Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Invest in Yourself

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, KentuckyDo you have some type of plan for financing your retirement? We understand that money invested early in life will pay benefits later in life. Even if it is painful at the time, saving and investing money when you are young will increase the quality of your life in later years.

Now, have you thought about those exact same principles in relation to exercise? If you haven’t, then it is time that you do. When it comes to “investing now for future benefits,” exercise and money are a lot alike. If you can start to see exercise as an active investment in your retirement-age health, then you may be much more likely to start and stick with exercise.

When it comes to investing money, the sooner you start, the greater the potential reward. But financial advisers will tell you it’s never too late to start. Is this the same with exercise? Most experts would say yes.

People who moderately exercise throughout their life often have greater “rewards” in their later years, but those who are late starters still reap benefits. In fact, you have a better chance of making up ground with exercise than you do with investing money.

Lifelong exercisers are more likely to avoid conditions such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. However, those who start later and already have one or more of these conditions can often cure themselves of these through exercise.

Exercise is not a guarantee that you will not develop a chronic condition, but there are no guarantees with financial investments either. Do you think you will make more money by NOT investing? Do you think you will see greater results in your body and health by not exercising?

See your body as your most precious commodity, for without it, life is over. Take care of your body and prepare it for retirement like you prepare you bank accounts. Invest in yourself on a regular basis for years and years and you will see the rewards of your efforts. It is not easy and does take discipline, but it is worth it. You are worth it.

Responsibility Plan

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYWhen you achieve the goal of accepting total personal responsibility for your health and fitness, you reap rewards.

The first step of accepting responsibility for your health and fitness is the most important. You must admit it: admit that you and only you are responsible for your wellness. This is simple, but not always easy. We are taught to look elsewhere and place blame.

We blame the fast food industry, the advertising industry, for “making” us eat too much junk food. We blame our genetics for our less-than-perfect bodies and for making it impossible to lose weight. We blame our busy lives for never having the time to work out. We even blame our age. If I were only younger I could work out, and on and on.

1. Stopping the blame game is the first step. Stop looking around at other people and other things and using them as excuses to stay unfit, overweight and unhealthy. Once you realize that you have the power to make some positive changes in your life to improve your health and fitness, you will. Keep making excuses and saying that it can’t be done, and you will stay exactly where you are.

Once you have given yourself permission to be in control, you are on your way. So now what?

2. Prioritizing is a great next step. Make a prioritized list of what, in terms of improving health and fitness, you want to do. These priorities should be personal to you, but in step with the goal of improving health and fitness. They should also be specific. A priority like “looking better” is too general and can easily fall out of the health and fitness vein. You can change your hairstyle and look better, but not have improved your health at all.

Common priorities are things like increase cardiovascular fitness, lower cholesterol, improve bone density, reduce back pain, lose weight. Put some thought into your priorities. They are the key to the direction that your journey towards improved health and fitness will take.

Once you have your list of health/fitness priorities, then it is time to make some goals.

3. Any goal is more likely to be achieved if it is based on something that is truly important to you. The priority list helps assure you that the goals are based on things you have identified as being important to you. Goals should also be specific. If one of your priorities is to lose weight, then your goal should say how much and in how much time. You also might have a goal to eat two pieces of fruit a day, instead of high calorie snacks, to help you lose weight; you may have a goal of playing a back pain-free round of golf or lowering your cholesterol by 20 points. Try to make at least one goal for each priority.

Once you have established goals, it is a good idea to put them away for a few days and then review them with a fresh mind. Sometimes you get a little excited when making goals and they drift into the “unattainable” category. This is not good. Goals must be reasonable and attainable. The purpose of goals is to motivate. Establishing unattainable goals with have the opposite effect: it will demoralize you into quitting. Goals should fit your ability and your life. Make sure, when setting goals, you take into account things like work, family, time, budget.

When you have a list of goals that you know are reasonable, attainable (with work, of course), it’s time to make a plan.

