‘Certain Age’ got your Metabolism? Push back with FitBURN*

* Metabolism is a complex process that can be complicated by any number of mitigating factors.  FitBURN notes the complexity.  While the suggestions are drawn from evidence-based science, please consult with your health care professional to answer any questions and to make sure you are healthy enough for vigorous physical activity.

Dastardly ‘Certain Age’!  Sneaky and subtle at first, you notice a few things here and there but nothing a little belt loosening can’t take care of.  Until, BAM, suddenly body parts take on their own life zigging where they used to zag, water pools wherever gravity settles it, clothes feel wrong, anything you eat seems to permanently park in your belly, and of course, hair grows everywhere…but your head.     

Yawn.  Blah, blah, blah.  What’s that?  Tell you something you don’t already know?    

OK.  DON’T just stand by while your physiology gets lulled to sleepPush back with FitBURN, an action plan to combat ‘Certain Age’ from choking your energy burn and subjecting you to weight gain and body composition erosion.        

Now are you with me?  Realize the push back isn’t going to be easy, and you may need to make adjustments to your physical activity routine, but if you provide the ‘I wanna’, FitBURN will provide the ‘here’s howa’.  

‘Certain Age’ is formidable…but fallible.  Stubborn, strong willed, used to playing uncontested offense, and feeding on negative emotion, FitBURN counters by matching offense with offense—fighting fire with fire—to exploit ‘Certain Age’s’ unfamiliarity with having to defend.  Its lack of experience and intelligence will cause uncertainty that results in paralyzing self-doubt – HAH! back at ‘ya ‘Certain Age’.   

 Why personify with a name and profile?  At street level, it gives our activity psyche a tangible target, an icky thing to focus its huffing, puffing, and sweating on.  Digging deeper, making the fight personal is empowering.  Rather than accepting the standardized prediction of this aspect of ageing, we front it to navigate our own path.  This isn’t to say we enter into denial.  No doubt our metabolism adjusts, but no doubt we can counter to best sustain our well being.  Mother Nature will be the first to smile along with us for pushing the bounds of ‘just-accept-it.’  Delighting in ‘Certain Age’s’ paralyzing self-doubt is creative icing on the cake. 

Purposefully aggressive to support playing offense, FitBURN’s building blocks are intensity, vigor, and variety.  No more retreating into a shell that just causes further backward slide.  Nope, we are going to steadfastly, rationally fight the good fight.    

FitBURN: Intensity – Vigor – Variety:

1. Starve ‘Certain Age’ by cutting off its primary food source – avoid acknowledging it with lament. 

This emotional hot spot triggers demoralizing resignation.  Nourish your activity psyche by countering with FitBURN steadfastly and rationally.  

 2. Do 30-40 minutes of vigorous cardio as many days of the week as possible (interspersed with interval training [2-3 times a week] if you are able to do so safely). 

Consult with a fitness professional to determine your ‘vigorous’ target heart rate, then exercise at that intensity the duration of your cardio session.  Any activity is better than no activity, but vigorous activity compared to casual activity catalyzes a greater energy draw (that can continue its burn after your session is over).                          

Interval training involves adding short duration bursts of more intense output to your cardio exercise.  For example, 30 seconds of sprinting after each 5 minutes of jogging or spin cycling.  The bursts draw energy differently than your routine cardio work so stimulate an additional energy burn.  The exertion of interval training requires strict attention to safety.  The intensity can stress your joints more than your routine cardio work (sprinting compared to jogging) and elevate your heart rate beyond its safe ‘maximum’.  Determine your safe maximum heart rate then monitor it during interval training.  Reduce your intensity if your heart rate exceeds its safe maximum.  

