I’ve got my Nikes and my Lululemon crops on. Hello, I’m Ashley. I’m your personal trainer for today.
I’ve been personal training for eight years and teaching aerobics classes for eleven. I’ve trained all types of people–obese, elderly, disabled, models, ultra-marathoners, soccer moms, students, teenagers, men and women alike. I love my job. Seriously, who gets to de-stress while at work?!
We’re all unhealthy in some way. I’m certainly working on eradicating some poor eating habits. However, over the years, I’ve discovered a few common characteristics my unhealthy clients share. The most unhealthy clients display all four.
1. Diet Soda Drinkers.
Somewhere, sometime, probably in the early nineties, American marketing told us to switch from regular to diet soda. “Diet” is a misnomer here…research is showing that overweight diet soda drinkers actually weigh more and eat more calories throughout the day than regular soda drinkers who are overweight. The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are worse than natural sugars; they disrupt the brain’s sweet sensor, making you feel less full and causing you to consume more calories. They are simply not natural–foreign to our body the way plastic would be if we ingested it. Oftentimes the artificial sweetener used is high fructose corn syrup–linked to rising obesity rates, dementia, cancers, heart disease, liver failure and tooth decay. In truth, too much natural sugar can also cause these problems; however, most people who drink diet sodas do it religiously, consuming more because they think it’s “better” for them.
If you didn’t last year, please check out this article on the Dangers of Diet Soda.
Solution: If you drink diet soda regularly, try to switch to drinking only 1-2 regular sodas/ week. Make it a special thing. If you drink regular soda regularly, I can almost guarantee you’ll lose 5 pounds in a week if you quit. If you can’t do it cold turkey, try limiting yourself to 1-2/week.
2. All or Nothing Personality Types
These people are extremists. They buy a new piece of fitness equipment or road bike or gym membership and use it every day religiously…for about a week or two. Maybe a month. Then they get burned out and quit, doing nothing instead. Or these people binge and starve. They eat whatever they want and as much of it. Then they starve the next day or two to make up for it. There is not much moderation in their lives. I’d be willing to bet they are this way relationally and spiritually as well.
Solution: Find a way to include activity into your everyday life so that it doesn’t matter whether you’re in an “all” or “nothing” phase at the current moment, you still get some physical expenditure. For example, ALWAYS park far away. If it’s cold that means you’ll run, right? ALWAYS take the stairs (unless you’re disabled, pushing a stroller, or elderly). Do 30 squats while you brush your teeth. Most all my clients do this. Meet friends for walks or workouts instead of food or drinks. Do an active activity with your kids daily.
Oh, AND you extremist: you need accountability to keep you from dropping out when it gets boring or difficult. A good trainer or fitness class will provide variety and accountability.
It is a drag for these people to work out. They hate it. They hate the sweat, the tight-fitting clothes, the weird people around them, the shame they might feel, the mirrors, the pain and discomfort…everything. It’s just really tough to make yourself regularly do something you hate.
Solution: Find something you love. This means you’ll have to try out a lot of things. Box at a local sweaty boxing gym. Zumba is a cure for lots of exercise-haters. Cycling–indoor or outdoor. Swimming. Racquetball. Intramural sports (you college students!). Pick up basketball (you has-beens ). Running. Walking fast (or not so fast) with a friend. Rock climbing. Hiking. Find SOMETHING. Because you need to. Humans were not designed to sit all day–from car to desk to lunch table to car to dinner table to couch. No. Get off your butt.
4. Quick Fixers
If it doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t come quickly, you give up…or don’t try at all. This simply doesn’t work if you choose to become healthy the right way. The right way is always going to be tough. It takes sacrifice, commitment, accountability, discomfort, and TIME. If it took you fifteen years to get out of shape, why do you think it should take you one month to reverse that process?
Solution: Make short-term goals and long-term goals. Make it to the first goal (“do 10 push ups every night for a week” or “lose 2 pounds this month”), then create a new, more challenging goal (“do 20 push ups every night for a week” or “lose 3 pounds and 1% body fat next month”). Realize that you miss out on all the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition if you diet. You feel no sense of accomplishment, empowerment, endorphin rush, toxin cleanse, or strength gains.
Hope these tips help! For more, see my post from last New Year’s, Fitness Tips From a Trainer: 2013.
Please feel free to comment on this post if you have any questions or need more specific advice. I love helping people find and maintain their healthy self; the way God created us to be, really.