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Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

I recently saw this on Instagram:

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It was followed by a comment by the poster saying: lol January Joiners.

It really chapped my ass.

Listen, I do get the sentiment.  January Joiners make January difficult and frustrating for regular gym goers.  I know all too well the disappointment of getting to the gym to put some miles in on a treadmill because the weather is just awful, only to find every single one is taken.

But here’s the thing, I also find the idea of every treadmill being occupied to be a beautiful, wonderful thing.  It means that there are people, at least momentarily, wanting to make a change for the better.  The sad truth is that the vast majority of them will disappear within two weeks and the vast majority of those who remain will disappear within another two months.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging people instead of discouraging them?  Shouldn’t we be reaching out to those January Joiners, those unfamiliar faces and letting them know that they are doing a good thing, not just for themselves but for their families and friends?  Studies have shown that fitness and obesity can be contagious.  Should we not be encouraging the former?

One more healthy individual, makes society just a little better, just like one drop of rain helps fill a bucket of water.  It may not seem like a lot, but it DOES make a difference.  Imagine how much less money we as a society would have to spend on healthcare if we were able to eliminate 50% of the self-inflicted obesity related illnesses?  It’s billions of dollars back in our pockets to help drive the economy.

We should be embracing and encouraging the January Joiners, not dissing and insulting them.

If you are a regular gym goer, I hope that you will do your part to reach out and encourage those who have resolved to make a change…a simple thumbs up or a “way to go!’ as someone steps off the treadmill.  Give them a sense of pride, a sense of community, and try to remember what it was like the first time you stepped into a gym.

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It’s that time of year again – New Year’s Eve.  It’s when everyone is coming down the homestretch of the Holiday Season – a time filled with plenty of food and drink, one last party and, for many, a lot of weight gain.  It’s also a time when people start to make resolution proclamations.

“I’m getting in shape this year!”

“I’m losing weight this year!”

“I’m getting into that size “fill in the blank” this year!”

And the masses then join a gym or buy some running shoes or “go on a diet”, all of which lasts a week, maybe three, and then it’s back to the same old same old.  By the time April or May rolls around, shoulders are shrugged and thoughts turn to “maybe next year.”

So what’s the problem?  And what, more importantly is the solution?  The problem is simpler than you might think.  The problem is not that people lack motivation, it’s that they lack education and guidance.

Saying

“I’m getting in shape this year!”

“I’m losing weight this year!”

or even

 “I’m getting into that size “fill in the blank” this year!”

doesn’t give you a well-defined goal, not even the more specific third one, because all of these goals are unspecific on how you want to get there.

The question anyone who is making a fitness New Year’s Resolution should be asking themselves really is, “what is my goal?  what is it that I truly want to achieve in terms of fitness/weight loss?”

“I want to get in shape” can mean so many things – what kind of shape?  at what cost?  The same can be said about “losing weight”.  There are all kinds of ways to lose weight, some are long-lasting healthful methods, some are…well, not.  Both can get one to a goal of losing weight and/or getting “in shape”; one can get you there rapidly, the other can get you there and keep you there indefinitely.

Once you’ve defined what it is you are actually trying to achieve, the next question becomes are you willing to change.  If you are trying to alter your physical make up for the better, undoubtedly, you will need to change some habits, and change can be hard.

That’s where it all falls apart every year for the majority of people.  An unfortunate result of our on-demand society is that we have become more and more a people who demand results immediately.  We then assume that if we don’t get the results we want immediately, that whatever we are trying must not work or must not work for us.

We start to make excuses –

oh, I’m just not shaped like that. 

oh, I’m big-boned. 

oh, I tried that and it just doesn’t work for me.

oh, it was uncomfortable.

Really?

