I was never a Boy Scout, but have come to appreciate their motto, "Be prepared." For scouts, those two powerful words represent being in a state of readiness in mind and body to perform whatever duty is necessary. In any situation, to be prepared means you are ready and physically fit to perform as need be. After Hurricane Irma a couple weeks ago and the tornado and storms we endured in January, many of us have come to realize the importance of being prepared.
Along with food storage, water, a full tank of fuel, having a backup generator and other emergency items, we were ready to handle whatever Irma had to deliver. Fortunately, for most of us this devastating storm just amounted to a day of inconvenience and yard cleanup.
We have both expected and unexpected situations in our life that we need to prepare for. Just as we have insurance in case our health declines, it is important to create our own "insurance policy" for every area of life. The process of staying fit can act as insurance against heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases as we age.
But like other areas in life, preparedness is one of the more important aspects of maintaining a successful fitness plan. If you have emergency backup plans for other life situations, why don't you have one for getting healthy? Along with being prepared, also think purpose, plan and prioritize.
What do you want to accomplish and why is that goal important to you? Your plan should be specific and relative to your needs and desires. Training with purpose and intent is vital to accomplish any fitness quest. Consider your current goals. Are they meaningful, or are they just a gluten free cookie-cutter replica of someone else's fitness goal? A goal that isn't attached to something deep and personal is a dead-end waiting to happen. It should hurt if you fail. If it doesn't, it won't drive you.
A successful plan sets quantifiable goals. Although it all starts with a goal, if you don't have an action plan your goals are just dreams. Be sure it is a realistic plan. If you've never exercised before and set a goal to run a 5-minute mile in a month, you've almost certainly set yourself up for failure. It's great to be motivated and set lofty goals, but they must be realistic. The sky can be the limit, but progress with incremental attainable goals. Lastly, always have a backup plan. Whether it's a hurricane or some minor catastrophe, even the best designed plans can go awry.
Once your plan is in place, you must be prepared to execute. Being ready is not the same as being prepared. If you
have decided to change your lifestyle and are motivated than you are ready. Being prepared will take more conscious effort. This not only applies to exercise, but is of even more importance in maintaining healthy eating habits. Designate one day (Sunday for most) as a preparation day for your whole week. Make a list of your week's meals and the ingredients required for the entire week. Use this as your grocery shopping list. You can then prepare a whole week of meals and store them in individual covered containers for each day of the week. Without doing this, you will be more likely to impulsively grab something from a vending machine when you are hungry, or drive through a fast food place.
We get excited about getting in shape at the start of the year, or before an upcoming event like a class reunion, but as time passes our goals are moved lower on our totem pole of priorities. Only by making and keeping your fitness program a priority, will you avoid setbacks and relapses. Treat working out like an important errand. Work days can be hectic and tempt us to procrastinate on working out. You schedule times for other people and things in your life, so don't put your needs on the back burner. Schedule an appointment with yourself to unwind and re-energize.
Take steps to being fully prepared and then put your plan in to action. Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. Proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. By proactively preparing, you won't have to react negatively to every little catastrophe and you can stay in control and succeed.
Perry Buchanan, owner of PT Gym, is certified as an Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Email him at email@example.com. Follow @ptgym on Twitter.
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