1940sindustrialposter sm Making Workouts Work For You   A business approach to getting in shape

When I first started out as an artist in 1990, there were hundreds of struggling artists in Austin complaining of not finding any “real” work. Of course an artist who works regularly is successful, and balances their energy between being creative and being entrepreneurial. Many talented people refuse to do it this way. They focus on the art itself… the fun part! That’s important, too, but almost not as important as the business side. It’s like my design professor said at university, “Talent is only 10%. That piece of paper is only worth 5.” There are plenty of gifted people out there who never achieve their goals because they don’t know how to package, sell or market what they have to offer.

Everything soon came together for me, and I realized this business approach works in every aspect of life if you truly want to find direction and make tangible progress. It even works for health and fitness. In fact, it works quite well!

Think of this as a business workshop for your health. Begin by looking at the development of a diet and fitness program as if you were starting your own small business, and the product you are manufacturing is a newer, fitter, healthier, better-organized, more motivated, sexier you.

Industrial-Strength or Lemon Scented?
Begin by choosing a name for your Product and writing a mission statement for your company ― one which means a lot to you and will drive every decision you make about your “business.” For instance a name like “No Excuses” or “Be Ready” tells you instantly each time you read it what your objective should be for every decision you make. My personal brand name is “I Will Be Unreasonable: I will not reason my way out of anything by making excuses.” I’m an artist so it only makes sense that I live my life as unreasonably as possible. But my business aim is in the statement, moving towards a targeted goal. Concentrate on your name and mission statement every time you blow out the candles on your company’s anniversary cake, and every other time you need to remind yourself about what’s most important to you and to your life.

The Sweet Smell of Sweat!
I’m no athlete. When I was a kid, I was always picked last for team sports. I’d run the other way before a dreaded dodge ball nailed me in PE. I scored a soccer goal once! For the other team. But just because I have a checkered athletic history doesn’t mean I don’t like to exercise. In fact, I’ve learned over the years that I pretty much love it.

I thank my lucky stars that my parents signed me up for the Champions Swim Team at the age of 4. Not only because it was fun (and sometimes I was picked second to last for team sports), but also because it was there that I learned to swim and to compete. I was not a strong swimmer. I was always a delicate build. I had no strong muscles like my friends were born with, and had a deep fear of heights which prevented me from the Diving Team. So the second year my parents decided that we would just swim for fun and that made all the difference. Now I go swimming as often as I can. It makes me ridiculously happy to be immersed in water.

The days of disco introduced me to roller skating parties and roller derby, enticing us with “speed skates” and “couples skates,” Xanadu, and a whole lot of girl fights. I still have a tendency to pull out my old roller skates (the ones with the pink wheels) and roll around the ad agency where I work ― for speed purposes, of course. But you would be surprised at how much traction you can get from the office carpet and get a incredible 3 o’clock energy boost, unlike the usual office party birthday cake sugar fix. It also gets me out of the office quicker so I can have more quality time afterhours.

The best exercise for me was always jazz, tap, and ballet. My most strenuous programs. Three classes three times a week plus recitals! And I excelled at it. I was always good at ballet, tap and jazz. I may not have been blessed with muscles, but I had definite rhythm and from the time I was born I loved music. I enjoyed jazz more than anything. Later in life this resulted in taking weekly Jazzercise classes that with a friend when we got off work. And I still take ballet classes to this day.

Then one day at our office gym I wandered into a yoga class when I wasn’t in the mood for aerobics or stepping. I was immediately hooked. Obsessed. Yoga changed my life. Now I’ve tried just about every kind of yoga there is. They’re gonna make me go to rehab.

Of course, sometimes a swim is just a swim, a yoga class is just a yoga class, ballet is just ballet, and there’s nothing life changing about it. But when a swim or a class is pretty darn good, it’s just great. All this to say, when it comes to exercise, find your bliss.

Change Your View to Increase Results
I believe the most important difference between this time and all of my failed attempts at weight loss is the change in my thoughts and views. I viewed exercise as a short-term weight loss plan or something that athletes and naturally fit people pursued. I figured it would be very difficult for me because I was not athletic and therefore was inept at exercise. This of course, meant that I should give up and leave it to the “natural born athletes.” Boy, was I wrong…

Remember, just as in business, the choices you make today have a direct effect on results you will experience tomorrow. Many people starting a new fitness routine work too hard or long, and consequently feel overwhelmed and quickly give up. Avoid this “jump start/failure cycle” by starting small. Start with the type of challenge that you will be most comfortable completing on a regular basis. The smaller the challenge, the quicker it will begin to feel easy. Seeing and feeling your physical fitness improve provides fantastic motivation.

Use this knowledge to motivate yourself to make healthier choices today and empower yourself to create a healthier tomorrow.

Valerie Johnson is an Advertising Creative Director and Independent Beachbody Coach. Read her month long series “If You Build It, You Will Become” beginning May 3rd on TheTotalEffect.wordpress.com

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