Well, to be honest, for a small percentage of the population, that is true, HOWEVER, the overwhelming majority of people who use these excuses are simply unwilling to put in the time to change and they think, incorrectly, the excuses will make them feel better.  Now, before you jump on me for calling people lazy, please go back and note I wrote unwilling, not lazy.  Change takes sacrifice and sometimes people are unwilling to make certain sacrifices to achieve change – and that’s okay.  BUT, you have to realize that a choice has been made not to change.  Owning this choice instead of making excuses goes a long way toward inner peace and happiness.  If you can’t commit to change, then enjoy where you are and embrace it.  Mental health and inner peace is just as important as physical health/fitness.

Here’s the bottom line – hard work pays off; consistency pays off; a healthful diet pays off.  You put those three things together and your results are guaranteed.  For some, those results begin to appear on the scale and in the mirror within a week; for others, the visible changes don’t appear for a month or two, but something to realize is that the moment you make a change for the better, good things are happening inside you…immediately.

So is this the year?  Where to start?

The first thing I tell people is to start tracking what they are consuming.
You would be amazed just how much you actually consume throughout the day without thinking about it.  The mere action of tracking, truly committing to tracking you intake, will make you think twice about the variety of snacks that may cross your lips.

There are quite a few food tracking apps, but the two I found easiest to use are:

My Fitness Pal:

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

and Lose It!

http://www.loseit.com/

The thing I like about their apps over others is that they are user-friendly, allow you to enter recipes and create meals, and have access to bar code scanning for easy input.  The apps also allows you to set weight loss goals over a period of time.  The apps though should be used as a guideline, not treated as gospel.  Once a week it’s a good idea to eat whatever the mouth and stomach desire.  One can’t live in a perpetual state of denial (meaning denying yourself “goodies and treats” – a topic for another post) without eventually feeling bitter.  The 90/10 rule works pretty well for most – for every 9 healthful meals, eat & drink something ridiculous!

The second thing I tell people is that they must perform regular physical activity.
This can come in many forms.  I have always found running to be the most affective, particularly for achieving physical fitness while pursuing weight loss, but physical activity can include swimming, biking, taking the stairs instead of taking an elevator, walking, even enjoying the company of your spouse or significant other (I know people get squeamish talking about sex, but it should be noted that a 150 lb person having sex for 15 minutes burns almost 75 calories – that’s nearly 300 calories per hour or the equivalent of a brisk walk or a 10 mph bike ride, but more fun).  The point is, there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life.

For those short on time, I did a little experiment this Holiday season.  Some of you may have heard of Tabata – it’s a method of exercise where you do a full body exercise for 20 seconds at 100% followed by 10 seconds of rest.  You repeat this cycle 7 more time, completing the exercise in 4 minutes.  It is intense and if you do it right, you pretty much want to throw up at the end of it.  It is effective, but it is not fun.  So doing a little research I came across HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  It’s actually been around a while, but I was so into my running I had not really checked it out.  The concept is to perform high intensity full body actions for a short interval, followed by a shorter interval of rest – it is similar to Tabata but not quite as intense.  Right before Thanksgiving, I decided to see if this kind of quick hit training could make a difference.  I chose to use the burpee as my full body movement of choice.  If you don’t know what a burpee is, click —>>>HERE<<<—.

I did five sets of 28 burpees with one minute of rest between sets.  Within each set I would do a 7-7-7-7  routine to mix up different kinds of burpee variations.  For those counting, that’s 140 burpees.  I was able to complete the routine in less than 15 minutes.  I did this 3 times a week and I purposely did not run during that stretch except on Thanksgiving (had to do a Turkey Trot – 3.1 miles) and on my birthday (ran 4.3 miles for 43 years).  That’s a total of 7.4 miles from November 22 to December 31 – essentially a non-factor.  So what were the results?  Despite eating my share of holiday food, less than 45 minutes of work a week allowed me to actually drop 4 pounds and lose a small percentage of body fat.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens when I bring running back into my routine tomorrow.

The third thing I tell people is get some proper sleep.
Sleep is when the body resets itself.  It’s when it heals.  A solid 6 – 9 hours of sleep is absolutely necessary for achieving good health.

