April 15, 2010 | by Kevin M. Norris
Are you ready for bathing suit season?

Are you ready for bathing suit season? Don’t fret — you have plenty of time to get in shape before summer. Take action now and you will look and feel immensely gratified.

However, you have probably figured out that to achieve peak physical conditioning there are no magic pills or potions to help you achieve your fitness goals.

You may or may not realize that looking and feeling your best will require hard work, dedication, focus and a long-term commitment. There are no quick fixes to a healthier you. First and foremost, exercise requires a positive mental attitude and a consistently healthy lifestyle to make changes. You must establish a state-of-being that drives you to success and keeps you there.

Real and lasting physical and mental changes come from awareness, acceptance and action.

As a personal trainer for 17 years, I have observed the responses people have to exercise. What I have learned is that a person’s attitude toward exercise and wellness has a direct impact on their success or failure. Exercise is not only about physical achievement, but equally important is creating an emotional and psychological connection. The physical-emotional-psychological connection to your health and wellness is a recipe for success.

Though all of this may seem quite simple, the reality is that maintaining a positive attitude is a complex process and once achieved, it can be difficult to maintain. Understanding the impact of embracing a positive mental attitude should better prepare you to maintain a challenging and fun exercise program and a healthy lifestyle.

Indeed, state of mind affects everything you do. Your mood and response to a particular action or activity and your level of consciousness can affect every action you take. To be successful at anything, you must first ask, “Is this something I passionately want to do,” and “am I fully committed?” How is anything accomplished if your heart and soul are not part of the decision? A weak state of mind can generate negative thoughts and result in failure.

We have heard the corny catch phrases, “believe and you can achieve” and the “power of positive thinking.” Realizing and embracing these truths can actually lead to a breakthrough and long-term continued successes.

Each day, the way we “feel” will not only affect our mood and the way we act, but our energy level, our eating habits and our response to exercise.

If you are currently maintaining a consistent exercising program, congratulations! If however, you have not reached this level but are trying to make changes, begin with some soul-searching and begin to connect your mind with your body.

Reach within yourself and discover what will make you take the steps that allow you to embrace exercise. Search for those stimuli that will continue to fuel your successes.

Forget all the things that have stood in your way in the past and above all stop making excuses. Excuses serve no purpose but to diminish us. Excuses are obstacles and only you can choose whether to overcome them or allow them to overcome us.

Here are some tips to keep you on track:

• Every little bit helps. Even exercising 20 – 30 minutes a day can help. You can find the time to exercise. Put your workout sessions in your appointment book and respect that appointment.

• Get up 30 minutes earlier each day. Take a longer lunch break and work late. Work out right after work before you go home to relax.

• Find the gym that suits you best and always account for location. Convenience is the No. 1 reason for attrition in health clubs.

• Walk or ride your bike to work; never stand still on an escalator and avoid elevators. Better yet, walk up and down the Metro escalator several times while commuting.

• Find a workout partner with similar goals and establish a support network of friends who share those goals.

• Hire a personal trainer or have conversations with the floor staff at your health club.

• Keep a journal and record your daily hopes, aspirations, setbacks and strategy.

Do everything in your power to ingrain exercise into your life and schedule and establish a focused exercise routine. Most importantly, start believing in yourself.

Once you have decided that exercise is important to you, no obstacle can stand in your way. Prepare to experience some of the most gratifying rewards you can give yourself.

Remember, “Your body is limited only by your state of mind and an enhanced state of mind will liberate the body.”

Fitness is a journey not a destination. Enjoy the ride!

Kevin M. Norris is a health and fitness columnist for DC Agenda and owner of Mind Your Own Body, LLC. Personal Training. Reach him at kevinmnorris@aol.com.

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