Well here we are approaching the end of the year and finishing up the Holiday season. I don’t know about the rest of you but December always ends up as one giant blur for me. I always think I am going to chill out and enjoy the festive season but let’s face it, I have a type A personality that sucks at relaxing and not perfecting. Perfect gifts, perfect wrapping, perfect cocktails, perfect outfit, and perfect house talk about a workout! People love to tell me that I don’t have to make everything perfect, well like DUH as if I don’t know this, I just can’t help myself. To know me is to tolerate me.

And this leads me straight into my thoughts for today and tomorrow and the rest of our lifespan. Recently I made a short Kettle Bell video titled “Holiday Lunges”. When I say I made what I mean is my brother Tim made, I just acted out the thing. He has to put it all together and make it look so seamless. If you have seen the video you might have noticed we put in out takes at the end. I did this for a couple reasons. One to show that I actually am not so smooth and second that what you see in 2 minutes really took over 2 hours to make. Isn’t that how other peoples lives look to us? So perfect as if they simply woke up stepped out the door and everything was lovely. Nobody gets to see all the “out takes” of their lives. I think this is where we all might get hung up sometimes, it’s that whole comparison thing. We all know how messy our lives can be and somehow when we see images or read articles about how we should be perfecting ourselves it causes a 20% drop in our self-esteem. What if you actually were able to see all the out takes of those fitness videos where everyone looks so capable and barely breaking a sweat? What if you could see the out takes of that nutrition writers trip to McDonalds? What if you realized that the person driving the Mercedes is worrying about cancer or the model so picture perfect is desperate for a loving relationship. When we show more of our real selves to the world it takes the pressure off of us as much as it takes it off the next guy. Which leads me to this point:

In the fitness and diet world there are several approaches to motivate people. The most popular is the comparison model of before and after. Take a look at those commercials where they show some poor person slumped over, belly out looking sad and then the after where they are all heads up, chest out stomach sucked in smiling. What’s your reaction to that? Maybe you’re thinking hey if they can do it so can I, and then you go out and buy whatever it is they are selling. Or your thinking hahahaha…I can’t ever achieve that! Or if you’re me you’re thinking that’s a bunch of bull (minus other word), no long term fitness plan is packed into a neat and tidy 30 days. I am certainly not a fan of the quick fix or a diet plan that does not include real food that requires you to chew. As a mater of fact I find it simply odd that most shake-based diets are flavored like cake. You can have your cake and drink it too? Yes, you can lose weight very quickly on a shake-based diet, mostly because of the calorie restriction. The problem is you don’t get to see the out-takes…such as how your bank account is taking a hit from buying that stuff or how your social life tanks because nobody wants to sip wine and eat a steak while your sipping on chocolate cake in a glass. The reality is this, there is only one way to achieve health and that isn’t through buying liquid cake or shaking a phallic dumbbell. As a side note I am not knocking the short term nutrition systems designed to clean out the junk and jump start better habits. Those programs usually include incorporating better food plans after the kick-start.

This year my goal is to live as authentic as possible, out takes and all. I have a plan and the plan is very simple. I have a fitness target each week and a good eating plan. You can be rest assured I will miss the mark more than once. It’s okay because my fitness and nutrition plan is a life plan. It has no start and no end. It’s a series of decisions I make everyday about what I am eating and how I am treating my body. I will have lot’s of out takes that you will never see. My clients won’t see me devouring pizza or slugging down one to many Chardonnays. They won’t see me struggling back into my monitoring jeans, way more useful than a scale. They won’t see me tripping over my feet in that Body Combat class I took where I fell on my face. But you know…I’ll probably tell them anyway because that’s how life is, imperfect. We all present ourselves to the public (this excludes Walmart shoppers) in our polished state most of the time. I know I do, so try to keep that in mind when you are contemplating this coming year and your health/fitness plan. Try not to compare yourself to those sparking images we see in print, Internet and television. Remember it took a lot of out takes for those finished images to be presented to you. Develop a plan that fits who you are, what you desire for yourself and what you know you can successfully implement .Use short term goals that enable you to proceed at a pace that allows for screw ups. The best long term goal lasts until the day you exit this planet, hopefully years of short term goals will prolong the amount of time until that happens. The worst thing a person can do is to start a program that is destined to make you feel like a failure. If you know you can’t make it to the gym 5 days a week due to work and family, why would you think it’s a good idea? If an expert tells you something that is just outside your capabilities speak up. There are rules and laws in fitness designed like a cookie cutter, and I’ll be the first to say I don’t always agree with those guidelines. Exercise an hour a day…5 times a week…what world did those guide setters live in?

I just can’t say this enough, this year as you approach 2012 begin to think about fitness and health as it pertains to your life not mine or Jillian what’s her face.
Set small obtainable goals, allow for wiggle room in a fitness schedule and most importantly allow for setbacks. If you fall off the wagon don’t go sit in the bar and order beer and wings for the next 3 months, get back on the next wagon! Remember it takes many out takes to create a polished final picture. Shine on!

About PT

Patricia Tremblay B.S., NSCA-CPT owner/ operator of Physiques By PT a personal training and consulting company. My focus is functional training that is compatible with your life and goals for a healthy active life, and a little fun tossed in for good measure.
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