Finally, I tell people to stick with it.
It’s hard when you don’t see immediate results.  I get that.  What I try to remind people is that change IS happening.  Slow change is more permanent, because your body and your mind are getting into habits that will stick.  Stay the course, believe in the program and you WILL be rewarded.

So is this your year?  Do you have a specific goal?  If you really want to change, make it a priority and stick with it until the end of March.  This is a trick of sorts though, because if you DO stick with a regular routine until the end of March, you won’t stop because the routine will have taken over.

Good luck with your 2013 health and fitness goals!

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Oh Snap!!! This just happened!

Charity Miles takes it to a whole new level

I think I’m gonna need some running, walking, biking help! Download Charity Miles  and whenever you walk, run or bike, hashtag #teamluau so we can see Rebecca run in a gorilla suit!

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Update: I somehow missed this email that went out to ALL Charity Miles users…this friendly challenge has just gone national.

Battle Of The Century!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:15 PM
Rebecca vs. Luau
Loser Wears a Gorilla Costume!

#TeamLuau vs. #TeamBecca

Dear Team Charity Miles,Remember our friend, Luau? Last month he rocked the Boston 13.1 Half Marathon by personally shuttling every Autism Speaks team member to the finish line. That’s him in the picture above, running with another Autism Speaks All Star, Rebecca Barnes.

Well, now Rebecca wants to repay Luau for his chivlary… by personally challenging him to see who can run the most Charity Miles for Autism Speaks in the month of October! See the full Twitter-war on Luau’s blog here.

And she’s not pulling any punches: The loser has to run the difference wearing a gorilla suit, Autism Speaks jersey and blue wig!  My approximation shown below 😉

Rebecca drew first blood last night with a 2.6 mile run. But Luau came right back with a 6.8 mile run of his own. Ouch! It is so on!

If I can be so bold, I’m adding a new dimension to this challenge. Tell us whether you are on #TeamLuau or #TeamBecca. Anytime you tweet one of those hashtags at the end of the Charity Miles (for any charity), your miles will be counted to Luau’s or Rebecca’s totals. Bring it!

All the best,
Gene

#EveryMileMatters

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Yesterday I received this tweet from my girl Becca:

@awsmeBecca :

@luau 1st day of new month, how bout a friendly challenge to see who can get more @CharityMiles in Oct for @autismspeaks? 🙂

Charity Miles followed up with their own tweet:

@CharityMiles :

OH SNAP! @awsmeBecca just threw down on @luau: who can get the most @CharityMiles for @autismspeaks?! #EveryMileMatters

To which Becca responded with:

@awsmeBecca :

@CharityMiles @luau @autismspeaks it’s the throw down of 2012 #southVSnorth#autismspeakswins #girlsruleboysdrool#all4fun#teambecca#teamluau

How was I supposed to respond? Only one way:

@luau :

Oh it is on!!! It is on like Donkey Kong woman!!! @awsmeBecca @charitymiles @autismspeaks

Along the way we may have picked up a couple other competitors in @biggreenpen and @Bry_nFlynn.

Of course Becca had to take it to a whole new level with this message on Facebook:

Wanna make it a bit more fun? I bet at the end of the month I could find a cheap gorilla/monkey costume, the “loser” runs the difference while wearing the costume, Team Up jersey and blue wig. You’ll have Katy’s by then so you’ll be 1/3 ready 😛

Oh boy. This is gonna be a fun October! Last night Becca drew first blood with a late night 2.6 mile run.  I just got back from 6.8 miles Becca – right back at ya.  Maybe I’ll have to keep a daily and running tally on the sidebar of the blog.

So…are you #teambecca or are you #teamluau.

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So after this, I promise no more Boston 13.1 posts…well, not this week anyway.

Last Sunday I committed one of the cardinal sins of running – I ran a road race in a brand new pair of shoes; they still had that brand new smell to them as I slipped them on Sunday morning right before the race.  Why, you ask?  Why did I do something so phenomenally stupid?  Well, ever since Sugarloaf, the Green Mountain Relay and my subsequent Plantar Fasciitis, I’ve been transitioning off my Kinvara’s and back to my Vibram Five Finger shoes, specifically the Bikila’s.  Every Sunday for the last 10 weeks I have been taking out a small group of Team Up with Autism Speaks runners for a long training run; in my Bikila’s, which were getting smellier, smellier with each passing week.

