Planning_Part 2: What constitutes a good plan?

Posted on September 15, 2009


“Planning Part 1” tip started us off on proper planning for health, fitness and wellness. We all agree now that it is not too hard and that our minds are made up that we are important enough to plan for our own health and fitness. Now that we have that agreed to, let’s dive into the pieces that make up a plan for fitness…

First, we need to evaluate what will it take to make a good plan to improve & maintain our health/fitness/wellness:

* There are 4 required components and a multitude of “bonus” components based on personal preference

    – The required ones are as follows: Cardiovascular exercise, Resistance Training, Sound Nutrition, & Mental Well-being

    – The first 3 should be obvious, but the 4th is just as important because nobody wants to be around a fit person who’s lost their marbles. Let’s break it down further…

 – Cardiovascular exercise: Here are the facts gang- if you are above your ideal weight, you need to be moving at a challenging level most weekdays– not just so you can lose the excess weight and reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome, but also so you can keep your heart actively working and reduce risks for heart disease. If you are already at the proper weight, you still have to be getting your heart going regularly to maintain the bodies’ ability to function optimally.

-Resistance training: Whether you want to be “HUGE,” or just want to not jiggle all over the place, you have to do this one regularly, but not every day. The body needs 48hr rest periods to grow and respond to the stress of the strength training, so 2-3x/week works if you are doing it right. mA reminder on this one, using only machines does NOT strengthen your core and the core is the center of all movement in the body, so you must move away from machines for a good portion of your workout.

-Sound Nutrition:Everyone gets a little weird about this one so let’s keep it simple: If you currently eat at fast-food places (this includes places like Panera) 5x/week, start doing it less than 5x/week. If you buy mostly things out of boxes, try to buy less than 50% of what you are planning to purchase from a box. Part of planning for sound nutrition means taking an honest look at your current state of nutritional affairs (and if you can’t do it honestly, talk to someone who can- I am happy to help anyone figure out where they are missing on their nutrition). Once you’ve honestly looked at what’s going on, then you’ve got to plan for small, regular deliberate steps, all of which are aimed at a defined end result.

Example: Jane currently eats only an apple for breakfast, eats lunch out, and cooks only 1 or 2 nights a week and only that which comes from a box, other nights she eats out. Staying “surface-level” on this and not getting too deep into true “optimally healthful eating,” Jane’s honest assessment: increase the quality and amount of her breakfast, start bringing her own lunch regularly & learn about how to make healthful choices when eating out at lunch, and plan for cooking in the evenings from fresh, natural ingredients. From there, she can begin making her plan for improvement. What you think is healthy now, will seem only marginally so when you get down the road and look back at where you came from!

-Mental Well-being: You can be your own worst critic, but don’t be your own worst enemy. It’s not your job to bring yourself down- leave that to the nay-sayers and nobodys- and rise above them too while you are at it. Act like a grown-up and just make it happen. You wouldn’t teach your kids to say “I can’t,” so why do you let yourself get away with it? To improve your own mental well-being you could plan to surround yourself with motivating people, read inspirational books, articles or websites, plan to live life with a positive outlook and never look back.

Sit down for a few minutes and determine where you are on the scale of achievement with each of these areas. Start by writing down for each category:

1) the things you know you can start working on right now,

2) the things you want to work on but are not sure where or how to start

Take that 1st list and implement 1 item today! Why wait! Get the plan going now! And the 2nd list, if you don’t know what to do to start, find a professional to help you(like me!), research from reputable sources (like this blog!) on the internet, do something to move your plan forward. Do not just sit on that list of things you cannot start today because you don’t know how…not knowing how is no excuse to not plan and execute optimal fitness!