Health Tip: Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Writing a Letter
Image from Flickr by Skippy Beresford

People like us, who are into health and fitness, apart from getting healthier and feeling better, all want one end result — to look good.

Slipping back into old habits

Sometimes, though, when we have achieved our goal, there’s a chance that we become complacent. Little by little, we start doing again the old habits that led us to where we used to be. Then, one day, we realize that we look like our old-selves again!

I’ve been there a couple of times myself. I felt that all my efforts had been wasted. What choice do I have, but to start all over again.

Right now, though, I’m maintaining a healthy weight. One day, I thought of something … Why not write a letter to my future self, just in case I’m — you know — getting fat again. I give an example of such a letter here.

A letter to my future self


Dear Whitebeltblogger,

I would like to congratulate you for coming this far. It’s been a long journey for you.

Can you remember the time when you first went to the gym? You looked in the mirror, turned sideways, and focused your attention at your big, bulging stomach. You said, “In 3 months it’s gonna be flat … 3 months.”

Well, it may have taken you longer than 3 months before you had a flat stomach, which you can be proud of, but it’s totally worth it, isn’t it?

So … just in case you’re getting fat again. I would like you to remember that moment when you looked into the mirror.

In short, don’t get fat because it takes a lot of effort to get where you are now. You feel and look a lot better, don’t you? Would you like to look like your old self again? Of course not! Keep on fighting! You’re a warrior!

Regards,
Whitebeltblogger


What else?

You can write a longer letter if you want, or a short one like this:

“Oh my! Look at you, you’re getting fat again … No. No. No. You gotta look good for [insert name of your crush here].”

You can write it on a notebook or index card, or store it in a file somewhere in your computer (or cellphone). Just be sure to read it regularly (every week or every month, depends on you).

To think of it, the concept of “writing to your future self” can also be used in other areas of your life. For instance, it can be also be applied to other habits, such as writing, areas of life like relationships, or even simple tasks such as finishing a book. Your imagination is your only limitation.

Summary:
Write a letter to motivate or inspire your future self; just in case you’re slipping into old habits again.

The Difference Between Getting Fit and Saving Money in the Bank

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Image from Flickr by Lummmy

If you like reading blogs and watching videos about fitness, you probably read or heard some fitness experts claiming that getting fit is like saving money in the bank.

Which is true . . . to a certain extent. How? Allow me to explain.

Using the bank analogy, they claim that going to the gym is like depositing money in the bank. The more you exercise, the fitter you get; likewise, the more you deposit money in the bank, the larger your savings get.

That analogy is somewhat accurate—until we take into account one aspect of fitness that is different from how a bank operates. What’s that difference?

Consistency. The only way to stay fit is to continually exercise a given amount of times every week. In my opinion, the bare minimum is once a week, although I find it unnatural.

That is, if you stop exercising regularly, you’re fitness level will decline. If you’re lifting weights for example, and it took more than a week before your next session; most of the time, you’ll find that your strength level went down—even if only slightly.

Compare that to a bank, wherein, even if you don’t deposit money for months, or even years, the amount of money you have there will still grow because of the interest.

To conclude, the key to staying fit is to exercise regularly. Don’t be complacent once you achieved your fitness goals. Even if you only plan to maintain your current fitness level—remember that to stay fit you got to deposit regularly in your special fitness bank.

Useful Tips to Make Your Workout Shorter

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Image from Flickr by Louish Pixel

You love working out because you know it’s good for you — whether your motivation is to be healthier, have more energy, or simply to look good with or without clothes — working out in the gym can make your life a lot better.

If you’re like me, you’ll spend an hour or so in the gym most of the time. There are days, though, when we have less time to spare — during those times you may tempted to just skip your workout session.

I have good news for you… By applying some, if not all, of the following tips, you can make your workouts shorter.

  1. Reduce your resting time between sets.This is what most people would naturally do when short on time. A possible drawback is that you won’t be able to do more reps on your succeeding sets. Don’t let that stop you from making your rest time shorter though.

    Remember: Your muscles will grow and become stronger when it is stressed — your body doesn’t actually count how many sets/reps you have done. As long as you challenged your muscles while performing an exercise, then it will grow.