It didn’t matter that I was washing them after each run – for whatever reason, they were permafunkdified…big time.  It got to the point that 2 weeks ago after taking the group out for one last run, I kinda grossed myself out in my car on the way home.

It was time for a new pair.  I meant to go on Monday so I would have a chance to break them in at some point.  I had found that with the VFF’s, I generally needed one short run to break them in.  Monday turned into Tuesday which rolled into Wednesday.  Late that afternoon I finally got myself to the store and picked up a brand new pair (on sale no less for $59!).

And then they sat in my closet.  This was the second week of the kids back being in school, which, for me, is always the craziest time of the year.  Suddenly, it was Sunday morning and I hadn’t broken in my new shoes.  I was going to have a car full of people on the way to the race so I left the stinky shoes at home and brought the new pair.

They felt good going on, but I knew from moment one exactly where the blisters were going to form – it was now a question of how long before they became unbearable.

Within a half mile I could feel the hot spots.  The blisters were coming and they were coming fast.  By mile 3 or 4 there they were…and so I faced a decision: do I continue to run like this, knowing that the blisters were only going to get worse, or do I take off my Bikila’s and go barefoot?

Barefoot running has always had an appeal to me, but to that point, the farthest I had run with naked feet was 5 miles, and those 5 miles really put a beating on my soles.

What to do? What to do?

4 to 5 miles in I couldn’t take the burning sensation anymore and off came the shoes…and to my surprise, the ground felt great!  Something I didn’t know before Sunday, the streets along Revere Beach are much smoother than those in my neighborhood.

I proceeded to finish the race barefoot.  I would finally put the Bikila’s back on for the final 2 to 3 miles of my 22 miles that day because A.) the finish chute was littered with pebbles and glass (though I did do it barefoot for quite a while) and B.) when Jess texted me that she was fading, I went into race mode and ran as fast as I could to get to her.

What does this all have to do with the title of this post?  I guess it’s a long, drawn out way of me saying that we are all stronger, we are all tougher than we think we are.

Before Sunday I had never run more than 5 miles barefoot – on Sunday, I did 16 miles and today (all this week actually) my feet are fine.  Before Sunday, Jess had never run/walked 13.1 miles, but when push came to shove, she did it.  So many Team Up With Autism Speaks Runners went a distance that they had never gone before.

We all have it in us to push beyond the boundaries we think surround us.  Sometimes those walls are very real, but more often than not, what we think is just beyond our reach is just waiting there for us to push ourselves just a little harder, stretch a little bit futher, dig a little bit deeper.

We all have it in us.

Heck, I’m even thinking that a barefoot New York City Marathon isn’t totally out of the question!

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“…over the next two decades, 13 states could have [obesity] rates above 60 percent and 39 states could have rates above 50 percent. Mississippi is on pace to have the highest obesity rate at 66.7 percent…”
-September 18, 2012|By Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune reporter

I posted the article this quote is from yesterday on my Facebook page. I said something along the lines that I found these numbers to be incredible, as in unbelievable, as in it simply isn’t possible. Yet there they were. We are on track to having a quarter of our States with a large majority of their population obese, not just overweight mind you, obese; and nearly 80% of our States with a majority of their population obese. Two-thirds of the population of Mississippi on their way to a twilight riddled with preventable disease.  The most frightening part? Colorado would come in as the most fit State in the Nation…with a 45% obesity rate. FORTY-FIVE PERCENT!!!

Despite what appears to be heightened awareness, the vast majority continue to live in denial…

This is insane!

In response to this flabbergasting news, I hear a lot of people talk about government mandates – having the government take over what we eat or drink a la Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to rid New York City of over-sized sugary drinks. Part of me wants to jump on that bandwagon. If people aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves, well then someone has to take care of them, right?

Wrong.

