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Attitude: The Forgotten Power
By: Aaron M. Potts, ISSA CFT

Do you have a clear vision in your head of where you want to be, or what you want to accomplish when you are at a peak level of fitness? I don't mean just some vague idea - I'm talking about an actual burning mental image of a six-pack set of abs, or a nice set of curves, or a clear picture of you crossing the finish line in first place, or taking home that trophy. If you don't have that, you are already just spinning your wheels. How can you expect to get somewhere if you don't know where that "somewhere" is?

Many people start out very motivated to get in shape, or to compete for that prize, but their motivation lacks focus - laser-targeted precision that will guide them down the right path. The term "as the crow flies" comes to mind. If you could leave your house and drive in an exact straight line to your destination, don't you think that you would get there a lot faster? What if you could just fly through stop lights and intersections, disregard all posted speed limits, and go exactly in a straight line to every destination? You sure would get there a lot faster!

Exercise, physical fitness, and nutrition are no different. If you don't have a clearly mapped out and measurable road map to your success, then you will stray, and that will cost you time at the very least - and at the most, it will cost you precious amounts of self-confidence! Take some time to think about WHERE you want to be, HOW you are going to get there, and most importantly, WHY you want to be there. Take the time to do that, and I think you'll see that your previous path may have been road blocked by a few too many trips to Starbucks for a Caramel Frappuccino. Not that anyone writing a fitness article such as this would know anything about that...

Believing In Your Ability

Okay, so you've got yourself a good mental picture. You have your road map in front of you, your path is straight and true, and you are ready to get started. What comes next? Belief.

Do you believe it is possible to wave a magic wand and have all of your excess bodyfat gone, and all of your fitness goals realized in the blink of an eye? Of course not. If you do, and you know the secret, please contact us - I'm sure we could make some money on that secret! For everyone else, I'll ask a different question. Do you believe that you could sit on your couch, suck down some ice cream, and put on some more bodyfat? The answer is, unfortunately, yes.

What is the difference between those two questions? Very simple - one is possible, and one is not. What does that have to do with your fitness goals? Well, it may come as a surprise, but you have been dealing in the IMPOSSIBLE for quite sometime now. You have been striving for a goal, yet not really believing that it was within your power to reach it.

Oh sure, you may have joined a gym, or bought a new Litmus 3000 Super-Decker top of the line treadmill/clothes hanger, but did you really believe that you were going to do it this time? If you are reading this and you are in perfect physical condition, then congratulations - you did it! For the rest of you, are you seeing the point? You didn't truly believe it, because otherwise it would have happened.

Each of us shelters hidden either very deeply or sometimes NOT so deeply a seed of doubt that we will really succeed. When that seed is there - whether it is planted deeply or not - your subconscious waters it and feeds it. The next thing you know, it is has grown into an entire field of self-limiting beliefs, and you have neither the time nor the desire to get out there in the field and destroy that evil crop!

What are you to do, then? BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Why? The answer to that is simple - because you are the only one who truly can. Others may support you, and they may even show you the path, but it is YOU who has to walk it.

Taking Action

We have covered the need for you to clearly see your goal, and for you to use the power of belief to start walking down the path, but what's next?

The next step is the same for you as it is for an aspiring business owner, or a college freshman, or an artist staring at a blank canvas - you have to TAKE ACTION. You can read the top 2 sections of this article all day long, but doing so won't burn off any bodyfat, or pack any muscle tissue onto your body. Only appropriately carried out action can do that.

Think of all the self-help books that you have read, or programs that you have watched on TV, or listened to on the radio. Did any of them do you any good whatsoever if you didn't take action on what you had learned? What about what you have read so far in this article? Has it been helpful? Most likely. Will it do you any good if you don't Take Action? Nope. Negative. No way. Nada. You get the picture.

You can read, listen, and watch your way right into a bodyfat level that would make a sumo wrestler jealous, or consider your options until your muscles have diminished so much that you can't even lift a toast to your dearly departed dreams, but none of that will mean squat if you don't GET UP and make it happen!

Why are you still sitting here? Get out there and Take Action!

About the Author

Aaron Potts is the owner and creator of Fitness Destinations. Aaron's experience in the health and fitness industry includes one on one personal training in many different environments, maintenance of several health-related websites, and authoring of many fitness-related products for consumers and fitness professionals. http://www.fitnessdestinations.com


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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