 3.  Weight train to build bigger and stronger muscles (NOT ‘tone’, ‘sculpt’ or ‘tighten’) 

  • Bigger muscles burn more energy than smaller muscles
  • Stronger muscles burn more energy than weaker muscles        
  • Muscle is living tissue that burns fuel; fat tissue is dead   
  • Each muscle is its own fuel burning ‘Bunsen burner’ – the bigger and stronger the more it eats 
  • The more demand placed upon a muscle, the more it eats
  • Size and strength can be gained at any age
  • Muscles adapt to demand so over time use progressively heavier weights to continue to stimulate strength and size gains and optimum energy burn

The healthier our body composition – ratio of muscle to fat – the stronger our energy burn (and in general, the stronger our energy burn the healthier our body composition).  Slowing metabolism can erode body composition because unused calories get stored as fat.  As well as sustaining muscle function, weight training to optimize muscle size and strength can contribute to healthy body composition by catalyzing (strengthening) energy burn.    

To build size and strength, think less repetitions of heavier weight, rather than more repetitions of lighter weight.  Aim for 6-8 repetitions (6 for strength, 8 for size) using enough weight so the muscle is fatigued by the last repetition (not able to complete another repetition).  For example, if the 6th repetition of a bicep curl using 15lbs is easy to complete you need to use more weight!   

The number one weight-training mistake women make is not using sufficient weight to optimize muscle development.  Ladies, size and strength are critical to our well-being for reasons beyond catalyzing energy, mainly; appropriately vigorous weight training fosters bone health by triggering the physiological process that stimulates density!  The benefits are far too important to underachieve in this aspect of your fitness routine.  Without augmentation (e.g., steroids) you will not develop the same musculature as men, but gladly welcome all the size and strength you can gain. 

4. Be unpredictable – confuse your muscles by ‘layering’ activity, varying your routine, practicing motor skills, and regularly trialing FitBESTS and adding FitBUBBLES

Think of how multi-tasking draws your attention differently than focusing on one task—you are in a comparatively heightened, ‘all-systems-go’ state—the same principle applies to physiology.  The more we ask it to respond to multiple, and unpredictable demands, the greater the energy output.  For example, playing on playground equipment is an ultimate ‘layered’ activity—climbing, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, often in combination or all at once—and routine variety – no two days using the equipment is of the same sequence.  Other ways to layer activity and vary your routine are:         

  • Weight train using ‘super-sets’: one type of exercise for a body part directly followed by a different type of exercise for the same body part (e.g., lat pulldowns followed by lat rows).
  • Walk on the treadmill carrying weights. 
  • One day do cardio first, the next do weight training first. 
  • Add motor skill practice to your routine   
  • Regularly trial FitBESTS and add FitBUBBLES to your Iron Footprint

5.      Be an active gym member (or home exerciser) but live an active lifestyle – It’s about the gym… AND the other 23 hours!   

Move whenever and however you can.  Completing your X-minute gym or home exercise routine is terrific! but our physiology craves all the attention it can get.  Needy, yes, but a good need to meet considering its impact on our energy output and quality of life.     

To add: 

Eat the highest quality (most nutritious) food possible.  Check labels to determine which of a same item is higher quality.  In general, the item with fewer ingredients is more nutritious than the same item with more ingredients.    

Sufficiently hydrate with water to effectively ‘mechanize’ physiological function and flush toxins.   

Check in regularly with your health care professional to track your wellness markers (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) and any other warranted health conditions.

Track your healthfulness related to metabolism/energy balance using BMI – Body Mass Index, and Body Composition – ratio (percent) of lean (muscle) to fat (adipose) tissue assessments.  Consult with a fitness professional to help with these assessments. 



Get Back on the Horse

So, you fell off the fitness wagon.  One day missed turned into two, turned into a week.  Crazy at work, kids/grandkids sick, car trouble, root canal…  You name it, it all seemed to happen. 

What now?  Do you need to run laps or do push-ups to get back in activity’s good graces or pay penance?    

Fear not.  While Iron Footprint Fitness missed you, we welcome you back with open arms; in fact, we won’t judge or hold a grudge.  How’s that for peace of mind, user-friendliness, approachability, and customer service!  Whoever said that activity was all mean, aggressive, and gnarly was wrong!  

One of the fresh qualities of approaching fitness as Iron Footprint is your Iron Footprint can never be taken away from you.  The portfolio of activity you accumulate can never be reduced – what’s yours is forever yours.  You also won’t be penalized for inactivity, and your account will permanently be in good standing. 


