Excuses are worthless! 5 ways to stay on task and stop making excuses!

Anyone who knows me realizes that I hate excuses! I really just have no tolerance for excuses. My kids always have excuses, especially my son. Now I realize he is only 9, but at some point he has to realize that just isn’t going to fly. He never seems to admit when he is wrong or that he didn’t do something to the best of his ability. There is just always an excuse with him. I get the same thing from some of my patients as well. What’s the reason that you couldn’t seem to find time to do your home program that I worked so hard setting forth for you? “Well, I had a long day and I couldn’t seem to find my exercises that you gave me.” Well, we all know that isn’t true because I use an exercise app that I have you download in the clinic so that you always have access to it. WRONG! Try again! Or the best is… “I had no idea I was supposed to do this stuff at home?” All typical answers that I deal with all the time. In general, I have a pretty good understanding from my patients but I still get the occasional excuse on why things just didn’t happen. I decided to put together a list a list of just 5 things that you can do to try and stay on task and stop making excuses. This goes for everything not just for physical therapy related home exercise programs.

Set goals, 1 month, 3 month, 1 year, 3 year etc…

I have always been a procrastinator! When I was in school I would wait until that last possible minute to get things done. I still procrastinate from time to time. Up until recently I never really set goals for myself. I would say I wanted to do something specific, but rarely accomplish it because I would never give myself a timeline to finish it. Try to set goals for yourself. They can be weekly, monthly or even yearly. If you have a fitness goal set a date and try to reach it that way. You would be surprised when you just set a date on something how much easier it is to make it.

Focus on one task at a time

Sometimes we get so ambitious that we have 4-5 things going on at once and we never put our full attention into one of them. If you have 2 or 3 goals that’s fine, but try to stick to one at a time and it will make your life a lot easier.

If you have questions find someone that can answer them, ex. A mentor

Chances are you are going to have questions at some point. We drive ourselves crazy trying to find the answers! My suggestion is to ask someone that has been there before. Find a mentor that can guide you through the process. If it’s a fitness journey, find a physical therapist, Crossfit coach, nutritionist or personal trainer. If it’s something career related find a mentor that will show you the ropes.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Things are going to happen and they are going to make you upset. Failure will happen, but count this as a learning experience and move on. Try to become stronger from it and use that as fuel to take you to the next level.

Just say F$#@ it and go for it!

At this point you just have to stop bullshitting yourself and go for it! Stop the excuses already and just say “F” it! Like I said above failure will happen at some point, but so what. This should just drive you to want to do more. Be better and prove to yourself that you are not just full of excuses!


Don’t be afraid to try new things

It’s easy to be the one to shy away from something new. Sure, when something is unfamiliar it can be intimidating and make you want to just say no. I used to be like that. If something made me uncomfortable I would just not do it. Until I realized that in order to experience things throughout life you have to try them. You can’t just do the same thing over and over again. I get so many patients in my clinic that have never picked up a weight in their life and it can be very intimidating to them. Especially when they are in the gym area and have to perform an exercise in front of people.

I try to make it to the gym at least 4 days a week. I enjoy working out because it relieves my stresses from the day. I also like the way it makes me feel after I’m done. But lately it’s been getting kind of boring. I found myself in that rut of doing the same sorts of exercises for different body parts. It can make you feel bored and unsatisfied. This is when I would tell someone to try something new. So I decided to take my own advice.

This past weekend I went to a continuing education course for work. The course was about ways to assess and treat the fitness athlete. The fitness athlete is also known as an athlete that does “Crossfit”. But the things learned in this course can be broken down to be used with just about any patient or even the highest of fitness athletes. I’ve always wanted to do Crossfit, but I always felt a little intimidated by it. So this course fit right in to my plan because here I could learn about it, how to do things properly to assess someone and use this to help program patients to get stronger.

The course was held at Recharge Ho-Co Crossfit in Elliot City, MD. What a fantastic facility. It made me wish I lived closer to this place. Institute of Clinical Excellence is the company that put on the course and I can’t say enough about it. From the time I walked in to the time I left I felt inspired. The energy from the instructors Ryan Smith and Mitch Babcock was infectious. Ryan is part owner of Recharge and Mitch runs his business out of a Crossfit box he trains at in Michigan. Both were so knowledgeable and had an amazing ability to break down each movement so that it was easily understandable. And the best part about it, they are both Physical Therapists! I knew it was going to be a great weekend.

By the middle of the first day I felt more comfortable with different Olympic lifts that in the past I just did because I was told to do them. I was never properly instructed on every detail of form like I was this past weekend. And if there was a break down in form what was I going to do in order to fix it. At the end of day one we all participated in a workout. I was excited and a bit hesitant like most people are when they try something new. But I didn’t need to convince myself because I knew this is what I wanted to experience. At the beginning I was thinking I can get used to this. By the middle of the workout I was thinking when the F$@% is this going to end? And by the end I was thinking thank god! I was excited about a few things. First, that the workout was finally over! Second, I was proud of myself for trying something new. And third, I can’t wait to do another one! It was just so much different than any other workout I had done. And it encompassed every part of my body. This is how it started. We did a dynamic warmup for about 5-10 minutes that consisted of bear crawl/squatting lunges, walk out to push up and walk up into a pike position, sideways squat lunges, high knees, butt kicks and maybe something else I’m drawing a blank. After that we set up the bars with 55 lb for women and 75 lb for men total including the bar. Now, this may not seem like much, but when you have to do as many thrusters as you can it kills your lungs and your body. We had a partner an one started on the rower and the other had to do thrusters. You had to row 250 meters while your partner did as many thrusters as they could until you reached that distance. Then you switched and did the same thing for them. On and off for 10 minutes. That was the longest 10 minutes EVER! But, when I was done I felt awesome! Well, not right away, but about 10 minutes later it was great!

Day 2 consisted of more technique on pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, clean and snatches. All great exercises that involve the entire body if done correctly. Each movement was broken down and encouraged to do to practice correctly. If there was a breakdown things were incorporated into the movement in order to cue the athlete to do it correctly. If things were still not clicking, then another activity was done to break down the movement. This was key to understand what exactly was hindering the movement and what can be done to fix it. There was no day 2 workout, but I did enough snatches and cleans to last me for a while. I know because for the next 2 days I felt it everywhere! What a great feeling too!

I left that day inspired! Not only to be able to take back the knowledge to my clinic and incorporate it with my patients. But this course opened up my eyes to an entire new way to look at things! It made me want to be able to master what I learned and use that to drive my treatments. I would have never learned any of this if I hadn’t tried something new. This is what I always encourage my patients to do in order to challenge themselves. You never know what you might learn.

Thank you again Ryan Smith and Mitch Babcock for being great instructors and coaches! You have both inspired me to be more. Not only with my workouts, but with my patients! And in my opinion, when you can do that for someone you are on the track to greatness! Thank you Recharge Ho-Co Crossfit for hosting the class you have an awesome facility! And finally Institute of Clinical Excellence, you have some great content and instructors! From what I hear all courses you put on are class act!

Things aren’t always impossible!

This past week was one of the best youth baseball experiences I have ever been a part of. Our 9 year old little league team went to the state playoff tournament. If you would have asked any one of us coaches at the beginning of the season how we expected to do I think we would have all said we probably wouldn’t make it past districts. Our team is made up of all 9 year olds and this was a 10 year old tournament. In youth baseball 1 year makes a huge difference. Some of these kids are a whole head taller and have at least 50-70 pounds on some of our kids. Our 10 year old team decided they did not want to be a part of this so we decided why not? If we go and get crushed at least they get the experience.

Districts were against a bigger North Allegheny team. It was a best of 3 series so we knew we would play at least 2 games. The first game was at our field. We came out and competed very well and won the game 9-2. We looked at each other and said we have a shot at this. 2 days later we won districts 16-15. That game was a lot closer but we battled back and won with a walk off hit! Now it seemed like we really had a shot!

A week or so later sectional playoffs started. This was a 4 team double elimination tournament. The first game was also against a much bigger team from Sharon, PA. This game was a very close game back and forth all game. Again, we ended it with a walk off win! It just kept getting more real! The goals we had set forth seemed attainable. Our second game was the next night against Carmichaels. We were down 4-0 after the first 2 innings, but that didn’t stop our boys! They came out on fire the next inning and continued that throughout the game. We ended up winning the game 7-4! It was awesome! We were in the winners bracket and had to be beaten twice now. 2 days later our boys didn’t disappoint. At this point we all believed we were going to win. We won 12-5 and won the PA section 2 championship! On to Morrisville, PA!

The experience all week in Morrisville, PA was awesome! Not only for us coaches but the kids had an absolute blast! From the banquet opening night, to opening ceremonies and the first game it was great. At this point the boys did feel some pressure and it was obvious from the first inning. We gave up 6 runs in the first inning and had to play catchup all game. We ended up losing 12-5 a very disappointing opening game and now we were in the losers bracket. We came back the next day ready to fight until the end and that is what these boys did. Coming back from being down 10-3 scoring 7 runs in one inning to tie the game. We just couldn’t hold them off for long. We ended up losing our second and last game and our run was over. It was sad to see these kids work so hard to come up short, but I was so proud of what they accomplished!

This entire season was very special and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it. Seeing how hard these boys worked to get where they did was awesome! They committed to a goal and they went for it without ever questioning themselves! They were never intimidated by any team that they faced and never let the spotlight get the best of them. I am so very proud of this team for never giving up.

When you have a goal that you want to attain ,whether it’s physical therapy related or not, you need to realize that things are not always impossible. It’s easy to look at something and say there is absolutely no way I can do that. It’s also very easy to not even try. We could have easily said lets just wait until next year and just enter in another tournament. But we decided to believe in our boys and just go for it and try. I am so glad that we did because they will never forget this, and neither will I!

When things get tough will you quit?

As most of you know that read my posts my son plays travel baseball and I’m a coach on the team. Lately it has taken over my life, and I’m okay with that because I enjoy it so much! But I keep finding different reasons to talk about it because these kids show me something different each week. As with all 9 year olds there is an up and down attitude about them each day, week and month. One day they look like super stars out there and nothing can stop them. The next day they look like they are back in T-ball again. This past weekend was one of those weekends where you wondered how they would respond after the events that took place.

We played in a tournament called the Battle of the Boarder in Youngstown Ohio. Leading up to the weekend we knew that competition was going to be very good. 2 teams in particular were going to be there. Beaver Valley Red and West Hills. The last time we played West hills they beat up on us pretty badly. By about 13 runs to be exact! It wasn’t pretty, but our kids had bounced back in the next tournament they played in to take 2nd place. We were in a different bracket then either team and were set to face 2 teams we had never played. The day before the tournament started one dropped out and our schedule changed. Now we were scheduled to play Beaver Valley. I was excited to see how our kids matched up against them since we had never played them before. Once the kids heard that was who they were playing that’s all they talked about. They obsessed about it actually! And it was not in a good way. The game started and we walked the first batter, not a good start! Nerves were probably going crazy for most, but we managed to get 2 outs and the score was only 1-0. Then all hell broke loose! We committed 6 errors giving up 12 runs in the first inning! After the first inning it was 12-0! How does this happen? Little things like catching the ball before trying to throw it. Balls going through their legs, and coming in on fly balls instead of stepping back first. All things our kids do very well most of the time. Their nerves got the best of them. Needless to say the game ended in 4 innings after losing 18-1. We lost the second game 12-6 against another team we had never played mostly due to mistakes and kids just not being in the game. It was tough to watch and hard to talk to the boys afterwards. Sunday would tell us what type of team we have and how they respond.

The next morning the kids warmed up and you could tell they were more lively and upbeat. They started out strong and lead most of the game until the bottom of the 5th giving up 2 runs to be down 5-4. The kids battled that last inning but couldn’t find a way to get another run. We lost that game, but showed great resilience and determination to come back after getting the crap beat out of us the day before. It was great to see how our boys responded.

I wanted to share this with you all because there are always going to be times in life and in physical therapy that you are going to want to quit. Things are just going to get too hard for you and giving up seems to be the easiest thing to do. I know because I have felt like quitting before. My first 2 weeks of PT school I almost quit! I felt that it was going to be too hard and too much for me to handle. I was sick of school at that point and now I was going to have to go for an additional 3 years! I went home that weekend and thought about it a lot. I kept telling myself I could go and get a job for a little while and figure it out. Then I realized that I committed to doing this and this was what I felt passionate about. I’m so glad that I decided to continue my journey. Just know that it’s normal to want to just give up when things are tough and not going your way. It’s the way you respond and show resilience that makes all the difference.

Putting in the work and staying consistent always pays off!

I am one of the coaches of my son’s travel baseball team. My son is almost 9 and it’s his first full year of kid pitch travel baseball. He has played with most of the kids on his team since he was 4. They all started out on a rec team together. Year to year you can see the improvement. Constant practice and playing for most of the year is our life right now. It’s so much different than when I was a kid. I played a lot of baseball, but only from April till August. These kids started in November and will play until the end of summer. Constant practice and games keep these kids consistent. They stay focused by doing things on a regular basis and it shows. Most of the things that we succeed at in life are done on a regular basis. We make a habit of them and they become a constant.

This past weekend we had another tournament for baseball. We played very well in pool play to earn the second seed to start the playoff/championship round. Sunday afternoon we were set to play the same team we beat the day before 5-4. It was a close game, but we played flat that game. The kids seemed pretty upbeat at the beginning of this game, but it didn’t start out the way we wanted it to. My son started the game pitching and was a little off with his location. He ended up giving up a 2 run home run in the 1st inning. Luckily we got out of it without going down by any more runs. He was down, but his teammates encouraged him as well as all of the coaches after getting out of the inning. The kids were off and losing most of the game. We entered the second to last inning down 7-3. The kids battled this inning getting timely hits and staying disciplined at the plate scoring 4 runs to tie it up! We would have scored 1 more if it wasn’t for me running my son into an out at third after a nice 2 run double. The last inning comes and the other team scored 2 runs to make it 9-7. Things just were not going our way. The rain came off and on and it was just a miserable feeling. The kids did not seem defeated though. They have been in this situation before! This is what they practice for each and every week. We ended up with bases loaded and 2 outs, a situation every athlete wants to be in! As a kid we always played and yelled out 2 outs bottom of the 9th bases loaded down by 1!. So who steps up to the plate? My son steps into the box ready and focused. First pitch is thrown and he swings out of his shoes! He was pumped up for this! I yell down from 3rd where I was coaching and tell him to relax, because a hit scores two! Next pitch comes and boom! He smokes this ball high in the air towards left center field. I knew it was gonna at least score two right? Then it keeps going and going and I yell “GET OUT OF HERE!” And the ball sailed over the fence! You would have thought I hit the ball because I was jumping up and down like a little kid screaming! As my son rounded 3rd he had the biggest smile on his face and it’s a moment I will never forget and cherish forever! I’m getting chills right now just typing this! The kids went crazy and it was just a great moment to be a part of! They won the game!

These kids never cease to amaze me! They showed me something that day that will always stick with me. Putting in the work and staying consistent will always pay off in the end. They never gave up on each other and they never quit. Even when my son gave up a home run in the first inning he kept his composure and stayed focused. Every single one of them contributed to that great victory!

I always like to bring things back to a situation related to physical therapy or situations in life in general. If we stay consistent with anything in life we are going to make our situation better. If we practice at something or make a habit of doing something on the regular it’s proven that you have a better chance of success. If you are trying to be more healthy then make a commitment to stick with a new way of eating and doing some sort of physical activity weekly. Do these things at the same time and same day to make a habit and stay consistent. When you make an appointment to come to physical therapy stick to it and commit to the full length of treatment sessions. Do your program at home and stay consistent. It’s proven to work because I saw it first hand this past weekend.

Having trouble staying motivated? Try these tips to stay on track!

It can be very hard to stay motivated about things, whether you are in the middle of a fitness program, trying to lose weight or even trying to keep up with your exercise program at Physical Therapy. It’s hard to stay at a consistent pace because things tend to get harder each day and week. We all start off the same with anything new. We are very excited to see the results of hard work. Then we hit a wall and we plateau. We lose interest very easily and start to go off course. Then the excuses come: “I just got so busy and I couldn’t find time.” “After 3-4 weeks it just wasn’t working for me.” “My body is just meant to be in the position that it is I; it runs in my family.” Do any of these sound familiar? They do to me and I have found myself saying one of these a time or two. Being a Physical Therapist I deal with excuses like this all of the time from patients. I wanted to put a little list together of ways to stay motivated. I myself use some of these to stay on task.

Write down weekly and monthly goals:

Writing down your goals makes it that more real. It makes you accountable for what you say you want to do. If you hang them somewhere you will see them each day. It will make you more aware and want to accomplish them.

Surround yourself with like minded people:

Surrounding yourself with people that have the same vision as you can be the difference between a win or a lose. When you surround yourself with these kind of people your mindset shifts. This also holds you accountable to what you have set forth. If you are always around “Debbie Downers”, then you are going to be more apt to act like them.

Be patient:

You have to be patient. Things take time, especially if it’s something new. Everyone that starts a new exercise program or tries to lose weight wants results yesterday. Nothing in life works that way. You have to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize. Remember steady and slow wins the race.

Reach out to others for support:

This also goes back to surrounding yourself with like minded individuals. It helps to have support of others that are going through what you are. I always encourage my patients to talk to each other about what they are coming to PT for. Tell them your story, and what you have done to try and convince yourself you are getting better. Having others to bounce things off of can help keep you focused and motivated to continue.

Read and listen to personal development:

This is a big one, especially for me!! I have never read more personal development books than I have in the last 6-8 months. It helps me stay grounded. It shifts your mindset from “it can’t be done” to “let’s do this!” Personal development in my opinion should be something that everyone should work on. It gives you a sense of direction, greater resilience, improved focus and of course motivation to want to succeed.

Give yourself breaks:

There are going to be times when you want to give up and you feel overwhelmed. Burn out can happen, so you have to give yourself breaks. Take a day or two to refocus on what you originally started for. Rethink your goals and what you eventually want to do. Go out with your spouse, significant other or friend. We all need breaks from time to time.

Make sure to reward yourself:

You have to reward yourself every now and then. If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle you need to be able to splurge on a meal you normally wouldn’t eat. If you are working towards a particular fitness goal you should reward yourself with something that makes you feel good. When my patients accomplish something or are doing well I always tell them reward yourself today you did great! When you reward yourself it helps remind you why you are doing this in the first place.

Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best circumstances. It’s not magic and it is not something you can just drink out of a bottle, but it is something that you can tap into when you feel like giving up. The next time you feel like you are losing motivation try these simple steps to keep yourself on track.
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Stress got you crazy? Try these tips to help

We all have stress in our lives and we would be lying to ourselves if we said we didn’t. With all that goes on during your daily routine it’s hard to stay away from stress. Our jobs, responsibilities, parents, kids and families can all throw us through a whirlwind and then the stress begins. You start asking yourself questions like: How am I going to get this project done by the deadline? How am I going to get the kids dinner, their homework done and get them to both of their games at separate fields? How am I going to check on mom, get to my meeting and try to spend time with my family? All of these questions would cause stress. I deal with things like this all the time. I stress about getting out of work on time just so I can get a workout in and get home in time for the kids to get off the bus. I stress about how I am going to fit patients in when I only have limited space at my clinic. I stress about when I get slow at work and what I can do to get better. I decided to put together a small list of things that you can do to try and decrease your stress levels. I do some of them on a regular basis to try and keep myself grounded.

Exercise: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. As we exercise we release endorphines, which are the bodies natural pain medication hormones. When they are released it makes us feel better, improves our mood and increases our pleasure. This, in turn is what causes us to feel so good after a workout.

Socialize: When we are stressed sometimes we just want to be alone, but socializing with people can help as well. Talking to someone and venting is sometimes all we need. It’s also good to talk about other things to try and get your mind off of your current situation.

Read: Reading is one of the best ways to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds. Research has found that this is one of the best ways on top of walking, listening to music or having a cup of tea.

Meditate: Sometimes you just need to go to that other place that makes you happy. Meditation is a skill, but when done properly can take you into a whole new world of being happy.

Breathe deeply: Deep breathing exercises are always good to try and relax yourself. Have you ever seen the movie the Karate Kid? Mr. Miyagi had Daniel doing this to stay focused and not lose his cool. This actually does work and if you do it often enough it will become a habit. If combined with meditation it is very powerful.

Listen to music: Listening to your favorite music always takes your mind off of things. There is something about that beat! Or when your favorite jam comes on you just want to rock out! Don’t lie, you were just rocking out in your car the other day and got caught singing at a red light. I did! Seriously, I was at a red light just belting out some Kenny Chesney and I looked over and the lady was just laughing. It was cool because I probably made her day!

Mow the lawn: This is one of my favorite things to do when I am stressed! I love to mow the lawn! Anyone that knows me will tell you the same thing. I put my headphones on and drive. I like to make perfect stripes in different directions each week. It’s kind of like a picture that I am making. It makes me feel good when I’m done and look at how nice it looks.

Drink a beer or two: Now I’m not saying go get smashed, but drinking a beer or two can take your mind off things as well as help you relax. It also brings in the social aspect and helps you let loose from time to time. This is not recommended to do a lot, but every now and then you just need to enjoy yourself.

So, the next time you are feeling that stress start to build up try a few of these tips. I guarantee one will work for you. Enjoy, and as always don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Things I’ve learned from a man I never met

Actions speak louder than words! This is a statement that I have heard all of my life. I have even said it to people myself. When I was younger I really didn’t grasp the concept behind it. I mean, I would hear my parents tell me that, or a teacher tell me that, but I never fully understood what it meant. Your actions are so powerful! What you do on a day to day basis defines you as a person. How you do something, when you do it and if you come through with it makes all the difference. What good is it to sit and talk about all of the things you want to do in life but never actually do them? You can have all the goals in the world, but if you never strive to accomplish any of them where does that leave you? When I was younger I would always hear grown ups say, “If I knew then what I know now boy would I be better off!” Or, “ I wish I would have…” You get the picture right? Actions speak louder than words! Say that to yourself over and over until you truly understand it.

I go to the gym 4 days a week and I see a plethora of different people there. Some people come with their husband or wife. Some are friends that get together, some are by themselves. I even see people that come in just to use the tanning beds. I will see the usual suspects because I am very regimented and I go at the same time practically every day. Sometimes I will see different faces. Some people are just there to socialize and others are all business. For the past year I have seen this guy that caught my attention. I see him almost every time I am there. Every time I see him he is working! I would say that he probably works harder than anyone I see at the gym. It’s not because he wants to…he has to! The man that I am referring to has a neurological condition. I’m not exactly sure what, but it seems as though he was born with this disorder or he had some sort of traumatic injury. I have seen when he gets dropped off in the front of the gym. It takes him at least 5 minutes to get from the car to the front door…and it’s only 10’ away! I have watched what he does over the past year of seeing him enter the building. He first walks from the front of the gym to the back which I would guess to be 100-125’. It can take him 16 minutes! I know because that is how long it takes me to run 2 miles on the treadmill. It takes him that long to walk 125 feet, but he does it every single time! He will find a bench to sit on and start doing leg exercises on his own. Exercises similar to what I would give to my patients. I watch him walk from machine to machine struggling at times because of fatigue. He gets frustrated, but he does it. And if he has to use the restroom forget it! There goes at least another 20-25 minutes round trip! This man has to deal with this on a day to day basis and he is killing it!

Actions speak so much louder than words can! Seeing this man on a daily basis focused, fighting and striving to make himself the healthiest version of himself is so inspiring! He is someone we should all think of when we decide we want to make an excuse not to do something. Do you think he wants to go to the gym every day? Do you think he enjoys the fact that it takes him quadruple the time to do something as it does someone else? I am not trying to speak for him, but I sure as hell wouldn’t enjoy that!  

The next time you are having a bad day and just want to give up I want you to think about this post and this man. I know that every time I want to skip out on the gym I think of this guy! I know he will be there no matter how he feels. I’m sure if he doesn’t go he will pay for it. This is what helps him get through his day. This is what keeps him going and makes him functional. His actions speak loud! I know because they have impacted me, and I have never even met him!

Plan on starting a new fitness program this year? Here are some tips to pick the right one and stay on track.

It’s a new year and now you feel it’s finally time to get your butt in gear and work on shedding that unwanted poundage from the holidays. The entire holiday season you said to yourself: I will start that program on the first of the year. I can eat a few extra cookies I am starting next month. Well, now it’s next month and you don’t know where to start. You see friends and colleagues on Facebook checking in at crossfit, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, the YMCA or deciding to let Shawn T torture them doing Insanity Max 30. All these programs and fitness centers can be confusing and intimidating, especially if you are new to this type of activity. I am hear to tell you that you are not alone. I deal with patients on a daily basis that are afraid to do simple exercises in a room by themselves, let alone at a gym. It’s normal to feel this way. It’s also normal to feel like a slob from not controlling yourself over the Christmas break. Trust me I have been there and it is not a good feeling. I wanted to put together a small list of ways to pick a program that you are comfortable with to start your fitness journey.

What is your fitness level?

This is a very important question to answer. Most that are starting a new program for their New Years resolution are novice. This will drive you to what type of program you want to get into. If you are a beginner, you are going to want to start off with some low impact exercises as well as some light cardio. You don’t want to get into something like Insanity Max 30 or Crossfit right out of the gait. If it starts out too difficultly, the chances of continuing the program are very slim. If you start out with something that you can get small wins quickly, you are more likely to continue.

Have you ever purchased or participated in a program before? Why did you stop?

If you have participated in a program in the past, whether it was a DVD, Crossfit, your own workout at the gym, spin class whatever. How did it go? Was it too difficult? Did you finish it? If not why did you quit? All these answers to these questions will drive you to decide if you want to try and follow a program similar to others in the past. If you have done something in the past and you enjoyed it I would recommend to do that again to build up momentum.

How would you characterize your eating habits?

A lot of people feel that they need to workout 7 days a week to keep their ideal weight. Well, I have news for you…THAT IS TOTAL BS! If you are using working out as your primary way to lose weight you will lose your mind! Eating well, and eating clean is a big portion in weight loss and control. Have you ever heard the expression you are what you eat? That statement could not be more true! If you are stuffing your face with food heavy in sugar, carbs and processed garbage you are never going to win the weight loss battle. You can work out until you are blue in the face, but if you do not change your eating habits you will lose.

Do you have a specific goals?

This is another important question. What are your specific goals? Is it weight loss? Is it to get stronger? Is it to get those abs that you always wanted? The sooner you create your goals the easier it will be to choose a program suited for you. Again if it is weight loss, changing your eating habits is so much more important than trying to get to the gym 6-7 days a week.

Do you currently have any medical conditions that would prevent you from doing specific activities?

Do you have back pain? Do you have issues with other body parts? Are you a diabetic? Do you have problems breathing or issues with balance? I would recommend that if you have any of these issues to contact your Physical Therapist to first get evaluated to see if you would benefit from starting a new program. This way you are being seen by an expert in musculoskeletal problems while you are starting this program. Then you can be transitioned right into a program designed by your Physical Therapist. It’s also always a good idea to check with your Primary Care Physician to make sure you are ready to start something new.

Change things up so that you do not get bored.

Once you find and figure out what is best for you don’t continue to do the same thing over and over again. Change up your workout routine. Make if fun. Make it challenging sometimes and easy other times. I try to change up what I am doing every 3-4 weeks. Sometimes I just go for a run. Sometimes I just do strength training. And sometimes I do both. I might get bored and decide to do a Shaun T workout with my wife…and it sucks! But afterwards it feels great! Maybe to a palates or spin class with a friend. Maybe go for a brisk walk or run. Remember something is better than nothing at all. And my best advice to you all while on this journey is find a PT…and by that I mean a Physical Therapist!

Stay focused and don’t be afraid to fail this year!

With the new year approaching, how many of you have heard the following? “New year. New me!” “ This year is going to be different!” “ I can’t wait for this year to be over. It’s been a long one!” How many of you reading this have said something similar? I know that I have said things like this in the past as well. This year I made no resolutions. I have not committed to doing something. You will not scroll through Facebook feeds and see my status as “New Year. New Me, Baby!!!” The reason is because I have already been trying to implement things that I wanted to do for the past 6-8 months. My job is to continue to do this and stay focused.

You have had a bad few months and need to get back on track. I am totally for that and setting goals to focus your energy on. Whether it is a fitness goal, a health goal, a career goal or even a relationship goal, we all need them. This helps us stay grounded and focused on something instead of wandering aimlessly and not knowing what to do next. We all have things we want to accomplish. My question is why do we wait until the end of the year to try and set goals for ourselves? We set a few goals that we want to do and we start the year off strong. Then something interrupts our focus and we get off track. Such is life, right? Then what happens? We come up with an excuse on why we can’t do something and it spirals out of control.

So how do we stay focused so that we can reach our goals? Set goals high for yourself! Set a goal that you feel might be impossible! But don’t be afraid to fail. I’m not saying it’s okay to be lazy and not give 100%. I’m saying that as long as you are giving your best effort , but don’t quite meet that goal you need to be okay with that. Then refocus and go at it again. You need to start out with a few goals. This will make it easier to focus. That way you are not trying to do too much at once. If you meet a goal, make another one. Goals should be set throughout the year, especially if you meet one quicker than you expected to. If you set goals throughout the year consistently, you will always have something to strive for. With this method, you are not waiting until the end of the year to set new goals.

Whatever it is that you are striving to achieve, remember that it is okay to fail! Most of the time, this is the #1 reason we choose not to try something. It is also the reason we come up with excuses. All successful people have failed at something. It is life experiences that make you a better person. Don’t be afraid to set big goals because you feel you might not reach them. The sooner you get past that the better off you will be!