ACHIEVEMENT-PURPOSEFUL EXERCISE

Any activity is better than no activity BUT the more it is achievement-purposeful, the stronger your motivation to keep doing it.

Purposeful exercise provides a backbone for our effort by targeting intentional fitness or motor skill improvement. The opposite is ‘just’ exercise, risky since ‘today I’m just going to do some cardio’ or ‘today I’m just going to lift a few weights’ doesn’t give our motivation anything solid to sink its teeth into. Weightless and without definition it’s impossible to recognize progress, other than just doing some cardio or just lifting some weights. Over time, our stick-to-it motivation erodes because we just don’t remember the point.

Life may dictate occasions of time-limited exercise, but this kind of ‘just’ is benign for being temporary. Not knowing how to frame achievement other than radical body transformation causes the dangerous kind. The (unrealistic) results we don’t realize bring disappointment we protect ourselves from repeating by conceding to a ‘just’ approach—but generic intent drains already shallow motivation by not providing the solid footing that purpose cements.

Don’t short change your life quality by approaching activity from anything less than what purposefully (and optimally) strengthens your heart and muscles and improves your motor skills, and frames your achievement accordingly.

Dare I say, just do it…purposefully.

IS IT OK THAT IM DOING THIS?…

Asked the new gym member to his trainer about being on the treadmill before their session began.

Yes!

Knowing that some is good and more is better, this physical activity thing is pretty failsafe. Safety considered, the only mistake in doing it is not doing it – the more of this (and that!) the better.

FRIDAY FOOTPRINT FLASH – Sad to see the Olympics end

FRIDAY FOOTPRINT FLASH – Sad to see the Olympics end

Despite critics who roil that the commercialized branding of the Olympics tarnishes the ideals of amateur competition, each games provides the wow of the extraordinary, the human-bests in feats of skill, strength, power, and grace, and a reminder that it’s the athletes themselves who won’t allow the games to erode to anything less.

The innocent charm of say Squaw Valley, or Innsbruck or even the more recent Salt Lake City is a bygone given the realities of a post 9-11 world, and for some athletes true amateurism HAS given way to training subsidies, cash for winning medals, and sponsorship or endorsement opportunities, but the vast majority of Olympians won’t come close to signing with anyone – except maybe a coach to guide them through their next competition cycle.

Don’t let the bright lights of the shiny new buildings fool you, for every one Olympian who becomes a household name and guests on late night talk shows, hundreds more will return to their humble homes and a training regime fueled ONLY by an unrelenting passion for their sport of choice.

To the critics, the athletes themselves remind us it’s the human side of the chase that makes the chase. And it’s from the athletes we learn perhaps the most important ideal of the games—that life isn’t meant to be a spectator sport. Nope! It’s meant for participation, but that can mean sacrifice for the dedication and commitment it takes to play out passion.

At the top of the next hour somewhere in the world, an aspiring Olympian is answering their 5am alarm clock. Go get ‘em, Sport! I plan to watch for you in Rio de Janeiro, Pyeonghang, Tokyo…

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: SOME IS GOOD – SUM IS BEST

Chunking activity minutes – even 10 minutes at a time – prevents disease, enhances life quality and helps sustain balanced energy (weight management).

So chunk away! But accumulate as many chunks as possible for optimal benefit and to develop resilient motivation. It’s no more complicated than the more activity you do the greater the benefit, and since your motivation feeds off achievement, this means the easier it becomes to do more, more often.

Chunking activity itself is achievement because it means you have completed the daily activity engagement directive. Add to it the achievement of (multiple examples of) self-improvement that results from engaging in more activity and your motivation pumps to new heights.

Sustain getting some activity by tracking your sum. But dont be surprised when this leads you to getting some more, and more after that. No doubt, some is good, but sum is best.

FRIDAY ‘FOOTPRINT FLASH: The US Surgeon General nominee is on our side!

Last week, US Surgeon General nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy pledged to a Senate committee that obesity prevention would be a top priority if confirmed.

Even though other Surgeon Generals have attended to obesity, Dr. Murthy’s declaration is landmark as ‘priority’ increases intent, which increases the likelihood of outcomes. While self-management is imperative to making healthful lifestyle decisions, supportive federal initiatives and policies can be key enablers.

My short policy wish list is mandating increased time for school-based physical activity programming and that ALL physical activity programming personnel are highly competent (e.g., afterschool and recreation staff), and creating pathways for shared-use agreements between schools and city/county recreation facilities/programming.

