A Mindset for Fitness
We are in the throes of summer swimsuit season, which always seems to be the perfect time to re-examine our fitness routines and get in a proactive mindset
By Amy Gordy
First of all, there’s no such thing as having a “swimsuit body”—we all have bodies and they look amazing in our swimsuits just the way they are. But it’s important to feel good and be happy with your health and fitness. We all take great care of our families, but we have to take care of ourselves as well.
Chris Black, fitness coach at Anytime Fitness, knows the importance of getting to that mental state where we feel great about our bodies. “Seventy percent of the people I train are women over the age of 30, and I always emphasize the importance of setting realistic fitness goals. Fitness shouldn’t be about getting back to a certain weight, it should be about getting back to a certain feeling,” he said.
When he sits down to access a new client, he likes to talk through a few important points to help get the client in the right state of mind to tackle a fitness goal. First, he dispels the notion that it’s going to be easy. “You see a lot of reality TV shows that make it look easy so people set these unrealistic, wildly-high goals.”
Black encourages clients to think about a time in their lives when they felt great about the way they looked. “I tell clients to focus on those positive feelings about your body during that time, to remember what activities you were doing, how you were eating, and work toward getting back to that. When people say they want to lose 25 pounds, well, numbers are easy to put aside or get discouraged by. A feeling is something that’s much easier to hold on to and work toward.”
After a goal is set, Black moves on to the hard conversation. What keeps you from working out? Defining and being aware of the obstacles in the way of achieving your goal is very important. You have to identify the obstacles in order to make the extra effort to overcome or work around them.
“I hear a lot of the same obstacles from my clients. They are usually: family, money, time, motivation and accountability. Family is the biggest one, and it’s not a bad thing. Family is great—and you earned that family—but those responsibilities do often get in the way of fitness goals, so you have to make an extra effort to work with it,” Black said.
Finding just an hour and a half in an entire week is enough to start, and you can break that up and do 20 minutes four or five times a week. Black emphasized that the things to focus on to make the most impact are intensity and variation.
“You must work to increase the intensity of your workouts. Get your heart rate up for 20 minutes, but take short breaks if you need to, and change up your workout. If you do the same workout video each time, all you’ll do is just get good at that video. Mix it up, and challenge yourself each time.”
Setting aside time to go to the gym is great, but even if you are just working out at home, Black recommends a few essentials to squeeze into your routine for maximum results.
• Stand upright
• Feet just slightly wider than your hips, and turned out no more than 30 degrees
• Send your hips back, keeping your torso upright
• Squat until your knees come to a right angle, be careful not to let your knees move past your ankles.
•Drive the heels into the ground to pull yourself back up
Hint: if you need to check your form, try your squat standing with your shins against the coffee table.
• Start upright and take a long step forward
• The heel of your front foot comes down first
• Keep your feet hip-width apart—you aren’t walking a tightrope
• Lower down keeping your torso upright
• It’s not necessary to put your back knee down, but you can
• Repeat on the other side
Increase the intensity by holding hand weights straight up overhead.
• Sit in a chair upright
• Holding a weight, extend one arm straight up
• Keeping the elbow stationary, slowly lower the weight behind you close to the shoulder
• Use the triceps muscles to straighten the arm overhead again
• Complete a set of 15, then repeat on the other arm