December 31, 2019 – That’s it! Fitness Advice and Tips, December, the last one of the year! On the west coast in less than 12 hours, we’ll turn the page into a new year and a new decade. How’d you do this year? Did you accomplish any goals you set out to achieve? If you accomplished only a few or even none at all, have no fear, this special year end Fitness Advice and Tips will help you on your way in 2020.

This month, we’ll take a look at:

  • goals, goals, goals
  • diets, dieting, heck… just plain eating
  • fitness made simple

Fitness Advice and Tips – #1

First off the bat on this Fitness Advice and Tips, December, decide WHY you need or want to set some goals. Is your blood pressure up? How about your weight? Or your cholesterol/lipids? Are you not feeling as well as you used to? Do you feel like your health is off and you need to start taking some action? Maybe all of those factors are fine, but you feel like you need to do more.

Once you’ve uncovered the “why,” set some GOALS. It makes no difference how old or young you are, how fit or unfit you are, or how healthy or unhealthy you are. What matters is you recognize the present state you’re in and a direction you want to go. This is important because it helps you chart a course of action.

S – M – A – R – T  G O A L S

Specific – decide on a specific action. Lower blood pressure. Lose weight. Drop cholesterol. Up my walking distance. Increase my bench press. These are all specific actions you want to take.

Measurable – attach a number you can measure your progress against. Lower blood pressure by 10 points. Lose weight – 10 pounds. Drop cholesterol – 10 points. Up my walks from 1 mile to 3 miles. Increase my bench press from 50 pounds to 70 pounds.

Achievable/Attainable – review the goals you’ve started developing. Ask yourself if it’s realistic enough for you to achieve. You want to be motivated along your journey and motivation is intrinsic (comes from within yourself). You can draw inspiration from others, but in the end it is you who does the actual work. It is you who makes the actual progress toward your goals. No one else can do it for you.

Relevant – review the goals again. Are they relevant to the underlying question as to why you’re setting them? Will they solve a problem you feel or know you have? Is the goal worth it in the long run? Take some time and be 100% honest with yourself; it’s critical to find out your “why” because it goes a long way to helping you remain motivated and adds some meaning to what you’re doing.

Time-bound – review the goals one more time. When do you want to accomplish these goals? Lower blood pressure by 10 points by March 1. Lose weight – 10 pounds by February 28. Drop cholesterol by 10 points by June 15. Up my walks from 1 mile to 3 miles by May 1. Increase my bench press from 50 pounds to 70 pounds by April 30. Setting a specific future point in time helps you “reverse engineer” the plan to achieve your goal. Not only that, but it helps to make the goal easier to tackle.


Let’s say you want to drop your weight by 10 pounds by February 28. Assuming we are on the current calendar and tomorrow is January 1, you’ll have roughly 8 weeks to drop 10 pounds. First of all, is it realistic? In this case, as a personal trainer, I could comfortably tell you it is possible for you to lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks. (Of course, I’d also tell you it should be about more than just your weight, but that’s another blog post! LOL)

You’ve now established it’s doable for you and can mark your weight down 1 pound per week on a calendar or your phone or whatever works for you. With the timeline set, the next thing you’ll do is put together your course of action.

Start with EASY things you know you can do without too much effort. Can you get a brisk 5 minute walk done every day? If you love and eat a lot of carbs, can you start by cutting your servings in half? What else can you begin doing to move toward your goal? To lose 10 pounds requires both regular exercise AND good nutrition. Still need more advice or guidance? Feel free to contact us or see about a fitness assessment and consultation.

Fitness Advice and Tips – #2

Next on Fitness Advice and Tips, December… Diets. Just wow. Mind blown in 2019. So much focus on diets and dieting. Why? I just need to know why so many people are focused on diets and dieting? Barring a medically-indicated reason for a special or specific diet, what’s causing so many of us to feel this need to find and be on a diet? What’s happened to just plain common sense?

Most (if not all) of us have a pretty good idea of what’s healthy and what isn’t, whether it’s the type of food, the quantity, the quality, the frequency, and/or how they fit in with our personal goals. So why the focus on diets?


Cut out the bad carbs. Eliminate the processed food. Reduce your sugar intake. Lower your saturated fat intake. Reduce your red meat consumption. Pick good sources of healthier protein. Increase your fresh fruit and vegetable intake. Am I missing anything else? I’m a personal trainer and educating and coaching clients and students on a SUSTAINABLE way of exercise and nutrition is what I do.

“Sustainable” is a catchphrase these days, but let’s be honest here… will you be drinking shakes for the rest of your life? Or gorging yourself with saturated fats and no carbs for the rest of your life? Will you constantly be seeking something though you know not what? There’s no need for complexity unless you’ve been ordered to by an MD or an RDN. Just because “everyone else” is doing it or just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.

However, I AM realistic 🙂 So if you’re determined to “diet,” at least humor me for a moment and give this piece from NPR a whirl. I appreciate it’s candor and attempt at honesty.

Fitness Advice and Tips – #3

And lastly for this edition of Fitness Advice and Tips, December, make your health, fitness, and nutrition simple and easy for you! Do your best to avoid making things more complex than they need to be. We all know we’ve got enough stress to deal with on the daily with work, commutes, family, and on and on.

Why not make your health and fitness a new little hobby that becomes your new lifestyle and your new you? I’ve laid out the “12 Days of Fitness (and nutrition!)” on Instagram for all of eternity. It’s in pictures and it’s got words as well.

Plus, I received a tremendous boost of support from Tiffany Hsu, RDN-extraordinaire in the nutrition realm. Take a look at the “12 Days,” I promise it’s easy reading and looking, but if you’ve still got questions or you’re not quite sure where or how to begin, please contact me! My advice is always free!

In conclusion…

A lot of things have happened in my life throughout the entire month of December; it hasn’t been pretty. Some of you out there know it has NOT been easy for me, not in the slightest! In fact, some of you are dealing with your own stress, whether personal or professional. But we keep going right? Because what’s the alternative? To wave the white flag and quit?

I’ve got a job to do and I suspect so do each of you. Just remember to be kind to yourself and when life gets really complicated and overwhelming, fall back on things that help you move forward that are tried and true such as SMART goals (can be used for pretty much ANYTHING), proper nutrition (can help your mood and energy levels), and a simple, back-to-basics approach to health and fitness.

On that note, I wish you and yours a Happy New Year from all of us at Level One Training and Fitness!