I suppose I can’t set the agenda, but if you read this Dr. Murthy adopting any one would help fight the good fight. At the least, I take comfort hoping we get to add another one to our team!

HIT A PLATEAU? – CHANGE YOUR ACTIVITY JOOJOO

Awe, it happens to the best of us. One day we are on top of our workout world feeling and seeing gains, then the next and next few after that it’s as if our body declares war on itself and logjams any/all progress. Ugh!

Don’t panic – hitting a plateau is perfectly normal. Our body’s adaptation to the work we ask of it means energy efficiency catches up with workload leading to fewer bangs from the buck, if you will, from exercise. This doesn’t mean we are yielding less health protection, but it can mean the rate of weight loss, strength gains, or motor skill improvement slows. Frustrating for sure, but find the sunny side of the street again with just slight adjustments to your routine AND your approach to your routine.

First, ensure your engagement is achievement-oriented. This means doing cardio within your target heart rate zone, and using enough weight in strength training to overload your muscles. Any slips here are easily correctable.

Second, adjust the energy demand of your workouts by adding sprint bursts to your cardio and burn-out sets to your strength training. Sprint bursts are short intervals where you (safely) ‘sprint’ during cardio exercise. The length of bursts depends upon your fitness level, but even 10 seconds can be effective. After doing cardio at your usual intensity level for a specified time duration add a 10-second sprint (by increasing the mph if you are on the treadmill, for example), e.g., after each 5 minutes. The burst requires your physiology to kick in differently than what is required to sustain your usual intensity, and this different draw of energy catalyzes your metabolism – wakes it up, if you will.

A burn-out weightlifting set is completing as many low weight repetitions as possible of a particular lift, e.g., bench press, lat pull down, bicep curl. For example, on a day you have focused upon chest exercises, select a low weight you know you can successfully lift for several repetitions, and do as many presses as you can. For optimal safety, use a weight machine rather than free weights, especially if you don’t have a spotter or are a beginning lifter. Add one burn-out set at the end of each day’s lifting (for each muscle group focused upon that day).
Like cardio sprint bursts, burn-out sets draw upon energy differently than routine lifting, which can remind your physiology to keep growing your muscles.

Third, create different energy around your routine to re-charge your activity joojoo. Really!
Wear mis-matched socks…put your clothes on in reverse order – right to left rather than left to right…run your route in the opposite direction…listen to a different type of music…ask a chatty friend to join you then focus on your conversation…begin your routine 10 minutes earlier or later…obtain a free pass to a different gym for a week…leave your shoes outside overnight preferably tied to a tree…park in a different section of the gym parking area…switch out your shoelaces…

And, don’t for a minute think the power of joojoo is any less scientific than sprint bursts or burn-out sets. After all, the Sir of energy himself, Isaac Newton, confirmed as much in his ‘Energy can be neither created or destroyed, but can change form’ discovery. Said simply, energy is permanently accessible, but we may need to use different means to draw it out of hiding.

CHEERS TO CVS

This week’s ‘Footprint Flash’ goes to CVS for their decision to discontinue selling tobacco products. While the rate of smoking has declined the past decade, over 18 million USA adults continue to smoke—a habit that causes nearly 500,000 preventable deaths a year.

At face value the decision proves that business really CAN have a conscious and the well-being of the buying public CAN be put ahead of (millions of dollars of) profit. It shows business leaders can take a stand against supporting a product even while risking the alienation of an entire faction of its customer base. It also paves the way for other retailers to scrutinize their shelves for other wellness-robbing products—It’s nice to think that a kinship could develop among retailers focused on concerted efforts to reduce selling products that sap life quality.

Perhaps there was more to the decision than meets the eye, but I’m leaving it at face value.

BE ONE WITH A CURLER, OR LUGER, OR BIATHLETE, OR BOBSLEDDER…

Quick. Name a Curler, or Luger, or Biathlete, or Bobsledder. Nothing? Now, name one player from this past week’s Super Bowl — yes, just one.

More of us than for any other televised event watched Seattle’s beat down of Denver to reign as the world’s best football team. But merely calling the Super Bowl a game pales its cultural significance. By intersecting entertainment with sport, there isn’t a rival for its pop appeal–its capacity to infatuate us is only matched by its capacity to infatuate all platforms of creative and media expression. One result is players with higher Q-scores than screen stars or world leaders.