Big difference! 

No learning curve.  No being the beginner or new kid on the block.  No awkward orientation or probation period.             

You simply pick up where you left off, no questions asked; but one request – for the sake of your wellness and quality of life, take a second to reflect on the circumstances causing the void – simply unavoidably busy or needing to deal with the unexpected, or discouraged due to hitting a plateau or feeling like you grooved a rut?   

We can’t help with the former other than to remind you that even 10 minutes of activity can be health-ful, but the latter is our wheel house.  To that, recommit to regular FitBEST trials and FitBUBBLE additions.  The adrenaline from trialing FitBESTS and novelty from adding FitBUBBLES will get you right back on the horse.     

So, walking, running, yoga, weights, skateboarding, kitegliding; any or hopefully all, it doesn’t matter which physical activity horse you saddle up, just make sure you bring the saddle.

Circle Back to…Target-Rich Achievement

…A reminder to keep your gaze fixed on the sunny side of the street  

Star Wars fans know about the ‘Dark Side’ – the Jedi metaphor for all things Evil; and so to be avoided at its base value even in the face of the tempting power it can yield.         

A dark side temptation of exercise is to imagine the radical body transformation that surely will result from the effort.  No doubt, exercise CAN induce change that is noticeable in the mirror, it’s only natural to wonder what will look different after all the sets, reps, and time has been logged – Can I see my six-pack?  Are my arms bigger?  Are my legs smaller? – and, over time transformation is likely if engagement is appropriate to stimulate weight loss and/or muscle growth, but not the radical change made to seem easy, if not automatic. 

While understandable, expecting radical transformation is a dark side temptation that leads to motivation eroding disappointment.  What has been promised doesn’t occur – because it cant to the degree it is presented – causing doubt that anything good is happening, resulting in resignation that anything good will ever happen and then bam, motivation to engage simply dries up.  The dark side of this temptation can trigger a funk faster than you can say Chubaka.         

Yikes!  Come back into the light.   

One of our pillars is ‘Don’t miss the gains you make while looking for the gains you are not going to find.’ 

Beyond thinking that unrealistic body transformation is realistic, the really sad part of falling into the dark side is missing all the achievement you ARE making.  Our solution reveals what to look for then how to capture it so you can always see it.    

So, a quick review, achievement is a). completing a health-related workout, b). setting a performance benchmark, and c). doing activity that is new or in addition to your daily workout.  Together, these types of engagement make up your Iron Footprint – your portfolio of physical activity that is further notched each time you engage.  The result is you ‘see’ all your achievement, which motivates you to keep engaging to notch more achievement.        

Protect your exercise motivation by avoiding the dark side temptation of radical body transformation.   Put both hands on the wheel at 12 and 2 and fix your gaze on the sunny side of the street.  With all due respect to another movie icon, NO, Bette Davis, it doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride!


Type-A Activity Rat? – Ok, It’s a Solid Start…

Activity profile:  prioritizes engagement, self-identifies as an athlete, hard workouts are followed by harder workouts, only RARELY experiences a “I don’t wanna do this set,” much less day, follows a sport-specific training plan, plays organized sports during the week and tournaments on weekends, participates in all types of endurance events, takes only activity-focused vacations, competes at an elite level, wins!    

Sound like anyone you know?  Like YOU?

Ok, then!  We get you, buuuuut you want more, right?  I mean, you are just getting started.  No way have you tapped out because Type-A is but the first step to Type-AA.  Oh, didn’t know there was a Type-AA?  There is, and shhh, here is the secret to getting there – Regularly trial FitBESTS and notch FitBUBBLES to foster ultimate fitness and boost the intangibles that can hone your competitive edge.    

