Monthly Archives for December 2011

Archives for December 2011

How to Do the Human Flag.

Want to set your sights on one of the most difficult exercises and perhaps best party trick, ever? Introducing the human flag.

Each Tuesday night, I attend an adult group gymnastics class. The participants represent a wide variety of ability levels, but one of the more advanced students recently challenged me to do a human flag. Truth be told, I didn’t even realize it was even possible.

As the picture demonstrates, the human flag involves holding onto a vertical pole and fully extending your body parallel to the ground. To do it properly, your arms should be fully extended. Obviously, it requires a tremendous amount of upper body and core strength.

If you’d like to do the human flag, use these training tips:

  1. Get really good at tension exercises like planks and side planks. Also try planks and side planks with just one foot and one arm on the ground.
  2. Since the human flag involves both pulling (with the upper hand) and pushing (with the lower hand), you need to get comfortable with those types of exercises. Lots of pull-ups and push-ups are in order.
  3. The human flag with straddled or split legs is slightly easier.

    Do handstands. They’re not easy, but handstands help improve your stability and core strength. To start, do handstands against the wall. As you become more comfortable, do freestanding handstands.

  4. The exercise called hollow rocks is also great training; it puts your abdominal muscles under pressure while the body is in movement.

Here’s how to do the flag:

  1. When holding a pole, switch your grip so that one palm faces forward and one palm faces back.
  2. Maintain a wide grip; if your grip is too narrow, stability is difficult.
  3. Pull in with the top hand and push out with the bottom hand; this will keep your body supported.
  4. When starting out, try doing a flag with your legs straddled (see picture). This brings some of the weight closer to the pole and is easier to support.
  5. Know that it takes time! Don’t expect to hold your first flag for more than a split second. It takes time to build up to it.
  6. When you do a full flag with straight legs, you need to tense your entire body – all the way down through your butt, legs and toes.

It’s a super difficult and intense exercise – so it will take a while to get it perfectly. I’m still not there yet – but once I am, I’ll be sure to make a video to show you! And enjoy it – it’s a lot of fun.

The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program is HERE!

The teasing is over: It’s finally here!

Just in time for your New Year’s resolutions, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Programand a special discount for you!

More than six months in the making, I worked with a team of industry experts on this amazing program to transform your body and your life. It’s my first-ever program designed exclusively for releasing extra body weight, and I couldn’t be more proud of the finished product.

I was once overweight. For years during childhood, I struggled with weight problems, overeating and an inactive lifestyle. My journey to a healthier way of life was paved with many challenges – but where there are challenges, there are opportunities. And I learned a lot from my struggle.

Through this program, I’ll share what I’ve learned and help you create a workout program that burns fat and a nutrition plan that targets weight reduction. But above and beyond all of that, I’ll help you build a stronger relationship with your body. As you learn to love your body more, it becomes easier to make decisions that honor it – like exercising and eating smarter.

  • A complete, science-based exercise and nutrition program to help you release weight – whether it’s 20 pounds or 200 pounds – without sacrificing muscle!
  • The perfect solution for people of all fitness levels and ages – even if you don’t have access to a gym!
  • 100% sustainable. It’s about creating permanent, lasting results; if you’re looking for quick fixes or fad diets, then this program is NOT for you!
This program is already helping people transform their bodies and their lives – and I know it can transform yours, too.

Since I know you’ll love it, and because you’re such a loyal blog buddy, I have a special discount for you. Use discount code youtube during checkout to save 25%. This coupon expires January 5th at midnight, so be sure to snag your copy before then. AND, if you order before January 5th at midnight, you’ll also receive my Jock Workout exercise video series (a $59 value) for free!

    (Already have my Jock Workout and don’t need another copy? Email me l and I’ll give you a code for a 50% discount on The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.)

    Download this brand-new program today and start the new year with a renewed commitment to the most important person in the entire universe: YOU!

    Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

    Is Red Meat Really Bad for You?

    A few days ago, I shared my New Year’s resolution. In 2012, I’ll limit my red meat consumption to two meals (or fewer) per week. I received a lot of interesting emails from blog buddies – mostly asking, “What’s so bad about red meat?”

