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Friday, January 14, 2011

Red Bandana: Resolutely Speaking: Fighting for Fitness in 2011

Read this week's column: Don't Let Age Cause You To Scream

Week One of 2011 is over. You have made your resolutions. You are more focused on conquering your goals than Sisyphus is on pushing his boulder up the hill. Some of you have decided that it is time to turn away from the chocolate cake and start exercising. You mean it. This is the year.

Come on. Let's get real. That cake is delicious, and, if you are out shape, working out is no fun. Eventually, you will eat a lot, sit around, and end up next year hundreds of pounds heavier than you are today. Maybe thousands. You will feel bad, which will lead you back to that yummy cake, a few flicks on cable in the sunniest part of summer, and, viola! You return to be being a junk food, couch potato, TV clicker addicted living room bum that you were in 2010. You give up. Resolution schmesolution!

That's one approach.

Another approach is to get back on the horse and trust the process. The process for most of us is simply this: avoid the cake, and work out more than before. The more you apply this, the better the results will be.

Understand completely that there is too much of a good thing. You need the right amount of calories, nutrients and water. As I am not a dietitian, I will not venture into how much of each constitutes enough. Let's just say your body will fight back if you try to cheat it from what it needs.

Similarly, too much working out is bad. Besides injuries coming from your muscles not being ready for a fast increase in miles (add no more than 10% miles each week), but life balance can become whacked. All run and no life can make Jacqueline a dull girl. At one very fit time of my life, I ran over 100 miles a week, biked another 300 miles, and otherwise only thought about running. If I were a professional athlete, this might be an appropriate way of living life. I was just an average local runner with no social life.

Back to the resolution thing.

Are you resolved? Are you digging your heels into the ground, ready to fight for fitness? Do you really want what you say you want?

Think about last year. Did you have a resolution to get fit? If you did, and you aren't, then what needs to change? Did you find yourself constantly in the position of being tempted to snack? Conveniently lazy with friends? Forget to schedule in exercise?

1) Can't resist the cake? Then eat something before you go to your Aunt Gertrude's for dinner. You might still munch a happy slice of this blessed dessert, but you might have the strength to say no for the second slice. Better yet, have a glass of water.

2) Need accountability? Tell people you are trying to get fit. You might others who acknowledge the same goal. Say, "I am hoping to lose 10 pounds by May 1 through eating more intelligently and running three times a week." Just watch if they offer you that triple fudge decadent brownie supreme.

3) Skipped a week by accident? Have you ever finished the week and realized how you did not work out once? Plan ahead. If you are running three times a week, pick those three days, choose a time, and a distance. If you are running outside, choose which route as well.

Do these sound obvious? They are. If 2010 did not deliver that fit bikini beach bod as hoped, getting back to basic strategies is necessary.

Running Playlist Song of the Week
"Keep Pushing" REO Speedwagon
You won't get intelligent Simon and Garfunkel-type lyrics, or a beautiful melody ala Paul McCartney. You will get a rockin' song which gets straight to the point. Turn this one up. It is cold out there. You are going to need all the help you can get.

Keep pushin, keep pushin, keep pushin, keep pushin on
Keep pushin, keep pushin, you know you have got to be so strong
Keep pushin, keep pushin, well even if you think your strength is gone
Keep pushin on

Freelance writer Anthony Trendl loves BBQs, folk music and porches. I look to running as I battle midlife and my mid-section. Contact me to send your favorite tips, songs, recipes. See
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The Red Bandana: Finding Fitness Through the Joy of Running

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