Although the government should take on some role, maybe from an educational position, or, a bit more radically, making healthy choices available in areas of low access, no amount of government intervention will correct the problem until we, the people, decide we want to make a change.

If there is one thing I have learned over the last few years of being asked for and then giving advice for healthy change, it’s that until a person is ready and willing to change, it ain’t gonna happen.  Too many people want instant change; transformation in a bottle; abs and buns of steel in a pill.  It takes work – not just at the gym, but in the choices of the fuel we choose, and if we ain’t ready and willing, change ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we are shortening our lives, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you we’re increasing our cost of health care, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we are killing our sex drive, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we might not be able to stand at our child’s graduation, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we might not be able to dance at our daughter’s or son’s wedding, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we might get diabetes or cancer or suffer from heart disease, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that due to our obesity we could lose a foot or a leg, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I could tell you that we are setting OUR children up to follow in our footsteps…

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…does that at least stop you for a moment? Does that make you think, maybe, just maybe, this report doesn’t have to be true? That we don’t have to condemn our children to a life of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and amputations? Is that what we want to leave our children? Is that what we want to be our legacy?

I know I don’t.

The habits our children pick up from birth to 18 come primarily from us, and once those habits are programmed into their brains, they are very, very difficult to break. Does that mean there’s no hope for a 30 year old woman with a lifetime of bad habits?

Heavens no!

But it is way more difficult for her than if she had been brought up with good habits all her life.

Change is hard, but it’s easier for our kids – and once those good habits are learned, the foundation of healthful living is set.

Do you know where it starts?

It starts with us. Yes, the government can help set some standards; they can do what they have to do to make healthier choices available to us; they can help educate the population about healthful eating; but in the end, it comes down to you and me.

Yes…us.

Just like every vote counts in an election, what WE choose to do over the next 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, 12 months, 6 months, 4 weeks, 7 days, 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds, can make a difference.

Nothing sets a better example for our children than our own behavior.

Nothing, NOTHING, convinces a company to change their ways better than our wallet.

Are you ready and willing?

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Morning run.

Bike ride to work.

Walking the dog.

Do these sound like fund raisers?  Well, they can be.

And it is seriously that simple. There is a fantastic little app, available on both iPhones and Android devices, called Charity Miles.  It allows you to be sponsored during whatever walking, biking or running activity you take part in.  The best part is that you are not limited to one or two charities to choose from.  You can choose from nine charities that are varied in what they do:

You simply start the app, swipe to the charity of your choice, press start and go.  For each mile you walk or run,  you earn 25¢ for your charity of choice.  For every mile you bike, you earn 10¢.  It may not sound like a lot, but it adds up.  If every runner at Boston 13.1 had used the app, nearly $5000 would have been raised simply with swipe of a finger.  In the short time I have been using the app, I’ve raised enough money to fund nearly 5 hours of autism research.  Think about how much you move throughout the day.  Whether it’s your morning run, walking the kids to school, biking to work, walking the dogs three times a day…every step can count; every errand can be a fund raiser.  The only work you have to do is the work you were already going to be doing!

Charity Miles has $1,000,000.00 to give away.

One.  Millions.  Dollars.

That’s a lot of dollars.  Their goal is to give it all away by May 31, 2013.

Food, school supplies, Parkinson’s research, conservation, housing, inclusion…whatever your charitable cause may be (and of course, if you have no preference, I’d say go light blue!), you can help each of these charities earn a chunk of the millions dollars simply by moving you body.

This is how it works:

This is Gene’s (the founder) story:

Gene’s Story

It’s a free app, paying you to do what you were already going to do.  The more people who do this, the more money our charities earn, the bigger impact we have.

So if you run, walk, bike, skip, shuffle, dance or moonwalk your way around your neighborhood or to and from work, take a moment to download the app.  You’re going to do those activities anyway, why not get paid for it!

And who knows, you might end up in a cool email like the one that arrived in my inbox early last night:

Luau Earns Style Points
With Team Up With Autism Speaks
Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.