Tomorrow, the Winter Olympics are going to open in Sochi, Russia with elite athletes in their own right drawn to their penultimate competition. In their own right because besides (snowboarder) Shaun White and some name recognizable NHLers competing for their home countries, Joe Q. Public is stumped to name another contestant, especially with (speed skater) Apolo Ohno retired and (downhill skier) Lindsey Vonn injured.

But thanks to extended coverage by NBC and their affiliates, we will be become fast friends with these world class, but not-on-TV athletes who ply their talent on ice and snow. From in-depth profiles we will learn of their dedication, sacrifice, and commitment to physical activity that mostly is done in obscurity, save the lone parent or family member waiting at the finish line to gather their competitor for the long drive home.

Hmm, sound familiar, (except competing at a world-class level)?

Even though you may not know their sports, and even though it might seem the opposite, you (already) know these not-on-TV athletes compared to the on-TV athletes you watched play the Super Bowl because the essence of your activity engagement is the same—self-supported, self-driven, and without outside recognition, toward the ideals of self improvement, self expression, and wellness.

Some will profit from the next two weeks with endorsement or sponsorship deals but more will compete in the fleeting spotlight, and then return to the anonymous training rigor that feeds their soul. Not to say professional football players love their sport less, but whereas we know about them, we really know their not-on-TV counterparts.

Let the Games begin, and every time you watch a luger, bobsledder, curler, biathlete, etc. receive their medal feel it going around your neck, too! That’s you up there…

THE BIG GAME

Make any money on over/unders? Enjoy the commercials? Get enough fun game food? Good time with friends? Like the half-time show? Oh, and did your team win?

110 million of us watched yesterday’s Super Bowl. Its cliché to mention the contrast, but last week’s State of the Union address pulled a mere 33.3 million. And no, I don’t recall any memorable commercials. Come to think of it, I don’t remember any commercials…

From the game perspective, strategies, players and match-ups were dissected and analyzed along the hundreds of media platforms casted to…dissect and analyze. If you are a media outlet and didnt have a game day crew, I suspect you will next year.

From the game-as-event perspective, it generated an estimated $550-600 million to New York/New Jersey, what with concerts, parties, the fan experience in Harold Square, and untold other ancillary events.

Whether a die-hard fan or just along for the ride, it’s a fun afternoon, less if your team didn’t win. No-miss actually considering the virtual guarantee of being entertained as much by the food, friends, half-time concert, and commercials as the game.

The event of the game has become as much if not more than the game itself, but I hope you got to the gym or got your run in. Your workouts may never draw media coverage but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. Less hype, but no less meaningful, your activity achievement deserves the same recognition and acknowledgment as any professional athlete’s.

So don’t forget to add celebration into your routine. You never know, maybe Bruno Mars would play a set at your gym if you asked nicely. Hmm, what’s the over/under on that?…

QUICK CHECK-UP

Don’t worry, you don’t need to change into a gown.

A quick resolution check – a month into the New Year how is your exercise routine? Grooved? Stalled? Grounded? What’s going well, what is a challenge?

If you are grooved, feed the momentum by tracking achievement across your Iron Footprint and especially, regularly adding new FitBEST trials into your routine. Mix ‘traditional’ events (1-mile run) with novel ones (how long it takes to reach 1000 strides on the Eliptical) to gain the most benefit from this aspect of your ‘Footprint achievement profile. Remember, doing FitBEST trials pulls on your adrenaline differently than when you do your daily workout. This prevents your energy from lulling to sleep as can happen when your routine becomes too routine. ‘Routine’ needs to mean engrained as a daily occurrence, not the same over and over.

Stalled or grounded? Take a deep breath and think about the cause. It’s usually no mystery or hard to figure out so insight is likely by the time you exhale. If the barrier is logistical, is there a realistic solution? Or, do you need to think about adopting a new exercise mode? E.g., joining a gym if home-exercise isn’t working, or vice-versa. If the barrier is motivation, two reminders. One, ANY activity is always better than no activity so chunking 10 minutes IS health-beneficial. (Re) Start knowing any and all you do adds to your ‘Footprint, and oh yeah, enhances your wellness. Two, take the time to track your achievement across all of the ‘Footprint dimensions. Allow yourself to ‘see’ ALL your activity your success. Getting past radical body transformation as the end all/ be all success measure can be a challenge, but can be done!

This concludes the check-up. I told you, no gown…