Turn Your Fitness Knowledge Into a Skill You Can Act On

If you’re having trouble getting started on your fitness goals, it’s often not because you’re incapable or don’t have the knowledge. It’s probably because you haven’t yet developed all the skills necessary to act. Here’s how to turn the knowledge you have into actionable skills.

Source: Turn Your Fitness Knowledge Into a Skill You Can Act On

There’s also such thing as “paralysis by analysis” – overthinking the situation.

Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

If you’re completely satisfied with your health, don’t read this article. This is not for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, and save yourself the scrolling. For the rest of you, approach what I’m about to say with an open mind, and maybe you can come out of this a fitter person.

Source: Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

This article really is about getting the conversation with yourself started.  It doesn’t talk about long term, re-evaluating periodically.  A plateau is a more obvious sign about re-evaluating – not too late, but can be.

I’ve made some changes in diet in the last six months or so.  Weight loss is part of the training agenda, while noticing that I should probably eat more protein.  But the changes also appeared in my INR tests – my levels having consistently been in the 3.5 range.  A bit of a concern – higher chance of bruising/internal bleeding.  My doctor started taking notice, test in two weeks rather than monthly.  So made another change, which I’m hoping suits all goals – natural food source, a bit more vitamin K intake to level off the INR, and cheaper than what my second breakfast was (besides healthier).

Fitness Is a Journey, and It Doesn’t Have to Suck

With every successful weight loss story, it’s hard to avoid getting hyper-focused on someone’s visual changes, or the number of pounds they lost. Unfortunately, focusing all your energy only on the end goal makes the process with health and fitness feel crappy—which makes you less likely to stay with it and find success.

Source: Fitness Is a Journey, and It Doesn’t Have to Suck

Getting fit is very hard, but people conflate the fact that it is simple (conceptually) with being easy. Eat better, move more! So easy! No, that’s simple. Executing this on a daily consistent and ultimately permanent basis is hard as hell to do if you’ve spent most of your life developing myriad bad habits.

It takes 2+ years to ensure long term weight loss.  It’s worth the effort – It’s been roughly quantified that being obese shortens your life by 8 years.

What to Look For in a Good Personal Trainer

There’s a notion that a good trainer is a like a field general: someone who will “whip you” into shape. But that’s not the case. If you hire the person who closest resembles a general, you may find yourself a casualty in the battle of the bulge. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a good trainer.

Source: What to Look For in a Good Personal Trainer

I recommend using a trainer to get you started, but always have the goal of being able to do your workouts without one. Gym trainers tend to be high turnover positions, so don’t expect yours to be there down the road.

Different things work for different people.

I haven’t been too happy with the swimming coaching I’ve received. My impression is that we’re given drills and seldom is there any oversight.  Which means no feedback.  And then I surprise the coaches when I’m able to swim faster than they’d believed.  For a while, the best thing for me was a person in my lane who was better than me – it gave me something to work towards, and it was to some extent attainable.  It’s why I don’t want to be first – I have lots to learn.

I’ve been largely left alone in cycling.  No one encourages my gear mashing, but it was more accepted when I could do it such that I was leading the group.  And still having gas for a sprint at the end.  But I’ve come to see that I can power through small hills – when I encounter real, drawn out hills I’m quite slow.  Every now and then there’s some twit who wants to espouse the high cadence philosophy – I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but it’s generally from people who only look at the cadence.  They aren’t what I consider a coach because they have tunnel vision about what’s going on.  They also tend to be people who rarely ride with me…

On a similar vein, I took guitar lessons for a while.  It was around the 6 month mark that I realized we were talking more than playing.  Recently, a co-worker showed me a USB device & software that teaches you to play.  It displays fingerings/tab similar to Guitar Hero, and runs you through tuning before a lesson.  I’ve seen some Youtube videos, but a video won’t tell you when you’re in tune or hitting a note cleanly.

Fitness Is a Skill, Not a Talent: Here’s How to Develop It

In the last decade, as a fitness coach and the co-founder of Fitocracy, I’ve been exposed to the stories and data of millions of people and countless successful transformations, including my own.

Despite these success stories, most people fail at fitness and obesity rates are increasing. Yet, if people understood the secret to fitness, success would eventually be inevitable.

…If you find your own transformation difficult to achieve, then you’re about to find out why and learn how to improve your fitness “skill.”

Source: Fitness Is a Skill

For me, I’d enjoyed cycling.  I showed up for a beginners ride in 2012.  I improved, but was never remotely fast.  In effort to get a little balance, I got back into yoga.  I lost weight, but eventually plateaued.  Then an incident that took me off the bike for weeks destroyed my fitness, and I really struggled to keep up with my old group.

Around the start of 2014, a co-worker talked about triathlon training.  Like most, I thought it was nuts until I looked it up to find that the Sprint (shortest course) run distance was 5 KM.  I never learnt swimming, but I was certain it couldn’t be worse than my distance running.  I was right…  But at 6 minutes per KM, it meant the worst of it would be over in ~30 minutes.  I came to find that lots were there for confronting water/swimming fear.  It’s been months, and some still are.  Some are fine with the pool, but weeds/open water makes them nervous.  Which is fine – these people can pass me on the run.  I don’t have to be the fastest swimmer either – because I can pass most on the bike.  But I would totally wear a cycling jersey with the following on the back “You’ll pass me on the run”.

I’m back cycling with my old group again.  I’ve been told by those who met me cycling in 2013 see a substantial improvement.  I know now that my issue is cardio.  I have the strength, and some nutrition knowledge from 2012 – but it’s moot if I can’t breathe.  Which means my cadence (rotation of the pedals) is below the “spinning” region (80-100 RPM).  I run at least three times a week with the belief that it maintains my cardio.  I don’t mind running, but over 10 KM?  I want a bike… 😉

I found a local run group that does track days.  I know from previous experience that track days on Thursday burnt me out for the weekend, and thankfully – these people meet on Tuesdays.  Another benefit is the group is likely larger so there’s more people at my level.  The group does hills on Thursdays, but I’m taking it a day at a time.  And this is off season…  Looking to the future, I’d like to see some improvement in my run times.  I don’t see the need to do Olympic distance triathlon until that happens, though it’s only the run that’s the limiting factor.

I’ve plateaued with my weight again.  That’s due partly to the cooking/eating better – I wasn’t as mindful of portioning.  It’s another work-in-progress.  But I am suffering less cramps & strains, and my INR levels have come up.  I was steady at mid 2’s, now in the 3’s even with eating avocado daily.  I’ll be checking my cholesterol and such at the end of the week, hoping to see the benefit of ~3 months on a better diet.

That’s where I’m coming from.  For 2015, I’m looking at doing more of the same – training, Sprint distance triathlon, cyclocross, off-season training with an eye towards improvement.  But I also plan to ride a century (100 miles, vs a metric century – 100 KM) once a month starting in April.  There’s a local Gran Fondo that’s longer than most that’s on my bucket list.

If you’re looking for something different, I recommend finding a group – running or triathlon.  Lots of people, and primarily women.  Best of luck finding out what works for you.  But if you’re on medication, consider a temp tattoo in case something bad happens.