Team Player!

Dear Team Charity Miles,

Meet Matt “Luau” Wilson.  Yesterday, Matt joined 260 teammates from Autism Speaks to run the Boston Half Marathon.  Luau had coached this team all summer.  So when race day came, there was no holding back.  Out came the Big… Blue… Afro!

But Luau’s style points don’t end there.  After pacing one of his teammates to a P.R. (personal record), Matt ran back onto the course to shuttle in the next teammate he could find. Then he did it again… And again… And again… Until he personally ran in all 260 teammates.  All in all, Matt ran over 22 miles– nearly a full marathon!  Way to go Matt!  Way to be a team player!

Also, congratulations to everyone else on Team Up who helped raise over $175,000 for Autism Speaks yesterday.  Just goes to show you how a small group of people can have a big impact.  Or, as we, like to say, “Changing the world is a team sport!”

In honor of Matt and Autism Speaks, wear something blue while you do your Charity Miles this week.  Tweet out the #GoTeam hashtag and you could win a free T-Shirt!

All the best,
Gene

#EveryMileMatters

Copyright © 2012 Charity Miles, All rights reserved.
Every Mile Matters!
Our mailing address is:

Charity Miles

320 West 38th Street

New York, NY 10018

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After my missed BQ at Sugarloaf this year it was suggested to me that maybe I could make another go at it at Smuttynose in the fall. The thinking was that with the new qualification standards for Boston, registration wouldn’t necessarily be closed as of September 30th.

I never did sign up for Smuttynose, and truly, even though there is space left, I would have no shot at training properly with only six weeks to go. I do have another marathon on already the schedule. Early November I am running New York. Conceivably, with about 11 1/2 weeks to go, I could consider running New York as a qualifier but that is a tough race to run at that pace. The truth is between studying for my CSCS certification, the girls being home from summer camp and dedicating my Sundays to training runs for the Team Up with Autism Speaks charity runners (if you haven’t signed up, please do —>– HERE –<—!!!) I haven’t had much time to train period. Early mornings are spent studying, days are spent keeping the kids active and entertained and evenings are spent cooking, dishwashing, putting everyone to bed and writing.

I know, I can hear you telling me, well, why not after everyone goes to bed?

Yesterday I wrote about finding your H-Spot – your happy zone. The place where you look at yourself in the mirror and are happy with the physical you that stares back. That H-Spot can be applied to everything. I’ve reached a place where I know I BQ’s once and came close on two other occasions. My happy place with running right now is helping others reach distances they never have before and getting the occasional personal run in.

And I’m finally okay with that.

Boston will wait. Training to qualify for Boston is on indefinite hold.

This satisfaction will not last forever. I know that eventually, I will want to get back to the pursuit of that elusive unicorn; I will want to toe the line in Hopkinton once again as a qualifier. It might be next year; it might wait until I’m 45. Whenever it is, I know I’m in a happy spot right now – plus, there is a certain satisfaction in having no fear of the 26.2 mile distance when I am running just for fun as I will be once again doing in New York.

There’s only room for so much on one’s dinner plate – and right now, I am satisfied with what’s before me.

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Has she found her H-Spot?

It’s a fact – two thirds of this country is considered overweight; nearly one third of this country is clinically obese.

Although having two thirds of our country overweight is, in and of itself, not a good thing, the fact is, there are many people considered to technically be overweight who are genuinely happy with who and where they are…

…and that is a beautiful thing.

In the big picture, our inner happiness is so much more important than our outer appearance. Don’t get me wrong, physical fitness is important to overall health and should be considered a key factor in your general happiness.

However…

You could be a size 0, but if you’re miserable it doesn’t matter – it’s going to show. If you’re a size 16 and you are truly happy, you’re going to radiate; you’re going to glow. It also works in reverse – if you’re a size 0 and genuinely happy, then that is where you should be. If you are a size 14 and miserable about it, then maybe it’s time to take control.