4. It is at this stage that you can look to others to help you without feeling like you are giving the responsibility to someone else. When you seek the help of someone else for a plan, e.g., a trainer, a nutritionist or walking partner, AFTER you have established your own priorities and goals, it is an extension of personal responsibility, not a substitute for it.

There is nothing wrong or weak about seeking help to succeed. In fact, this increases your chance for success. Making a plan that will result in reaching your goals requires you to identify the areas in which you need help. You may have a perfectly reasonable goal, such as in increase your core strength, but have no idea how to do it. This does not mean it is a bad goal, it just means that you need help to achieve it. The help in this instance is education and/or instruction.

It is a good plan to hire a qualified trainer to educate you in this area so you can reach your goal. Your plan has to help you reach the goals you have set forth. Your plan may require you to go to a gym, get up earlier to walk before work, change your shopping and eating out habits, among others.

A plan is essential. Don’t just make priorities and goals with no thought of how you are going to achieve them. Goals alone don’t mean anything, it’s how you plan to achieve them that’s important.

5. The last step is simple. Just do it. Put your plan into action. If you have taken the time to follow these steps, then this should be the easy part. Try to remember that the plan you are about to start is something that you designed, based on your life’s priorities.

You are not doing what someone else told you you need to do. You are doing what you decided you need to do. It is always much easier to work on something for yourself than for someone else. This is your plan, so take pride in it, enjoy it and reap the benefits of its brilliant design.


Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYMost of us have lives that we feel are too busy; we never seem to have the time to finish all the items on our list. So how could we possibly add exercise to our life? Good question.

I cannot argue with the fact that most people are unbelievably busy or that trying to find 30-60 minutes to work out a few days a week can look like an impossible goal.

However, I also know that it is something we have to do.

Not liking exercise, not having the time for exercise, not having exercise as part of your core value system are all valid reasons for not doing it—except for the fact that you still HAVE to.

There is no substitute for exercise, period. It doesn’t matter if you need to lose weight or not, if you are healthy or not, if you are athletic or not, or what age you are; you still have to exercise.

Paying your taxes, taking out the garbage, brushing your teeth, doing your laundry; these are some of things that, as adults, we do, even if we don’t like them. We FIND time to do these things, because we know there are negative consequences if we don’t.

If you love exercise, you won’t put it in the same category as these tedious tasks, but most people do not like exercise. If you don’t, you need to put this in the category of things you don’t like but that you do anyway because you have to, and because of the negative consequences of not doing it.

Maybe the consequences of not exercising are not abrupt enough to get you to action. Maybe you can’t connect the dots of all the medications you take, the extra weight you are carrying around and how lousy you feel, with the fact that you’re not exercising enough. Maybe you don’t care about dying earlier than you should or being completely dependent on others during the last decade of your life because your body has failed you, but the doctors are still keeping alive. I don’t know, but it worries me.

The inactivity of the citizens of this country and the epidemic of obesity is frightening to me. My goal, as a wellness professional, is to try to “open the eyes” of as many people as I can to the idea that moderate, consistent exercise must be part of your life and that all responsible adults should have this as part of their “have to” list of things to be done.

Again, I understand, sympathize and empathize with all who feel too busy to add exercise to your life. If it was easy to get yourself to exercise as much as you should, then there would be little need for the field of personal training (which happens to be one of the fastest-growing professions in our country). It is difficult to overcome inertia and work out; it is difficult to see the time in your busy life it takes; it is difficult to make yet another commitment in your busy life… but you have to.

Please start from this premise: you HAVE to exercise. Start from there and then figure out how you can do it. For many, hiring a personal trainer, making the appointment and putting it in your calendar is the only way it happens. For others, putting together a group of friends to walk with on a daily basis is what works for them. It doesn’t matter how you do it, you just have to do it.

