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Check One Off the Bucket List


If there is one piece of advice that I gleaned from my experience running the Toronto Marathon, it would be to never run a marathon if you can avoid it. Of course I’m partly joking, the experience was grueling, uncomfortable, and frustrating, and this is exactly why I did it. It’s been said that no one has ever become great by being comfortable, and I have found this to be true in all areas of life including weight loss and fitness.

So many times we look at discomfort as a per se bad thing; however I see the willingness to endure discomfort for a purpose to be badge of honor, worn by those working hard to get what they want. Many times when we see a person who has made significant changes in their fitness we see only their results, but in reality what you are seeing are the culmination of hours spent in the gym, months of ignoring cravings and appetite, and a daily commitment to do whatever it takes to reach their goals.

I hope that you find something worth being uncomfortable for, and when you do that you take pride in the process of getting there. When your stomach growls and cravings hit, smile that you have made the choice to force your body to get rid of fat first. When your legs are sore and you are short of breath during exercise, imagine how your body will change to make your workouts easier. And if for some crazy reason you decide to complete a marathon, drag yourself to the finish line with the knowledge that you are tougher and more determined than all those people sitting at home on a Sunday morning. Remember that while they are being comfortable, you are becoming great.

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Exercising for a Purpose: Setting Fitness Goals


One of the keys to successfully achieving any goal is to develop habits that help you reach it. This is especially true of losing weight. A great way to compliment your new diet is to pick an athletic activity that seems just a little too difficult and just do it. This is something that I have personally learned a lot about when I decided to give myself 12 weeks to prepare for, and run, my first marathon.

Of course not everyone will go from start to marathon in that kind of time frame, but anyone CAN pick a goal that seems just a little too hard for them and tackle it. Whether you choose to run a 5k, pick up a 200 pound barbell, or just walk around your entire neighborhood without sitting down, here are some tips that will help you reach your fitness goals.

Pick a barely attainable goal

After you’ve thought about what kind of activity you want to do, it is a good idea to think of what you could do in 4 months, and decide to do it in 12 weeks. By overreaching just slightly you will be motivated to work harder and may just surprise yourself with how well you do.

Exercise frequently, but don’t hurt yourself

A lot of people, when first attempting to lose weight through exercise, will push themselves to the point of injury early on and find that they unable to continue their new routine. Exercise as frequently as you can so long as you have enough energy and aren’t experiencing pain beyond typical soreness. (If you do experience exercise related pain that is either unbearable or not within you muscle, ask a medical profession before continuing any new program.)

Mix it up

Despite what you may expect, my marathon training program did not involved countless miles ran over days and days. Instead I ran a few times a week, often times running shorter distances repeatedly, and lifted weights throughout. This kind of approach helps keep things fun while avoiding the “repetitive motion injuries”. If you have a specific goal in mind and aren’t sure where to start, ask us and we will try to point you toward an appropriate training program.

Feed your exercise

While you want to be on a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, do keep in mind that the amount of energy your body can burn from body fat in a day is limited. If you have especially difficult workouts, or find yourself exercising vigorously and frequently mention this to your doctor when discussing nutrition plans in order to adequately fuel your body for exercise.


Stretch well, sleep well, and recover well. You body needs these things to stay healthy and to get strong, so don’t ignore the recovery if you want the best results from your exercise.

That’s it, a few tips to help you get started on whatever activity you decide to pursue. Good luck, and for any of you who are wondering, I am running the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon in 2 days as of this posting. Look for a follow up article after my race for some additional reflections as well as some tips on how to pick your next first goal after achieving your first.  I hope to see some of you next year at the Pittsburgh marathon.