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Stay The Course

Stay The Course
By Janet Bertrand ACE

Recently I attended a fitness convention called Perform Better. It is one of the best conferences in the country. They always have the top trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and health experts in the whole country presenting the latest in health and fitness. It is amazing the things they are developing and learning about the human body and how it works: how we can get stronger, faster and leaner bodies that can last a long time. I went to so many lectures and hands on workouts, it was definitely information overload!

One thing really rang true in all that sea of science and advancements in health, and that would be: eating clean and daily exercise are still the very best ways to stay healthy your entire life.

What it came down to is YES every diet works. Yep every one! Whether it’s Paleo or Jenny Craig. Seriously, whatever diet you pick will work, until you go back to your old habits. You will most likely loose that weight and feel really amazing and then slowly over time go back to the bad habits. Start to gain the weight back and get really frustrated and throw up your hands and say “whatever, I’m gonna try diet XYZ next” and so on and so on.

This is what keeps the diet and weight loss industry going. The false promises and hopes that are given to people when they invest their bodies (and souls for that matter) into these weight loss products. They come in with such high hopes and some even see amazing results. As soon as they go back to their old habits, they gain all of it back, become miserable and even worse, hopeless.

But there is hope.

There is more than hope, there is proof! Eating a healthy diet based on vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein is the VERY BEST way to keep weight low,  your body strong and overall health at its peak! It is actually very simple. Taking a moderate and reasonable approach to what we eat is really the best way to keep your weight at a healthy level for your entire life!

Also right in line with the diet products are all the trendy workouts! Whatever workout you may try, in the end it really comes down to DAILY EXERCISE! That is key to feeling great, being strong and enjoying the body you walk around in! It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you DO IT! AND DO IT EVERY DAY!!!


I understand that people need new things to keep themselves interested and WANT to workout. I know it is hard to know what to do, what to eat, and it is so easy to just follow a plan that tells you everything. It’s hard enough just going on the diet, so to add research and measuring and all that onto of it, it can get overwhelming! Just so much easier to open a box and eat the stuff inside right?

There was one presenter at the conference named Dan John. He is a 55 year old strength and conditioning coach who has been training people since 1977. He has been around the block a time or two. His lecture was very simple. Eat right. Exercise everyday. Keep drinking at minimum. Don’t smoke AND enjoy your life. Then he added in, every now and then push yourself to achieve something amazing!  His whole approach was basically if you push your self all the time and constantly diet and go, go, go as hard as you can, not only will you burn out but you can get really hurt. You have to pace yourself, you have to look at the big picture and take reasonable and doable steps to stay healthy and motivated.

Every now and then yes, it is great to challenge yourself and get serious about your nutrition and do some really crazy workouts. Sometimes it is a great opportunity to commit yourself to a program with specific goals to get yourself started and going in the right direction!

Even then, no one can sustain that forever. Even athletes have a time that they take it easy and let their bodies heal and recover.

Eating healthy is actually a lot easier than we think. Fruits and vegetables should be the base of our diet. That should be our go to foods.

If you think about it, it really is that simple. If you want a cookie, ask your self-what have I eaten today? If the answer is nothing, than common sense tells me a cookie would probably not be the best choice.  An apple would be better right! AND so on!

Fitness and exercise are the same way. Moving your body and getting a sweat going should be a daily activity, really no matter what it is. It should just become a part of your life, like brushing you teeth. I have a saying “Earn your shower.” I came up with that because if I did not do some sort of movement in the morning and get a significant amount of sweat going, I felt like I did not earn the right to take a shower. Showers are for people who have caused a significant amount of change  in their body and they seriously need to wash themselves to be acceptable in public again! Seriously!

But don’t let this “rule” discourage you!

If you only have 20 minutes to workout for that day is it worth it? Uh YES!! Believe me, next time you have that dilemma try jumping rope for 20 minutes. Then come back and tell me how it felt. You will be praying that 20 minutes ends quickly!

Or if you have a lunch break and your only option that day is to take a 30 minute walk outside, then do it! I would move as much as you can, as long as you can. Sitting should be a last resort!

I like to stay on track with my moderate workouts and reasonable eating for about 65% of the year. The other 35% is spent challenging my self (periodically) with very hard workouts and strict “bringing it back to basics” eating plans. This allows me to challenge myself and see results that make me feel amazing. I did this right before a special class I taught called Bikini boot camp. I had to take pictures and wear a bikini on television, so I definitely ramped it up a notch!

Even after that, I was still mindful about what I ate. I went on Vacation but didn’t go crazy with fried food, ice cream and just sitting around. I still ate vegetables at every meal. I still exercised every day and drank lots of water. I actually ended up losing weight on vacation this year because I was hiking and moving around so much! I was HAVING FUN!

I came back from vacation and continued my normal workouts at Fitness Quest 10 and at my house. Now I am thinking about running a half marathon in the next year and will probably want to train for that. That’s my cycle of how I stay on track and have found that works well for me.

That’s the thing about being healthy, it is finding what you know is right for you. What you know is reasonable and doable. What will you really follow through with and make a daily habit?

Adding a vegetable to your breakfast would be a great way to start! You may still be eating those tortilla chips a couple times a week, but for now your new goal is to add veggies to your breakfast for 14 days. Then once you’ve mastered that, move on to the next thing.

Don’t let us fitness professionals fool you, we are ALL works in progress. We mess up and get frustrated just like everyone else. I will say I have the “love working out disease” and I have tremendous motivation when it comes to making time to workout. BUT I also have a sweet tooth that definitely keeps me humble! I have to constantly stay on top of that and understand how harmful sugar is. I also allow myself a treat every now and then because well… I am human!

All you have to remember is, you have to find what is right for you. You may have to make some changes in your routine to allow for breaks, or maybe step it up a notch. In your fitness journey it’s about staying the course and finding that thing that makes you want to move, and be active. Creating a desire to fuel your body with healthy food. Remember to take care of that body you have. It is a precious, amazing gift that if treated right, is capable of going for a long time and serving you well, so treat it right!

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