Make a different resolution this year regarding exercise. Don’t make a resolution to DO exercise; make a resolution to realize that you have to do it and that you are going to put it on your list of “have to do, even if I don’t like to do” list and that it has to stay on that list.

Trade Guilt for Goals

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYWe live our lives constantly talking about what we “should” do or “have to” do or be doing. I should weed the garden instead of taking a nap; I should clean the house instead of going out to lunch; I have to go to this event, even though I don’t want to, etc. This attitude carries over into health and wellness and, in my opinion, puts a negative spin on the whole process.

When you “have to” do something or feel like you “should” do something, you don’t feel excited about it; it’s a chore. Chores have a negative vibe about them and we all try to figure out a way out of doing them. We use our ability to rationalize to help us feel OK about not doing what we “have” to or “should” do. For example, I know I should take a walk, but it looks like it might rain. Or, I should get the grilled chicken, but this is a special occasion, so the fried chicken is OK.

People are very good at playing this game of rationalizing your way out of should do’s and have to’s to escape regular exercise and a healthy diet. The unfortunate thing is that the only one that is hurt by this behavior is YOU. If you rationalize your way out of exercising (the gym’s too far; it will be too crowded) and a healthy diet (I’ll eat better tomorrow; it’s just one day) it’s you who deal with the consequences of this behavior. Whether weight issues, health issues or both, you have to carry the burden of your behavior.

I would like to give you another perspective that might make it easier to live a more fit and healthy life.

Instead of thinking in the “have to” or “should do” mode, change the paradigm and start thinking in the “who do I want to be” mode.

Stop focusing on what you think you have to do and what you should be and flip it around. Ask yourself what you want to be. What do you want your life to be? What do you want to do to achieve this? Give yourself the control and the power over your choices. Humans like to be in control of their own lives; they generally hate being told what to do.

If you see choices regarding exercise and diet as things that other people are telling you to do, you will be less likely to do them. Instead, if you think about who you want to be and how you want to live your life, you will be more likely to make your own choices to support your desires.

So, who do you want to be? Do you want to be someone that can choose between taking the bus tour through the Tuscan countryside or the walking tour, or do you want to be the person who has no choice but to ride on the bus? Do you want to be the person who can play with your kids/grandkids or do you want to be the person who sits in a chair and watches?

Do you want to be the person that is still active and independent in your 80s and 90s or do you want to be the person in the bed in the nursing home that needs other people to help you dress, eat, etc.?

Who/what you want to be is a very personal choice. You should be the one to make this choice; someone else should not tell you who you want to be or what you should be or do.

Not only should you be making the choice about who/what you want to be and what kind of life you want to live, but you should also embrace the personal responsibility of achieving this. No gym, workout, trainer, nutritionist, etc. makes changes in your life; you make the changes. Change comes when you decide you want to make it happen, not when someone else tells you to.

So, spend a little time thinking, imagining about who it is and what it is you really want to be. After you have a clear picture of this, then start thinking about what you WANT to do to make your vision a reality. Take control of your life and then use others to help you stay on track of your vision. Don’t seek out others to tell you what or who you should be.

I believe that people are who they want to be and that change comes when the vision changes inside, not when they get a list of have to’s and should do’s from someone else.

Who do you want to be?

Trainer Tip: 2012 Success Plan by Laura Cooms, ATC, CSCS

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Fitness Plus trainer, Laura Coombs

What are your goals for 2012?  Many of us use the New Year to re-charge our focus on self-improvement of some kind.   The 5 steps below can help you stick to your resolutions and keep you motivated long enough to make a real change this year.   I’m a fan of lists, so get your pen and paper out and let’s make a plan!


