Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Coach Picks: Reading for Motivation

As we venture further into the new year, many of the intentions we set on January 1st morph into something else. Traditionally, mid to late February attendance in the gym begins to slightly dwindle. The good news? 2013 is your year to turn over a new leaf!

The Coaches at Studiomix have come together to offer a modest collection of reads to keep you moving in the direction you set out for at the new year (or whenever you had the epiphany to bring about change).

But first…

Use this handful of truth sleuthing questions to help determine what your purpose is in health, fitness or exercise. Be as honest, objective and non-judgemental of yourself as you can- this is simply to help you identify what matters to you most. As the saying goes, “knowing is half the battle.” Get your pen ready:

Why are you exercising? Is it the act of actually doing it or the idea of what you get out of it that keeps you coming back for more?

What goals have you set for yourself? Was it to sweat every day? Are you working towards a PR (personal record) in distance or strength? Maybe you want to fit back into your prom dress. The point is, something spurred you to want to train because you wanted to accomplish something. Do you see yourself moving in the right direction or does your goal seem too far out of reach?

How do you track your progress? Whether it’s sets/reps/weight on a spreadsheet, a written journal or blog, in measurement taking or monthly photos, tracking your progress allows you to reflect. Is what you’re doing woking? Good, keep doing it. If not, it’s time to change things up.

Who are you accountable to? Well, yourself of course, but who else? Sometimes the best way to make sure you stay the course is to tell as many people about what you intend to do as possible. It’s highly likely that you’ll find others doing what you’re doing & nothing is better than having someone to encourage you and vice versa. You never know, you just might inspire someone to do what they haven’t had the courage to begin.

What do you get out of all this work? When you accomplish a certain goal, what will you do to celebrate (think non-self destructive rewards here). Develop a rewards system for yourself when you do what you have set out to do. As mini goals are met: go out for a movie on a weeknight, take that long weekend on the coast, or buy yourself something to make your workouts more fun (an iPod, shoes in wild colors, a new pair of Lululemon pants one size smaller :0). Having the right “tools” to workout can make all the difference. I’m not talking about dumbbells, medicine balls or treadmills, I mean the fun stuff.

Realize that your goals may change and your motivation to workout will fluctuate, and that’s alright. The important thing is to build a workout habit, much like feeding your fish, brushing your teeth and getting to work on time. Exercise may take some practice to incorporate into your day, but it’s worth it. YOU are worth it.

And now…

Here are some excellent reading recommendations from a few of the Studiomix Health Coaches. Many of these books can be found at your local independent bookstore. Check out Refinery29’s Bookmark It: The 8 Best Indie Bookstores in SF or do a google search for a mom & pop shop near you. Just in case, there are online links included.

Jet Noir suggests: Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Jet, inspired by challenge:

“When I was training for my first Marathon, I was given this book as a gift. Before deciding to do the event, I thought that running 26.2 was “crazy”. This book changed my definition of crazy and after reading it, I felt like human beings are capable of more, but only if we push ourselves.”

Kim Nicol suggests: The Brain that Changes Itself!

The wisdom Kim gained:

“Great read about neuroplasticity: how our brain actually changes depending on our thoughts and behaviors. It’s well-written, and there are some really interesting stories of personal challenge and triumph! You’ll come away with a whole new respect and awe for the brain.”

Brenda Hatley suggests: The Achievement Zone: An Eight-step Guide to Peak Performance

Brenda thinks she can. And she’s right:

“The Achievement Zone is great as a little workbook to look at what thoughts are holding you back and how to change those thoughts so they become tools instead of hindrances. I used it for competition and to get through those tough training sessions when I thought I didn’t have the juice or ability.”

Michael Espero suggests: Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware

Take it away, Michael:

“My biggest takeaway is that it’s important to manage your own attention to stay aware of your own biases and simply because, much like exercise, more work isn’t necessarily better and often diminishes the quality of your results.”

Vincent Som suggests: Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Exercises

Vincent tells it like it is:

“This is basically the bible for anyone looking to start getting stronger. Basic movements, mechanics, reasoning, it has it all. It’s used by countless athletic teams and athletes the world over, and it’s been translated into more languages than I can count.”

My suggestion: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

My ignited spark:

“Switch cleverly uses three elements: 1) the elephant 2) the rider and 3) the path to illustrate how the two hemispheres of the brain interact with the environment to help us build, reinforce or change behaviors. Whether you are looking for a way to change your own ways or influence a group, Switch offers a pragmatic approach to motivating the elephant (the emotional, touchy-feely right brain), guiding the rider (the outcome driven, analytical left brain), and shaping the path (tweaking your environment) to encourage success.”

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