mental and spiritual nourishment.

Through an improved lifestyle that takes into account all aspects of our being, it is easier to dedicate oneself to fitness endeavors. It is easier to be our best … for the long-term.


“10 Childhood Inspired Workouts,” by Beth W. Orenstein at

“Why You Give Up on Exercise and What to Do About It,” by Paige Waehner at

Image Credits

Rock-lined path (introductory photo):

Couch potato:

Group jump rope:


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