FitBESTS stimulate ultimate fitness/skill proficiency even when they are ‘events’ that seem to have no transfer to your specialty.  For example, holding an abdominal plank for time in and of itself marks your core strength, but building this strength can lead to improvements to your golf game since core strength impacts swing proficiency, same with baseball swing, hockey shot, fastball and 10k run.  Trialing FitBESTS also introduces cross-training into your routine–which you likely already do–and so instigates muscle confusion.  In general, muscles adapt to the stresses asked of them with proper training; but, this means we need to progressively challenge their capacity and mix up our routines to prevent our physiology from falling asleep.  A routine that gets ‘too routine’ yields a sluggish, less-than-optimal physical response.             

FitBUBBLES contribute to ultimate fitness by inducing sensory responses not always stimulated by the ‘usual’ workout routine.  Think of this as a form of cross training but different, for example, from doing multiple forms of cardiovascular exercise to build optimum cardio capacity and prevent overuse injuries.  The Iron Footprint approach to fitness suggests regularly adding motor skill practice to routines.  Building proficiencies can lead to more engagement options like playing in a basketball or softball league once the skills are established.  Skill practice also prevents staleness by adding novelty to routines and strengthens basic movement capacity, e.g., agility, twisting, turning, balance, which can foster improved sport play.  The transfer is possible given that all movement generates from one source – our central nervous system.  For most of us, impulses efficiently travel along a network of channels impelling us to catch, run, twist, or otherwise activate.  Talk about latest generation technology!  Since our body is an interconnected system of systems, this means practicing catching and throwing can somehow contribute to winning a running race – albeit as a sort of distant relative and not without primarily running fast as training to run fast.  But skill practice offers sensory stimulation that running alone doesn’t, so as an added feature to your routine it helps grow your physical self in a way it wouldn’t otherwise grow.              

Next, the intangibles.  Regardless of your specialty – your event – your sport, the more developed your physical self through FitBESTS and FitBUBBLES the more confident, self-assured, centered, focused you are when doing any activity, not to mention the more motivated because you just KNOW you have IT!  This can become a competitive edge since it’s often an intangible that determines the outcome when equally gifted athletes compete.  Physical training tends to be similar among those of specific sports – runners run, swimmers swim, tennis players hit strokes, basketball players shoot – so it’s to your advantage to (continue to) train strong AND fortify intangibles.  Hey, if winning is important to you then do all you can to put yourself in a position to win – regularly trial FitBESTS and add FitBUBBLES to your routine. 

How will you know when you have arrived at Type-AA?  Oh, you will so know – and so will your competition when you leave them breathless at your heels or chasing after your long ball or watching the ball/puck hit the back of the net unable to stop it.  You will know! 

For now, why are you still sitting there?

Is My Life Really Incomplete if I Don’t Ever (insert activity here)?

Alternate title – Avoiding the doing requires much more energy than the doing

Ever been on the treadmill at the gym and had that ‘I probably ought to check that out someday’ feeling while watching the crowd assemble for the group fitness class, but then talked yourself out of it or poo-pooed the idea? 

Maybe it seems like no big deal, after all, you think, I have lived this long without doing yoga or learning how to swim or trying the ‘body jam’ group exercise class or practicing my jump shot so I can play in the basketball league or taking swing dance lessons, why do I need to now?  I mean, I really think the sun will continue to rise if I never do any of them, and besides, I’m pretty good about getting regular exercise so it doesn’t seem I’m missing out on anything.    

The sun aside, maybe it is ok that you never do other activity than what’s in your routine – you may have fixed circumstances whereby it’s simply are not in the cards.  Buuuut, hesitancy is different from a fixed circumstance so at closer look which is it?  Hesitancy is resolvable, and you deserve resolution.  Pilates will survive if you don’t try it, but the point is what the activity does for you.  Any self-imposed barrier IS a problem for how it limits the growth of your activity self.  The fact you haven’t done Zumba doesn’t hurt Zumba, it hurts you!                   

So, sit back and we sort this out.  What follows are the common reasons for hesitancy and their resolution:  

Exercise bigotry – Ugly harsh word that usually innocently stems from lingering archaic notions of gender appropriateness or worry about how someone could perceive you doing an activity.  Neither makes you a monster, and both are easy to overcome.  Simply, activity is gender neutral, period, and if someone is going to judge you by your activity choices, well, that’s for a whole other post.            

