Tue, Feb. 18

How to win at the fitness game

By Magdalena Romanska

Ph.D., Fitness Specialist

"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win." - Zig Ziglar

In life and in competition, we do not win at the finish line. We win as we proceed towards it: by persistently taking steps towards our goals, by making daily decisions to go out and walk rather than sleep in one hour longer, by sticking to our resolutions of eating healthy and "clean." We win over the weeks, months and years, as we realize our potential, build up our strategy and steadily progress towards our goals. We win when we develop the mentality of a winner and when we are at it full-time, 24/24 and 365/365.

To win, we need to be ready "inside," believe we can win, commit to our plan and get all the "outside" factors on our side.

We have to plot what we want to achieve and by when. We need the support of the family and friends (as in not sabotaging our decision to eat healthy).

It takes quite lots of focusing on the goals at hand, pursuing them relentlessly by developing goal-supporting habits, visualizing achieving your desired outcome, acting as we are already about to win, and believing that we will win! Practicing the winning game and your winning attitude brings you that much closer to your goals.

Divide the time over which you plan to reach your goal into smaller, manageable chunks. For example, if you decide to build 5 pounds of muscle mass and lose 10 pounds of fat in three months, divide this time into three month-long chunks.

These month-long periods shall be divided further into weekly time slots, and then into the daily action. You can manage a day or a week of exercising and healthy eating at a time, can't you? Doing the same over the whole three months would soon become an overwhelming task, which you'd be tempted to give up.

On a daily basis, we need to be accountable for each and every action we take: Is what I am doing now bringing me closer to my goals? Believe it or not, sooner or later, this will result in creating new habits, supporting your attempts at reaching the pre-established goals.

Sometimes, it is just so tempting to find an excuse not to exercise or not to eat healthy. As a winner, you, actually, think how to find time for exercise, you plan to shop for healthy food and plan a healthy menu for the week.

You also plan for unforeseen circumstances: oftentimes, we hear an excuse about travel: "I travel, therefore I cannot eat healthy." Yes you can. You can, if you only plan for it.

Successful people see an obstacle and develop a strategy how to overcome it. If you travel by car, buy yourself a large cooler, prepare what you can at home and start from there.

Pretty much all hotels and motels have a fridge. Or, you can keep fresh ice in your cooler and keep your healthy foods in the cooler. If you run out of healthy foods, buy them at a local store at your destination, replenish your cooler and continue on the road!

If you travel by plane, become a master at getting roasted chicken breasts past the security, have steel-cut oats and ask the flight attendant for hot water to dilute them. Have nuts and fruits with you.

Or, for those of you who use it, have your protein powder - so easy to create super healthy shakes, even on the road! I have been using all of the above tricks while I travel - from a simple overnight trip to a triathlon race to 3-week-long intercontinental endeavors. Don't be afraid to win: If we want, we can win. Good luck, I believe in you!

Magdalena is the owner of the "Be Fit Fit" Personal Training Studio ( Her "Be Fit Fit" Blog can be read on

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