I am a huge fan of the fitness look, the fitness glow. It lends a certain confidence that is extremely appealing to me. But I am even a bigger fan of true, genuine happiness, the kind that produces a mega-watt smile and an air of confidence; the kind that unintentionally demands attention from everyone in the room.

When it comes to the question of a fitness program, most of us know it’s not a matter of one size fits all. It’s not even an issue of individualizing programs to get people to one common goal. People need to find there happy spot; the place where you are going to be happiest – THEN you come up with a plan; and of course, if you find that you are not happy when you arrive at that spot, tweak your program; change your destination.

Obviously there are certain health issues that come into play if one is too far to either extreme. I would suggest that if one is striving for either extreme at any cost, then there are other issues at play (that or your name is Christian Bale, Jared Leto or Renee Zellweger and it’s part of your job).

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The bottom line is that the human condition is a spectrum, one with a wide, WIDE range. It’s our job to figure out where we as individuals belong to maximize our own joy and understand that if someone else finds that true joy elsewhere, that is okay.

If that true joy is at a size 0, well then you design a program to get you to that size zero – but if you’re going to be a lot happier at size 14 well that is probably where you should be – with no apologies at either end or any size in between.

Sex appeal comes in all different shapes and sizes – the most common denominator, at least from this guy’s point of view?

Happiness.

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Totem

I got lucky in March of 2010.

I was fortunate enough to land an Invitational Entry into the Boston Marathon.  A teacher at my daughter’s school had a brother who was in charge of the chip timers that year and he was given several entries to do with what he wanted.  He originally gave one to one of his employees, but she ended up injuring herself.  He gave it to his sister who had heard I was on a quest to get to Boston.  After initially hesitating because I wanted to get there by qualifying, I came to my senses and happily took the gift from the running gods.  How cool would it be to BQ at Boston?

I missed running a BQ in that race but had an incredible time nonetheless.

After the race, the wife handed me half of a magnetic oval with a “B” on it.

“Now that you’ve completed the Boston marathon, you get this,” she said, “when you qualify for Boston, you’ll get to put this on the car.” She handed me the other half of the oval, which had a “Q” on it.

That “Q” lived on my treadmill for the next six months as I trained for the Smuttynose Marathon.  It came to symbolize my motivation, a totem if you will of my desire to qualify for the grand daddy of all marathons.  Every time I felt myself drag or drift, I would look at that “Q” and I would find a renewed source of energy.  For most of us, achievement only comes through hard work and my qualifying for Boston was no different.  We find motivation where we can, but in this Age of Veruca “I Want It Now” Salt, it’s easy to get side-tracked, distracted or even discouraged from our goals.

I have found that creating a physical home for my motivation helps tremendously.

So, how does that help you?

Well, let’s first ask what it is you are trying to accomplish?  If it’s qualify for Boston, I highly recommend the homemade BQ oval or an oval with 26.2 on one side and a BQ on the other.

But what if it’s simply to cover 26.2 miles?  Have you run a half marathon yet?  Then go grab one of those 26.2 ovals, cut it in half, stick half on your vehicle and put the other half on your fridge.  Not a runner?  More interested in losing a few pounds or maybe just redistributing your weight?  Find an old outfit (a pair of jeans, a bikini, a fitted shirt) that you used to wear and instead of hiding it away in shame, put it in a place where you will see it every morning as you get dressed and every night as you get ready for bed.  If you don’t have that outfit anymore, find a picture of something you want to wear in three months and pin it to your dresser, your refrigerator, your desk, your dashboard – make it the screensaver on your phone as a reminder to make smart choices.  If your goal is more abstract that fitting into an outfit, maybe something like finding inner peace, then find a physical manifestation of that inner peace and carry it with you.

The point is to have a touchstone or totem, something physical to bring you back from the edge when you are slipping and back to YOUR reality, back to the reality that you envision for yourself.

Will the totem guarantee success? No.  There are no true 100% guarantees other than taxes and death – but having a physical source for motivation will carry you through many of the times you find yourself struggling.

Do you already have a totem that you use?  I would love to hear what different people use to keep themselves motivated.

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