Avoidance due to fear – This can be a tough nut to track because fear is FEAR, and, activity fear is usually the result of a previous traumatic experience.  Double trouble, but resolvable.  First, try it with a new instructor or leader.  A fresh perspective can mean an entirely different (good) experience.  Second, realize you likely are at a different place in your life from when the unfortunate experience occurred, likely more open than you think to a re-start.  Third, confide in a friend then ask that friend to join you for your re-attempt.  The moral support speaks for itself, and communicating your fear can be cathartic as the transfer neutralizes some of its power – you are not the only one who knows.        

Avoidance due to fear of failure or lack of confidence – You may think you will look silly but you won’t look any sillier than anyone else!  No one is going to remember that you zigged when you were supposed to zag.  Or, you may fear coming in last, or the equivalent of.  Chances are you won’t, but if you do so what!  Net/net let go of the what-if’s.  There is no need to pressure yourself, learning takes time and it feels awkward at first.  Set yourself up in the back row if that helps (or the equivalent), and realize that you are not alone for the same reason.  Oh, and the sun WILL rise if your zig is ‘incorrect’ or you come in last…      

 No opportunity to try new things – You want to try new things but due to circumstances it seems you lack the opportunity.  This is likely (hopefully) easier to resolve than you may think, and the solution can go a long way toward paying activity motivation forward.  Contact the physical education department of a conveniently located school, grade level doesn’t matter, and volunteer with the activity program (e.g., physical education, before or after-school service).  Your assistance can be priceless – for your Iron Footprint and the kids’.  Immersion will enable you to try new/different activities (from your routine) since most programs seek to expose kids to as many different activity forms possible – their exposure will parallel yours.  Not a highly-skilled athlete?  No problem, you will still be able to make a significant contribution.                      

Settled!  Ok, now why this topic?

One dimension of Iron Footprint achievement is notching a FitBUBBLE for every new activity you try.  Why?  Because participating in any/all activity is part of your total accumulation of activity, your Iron Footprint.  Even if you only try something once, it warrents notching because it weighs in your portfolio.  There is also a qualitative element to adding FitBUBBLES since doing something new is often avoided for its anticipated risk (dispelled above), or it represents overcoming past trauma.  Both deserve recognition.            

FitBUBBLES are anything but whimsical achievement markers because the ultimate result is the self-confidence you develop from adding or overcoming.  Not to mention, the ‘new’ can cause muscle confusion that strengthens your fitness and may just improve your social life or at least give you negotiating leverage with someone close – I did this, now you do that.      

Any dread of anticipation is usually much worse than the actual doing.  Root canal wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t as horrifically miserable as the internet said it would.  



The Staging of Physical Activity

Alternate title – Plush cotton towels are nice…paper towels can accomplish the same thing 

A Broadway production compared to the local elementary school’s annual play-

Woodstock (the original!) compared to the community band’s recital at the community band shell-

The Super Bowl compared to the Saturday morning coed flag football league championship game-

Olympic Games 100-yd dash finals compared to racing on the sidewalk for the neighborhood crown.

The comparison?  All are stages, literally or figuratively, though with obvious difference.  But, maybe the  difference isn’t so obvious, because when it comes right down to it, the meaning to the participants of what occurs upon a stage is the same regardless of the stage itself. 

Considering physical activity it’s not the stage upon which you are participating – it’s that you ARE ON a stage participating!

Flashback – while living on the East Coast as a full-time (dirt poor) grad student I was enticed to play on a coed softball team by the offer to get paid for hitting home runs.  The backstory is this team was the perennial league bottom feeder never coming close to being competitive, and the company BigWig president/ceo for whom the team represented was tired of losing.  Coed softball being what it is, female players can be at a premium, especially when league rules mandate that all players work for the company, save allowing 2 ‘outside’ females to compensate for the pool  shortage compared to male players.  Net/net, coed teams can drastically improve their quality by adding skilled females.           

