Improve Your Fitness and Enjoy Your Life

Improve Your Fitness and Enjoy Your Life
The Four Fitness Protocols

The Book's Introduction

Congratulations for your decision to improve your fitness, and your choice of Fitness Protocols™ to help you accomplish your goal! For this purpose, "fitness" is the ideal level of physical condition that enables you to look and feel good while meeting the physical and mental demands required by the tasks in your most important roles in life. Depending on what people must do or like to do, they have different fitness level needs. Athletes have very different fitness level needs than homemakers, people who work in a physically demanding job, or those who work in less physically demanding ones. Our goal is to help you become as fit as necessary to meet your specific wants and needs and make your life more joyful and fulfilling.

You are about to embark on a very interesting and unique journey to improve your life! Whether you have attempted this before or this is your first time, this program should be a unique and rewarding experience for you. Besides the benefits related to the specific area of fitness, the exercises you are about to complete can benefit you a multitude of ways. The program we have designed is unique. It takes advantage of a number of proven successful approaches in several areas. This is not necessarily new material we have invented or made up. We base our approach on proven theories and science, and have integrated it to enable the process required to accomplish lasting change. The goal is to make it much easier to accomplish your fitness improvement goal. We hope you will find it effective and ultimately fruitful. Keep in mind that change is a journey and not a destination per se. We hope to make the journey more pleasant and less bumpy than it would have otherwise been without our guidance.

You Are Not Alone

If you are like most of us who struggle with fitness issues, you may have already attempted to get in better shape in the past. This is normal and you should not feel too bad about it! In fact, you are not alone. According to several studies, over 90% of those who attempt to get and stay in better shape fail to do so. Of the small percent that are successful at it, the majority had attempted to get in shape and failed five to seven times before they were ultimately successful. However, please do not despair; we intend to change that with this approach. If you follow along, it should take a lot less effort than these studies have shown.

What Got Us Here

Many factors have influenced the reasons why so many of us are out of shape these days. However, the bottom line is that we consume excess calories and we do not burn enough of them. Moreover, no matter what anyone says, it is all about the calories. Calories are the units of measure of the energy humans need to survive. Each of our bodies requires so many calories to survive every day. We obtain them from the food and drinks we consume and we burn them when our bodies are in motion. When we take in more calories than those we burn, the extra calories are stored as fat; if we consume enough of them we gain weight at whatever rate we do that. Similarly, when we burn more calories than we take in, we can lose weight. It is that simple!

Less Activity

A number of factors have led many of us to become more sedentary. Much more of what we do to earn a living requires less physical activity. We use cars and other transportation means to go everywhere. We do much more shopping on TV and the Web. We watch TV, play video games, do social media, and surf the Web instead of moving outdoors.

And More Food

On top of being less active, we are eating more. The cost of food has decreased and its availability has dramatically increased. Fast and relatively cheap food is available everywhere and almost anytime. It has become so convenient and inexpensive that many people dine out more than they cook meals at home. Time constraints and convenience also drive fast-food consumption both from the typical outlets and from new sources at the regular grocery store. Eating out typically means higher caloric consumption further adding insult to injury.

Ending the Fitness Struggle

Why is it such a struggle? Why does change seem so hard to achieve? Let us begin by examining some of the key factors that contribute to the problem, starting our struggle with fitness. First, most people do not truly understand the powerful impact and multiple benefits of fitness. Therefore, they may not feel as motivated to pursue fitness improvement with the fervor, priority, and energy it requires and deserves. As in most situations, when we attempt to go after something without a wholehearted effort we fail. Success requires commitment based on understanding the connection between the benefits of improved fitness and a much higher quality of life-better health, relationships, and wealth.

Second, the current approaches to fitness improvement are fragmented, and they lack a comprehensive approach. Most of these approaches (plans, programs, etc.) take a very narrow view of the problem and the challenges faced by those struggling with fitness. Companies offering "solutions" to our fitness struggle seem to just want to sell us books, memberships, food, medications, treatments, surgery, and/or some type of equipment. It is a multibillion-dollar annual market and with no end in sight. Many of them have one mission: to take your money and run. Moreover, they usually leave you right where you started, and sometimes-even worse-out of shape and struggling all over again.

