“Have to” or “Choose to” – Revitalizing your New Year’s resolutions

girl running bleachers

This year is already 25 percent gone. Your New Year’s resolutions – may have suffered a similar fate. It’s true that most people fail in achieving their stated New Year’s resolutions. In fact, 50 percent will have given up at this point. Why do health and fitness resolutions often fall by the wayside? Maybe it’s the doubt setting in, or you’ve set too lofty of a goal and have just burnt out. Whatever the reason is, changing your frame of mind can make an enormous difference and get you back on track for the last three quarters of the year.

Making Choices

The thing about changing from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle is that it won’t always be fun. Yes, it is way more exciting to sit around with your friends eating pizza (or chocolates), drinking beer (or wine) and polishing off a dozen wings (or cookies) while watching the game or hanging out than it is to count calories, exercise and drink water. However, here is some food for thought – once you take away the mentality of “I HAVE to eat healthy, I HAVE to exercise” and replace it with, “I’m CHOOSING to make healthy food choices and CHOOSING to exercise,” you take away the concept of feeling like a victim and empower yourself to accomplish great things.

Something else to consider, trying on clothes, wearing a bathing suit or running a race might be things that aren’t “fun” now either, but by sticking to your resolutions, by following a plan that’s sustainable and having the courage to change you can make those things fun, too!

Remember, it’s all about choices. The people who “have to” lose weight on those TV shows do it begrudgingly and then typically end up gaining a bunch of it back. However, good sustainable choices will yield long-term positive results.

Choosing to Work Out

At first going to the gym may seem scary. You don’t want to be teased or ridiculed. If you’re not ready for the gym, you don’t have to go. Instead, choose to go for a walk instead of watching that TV rerun. Walk stairs in your house. Do some simple body weight exercise during commercials. Once you have gained a bit of confidence, “choose to” go to the gym. Chances are people will want to commend you for the effort you’re making to better yourself, not belittle you for it.

Choosing to Eat for You

Making healthy meals may seem like a daunting task. However, all of that sugary, salty, greasy food is addictive, people. Once you let your body have it, it craves it. Nicotine and alcohol are no different. So when you take those foods away, you might find you get cranky or irritable. That’s because you’re detoxing. You’re freeing your body of junk it doesn’t need, junk that only packs on the pounds, increases your cholesterol and blood pressure and prevents you from running around with your kids, grand kids or friends.

Start with small changes to help your body adjust in a healthy way and help you stick with it. Eat Greek yogurt for dessert instead of ice cream. Eat air-popped popcorn as a snack instead of a candy bar. Try swapping soda with sparkling water.

Let Go of Preconceived Notions

If there’s something mentally holding you back from going all out this year, figure out what it is and then reframe your thinking. If you can’t do it alone, find a workout buddy to help you. Stop telling yourself you “have to” stay away from pizza – you can have it! Choose your favorite slice and eat it with a healthy side and move on. “Choose to” make up for it with an extra workout this week. Not only will you burn off those calories, but you’ll gain strength and endurance.

Stop saying you “have to” work out. You don’t. Yet, if you “choose to” – you’ll eventually reap all of the benefits including better strength and endurance, and just looking and feeling better, to name a few. Yes, it’s hard. This is new for you. You’re not used to pushing your body. And that’s OK. The more you stick with it, the better your workouts will get. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in the remaining months.

So review your goals for this year and revamp your plan of action to achieve them. Get back on track and share your successes and failures (small or big) with friends and family who can support you. Remember, you don’t “have to” do it, “choose to” do it.

How will you renew your resolve to reach your resolutions? Share with us in the comments.

Layman’s Guide to METs

I have been asked many times over the years about METS since they are displayed on most of today’s cardio machines, including our new Elegant and Touch consoles. Simply stated, METS is a good way to measure your exercise intensity and therefore the effectiveness of your exercise. MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent Task where one MET is equal to the rate you burn calories while you are sitting. As you begin to move or to exercise, you burn more calories and that increase can be measured or represented as an increase in METS.

