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The Outdoor Athlete Book by Courtenay and Doug Schurman



Train Today for
Tomorrow's Challenges

More Training Info > Motivation

Millennium Motivation

Excerpts from an interview with a Body Results outdoor conditioning coach

What keeps you motivated?

Training for a specific goal. If I don't have some challenge planned, I revert back to maintenance mode, which frankly doesn't seem to leave me feeling very satisfied or fulfilled for long. I need to constantly strive for the next adventure, peak, hike, or activity. Changing my focus also does wonders--in the past I've moved from roller blading, to tennis, skiing, running, rowing, biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, climbing, step aerobics, snowshoeing, powerlifting, swimming, mountaineering -- Jack of all trades, master of cross-training of all sorts. For me, it keeps exercise more fun, interesting, and varied. I also like the fact that by doing so many things, I can relate to nearly all the activities my personal training clients are involved in and know exactly what muscle groups they need to develop for their favorites, and how to more effectively train them. See Motivation Strategies for more tips.

What is the real scoop on diet and exercise?

This is THE million dollar question. The answer? MODERATION. Too many people are looking for short cuts. As a society we're too busy to plan balanced meals, too busy to schedule moderate exercise sessions, too busy to educate ourselves about the options. What's frustrating is there are SO many body types out there that NO single diet works for everyone. To that end, it's really up to the individual to find out what works best--perhaps enlisting the help of a nutritionist or registered dietician could be helpful. The skinny of it is:

  • NO food is a BAD food unless you eat too much of it. You are not BAD for eating certain foods; instead, try to remind yourself that you simply made a BAD CHOICE and get right back to your healthy eating program.
  • Choose from a wide variety of foods so you have a better chance of getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need naturally.
  • Try to combine complex carbohydrates with a little protein and fat at each feeding.
  • Shoot for 4-5 moderate-sized meals every 3 hours or so, rather than 2 or 3 huge meals which leave you hungry between meals and more likely to stuff yourself when you do get a chance to eat.
  • Give yourself a day each week when the program. This way you know you never have to say "NEVER AGAIN" and will be much more likely to stick with a program for your entire life
  • Try to get in some quality exercise 30-45 minutes a day, whether that's a jog, some bouldering, a spin class, balance training, or day of skiing. MOVE IT OR LOSE IT.

Any advice for those just starting back into an outdoor conditioning program?

  • Choose something compatible with your lifestyle. If you are extremely busy and join a climbing gym on the opposite side of town, you may be setting yourself up for failure. If your local gym only has spinning classes during times when you have to be in meetings, you will have a hard time succeeding. Think about the time you can realistically commit to exercise and make sure your support network of family and friends knows about your plan--you're more likely to stick with it.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate footwear (the last thing you want to do is start training for your half-marathon with shoes that haven't been worn in three years).
  • Ease into your exercise--injury and muscle soreness are unpleasant consequences of pushing your body too hard too fast, and will not only dampen your enthusiasm for your chosen activity, but also postpone your commitment to get back on your program. Remember that tendons and ligaments take longer to get used to given demands on the body; ease into a running program; give yourself plenty of rest if you've recently returned to the climbing gym.
  • Cross train so you work your entire body and stay in balance. Enlist the help of someone who is knowledgeable and can help assess your current fitness levels and suggest exercises and activities that will work best for your lifestyle, preferences, needs, activities and fitness goals.

Now that we're closing in on yet another new year, do you have suggestions for us on how to set realistic goals for ourselves?

  • Think SMART. Make your goals SPECIFIC. For example, instead of dreaming of "getting fit", you'll have a much greater chance of attaining a goal such as "toning my triceps and biceps so that I can have nice firm arms by July 4th family reunion."
  • Make your goals MEASURABLE. It's easier to know when you've reached the goal of "lose 5 pounds of body fat and gain 2 pounds of muscle mass" than it is to know when you "get stronger."
  • Make your goals ACTION-ORIENTED and ATTAINABLE. "To be more fit" is weak. "To do cardiovascular exercise of my choice for 3 times each week, 30 minutes a pop, and strength train twice a week for 20 minutes a session" will get you MOVING.
  • Make your goals REALISTIC. "Lose 30 pounds in a month" is not only unrealistic, it's unsafe and unhealthy. Remember that a safe rate of weight loss is MAXIMUM a pound a week, or else you are eating up lean muscle mass and slowing down your metabolism, initiating yo-yo dieting that you want desperately to avoid. "Lose 4 pounds this month and 3 next month" is much more practical, realistic, and palatable!
  • Make your goals TIME-STAMPED. "Start an exercise program" won't do as much for you as "Complete 5 workouts by Friday of next week."
  • Visit our Motivational Gems for inspiration for the day.


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