Congratulations! We’ve made it through the first month of the new year and are one step closer to not only solidifying healthier habits, but also accomplishing new objectives. A few questions to ask yourself as we dive into the next month:
- Remembering from our recommendations from last month’s newsletter that success lies in developing a system, what system are you working on establishing?
- How have you been tracking progress?
- What has been working well?
- What have you found most challenging?
- If you were to make a small shift that would support what is working well and help alleviate what has been challenging, what would that be?
Before abandoning your objective(s), remember to look for your wins and build on those. As we shared last month from James Clear’s Atomic Habits, “Habits are the compound interest of self improvement. The same way that money multiples through compound interest, the effects of your daily habits multiply as you repeat them.” We also know that even the best laid plans often go awry, so give yourself permission to make an adjustment. The simple act of paying attention to this process is progress! Give yourself a pat on the back and carry on.
This month’s focus is exercise prescription, which refers to a specific plan of fitness-related activities that are recommended or prescribed to aid you in achieving your objectives. Like any prescription, variables like dose, frequency, time between doses, and duration are vitally important in determining how effective the prescription will be. There isn’t a magic pill or a one-size-fits-all prescription, so it’s important that you are involved in the process and that you understand the rationale behind the prescription to some degree. Engaging in the process boosts confidence and consistency.
In order to find the dose that is “just right” for you, effective exercise prescription should account for your reality in terms of stress capacity and your ability to recover, as well as your exercise preferences. It should provide a framework in which you can make a plan while still providing some flexibility to modify the prescription when needed. Below are general exercise guidelines outlining the frequency, duration, and intensity that comprise a comprehensive exercise program.
General Exercise Guidelines
- 6-7 days a week of low level activityExamples: walking, taking stairs to work, playing with kids, gardening, cleaning, etc.Frequency: everydayDuration: 10-60 minsIntensity: low
- 2-3 days a week of strength and/or power trainingExamples: ground based, multi-joint and large muscle group centric exercises which focus on full range of motion and connective tissue hypertrophy prior to adding load.Frequency: 2-3x a weekDuration: 30-60 minsIntensity: moderate-high
- 2-3 days a week of metabolic training (intervals)Short bursts of high intensity training with an increase in aerobic capacityFrequency: 2-3x a weekDuration: 5-20 minsIntensity: moderate-high
If time allows, additions can include (but are not limited to) activities like recreational sports, mobility/flexibility, yoga, and pilates.
Note that #1 is best done on its own and that #2 and #3 can be combined in a single, well structured workout depending on the individual and their goals.
Putting it Into Practice: Coach’s Tip from Angelo Dela Cruz
How do I incorporate unstructured exercise into my life?
While training in the gym, there are exercises that are important for me to work towards my current Olympic Weightlifting total target weight of 200 kilograms (440 lbs). However, about 60% or more of my weight training in the gym is unstructured in a sense that I like to workout with my friends and do the workout they have planned for the day which may or may not coincide with my own training objectives.
Outside of the gym, I love to hike or walk with my family and friends. My wife and I walk together 3 or 4 times a week and maybe a short hike on the weekends. Doing this with my wife, family, and friends has enriched the way I see and relate to the people I love the most.
I’m also fortunate that on Sundays, a fun-loving group of people and I get together for VitaMoves class to not only address imbalances in our bodies, but to also explore different ways of moving to stimulate the body and the mind. It’s a way we shake out the kinks in our bodies, but it also has also grown into a day that we know we’re going to have a good time and have a place where we can move freely and speak more freely and be ourselves without a worry.
I believe the key to more easily bring more unstructured exercise into one’s life (and even planned and structured exercise for that matter) is to start with choosing a bigger reason, intention, or meaning to movement than just to exercise because you were told it’s “good for you”. In the long run, by seeing exercise as a way to bring the more important things that matter most to you in life it becomes less of a chore, less of something you “have to do” and more of something you do automatically, like brushing your teeth or dancing around the house.
What are the most important intentions you have about exercise that light up your life?
Function: Be Part of the Planning, Talk with Your Trainer – Coach’s Tip from Myra Victa
While a coach can provide their expertise in exercise selection and overall programming/planning, it’s important to still maintain a consistent flow of communication with your coach so they can tailor your prescription to you. Your goals and preferences aren’t just important only at the beginning of your relationship with your coach, but also throughout the duration of your relationship – especially since our goals and preferences can change over time. There are plenty of exercise variations and modalities that can be taken into consideration if certain goals and/or movements don’t work for you for any reason.
Here are some examples of the ongoing check-in topics that I like to have with my clients, and I encourage you to talk about some of these with your coach as they come up:
- What movements or exercises you’d like to get better at (whether it be range of motion-, strength-, or stability-wise)
- What body parts or muscles you’d build or shape
- What exercises you do or do not enjoy doing
- What exercises you or movements you’d like to see more of
- How your goals have changed since you’ve started
Sightless Summits – Help Blind Veteran Lonnie Bedwell
Mr. Lonnie Bedwell is a blind military veteran who was in a hunting accident in 1997 in which he lost his eyesight, but not his vision to become an extreme sports athlete. Some of his adventures include kayaking the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, skiing, rock climbing, and summiting Kilimanjaro and Aconccagua in Argentina. He continues to inspire and encourage other disabled persons to live their lives to the fullest regardless of limitations.
Our mission is to help support Lonnie to reach the summit of Denali, the tallest and most remote mountain in North America in 2022 and Mt. Everest in 2023.
Donations are highly needed and greatly appreciated to help fund this enormous endeavor. The Blind Veterans Association (BVA) will receive 100% of all donated funds and will distribute them towards the Sightless Summit’s endeavors to help Lonnie as well as contribute to the BVA’s Operation Peer Support, a division that supports and funds other blind and disabled veterans. To donate to Lonnie and the BVA, please visit: