Monday, August 23, 2010

Setting Goals & Staying Focused

Setting Goals & Staying Focused
By Beth H : Woodstock's Fit Body Bootcamper

I've always considered myself fairly healthy. While never an “exercise junkie,” I've always been active and aware of my diet – I rarely eat meat and try to watch what I eat.

In my teens and 20s, during the Flashdance! Generation, high-impact, knee-pounding exercise was all the rage... complete with cropped t-shirt, headband and matching scrunchie and leg-warmers. (What were we THINKING?)

In my 30s, with two small children running around, toddler-chasing was my primary form of “exercise,” although I'd load the kids up in the stroller a few nights each week and tackle the hills in my subdivision. Charity walks were my big thing during that time as well, and I felt good to walk-run a 5k and claim my t-shirt at the finish line.

At 40 I realized that the health issues I'd started developing – stress, hypertension, stiff joints and insomnia – weren't necessarily age-related. They were a direct result of my lack of a regular exercise regimen. I didn't want the “middle-age spread,” which I noticed with alarming regularity in my peer group in the carpool line or at the grocery store. I also realized that my clothing size had slowly crept upward and I was now wearing double-digits in pants... not good!

So I started walking regularly. My dog loved it, I met the neighbors and I started feeling better about myself. But my weight wasn't changing and my waist size wouldn't budge. I accepted that I was middle-aged and that I had attained a new “set-point.” (Amazing what we tell ourselves!)

I was at a women's networking event one evening and won a month's trial of a new fitness regimen that I'd been hearing so much about: FitBody Boot Camp. This Boot Camp was indoors! I thought, “I can do anything for a month,” and I designated the next 30 days as my fitness do-or-die time, setting the alarm for 5:15 a.m. and commuting to the gymnastics facility to work out with my new peer group.

Although the workouts were very difficult at first, I was hooked. After just a week, I felt stronger than I had in a very long time, and inches were coming off. I hadn't lost an ounce of weight, but I was standing up straighter, I had more energy and I was sleeping better. So I decided to continue.

After two months, I had finally lost weight – more than 11 pounds! And my body looked good. My double-digit clothing was now too big, and I retrieved the old Size 8's from the back of my closet.

In March, I ran another 5k – and this time I ran the whole time! So I set my sights on a huge goal: running the Peachtree Road Race.

Over the next several months, I participated in FitBody Boot Camp three or four (sometimes five) days each week, and felt a huge difference in my overall wellness. My blood pressure dropped to what it was prior to my having kids and I had lost nearly 20 pounds; I felt calmer, experienced less stiffness and slept better than I had in years! And by the time 5:15 rolled around each day, I was “raring to go!”

I turned 44 on the 4th of July, and I gave myself the most incredible gift: running my first Peachtree Road Race. What a party! I told myself that I would just run the best I could, walk if I had to up the hills (never stop running when you're going downhill! It's a personal rule!) and make it to the finish line smiling. Well, I ran the whole 6.2 – and I was smiling as I crossed the finish line!

Nothing can compare to attaining a goal like that. The pride, the energy, the congratulations from family and friends! I'm recruiting folks to run with me next year – and I'm grateful for the group of us from FitBody Boot Camp-Woodstock who ran together this year.

My goal when I started my fitness regimen was to increase my stamina enough to run a 5k, then the Peachtree. My new goal is to be as healthy and active in my 60s and 70s as I am today. I'm laying the groundwork now, and I realize that a daily workout commitment is key to helping me attain my goals.

I know folks who work out at home, others who go to a big-box gym, and some who prefer to do like I do and attend Boot Camp or work out in a small group or with a personal trainer (Stacy does that too, by the way!). Whatever your preference, make sure it's something you enjoy. You'll experience better results and come up with fewer excuses!

Beth H.

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