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2010 Physical Activity Symposium Logo
Click Here For Printable Version No Shortcuts To Health

Are you going to reach your destination?

I think we could agree that knowing how to get where you want to go makes the journey notonly easier, but also, faster. The same principle applies to fitness and any goals you may want toreach. Once you establish a goal, you have in essence pinpointed your destination. The next step,of course, is to clearly define the direction you plan to take to get there. Mapping this out andfollowing it will help you avoid unnecessary detours, traffic jams or the dreaded U-turn.

How long will it take?

When we begin a trip, we definitely factor in the time it takes to get there. We don’t look at adrive to the beach that normally takes 8 hours and try to make it in 4 just because we are eager tosink our toes in the sand. This type of expectation is unrealistic at best and unsafe at worst. It isin our best interest though, to gather information so that we can choose the most efficient route.

Shall I take the expressway?

Granted we all want a lean and fit body in the shortest amount of time. But, just like our tripto the beach, it would be unreasonable for this desire to justify shortcuts toward better healthor a higher fitness level. Fad or starvation diets, weight loss supplements, diuretics and otherunhealthy strategies would be very similar to jumping in your car and keeping the gas pedalsmashed to the floor, ignoring speed limits, stop signs and speed bumps in hopes of arrivingahead of schedule. This type of reckless and irresponsible decision making will more thanlikely lead to undesirable consequences such as injury, leaving you stranded or ending the tripaltogether.

Is that SMART?

If you want to reach your fitness destination not only looking good but feeling good, you mustformulate a “S.M.A.R.T.” plan which should be based on facts that are—Specific, Measurable,Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For example, expectations to lose 40 pounds in 60 days—areunrealistic; a goal to look 25 when you’re 60—unattainable; and if you plan to achieve your goalbut are unwilling to invest the energy into how to do it—you really have no plan at all becauseit’s not specific and certainly not measurable.

Are we there yet?

If this kind of information leaves you feeling a little lost or confused, you may want to consideracquiring a roadmap of sorts from a reliable source. Dietary plans and sound fitness advice willindeed expedite the trip by rerouting you onto the expressway. There you’ll experience the mostefficient path and a more enjoyable ride.

Stuck on the side of the road?

Some may be facing even greater challenges for a variety of reasons. For instance, if you arediscouraged because your fitness goals are much too far away or maybe you don’t have the time,knowledge or energy to create the roadmap. If this describes you, consider the option of hiringa certified personal trainer who has the ability and expertise to take you out of your car and

put you on a direct flight to fitness. Imagine them as your very own personal co-pilot who willprovide turn-by-turn navigation advice and leave little to chance. Great trainers can also makeminor adjustments and even deviate from the original course to avoid unpleasant delays alongthe way.

Choose well

Finally, remember that staying fit requires an ongoing commitment aka lifestyle change.Everything worth having, whether it is a relaxing vacation or simply a long healthy life, isalways attached to a certain amount of responsibility. It’s yours and yours alone and the choicesyou make can either transport you to a holiday of your dreams or leave you stranded along theside of the road.

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