I like to use a laymen’s translation for METS as a Metabolic Equivalent To Sitting, or how many times more calories a person is burning during an activity compared to if they were sitting around watching TV. So if your cardio machine states that you are working at five METS, you are burning calories 5 times faster than you would if you were watching television. Exercise at 10 METS and you will burn as many calories in a 20-minute cardio session as you would in over three hours and 20 minutes of watching TV.

While the number of calories you burn obviously goes up with an increase of METS, the actual number of calories a person burns still varies based on age, weight and fitness level and this is another subject which should be addressed separately. MET values will vary with combinations of change in speed and elevation on a treadmill or speed and resistance on a bike or elliptical. You can also use METS to determine if your workout on an exercise bike today is as efficient as it was yesterday on a treadmill or elliptical machine.

TIP: Since many people may not be able to maintain 10 METS or even five METS for extended periods of time try an interval based program like Sprint 8® that will take you to or near your individual tolerance and back down to something more comfortable and then back up and down again repeatedly. This type of fitness program has been shown over and over again to be extremely effective at increasing fitness levels.

Here is a chart showing the MET value of various common activities: METs chart

 

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/METs

Test a Treadmill Before You Buy – The 5 & 5 Demonstration

Once you step into a fitness equipment retailer, it can become daunting to think about trying out all of your options. Aside from checking out aesthetics, testing the performance of a piece of equipment, including a treadmill, is equally important. Here are a couple of tips to help you through the process.

I like to demonstrate the best qualities of our new T40 and TF40 treadmills with what I call the “5 & 5” Rule. It really helps display the durability, quietness and stability of our treadmill frames and consoles. Start by placing a set of car keys and any loose change you can gather into the side cup holders. Turn the treadmill on and touch the 5 percent incline and the 5 mph buttons on the console. Then stand four to five feet from the treadmill. If you’re the sales person, ask the customer to do this. By standing back from the machine, you will notice the console’s ‘ease of use’ as well as the great aesthetics (especially the Touch screen).

Proceed to jog or run on the treadmill. What you will see is not only a quiet and comfortable looking treadmill, but one that is well-built, reliable and sturdy without any shaking or side-to-side wobbling. If the treadmill is leveled properly on the floor, the keys and change will not make a sound!

Try this test and you will agree that the Vision Fitness treadmill is a top-of-the-line piece of fitness equipment.

How to Eliminate Elliptical Noise

The only noise you want to hear when working out on your elliptical is your music, or the sound of those calories burning up! Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world and noise can occur over time from using your elliptical. Not necessarily caused by worn parts, noises can occur with use of your machine as bolts loosen. Here are some helpful tips to help keep your elliptical in tip-top shape!

Elliptical Maintenance

First thing to check is your owner’s manual for the maintenance that needs to be done (this can vary per model). Generally that starts with making sure the machine is level. There are adjustable levelers at the bottom of the elliptical frame, which you can raise or lower (one or both) to level the elliptical. Using a carpenter’s level to assist with leveling is recommended. Once you have the unit leveled, lock the levelers in placed by tightening the nuts against the frame.

Elliptical levelers *NOTE: Some ellipticals do not have levelers.  

Assembly Joints

After verifying that the Elliptical is level, you can look through the assembly steps and verify that the unit is assembled properly (all the washers in place and in the correct spot). While checking the assembly joints it is important to go through and tighten them. Tightening the assembly hardware is something that should be being done monthly. Please reference the pictures below to check hardware and joints.

Link Arm / Handlebar Connection*:

Elliptical link arm

*Verify hardware in Manual is present. Shake the joint in all directions to see if any noise is created. If noise is present, tighten hardware and/or add additional washers to eliminate any gaps.

Pedal Arm / Crank Arm Connection**:

Elliptical pedal arm

**Verify hardware in Manual is present. Shake the joint to see if the crank arm is loose. If the end of the pedal arm has a plastic cover, check to see if the seam of the cover is catching or separated.

Link Arm / Pedal Arm Connection***:

Elliptical link arm connection

***Please make sure that every washer shown on the Assembly Step is present. Tighten hardware as needed.

These are two very important troubleshooting steps that take care of the noise issues. However if you are still experiencing noise after trying the above steps, please check our YouTube channel for additional tips and information. Otherwise, contact the local dealer where you purchased your machine, as they should be able to help you out further.