Let us examine a typical approach to getting in shape. Many motives drive us to attempt to get in better shape. So whatever the motive is we tend to jump right into some kind of action after we decide to do something about it. We usually get into some diet (of the month) and/or start doing some form of exercise. Some of us may seek professional help and others just ask friends or family members what worked for them. Some may buy books or seek information on the Web to help them along the way. So what happens? We may or may not lose weight because of our effort. If we lose it, we may or may not keep it off for the long term. We tend to bounce back to our old habits and routines over some time and slowly but surely, we gain weight-sometimes more weight than that we lost. We are unable to sustain the strange diets we get into and the exercise routines that we start. The equipment we purchase ends up becoming a storage apparatus in one of the rooms in the house. In addition, some of the special food we bought for the diet becomes a lab experiment in the fridge or kitchen pantry. Then many of us tend to repeat these cycles. The struggle continues and we often get bigger and out of shape.

Ultimately, in order to end our struggle successfully, we need to adjust the way we live our life. Simplistically speaking, we just have to develop a better approach to enable us to eat better and be more active. The challenge we face is that over time we have developed a set of habits and routines by which we live our life. These are so ingrained in us we are oblivious to them. Thus, we rarely examine them because we are not conscious of them. It is a human version of an autopilot. What we do, when we do it, where we do it, etc. tends to have some routine and/or habit associated with it.

In order to develop a successful better approach we need to examine these routines and habits we live by and we need to evaluate their impact on us and on those we care most about. Once we understand that, we need to determine which we need to adjust, which we need to eliminate, and what new ones we need to create to better serve our new approach.

The Science of Change

Change is a challenging process for humans. According to research conducted over the last few decades by Dr. James O. Prochaska (of the University of Rhode Island) and his colleagues, lasting change requires you to go through several sequential stages:

·         Precontemplation stage. At this stage, you are not really thinking about change, do not believe you need to change, or are simply not ready to start changing anytime soon.

·         Contemplation stage. At this stage, you want to change, but do not intend to start just yet. Perhaps you want to learn more first, or else you may just do not want it badly enough yet.

·         Preparation stage. At this stage, you are ready to start. You are preparing, learning, planning, and maybe even doing a few things.

·         Action stage. At this stage, you are actively trying to implement the changes.

·         Maintenance stage. At this stage, you have successfully changed, and you are now trying to keep the changes. In this stage, you will actively work to resist relapsing to a prior stage.

·         Termination stage. At this stage, change is completed. Habits are formed and set. You will no longer have to work as hard, if at all, to resist relapsing.

Additionally, the research shows it typically takes individuals several attempts to reach the final and successful Termination stage. Confirming this finding, research done by the National Weight Control Registry since 1994, indicates individuals who accomplish lasting fitness improvement relapsed between five and seven times before doing so.

The Right Step at the Right Time

Getting and staying in shape can be much easier to accomplish if you want it badly enough and if you do the right things at the right time. Lacking an approach like the one we offer, only a small percent are able to accomplish sustainable fitness. According to the National Weight Control Registry Study, fewer than 10 percent of those who become fit are able to sustain their new fitness level. Our approach will change that. If you follow along with diligence, you will be able to become and remain fit for good! The process takes time and requires a good dose of patience and perseverance. There are no quick fixes. There are no ways around it. If you really want to become and remain fit, you must go through these stages one-step at a time. If you are successful, the benefits can be plenty!

Our ultimate goal is to ensure you become and remain fit for good in the shortest amount of time possible. We designed Fitness Protocols™ to help you navigate through these seemingly complex stages of change more easily and successfully. More importantly, it will help you minimize the possibility of potential setbacks or total failure.

The Fitness Protocols Process

The following diagram illustrates the process we will guide you through in order to accomplish your goal.

We designed our approach around four key protocols to help you accomplish this. The Commitment Protocol is the first and most critical step in the process. It will help you ensure your decision to improve your fitness is solid and highly sustainable. Your commitment and determination are critical to your success. The adage "Where there is a will there is an A" is highly applicable here. The stronger your conviction, the higher the probability you will reach your goal and the easier it will seem to get it accomplished. Once you feel you have reached a strong sense of commitment, you will move on to the Preparation Protocol. Here we help you get ready to accomplish the necessary changes in your approach to fitness. When you feel you have mustered enough commitment and are ready to move forward, you will move on to the Change Protocol. Here we will help you implement a new approach to help you succeed. Finally, you will move on to the fourth and final Maintenance Protocol. Here we help you ensure the new approach sticks and forms into habits. Once it takes hold, the chances of relapse become less and less over time, making it much easier to remain fit for good!

We have designed a flexible approach so that any point in the process you may go back one or more stages to get reinforcement if necessary. We have broken down the book's main sections accordingly. Each section consists of information and exercises intended to help you accomplish the main purpose of the corresponding approach step.