  2. Make use of supersets.
    A superset means that you perform two exercises one after the other, only resting after the second exercise is done.Example 1:
    [3 sets]
    Dumbbell Bench Press [10 reps]
    Two-arm Dumbell Rows [10 reps]
    [Rest for 1 minute]

    Example 2:
    [2 sets]
    Leg Press [10 reps]
    Leg Curls [10 reps]
    [Rest for 30 seconds]

    You can pair any exercise in a superset, however, unless you’re focusing on pre-exhausting a certain body part, you would like to avoid pairing exercises that targets the same body part (e.g., dumbbell curls and barbell curls).

    Since applying supersets allow you work on a body part while the other one rests, you can make the rest period shorter or just totally skip it after you’ve done both exercises in your superset. It can be challenging, but I assure you it really saves time.

  3. Perform fewer exercises and/or sets.
    Fewer exercises means less time in the gym. This one really needs no explanation, but some people might get worried that they are somewhat compromising the results that they can get by doing fewer exercises.As in most things in life, there is always a workaround — you make the most of the exercises you’re doing by making them more intense. How? You might ask. By performing an exercise more slowly, thus, making them more intense.

    More slowly? But by doing that, aren’t we making our workouts longer in the process? Yes… But since you’re performing less exercises (and probably less sets), the amount of time used will still be less compared to when you perform more exercises in a given workout.

Those are some of the ways in which you can save time in your workouts in the gym. Regardless of the methods that you might use, remember that even a short workout is a lot better than no workout at all. (I remember workouts where I’ve done 9 sets only, it’s still get the job done.)

It’s your turn… Can you think of some more ways to make your workouts shorter?

Fitness Tip: Busy During Weekdays? Try This Workout Pattern Instead…

A lot of workout programs designed for ordinary people like us proposes a three times a week frequency for workouts, such as:

Monday — Wednesday — Friday
Or
Tuesday — Thursday — Saturday
Or
Wednesday — Friday — Sunday

If we would analyze the pattern — it suggests that we should workout 3 times a week and with a 1-2 day(s) rest in between workouts.

If you’re going to work during the weekdays just like me, you have to make time for those 2 or 3 workouts even during a busy day.

What if I told you that you can still train 3 times a week even if you have to only do one workout during the weekday? I guess you already kind of predicted the answer.

The days we could workout will look like this:

Wednesday — Saturday — Sunday

Sometimes I can substitute Tuesday or Thursday for Wednesday, just in case I’m not available to train on that day.

During Wednesday’s (or Tuesday’s/Thursday’s) workout, I can do a whole body workout, but sometimes I just perform an upper body workout.

When it comes to the weekend training days, I’ll perform a split. Which is either an upper body lower body split, but a pushing exercise/pulling exercise split is also possible.

The workout that I outlined above is a little bit unconventional, but it works for me. Will it work for you? My answer is … I’m not sure.

The reason is everybody is different. Some people especially those that are still beginning their fitness journey may find out that working out on two consecutive days tiring, but still it depends on other factors.

How will you know if it will work you? By trying it … That’s how I discovered what works and doesn’t work (for me) during my almost four years of training.

I hope you like my fitness tip. Good Luck on your fitness journey!

Fitness Tip: Be Prepared to Substitute One Exercise Over Another (Short Version)

If you’re to perform an exercise, but the equipment you’re suppose to use isn’t available, you can try using a substitute exercise.

For example, instead of:
Overhead Shoulder Press (barbell) [3 sets of 10 reps]

You can try:
Overhead Shoulder Press (dumbbells) [3 sets of 10 reps]

Also, you can perform the same exercise, but with a different rep range.

For example, instead of:
Lateral Raise (dumbbell) [3 sets of 15 reps] [20 pounds]

You can try:
Lateral Raise (dumbbell) [3 sets of 10 reps] [25 pounds]
Or
Lateral Raise (dumbbell) [3 sets of 20 reps] [15 pounds]

Fitness Tip: Be Prepared to Substitute One Exercise Over Another (Long Version)

If you have been going to the gym for quite a while now, you’ll notice that there are two categories of people — (A) those that don’t follow a workout routine, and (B) those that follow a prepared routine.

