Forget about workout videos, the R-rated Shake Weights and other gadgets from the realm of late-night infomercials: The most important tool for getting fit in 2011 might just be in your hand right now.
The power of the pen can be the difference between actually achieving your New Year’s resolution and abandoning your good intentions.
David Ross, a trainer for the Strong Center in Olympia, encourages all of his clients to write down their goals and then keep a log of their progress.
The simple act of writing down your progress each day is a form of accountability that often translates into success as long as people are realistic about their goals, Ross said.
“You need to commit to measurable things,” Ross said. “Saying ‘I want to work out more’ is ambiguous. How many times each week are you going to work out?”
Perfection shouldn’t be a goal, Ross said. Trying to work out every day gives you no room for error.
“And once you come up a little short, it’s easy to start letting things slip more,” Ross said.
The most common goal Ross hears from his clients is, “I want to lose 20 pounds.” But Ross says goals that focus on the result are ill-conceived, too.
“They miss the point,” Ross said. “You need to set a measurable behavior-change goal.”
This is precisely what Matt Newport of Tacoma did in 2010 when he decided he wanted to drop 20 pounds. His goal: Bicycle 2,010 miles.
Newport, 30, didn’t just write down the goal; he set up a spreadsheet for tracking his progress and talked about it on his blog, tacomabikeranch.blogspot.com.
“Accounting for it every day is as important as getting out there and doing the fitness,” Newport said.
Newport knows this because he stopped logging his cycling mileage in 2009 and was surprised by the results. While he thought he was staying active, he wasn’t riding as often as he thought and his weight started to increase. In 2010, his daily log eliminated the possibility for such mistakes.
On Thanksgiving, he noticed he hadn’t been on his bike in eight days, his longest stretch of the year. The revelation inspired him to get back on track with a 20-mile ride.
The pursuit of his goal led to him entering charity bicycle rides such as the Courage Classic, leading rides for the Harmon Bike Club and biking rather than driving when running errands. He even shuttles his children around in what he calls a bucket bike – a bike with a large cargo container.
“It really helped the miles add up,” Newport said.
“It (the goal) keeps me focused.”
The goal also encouraged him to get out on inclement days when he might otherwise want to stay inside.
It was the goal that helped push him out the door on a blustery afternoon in September when he and some friends attempted to make the 100-mile roundtrip pedal from Tacoma to Centralia.
By the time he reached Spanaway, it was raining so hard they had to turn back, but he still got in a 40-mile workout he would have missed otherwise.
As 2010 wound down, Newport exceeded his goal and got the weight loss result he wanted.
As of Dec. 21, Newport had logged 2,504 miles (he reached his goal in September) and he was pleased with his fitness level.
“I have a positive self image,” Newport said.
“It’s why I’ll probably stick with it over time.”
So what about 2011?
“I think 2,011 miles is reasonable,” Newport said. “I think I’ve found the sweet spot.”
NEW CROSSFIT GYM
Lisa Bauer is hosting an open house from 1-3 p.m. today to unveil her new CrossFit gym in Lacey.
CrossFit Finish First, located at 2825 Marvin Road N.E., opened Dec. 27 and is offering classes every 30 minutes daily from 8:30-10 a.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. Bauer plans to add CrossFit for kids and more classes as she trains new coaches.
CrossFit is a rapid-fire, intense workout program that uses a wide variety of exercises. (See article in Dec. 26’s Soundlife.) “You’ll either love it or you’ll hate,” Bauer said. “There is no in between.”
Bauer, a former pharmaceutical rep, used to be an instructor at Lacey’s South Sound Barbell Club before it closed Dec. 1. She started teaching CrossFit classes out of her garage, but quickly outgrew the space.
Bauer says her gym’s name comes from her competitive nature. “I always like to finish first.”
Craig Hill: 253-597-8497 Craig.firstname.lastname@example.org Blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure