All right, here's a familiar scene: You get up in the morning for your normal routine (walk the dog, feed the cat, wake up the kids, rush out of the door for work), but instead of things going “business as usual” you suddenly look at yourself in the mirror and think, “Who is that?”
In my experience with clients over the years, that scene is usually followed up with a moment of depression and then later a moment of strength (i.e. “I don't like this and I'm gonna change it”). One thing I always tell my clients is that a scene like that is practically a rite of passage. I've seen it happen to men and women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. There's no rule that a moment of truth has to happen to someone at a certain age. It happens when it happens and sometimes once or more a decade.
The hardest part is accepting that moment for what it is. The next hardest part is knowing where to begin to change your life. Whether it's just unhappiness with yourself, or unhappiness combined with a medical situation, like a stroke, diabetes, or hypertension, the first thing to do is move. Keep it simple.
Going from not exercising at all and barely moving to immediately becoming an exercise fiend isn't realistic. At best it may be short lived, and at worst you could hurt yourself. Start walking a little a few days a week. Walk around the block, and after a week, walk around it twice. Walk with a relative or a friend. As your body conditions you will walk longer distances and longer times.
Now if your goals are more to reshape your body, getting assistance from a personal trainer is the best answer. Always make sure you've researched your trainer and seen some of his or her work with others and what their clients have to say about their time with him or her. Throughout my career, I've always said a trainer needs to be knowledgeable, experienced, objective, invested in their clients, and trustworthy. You should be able to confide in your trainer the same way you would a confidante, a priest, or a pastor. There are very few things more personal than your body and health and your hopes and fears about it.
Reshaping the body will require weighted resistance with weights, resistance bands, body weight, functional movement, and aerobic activity. Weighted resistance workouts can start at 30 minutes and then work up to an hour. To get the results you're looking for requires the right technique, rest times, proper breathing, and posture. Please contact me at www.michaelroyshaw.com/contact if you have any questions about this.
As an example, you may start with a six-to-10-minute warm up, which could be done on a treadmill, stationary bike, or walking in place. You can follow this with three sets of bicep curls, followed by three sets of chest presses (or pushups), followed by three sets of bodyweight squats, followed by three sets of stationary lunges. Please contact me if you have any questions.
There are many ways you can do different exercises. The secret is to remain consistent with your exercises and stay vigilant with your goals.
Nutrition also plays a very integral role in any body reshaping or general health program. Understanding the different body types, and what works and doesn't work for people with opposing body types is essential. Knowing what macros you should eat (proteins, carbs, and fats) and how much and when is a science and often differs from person to person.
In my experience, finding personal trainers, who like me, are also well versed in nutrition can make all the difference in the world. If you have any questions on what to expect from trainers with that nutrition experience please contact me.
If you've ever experienced moments of truth, like those mentioned here, you know how others with the same experiences are feeling.
It can often be both a scary and daunting feeling with the same questions:
“How do I get myself back to where I was?”
“How do I recognize myself in the mirror again?”
“How do I get back my strength?”
“How do I fix this and never relive it?”
These are all questions with positive answers. You just need to be completely confidant in the process. If you have the right help and the right coach, you will achieve your deepest desires.
One of my favorite sayings regarding taking control of ourselves is from Buddha, who said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels, or by demons, heaven or hell.” I know it may seem a little “Mr. Miyagi – wax on wax off,” but nevertheless it is very true.
Michael Shaw is a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw LLC, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, and a fitness and fashion model manager. He can be reached at www.michaelroyshaw.com.