NEWS | June 1, 2011

Fitness is not obtained overnight

By Riley Phelps, Joint Base Charleston- Weapons Station head trainer

Do you recall those New Year's resolutions made during the holidays; the promises about maintaining a proper diet, exercising regularly and enjoying healthy sleeping patterns? How are your resolutions coming along? The Morale Welfare and Recreation Fitness and Athletic Department wants to highlight some tools to get you back on track and stay the course.

One of the biggest complaints of aspiring fitness enthusiasts is not seeing results quickly. The following are all major factors in reaching your fitness goals.

Exercise your ability to improve your dietary intake

Fitness and nutrition go along hand in hand. Commit to a plan and stick to it. Change is difficult, especially with something that can be viewed as stressful such as eating properly. Start small and build up. For example: eat fewer calories. Losing one pound equates to 3,500 calories. Eliminating 500 calories from your diet every day adds up to 3,500 calories for the whole week. That's one pound.

If you are already watching your calories, eat smarter by eating better-quality foods. Eat snacks like apples and cottage cheese which take more energy for your body to digest.
Remember, fad diets don't work in the long run because they're unsustainable. Staying healthy doesn't have to be about deprivation. Supplement your diet with the necessary vitamins and minerals which are essential for fitness. Most importantly know which areas of your diet you are lacking in. Utilize the on-base registered dieticians at the Health and Wellness Center and Naval Health Clinic Charleston.

Your workout has to be fun

Working out and staying fit is about doing something for yourself. You will benefit directly from exercise and your friends and family will notice the change in you.

Use your workout time as the one hour of the day dedicated to yourself. Make an appointment with yourself daily and stick to it. If your current workout plan is stagnant or boring, utilize the on base amenities available to you to switch up your routine. Try fitness options like Zumba, Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, swimming or a personal trainer. All of these amenities are offered to active duty, dependents, and Department of Defense civilians on base.

You're only doing cardio and neglecting strength training

Another concern for fitness newcomers is they don't see any changes after spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical machine. The treadmill or elliptical is not a cure-all. Strength training is just as important as cardiovascular exercise. The more lean muscle you have, the more efficient your body can become, increasing your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you can burn, even at rest. Incorporate strength training into your workout plan three to five days per week. Focus on the big muscles groups including your chest, legs, back and abdomen. If you need guidance on how to perform the exercises properly, consult a personal trainer.

Make realist goals

Changing your fitness initiative doesn't mean you have to work out relentlessly seven days a week. Improving your fitness takes time. Attempting to go from a modern day couch potato to an exercise warrior with an unrealistic diet is setting you up for failure. Start off working just two days a week and progress from there. Make realistic goals and monitor your progress and don't give up. Next year at this time you won't even recognize the old you!