New Year, New You – Week 4

Lets get started – Week 4

This is the last week of the 4 week programme; time to evaluate. Ask yourself what has worked for you. What made you feel good, what was easy to follow on a regular basis, what kind of victories did you have? Under no circumstances reflect on the things that for whatever reason didn’t go so well. In any other situation that may be valuable but with regards to fitness and health too many people have beaten themselves with the guilt stick too many times. This isn’t the end of the road. You have a whole year ahead of you to get better, to work out what works for you, to have successes and yes, to have a few disappointments as well. Take into the future what all the things that –even momentarily- made you feel better. You just have to do more of it in the future.

Just like you strengthen a muscle when you work it, in the same way you will strengthen your determination and resolve by doing more of the things that work for you, make you feel active, committed to your health and the things that will ultimately bring you results. Keep your focus this week and then start the process for another block of 4 weeks, maintaining the lifestyle habits that you have built up and where possible develop them.

Week 4: Nutrition

  • Rotate your complex carbohydrate intake this week. That means that you have some form of complex carbohydrate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday but you cut out the intake of complex carbohydrates on the other days. Try if at all possible to have the complex carbohydrates that you eat at lunchtime or otherwise before 6pm.  Make an extra effort to have protein (meat, fish, eggs and pulses) with every meal.
  • Avoid eating your dinner after 7pm at all cost this week and do not eat anything at all after 9pm.
  • Build in a “Treat Day”. Choose a day on which you are going to have something you really love or enjoy. Don’t go over the top but take the pressure off one mealtime and have a lovely dessert, a big glass of wine etc. The rest of the time cut out all sugary snacks such as biscuits, chocolate, cereal bars etc.
  • Drink plenty of water and herbal tea.
  • Cook something healthy for someone else this week. Try out one of your new recipes or something that you have discovered, use new ingredients and cook something out of the ordinary.

Week 4: Exercise

  • Place the emphasis on resistance training this week (2 workouts). Most people shy away from this but it is the best and only way to change your shape. The most effective way is to train with a programme and weights in the gym. This will have to be devised and demonstrated by a professional but it is well worth it. Other activities that you can try are: a body conditioning class, body pump, dynamic yoga, a good swim (especially using a float and alternating swimming with upper and lower body only) or a body weight workout.
  • Try and fit in 1 cardio vascular workout this week. Either one long walk or a walk/jog or attempt to jog non-stop or a long bike ride. Try and maintain your intensity for a minimum of 40 min.
  • Be as physically active in the house, at work or with your family this week and record in your diary what you do. They are all small extra activities.

Week 3:  Balance, relaxation and mental fitness

  • Write a success diary of the things that you have had small successes with over the last 4 weeks. The discipline of keeping a success diary is very valuable and motivational as it teaches you to look at the glass half full and to maintain and celebrate the things that work for you.
  • From last week creating an image where you want to be by Christmas 2012, try this week to actually write up the goals you want to achieve. Writing up goals makes the whole process so much more real to commit to. Keep your goals somewhere you can see them easily and often.

Increase the accountability in your life. Tell a close friend about what you are going to achieve in 2012 fitness and health wise and ask them to “check up” on you on a regular basis. Alternatively find yourself a “training buddy” with whom you can compare efforts and results.

Living with Purpose

Food for thought: living with purpose

We can all go through life, doing things. Being busy with “doing things” can absorb one’s entire day, entire week, month, year. But it’s never what you do, it’s how you do it. People do things on automatic pilot, just because they have to pay your bills, because they have been told to or because there is nothing else to do. It makes for busy days and stressed out schedules, things get done but inevitably one has to wonder if there is a point in just doing things, creating stuff, ticking off items.

If you do things with enthusiasm, determination, because they inspire you, mean something to you, then you are doing something totally different altogether. Then you do things with spirit, with meaning, with purpose. Then the very things that you do echo with depth and consideration, shine with sparks and radiate with originality. Whichever way you then look at it, those are the things worth doing. They are not items ticked off lists but steps taken forward, a piece of the puzzle laid, a lesson learnt, an investment towards a greater resolve.

You have one life and one choice. Live or be lived. Choose or be chosen. Get swept up or design the route. By birthright and birth purpose every human has a contribution to make, essential to the progression of the human race, even if by household task or mending a bike, by raising a child or designing a building, by singing a song or unlocking a mathematical equation… whatever fills your heart with joy and spurs you on, wakes you in the morning. Rise to the challenge and not waste time.

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