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Page 3 - Assessing Your Mind
3. Do I believe everything I read in fitness magazines?
If you do, you will eventually become very confused because after a while, the information tends to
contradict supposed facts you read somewhere else. For example, in the early 1990s, everyone was eating
low fat and high carbs, thinking that was the way to lose weight. A decade later, the belief is that high
protein is the way to go. (No one ever seems to tout the benefits of moderation, but that's another story.)
Some magazines say you should do cardio on an empty stomach, others say you should eat something
beforehand to have the energy to work harder and thus burn more calories overall. The truth is no one
approach or idea is right for everybody. Don't take everything you read at face value. Use common sense,
and if it sounds reasonable, try it out for a time. If it doesn't enhance your fitness regimen, then
(Article continued below.)
4. Am I being too analytical?
If you are weighing everything you eat and writing down the exact percentage of carbs, fats and
protein of each morsel, if you know to the second just how much cardio you are getting, if you berate
yourself for skipping half a rep in the weight room, then you've probably lost your focus. Yes, there
are times when you need to hone in on one aspect of your fitness program and tear it apart so you can
rebuild it. But if you spend all your time scrutinizing everything you do, then you're obsessing on the
details. Looking at the bigger picture can sometimes be as revealing as examining it from every angle.
Maybe you don't need to reapportion your fat to carb ratio. Maybe you don't need to add an extra day of
weight training. Maybe you need to dump the whole program and start all over again.
5. Are my goals realistic?
You're 5'9" and big-boned. No one in your family has ever weighed less than 160 pounds, but you're
determined to get down to a model-svelte 125. Or you're not happy with your naturally wiry build and want
to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Your thighs won't shrink enough to satisfy you, your abs don't show
enough, your back refuses to get as lean as you want. You want the same body at 55 that you had at 25,
even though you've been overweight for most of the time in between. Your body doesn't need to change -
you attitude does. What you are physically is a blend of genetics, habits and mental attitude. You can't
control genetics - if everyone in your family has big hips, then no matter how little you weigh, your
hips will still be larger than then norm. That leaves habits and mental attitude. It's possible to break
bad habits and adopt good ones if you do it gradually, and in a way that doesn't make you crazy. But when
it comes right down to it, everything depends on your mental attitude. If you can't accept those hips or
your basic body composition, and if dropping your bad habits makes you feel like you're horribly depriving
yourself, then you will wind up sabotaging yourself in some way or another. Get real with yourself - is
it even possible for you to have that body, or attain that goal you want? And if it is are you willing to
make the sacrifices you must do to get it? If you are honest with yourself, you will save yourself from
wasting time and energy. You will also be able to put together a realistic fitness program that you will
enjoy and that will get the best results for who you are.
If you find that you can no longer be objective about your fitness program, then perhaps it's time to
pull in a neutral party - in other words, a fitness trainer.
A good trainer will sit down with you, listen to your sad tale about not getting results and ask a lot
of questions about what you are doing right now. Then he or she will help you design a new program, from
the ground up if needs be, and get you started on something fresh and more effective. Or maybe your
regimen just needs a couple of adjustments - a trainer will be able to tell you what to do in that case,
too. You and your trainer don't have to be attached at the hip for every workout session - you may just
need some temporary consultation to get you on the right track. If you're really stumped about your lack
of results, maybe you should put yourself in someone else's hands for a while - after all, a trainer's
job is to get you results.
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