People who belong to (A) maybe novices who are just trying things out, or they may also be experienced gym goers who already know what they are doing, the reason they don’t need to follow any rigid plan anymore.

While the people who belong to category (B) has a routine either prescribed by a coach/personal trainer, a workout they created themselves, or stumbled upon the internet, etc.

Regardless of the source of their routine, I noticed that people in category (B) can be further divided into those that follow their routine “as is,” and those that who are flexible.

Flexible gym goers are the ones who substitutes one exercise over the other, just in case they cannot perform the prescribed exercise.

For example, an exercise in your routine is to perform overhead shoulder press using barbells, it just happens that there aren’t any free barbell bars in our gym because other people are currently using it.

What could you do in that situation? You can wait for the other guy or girl to finish using the equipment, or you can substitute another similar exercise like the overhead shoulder press, but using dumbbells instead.

The same principle can be applied if for example you are to use two 20 pound dumbbells to perform three sets of 15 repetitions, but someone else are using those dumbbells. Do you wait for him to finish?

You could try performing three sets of 10 repetitions using 25 pound dumbbells instead, or three sets of 20 repetitions using 15 pound dumbbells.

To sum it up, if you’re desired gym equipment isn’t available for some reason, you can substitute one similar exercise over another one. Also, you can try performing the same exercise, but with a different rep range.

Three Things Weight Training Taught Me About Life

I have been going to the gym for almost four years now. I tried cardio, stretching, and weight training.

If you’re gonna ask me on what among the three I found most beneficial to me, I would definitely answer weight training (what the hardcore dudes call bodybuilding).

The reason that I choose weight training over the three is because if done properly it can improve your cardiovascular health also, and contrary to what some people say, it won’t make you inflexible.

Aside from reaping its health and fitness benefits, it also taught me important lessons which I can apply in life like:

  1. Having a plan, even a simple one, is important. 

    In having a plan, I mean both short-term (e.g., What exercises will I do this workout?) or long-term (e.g., On what days of the week will I train?)Every January (New Year’s resolution month) and summer, I see a lot of new people in my gym. Others are lucky because they can pay for a personal trainer, while the rest are divided into two groups.

    Those who have a plan follows a workout routine, and those that don’t have a plan who simply jumps from machine to machine with no specific number of sets or reps in mind.

    Between those two groups, who do you think will make sustained progress? You’re right — those that have a plan.

    Same goes with other areas in life, have you ever heard of a building that was built by having a bunch of people do whatever they want? Nope, they made a plan beforehand, which is the blueprint for the building.

  2. Being persistent pays off. 

    If you want to build your fitness level over time, you got to be persistent, or else you’ll just revert back to your former self once you stopped exercising for a while.What I observed is that most self-help authors emphasize the quality of being persistent as one of the most important things a person could develop.

    If we are not persistent we would not reach the finish line (goals). Some even say that, “Success has no time limit.” While I believe that you can reach your goals if you just keep at it over time, there are singularities (an event that happens only once in a lifetime) that must be seized during the moment it is presented to us.

    And yet who knows, a better opportunity might be presented to us in the future if we just continually strive to achieve our goals.

  3. There are no quick fixes if you want effective results.
    In the desire to achieve results quickly, some people try things that have not been even proved to work, or sometimes even dangerous to their health. An interesting list of fad products/gimmicks can be found in Scooby’s Site.I learned that to get results in any area on life you got to work for it. Whether the work will be hard or easy (it will be when you’re using an effective strategy), it will be work nonetheless.

    As they say: “If something is too good to be true. It probably is.”

There you have it, the lessons I learned from my almost four years of weight training. While they may seem simplistic to you, or you have heard them a thousand times before, they are truths that most people agree upon.

There are times in life when we want something to be different than it really is, so we tend to ignore logic or even our own intuition. That’s the reason that we need to constantly remind ourselves of the truth, even if it is a hard pill to swallow.

The beauty of being realistic is that we won’t be wasting our time, when we focus on the strategies that really works.