Deliberate Practice to Reach Your Fitness and Health Goals

Written by: Callie Parry, Intern

The long standing rule has been that it takes an accumulation of 10,000 hours to be considered a master in something. In the premise of change, those 5 big zeros are daunting and discouraging. If only there was a way to cut down those hours even to just 1,000.

Recent findings have countered this statement by suggesting that quality trumps quantity. Those zeros can be cut back by focusing more on about how we are practicing rather than how long we are practicing. The type of practice I am speaking of is that of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice can be applied to all facets of life but is especially helpful in health and fitness related goals. Deliberate practice is utilizing mindfulness to ensure that workouts are all they can possibly be. It is a process-focused approach rather than outcome-focused. When individuals focus merely on the results they want they find themselves often getting discouraged because the results don’t come right away. By shifting ones attention to the method, progress is more quickly observed leaving people with a better sense of accomplishment. Practicing with intent and focus is not necessarily easy, it takes concentrated effort and commitment to work.

There are lots of ways to become more deliberate in one’s practice, but I would like to specifically touch on the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness seems to be the new craze these days and it may be for good reason. Do not fret. I am not speaking of meditating for a half an hour every morning, although that is never a bad idea. I’m thinking more of being mindful and present in your daily health and fitness efforts. First, mindfulness comes from utilizing the breath. Taking deep breaths in and out during exercise and simply throughout the day will keep one capable of focusing on the moment.

After establishing breath, take time to engage all the senses. For example, when performing a weight training session notice the feeling of the weights in your hands and the contraction of your muscles. Pay close attention to your form and address any unwanted aches or pains. Staying present in the body is just as important as the breath and will help you get more out of your physical exertion.

The most effective way to stay mindful and present is to remove distractions. Those who practice deliberately hit the gym or the trail with the intention to do work. Their workout is more important than gossiping with their workout buddy or the movie on the screen. I’m not saying that working out with a partner or watching something while you workout is bad, but make sure that those aspects are not distracting you from the work you are aiming to perform.

Lastly, the best way to engage in deliberate practice and reap its rewards is to refrain from any trace of negativity in the dialogue that runs through your head. Letting negative thoughts about yourself and your journey only leads to discouragement and hinders your ability to put forth that hard work.

Now that you know how to step up your workout game, give it a try. Breathe, engage your senses, remove distractions and ward off negativity. Be deliberate in your practice no matter what it may be and you will be encouraged by the progress in the process.

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3 Bad Diet Habits That May Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Success

Does it seem like no matter what you do, your weight just keeps climbing higher and higher?

If that’s the case for you, then it’s time to take a good hard look at some of the habits you have in place as these could be contributing to the problem.

Many people think that they’re doing everything ‘right’ with their diet and workout plan, but are actually making a few errors that cost them their results.

Bad habits can sometimes pass you by and in many situations, you may not even realize that you’re doing them.

Add to the fact that bad habits are quite hard to break and you could have a real problem on your hands.

Let’s take a closer look at a few bad diet habits that very likely could be causing you some unwanted weight gain.

1. Believing Everything You Read

The first bad habit that you must refrain from doing is believing absolutely everything that you read.

If you do this, you’re going to get very overwhelmed, very quickly.

There is so much information – most of it conflicting information on what you should and shouldn’t be doing to lose weight.

It’s important that you only listen to credible sources and if you’ve found one credible source that you trust, listen to them only. While this doesn’t mean you need to completely tune out any other information, be careful when you hear it.

Remember that there are a number of ways to diet to lose fat, so one method is not necessarily superior than another.

But if you’re constantly jumping from one method to the next, then this will cause problems as it is.

2. Always Opting For Low Fat Foods

The second bad habit you must break if you’re currently doing it is always opting for low fat, highly processed foods instead of fresh unprocessed food.

Low fat (processed) foods, while they may seem healthy, are sometimes not.

If you’re choosing foods that are naturally fat free, then they will be fine to consume since nothing has gone in to replace the fat that was removed.

But if you’re eating commercially prepared fat free foods that have higher fat counterparts, tread lightly. Often added sugar will be present to help enhance the taste now that fat is missing or else there will be other artificial sweeteners added instead.

And be sure to be choosing something that doesn’t come from a box or can once in awhile.

3. Putting Price over Health

Finally, the last thing that you need to concern yourself with is if you ever put price over your health.

Do you often indulge in all the free foods given out in restaurants or as samples at stores?

If the bread basket arrives and you attack since you don’t have to pay for the food, this is seriously going to do your waistline harm.

Likewise, if you’re making sure to clean your plate after each and every meal you consume just so food doesn’t go to waste, that too will cause you to eat more calories than you likely need.

Instead, always listen to your body. Only eat what it needs, regardless of cost.

So there you have three bad health habits that you must stop immediately if you want to see success with your weight loss goals. Have a look and see if any of these are influencing you.


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Two Minute Stress Reduction Technique

Two Minute Stress Reduction Technique

Emotional eating and lack of motivation to exercise can be caused by caused by undue stress and negative thoughts.

Here is one of the best stress-reduction techniques there is. Take two minutes and focus on what you’re thankful for. Reflect on what you are grateful for, write a list or tell someone.

By making a list of things you’re grateful for, you focus the brain on positive thoughts. You will be amazed at how much better you feel when you get in the habit of thankfulness.

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