Preparation before Action. Gather your tools!  Many people dive into a goal dreaming about the end result and don’t take time to plan.   List 10 things you’ll need for success with your goal.  If you want to lose 20 pounds this year, your list might include a good pair of walking shoes, a pedometer, a water bottle, a subscription to a fitness magazine, a personal trainer, an exercise DVD, a food journal, an exercise buddy, a specific time of day and weekly schedule for exercise, and a commitment to eating more veggies.   This step can also be used to consider your potential barriers to success and remove them!  Make time to remove excuses.  See your doctor if you have aches or pains that prevent you from exercising.   Get a new cookbook and learn how to make vegetables delicious.   Make new friends who are active if your current mode of social networking involves sitting, eating, or drinking.  If you have kids at home, choose exercises that are family friendly like walking, dancing, going to the playground, or playing ball.

Being vs. Having. “What would Dara do?”  My fitness role model, Dara Torres, crosses my mind every time I reach for a cookie, head for the couch, or blow off my workout.  Instead of focusing on HAVING arms and abs like hers, it helps me to focus on BEING the girl that would opt for a nutritious snack, an energizing run, or a visit to the weight room.    Similarly, when we think about BEING that person who loses 20 pounds, we “be” that person who stands up a little taller, pulls our core in a little tighter, drinks water instead of soda, eats veggies instead of sugary carbs, and chooses to walk instead of sit.  This mentality also prevents a relapse to old behaviors once we meet our goal.  It motivates us to continue toward a new goal when we meet our current one.  Instead of just HAVING buff arms and abs or a 20 pound weight loss, we end up BEING someone with excellent habits and behaviors long beyond our target goal.  What are 10 things you can “be” while working toward your goal?

Approach vs. Avoid. Be a “yes” man (or woman).  Saying yes, or approaching, positive behaviors is better for our psyche than trying to avoid negative behaviors.  Basically, approaching makes us happy! Encouraged! Proud! On the other hand, avoiding makes us feel deprived, anxious, and punished.  APPROACH 10 specific things that will help you reach your goals, like 30 minutes of exercise/day, 5 veggies/day,  plenty of water, and a weekly visit to the farmer’s market, vs. focusing on avoiding laziness, avoiding sweets, avoiding soda, and avoiding fast food. The outcome will be the same, but you’ll feel more motivated to continue.

Process vs. Outcome. Stay in the moment.  Stop obsessing about the outcome. In my experience as a trainer, people who maintain excellent health and fitness for a lifetime are the ones that really enjoy the process.  We like the challenge of making our plate colorful or our running stride quiet or our muscles contract through a full range of motion (OK…maybe that’s just me).  Try focusing on your workout PROCESS by paying attention to your breath, your energy, your power, your balance, your posture…instead of focusing on the outcome of losing 20 pounds.  You will be more motivated to eat right and exercise if you find a way to enjoy the process.  What are 10 PROCESS goals you can set for yourself?

Why? Why? Why? Get invested.  We are more motivated by goals that have deep meaning.  Yes, I want to look like Dara Torres, but that won’t always be enough to motivate me.  Ask yourself, “Why MUST I accomplish this goal this year?”  List 10 reasons why it has to happen now.  I MUST workout like Dara Torres this year because it will prevent heart disease and cancer, which both run in my family.  I MUST workout like Dara Torres this year because I want to continue climbing the mountains of the Adirondacks and not get injured.  I MUST workout like Dara Torres this year because I have 10 nieces and nephews who are counting on me to chase them around the playground.  On a day when you’re feeling uninspired by your goal to lose 20 pounds, your list of meaningful reasons behind your goal will motivate you.   This list may also help you to uncover complimentary paths to your goal, like hiking and playing on the monkey bars more.  Why (x 10) are you going to meet your goal this year?

Hopefully the wheels of motivation and success are turning now.  Take a look back at your lists every month and make adjustments/additions as you proceed toward your goal.  Have a healthy, happy 2012!


Laura Coombs is a Certified Personal Trainer at Fitness Plus and is the Personal Training Faculty Head at Lexington Healing Arts Academy.  Her class “Lifestyle Fitness Coaching” combines the elements of personal training with exercise psychology and behavior modification.  She can be reached at