I love softball, have been very fortunate to play it at a high level, including very good coed teams for which, a female who ‘can play’ quickly becomes known.  So it was through the ‘what girls can we get to play’ network that the Mr. BigWig came across me and another skilled female.  We both gladly accepted his offer, especially after discovering that the ‘field’ was an elementary school asphalt playground with a VERY short 100’ right field fence.  If a man hit it over it was an out, but if a female hit it over – HOME RUN!  Truth be told, on pretty much ANY other field in the world, hitting a 100’ pop up would result in a big fat fly ball out.  But for a relatively skilled, very poor female this was a dream come true.  A home run was probable each at-bat.  To add to the story, my school was across town from the field so between the distance and my class schedule it was a challenge to get to the games on time.  Mr. BigWig problem solved by sending his driver to pick me up.  I was stunned every time I stepped into that Rolls Royce limo!   

And so it was that the season began.  This was sloppy softball at its worst and made family reunion softball look like the world series.  Rag tag players sharing gloves and ground rules that only an asphalt ‘field’ could claim – hitting into a plantar was a ground rule double, but hitting into a playground bench was a live ball, go figure!  At first I scoffed at the sloppiness and for awhile didn’t even change from my school clothes to play.  Thankfully, this didn’t diminish my ability to hit sloppy fly balls that cleared the fence that led to the generous payouts that stocked my cupboard.  (And, really thankfully, only once did a bank teller look at me strangely when I handed over several large crisp bills for deposit – I learned to deposit on different days so to not risk getting the same teller twice…).

Buuuuuuut, over time something changed.  Our scrappy team kept winning and playing on it was…a ton of fun! pay-outs and limo aside!  The players were nice, Mr. BigWig was awesome, and did I mention, we kept winning, to the point we finished undefeated so were the CLEAR favorites to win the league championship.  But, our softball high crumbled upon realizing that the playoffs games were to be held…on a real field with real dimensions.  Sure, over the fence for a woman was still a home run, except the fences were the standard 300’ – BIG difference between hitting a 300’ shot using a low-compressed ball and hitting a 100’ pop-up!  I remember thinking it was very cute when Mr. BigWig assured me the home run deal stood throughout the playoffs…for he really had no idea the field difference was the proverbial night and day.     

The first game playing on the real field was rough – no perfect grounders that the asphalt guaranteed – but, wouldn’t you know, our plucky team won, then won again, then won for the 3rd and 4th times to WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP!  I really thought Mr. BigWig was going to have a heart attack.  He was so excited!  As were all of us!  Our celebration was one for the ages.  Mr. BigWig went all out to sponsor the best in food and drink, but the center of attention was the 12” plastic league championship trophy.  It really meant the world to all of us even though we never DIDN’T play ragtag softball, and always needed to loan gloves back and forth between the teams, and sometimes shoes.        

I will forever cherish playing for that team.  The pay-outs and limo rides aside, it was extremely gratifying because the experience evolved to mean so much to all of us.  Mr. BigWig retired the next year at the ripe old age of 40-something having made enough money for several lifetimes but more important to him, having WON the league championship.  He was at peace…

A stage is a stage is a stage, no matter the speakers, lights, sound system, or quality of the performance. Broadway = school play = playground softball = Yankee Stadium.  Make it a priority to play upon as many stages as you can.  Join the local bowling league, enter the neighborhood park’s tennis tournament, run in the holiday jingle-jangle run, and then cherish the life-enrichment each brings.  Fun, challenge, camaraderie…priceless.  And, always remember, THAT you accomplished something on a stage, anything, is what counts, no matter the stage.  Your league championship t-shirt deserves as much reverence as an Olympic medal.  Besides, wearing a medal while you go about your day can be overrated – it gets in the way of pretty much everything…

Now about that stage – with your Iron Footprint growing like it is you deserve better lighting!

For now, we would love to hear your own stage stories.  Feel free to email us at info@ironcougarfitness.com to share.   

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Alternate title – When is the other shoe going to fall?

