2012 Resolution #1: Get Fit the Right Way

For the rest of this week, I’m going to discuss the goals I’m setting for 2012 and the plans I have for achieving them.

A few months ago, when I was feeling particularly frustrated about the failings of my fitness goals, I scheduled an appointment with a personal trainer.

I really do not like the idea of a “coach” to motivate my workouts or anything like that. I’ve had such coaches in the past, and I usually find myself getting angry at the coach in the middle of a workout and quitting. I do far better on my own, as I can always push myself to go a little bit farther or do one more rep. With a coach demanding it, I get irritated because I feel like they have no idea how I’m feeling and they’re just making things up, so I quit on them. I’m motivated internally, not externally, in other words.

My challenge really is coming up with a plan that works for me. Once I have that, I feel confident I can follow it.

When I met with this personal trainer, I was pretty clear that I wanted to set up a plan for myself to follow, which he understood. He then asked me point blank what my goal with all of this was.

I thought about it and I realized that the biggest thing I wanted was to be a good parent and eventually be a good grandparent. I wanted to be able to be fit enough to engage in lots of activities with both my children and with my eventual grandchildren, and I wanted to live as long as possible.

From there, he offered up a lot of recommendations.

First, he said my primary goal should be losing some of my excess weight.

As for my diet, he said that my current diet (vegetarian with occasional fish) was pretty solid but that I should work on portion control. He mostly suggested that I never take seconds during meals and a few other similar tactics.

Where he got down to business was with the exercise. He suggested that simply doing cardio – which was my main method of exercise – wouldn’t lead to long term weight loss and my avoidance of other forms of exercise was responsible for my back injury due to weak back muscles. Larger muscles lead to a higher metabolism and would then lead to weight loss if I didn’t give into eating large portions.

He gave me several books to read and offered up a simple suggestion. He said that I should spend fifteen minutes to half an hour each day exercising, but that each day of the week should focus on a different type of exercise. I should spend only a couple days a week doing cardiovascular exercise and the rest of the days should focus on different muscle groups. If I get injured, then I just avoid using those muscle groups.

The best part is that virtually all of the exercises are ones that I can do at home, with only a few weights required.

Since I have a plan, the key step is to codify a goal.

I want to lose 52 pounds in 2012. That’s a pound a week, or a calorie deficit of 500 per day. My trainer says that’s a very reasonable goal if I stick to a schedule of fifteen minutes of fairly intense exercise a day and portion control with my diet. If I get injured, I just avoid that muscle group for a while.

Will it work? Stay tuned to find out!