Achieving Your Fitness Goals

Well it is that time of year again. While the ski season is still quite a ways off for most people, it is time to make a New Year's resolution to enter the 2009 season in the best shape of your life. Here is a recipe for success.

Our bodies are machines. The more they are used, the more efficient they become. When you are sore the day after an activity, your muscles are rebuilding and growing. If you do an activity and are not sore, chances are you have not pushed yourself hard enough. Our bodies adapts to whatever it is that they do most. To me this is another form of efficiency. For example, in the beginning of the water ski season, we become very sore the days after skiing. Every skier can relate to this feeling regardless of ability. But something strange happens not too far down the road; we can ski five days a week and never reach the level of soreness felt in the first month of the season. Our body is adapting to its new program. This is something to keep in mind when setting up fitness programs. To get the most out of your program, keep it evolving and stay away from the easy road. Also, keep in mind that we as water skiers are looking for a high strength-to-weight ratio. What this means is that we want to reduce body fat while increasing muscle. I find that I ski much better when I carry between 5-1/2-to-7-1/2 percent body fat. When I have dropped below 5-1/2 percent, I feel a lack of energy and I feel fragile. As soon as I get over 7.5 percent, I feel strong, but I just can't run as many buoys. Your doctor can advise you of your recommended percentage of body fat as it changes with age.

Now that we have the vision of working our body into a lean, mean fighting machine, it is time to set some realistic goals. Just like with skiing goals, we should set achievable short-term goals, desired one-year goals, and a long-term wish list. For a skier that is 30 pounds overweight, an example would be to lose 5 pounds in 30 days; lose 10 pounds by June 1; lose 15 pounds by Jan. 1, 2010; and a three-year goal of losing 30 pounds. Once the goals are set, it is time to get lost in achieving the short-term goals. Never lose sight of the long-term goals, but since the short-term goals are more readily achievable, let's focus on succeeding on those. Nothing in this life comes easy, so realize that you need to work hard everyday and limit the slip-ups. I like to live by the motto, Everything in moderation. Don't beat yourself up if you have to miss the gym one day or if you over eat at a company party. Those things are going to happen; simply do not let them happen on a regular basis.