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A balanced approach to fitness and family

Posted August 21, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

When you see the traditional fitness ad, it usually involves a hard body or hot chick seducing you to look like they do.

Are you a failure if you don’t have the hard body? When considering getting into shape do you envision extreme measures? Will it take a no-carb diet? Low carbs? Shakes? Seven days a week in the gym? What? I don’t think people view another possible way. I’d like to submit to you the word — balance.

Look — it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s super-fitness parent. This magazine cover image urges you to fit in the Wonder Woman costume or don the red cap. Relax, it does not exist.

If you want a harmonious balanced family and fitness life, you must fix your eyes on your priorities, while remaining flexible. To be in balance is to understand and rate what is important and what you should let slide. I know what works best for me, but what works for you? Symmetry is within your reach, and anything you want to do, you can and should do when the time is right.

Here are some practical ways to create and maintain balance in your fitness and family life. Start by prioritizing. As you write each item down you’ll notice what you value and what goals you want to reach.

Secondly, get out the calendar and list your activities. Writing them down on paper is effective. Underline neutral activities. These are the items that neither support nor take away from your priorities. These might include coffee with a friend or TV/Internet use. Act on your list. Don’t delay.

Next, ease into it. If your priority is to lose 40 pounds, don’t start with six days a week in the gym and 50 minutes of cardio, 30 carbs a day and a new wardrobe. I’d say let’s start two days a week and ease into it. Slower results will give you longer-term success. As you prioritize you may find your job changes, and you’ll be ready for and look forward to more days a week at the gym.

Next, pay attention to others, especially close friends whom you respect. They have a way of noticing if you are spread too thin. Establish boundaries. There is nothing wrong with saying “Thanks for thinking of me, but I politely decline at this time.”

Identify your personal obstacles and decide if they are self-imposed balance blockers. We all have them. Usually they are grounded in deep feelings and insecurities that keep us unhealthy and stressed out. Drop perfection — it doesn’t exist. Instead live a balanced life.

So what are you going to pursue? More time with the kids? Connect with new and old friends? Start with a trainer for guidance and accountability? All could involve you living a balanced fitness and family life.

Information provided by David Charleston, owner of The Orange Planet Athletic Club in Pleasant Hill.

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