Your physical activity world has never been better.  You have strung together more consecutive days of FitBASE workouts than ever.  You are regularly trialing FitBESTS and seeing real benchmark improvements and you are having fun trying new activities to add as FitBUBBLES.  And, oh yeah, you just signed up to run in a running race and play in a basketball league.     

What’s not to like?  It’s model engagement to the nth degree – and its feeding your motivation for more…

Yet, you also have a persistent weird gnawing that any day now you are going to wake up with a burst bubble.  After all, you have known the ebb and flow of activity motivation all-too-well, one day super excited, the next no interest in looking at your running shoes much less trying a new activity.  So even though you and activity have never been better you wonder when the other shoe is going to fall.  Can capturing achievement ever be too much of a good thing?  Can my sustained motivation really continue to sustain?    

To answer: It’s not (going to fall).  It’s NEVER! (too much of a good thing).  YES! (because you are doing just what you need to do to keep it sustained). 

You probably figured these to be the answers, but here is why.

First, success pipelines more success, a power never to underestimate.  

Second, your Iron Footprint is never going to fill up or run out of room, it’s only going to get more clustered, dense and layered the more you continue to approach engagement this way.  Like the World Wide Web, over time the vast amount of ‘stuff’ may be mean more clouds within clouds, but there will always be room for more stuff.  Seeing your Iron Footprint (continue to) grow inspires, gratifies and invokes confidence…and sustains motivation!  

Third, you will sustain sustained motivation because engagement as Iron Footprint defends against plateaus and ruts, commonly but inaccurately accepted as unavoidable deterrents to any exercise routine.  Regularly trialing FitBESTS and FitBUBBLES stimulates the physiological and emotional   responses that repel both.  For example, trialing events that involve different body parts means you regularly confuse your muscles.  This is good because the surprise feature of confusion keeps your muscle fibers on their toes, not knowing what you will ask of them but ready to spring into action.  In addition, these are novel activities so along with new FitBUBBLES you notch your routine never becomes ‘too routine’ because you are constantly infusing ‘the new’ into it.  Last, both also invoke your adrenaline, another source of motivation nourishment.         

Iron Footprint achievement is real – nothing pretend or contrived, or based upon false hopes – so your success is genuine.  And like your Footprint being ever-growing, achievement will never run out, there is an endless supply

As long as you approach exercise as Iron Footprint it’s ok to keep your shoes on a shelf – they aren’t going to fall.

Activity in 3-D, HD, Blue-Ray

Digging to China in the sand box as a kid was really slow until we figured out a snow shovel moved a lot more sand than a kiddie plastic beach shovel.  Big difference!  Then when we borrowed the neighbor’s to add to the arsenal, wow! we became digging machines.  Using the kiddie shovel was fun, but using the snow shovels added so much more to the experience…until we hit tree roots or it was time for dinner.      

The point?  Immerse yourself into physical activity beyond scratching its surface – notch as many FitBUBBLES as you can to deepen your portfolio as much as possible.  While there is benefit to doing any activity, treat yourself to the gifts that accumulation and immersion uniquely yield.  You will find the engagement experience to be all the more rich and your activity self all the more developed.  

Watching Black and white TV, listening to AM radio, tasting food, using the 8-pack of crayons, reading Cliff notes; all merely scratch the surface of engagement impact compared to watching HD TV, listening to multi-tracked music, eating a full meal, using the 24-pack of crayons, or reading a book in its entirety.

Why?  Deeper, multi-sensory stimulation draws a greater, satisfaction enhancing, emotional connection that leads to, you guessed it, greater motivation to keep doing it (or do it again).

Do, but don’t ‘just do’ physical activity.  Immerse yourself into its big world by collecting as many FitBUBBLES possible.  The physical benefit aside, the satisfaction of the richness and the self-confidence you develop are priceless.  Not to mention, your energy toward collecting can be infectious to those around you – and there you go again inspiring others to engage! 

Regardless of your current level of fitness or skill proficiency, more means more.  Scraping the proverbial activity surface can generate some health protection, but don’t stop there when there is so much more to be had.  Which reminds me, I have some digging to do…