>Fitness is a transient phenomenon. Everyone can get more fit. Conversely, everyone — even that morning jogger — can experience fitness declines. All it takes to lose fitness is decreasing training overload; that is, failing to continually stress muscles to improve their performance. This is why the diet and supplement industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. The unfortunate reality is that there are no true quick fixes; fitness is a lifestyle.
>Contrary to popular belief, there is no "best" diet or workout. Successful fitness programming is very personal. Everyone's body is unique to some degree; fitness programs have to be tailored to suit your individual goals and lifestyle. If you simply move a little more and eat a little better each day, you are destined to become more fit. Conversely, if you do the opposite your waistline is certain to expand.
>The only universal component everyone needs is a plan for success. All goals and self-expectations must be realistic and reasonably well suited to your personal daily grind. Here is a framework you can use to make a fitness plan customized to your own personal success.
>Recognize the causes of previous fitness degradation. If you haven't identified and confronted past reasons for fitness shortcomings, you won't be able to move forward in your relationship with your body. Review the basics: Determine how you will handle fitting in fitness when you are stressed, working long hours or are confronted with frequent social engagements that involve dining out. When you can successfully identify your pitfalls, you can take precautions against cheating on your body.
>Step 3: Figure out why you are where you are.
>Now it is time for your prescription. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise is medicine. Your prescription must address both exercise and eating habits. It should start small and grow as you adopt a new, healthier lifestyle. Many exercises that can be integrated into your program are available in previous issues of Alert Diver or at AlertDiver.com. Adopting a fit lifestyle takes time. It is imperative you incorporate gradual changes to both your nutrition and exercise habits.
>Step 5: Identify your exercise and nutritional changes.
>Here are a few nutritional and physical-activity habits clients have found beneficial.
- Eat a bag of raw celery each day before noon to help ward off hunger. (Substitute any raw vegetable.)
- Drink water just before each meal.
- Make sure at least half of each plate contains fruits and vegetables.
- Box up a portion of restaurant meals before eating.
- Leave a few bites on every plate.
- Climb the stairs each morning and afternoon.
- Go for a walk at lunch.
- Add push-ups or sit-ups at the beginning and/or end of each day.
- Sign up for a community "fun run/walk."
- Become conscious of good posture; keep shoulders back and tummy in.
>Note: To avoid an increased risk of decompression sickness, DAN recommends that divers avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours after making a dive. Always make sure that you have medical clearance to exercise during your annual physical exam or following any changes in your state of health.
>© Alert Diver — Winter 2012