    In short, nothing. Lean cuts of red meat, when eaten in moderation, can certainly be part of a healthy diet. And red meat is definitely rich in muscle-building protein. But eating red meat each and every day can have a negative impact on the body’s health.

    There is a clear link between red meat and heart disease. Depending on the cut and type, red meat can be high in saturated fat – and saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) increase the risk of heart disease.

    (It’s worth noting that grass fed beef is lower in saturated fat than mainstream, grain-fed beef. It’s also higher in Omega 3s, vitamins and nutrients. Still, it’s not exactly healthy.)

    Beyond heart disease, red meat has also been linked to increased cancer risk in some studies, including one by the National Institutes of Health and AARP. Researchers examined 500,000 participants and found that red meat eaters had a 30% increased chance of dying during the 10-year study. Not surprisingly, these findings have been rejected by the beef industry.

    And then there’s the environment. Red meat isn’t just a little bit worse than other food sources in terms of carbon dioxide and other factors that impact the environment, it’s substantially worse. Just look at the attached chart; eating red meat is the culinary equivalent of driving down the highway in a Hummer. According to one study, although beef only accounts for 30% of meat consumption in the developed world, it’s responsible for 78% of the emissions.

    When you consider the impact that red meat has on the human body – and the world as a whole – it’s easy to make a good case for eating less of it. And besides, there are plenty of delicious, healthy and environmentally sound alternatives like chicken and turkey.

    But since it’s still December 28 and I have a few days until my New Year’s resolution, it’s time for a burger.

    Question: What Are You Afraid Of?

    Fro most of us, fear holds us back. What are you afraid of?

    You know that exercise transforms your body and improves the way you feel about yourself. It even boosts your sex life.

    You know all about creating smart fitness goals and achieving them.

    You know how to overcome all the excuses.

    You know that honoring your body with exercise is an extension of honoring your life.

    You know what exercises to do, how much weight to use and how many sets and reps to perform.

    You know that there’s a huge community of more than 100,000 blog buddies to cheer on your accomplishments.

    So, what’s holding you back? The door is open. What’s stopping you from walking through? The path to achieving your fitness goal is clear, so why aren’t you seizing the opportunity?

    For most of us, the answer is fear. I want to know, in the comments below, what you’re most afraid of?

    The Science of Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution.

    Happy New Year!

    According to a study by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, only 22% of us have managed to keep our New Year’s resolutions. In other studies, I’ve seen that number as low was 8%. Whether it’s hitting the gym, changing our diet or kicking bad habits, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, our success rate is alarming low.

    But Wiseman’s team doesn’t stop there and asks the all-important question, “Why?” Why are so many people unable to keep their resolutions?

    For the 78% of people that didn’t stick to their resolutions, the study found common themes. These individuals:

    • Focused on the downside of not achieving their goals,
    • Suppressed cravings,
    • Adopted a role model,
    • Or relied on willpower alone.

    The individuals that stuck to their resolutions, on the other hand, tended to:

    • Break their large goals into small steps and create small changes that, over time, added up,
    • Celebrate their milestones,
    • Share their goals with friends (for additional accountability),
    • Focus on the benefits of success (i.e., how their resolution would improve the quality of their life),
    • Keep a diary of their progress.

    Following the above strategies increases the probability of success to a whopping 50% – and it speaks to the necessity of creating a do-able, realistic plan and the importance of internal motivation, rewards and external accountability.

    Of course, if you don’t stick to your resolution, I wouldn’t view it as failure. Doing so, as Wiseman notes, “is often psychologically harmful because it can rob people of a sense of self control.” Instead, it’s wiser to view our missteps are learning experiences. If you try to build muscle, for example, and don’t – well, then you know you need to use a different approach. After all, failure isn’t falling down – it’s staying down.

    Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

    5 Tips to Get Fit in 2012!

    It’s almost time to welcome in 2012 – and I think it’s important to ring in the new year on the healthiest foot possible.

    So, I put together a short video with five simple and easy tips for you to make 2012 the healthiest year ever! Check it out and let me know what you think!

    Happy Holidays!

    5 Tips: Eliminate Neck Pain During Crunches.

    Hey Davey,

    Whenever I do crunches, I experience neck pain. What am I doing wrong?

    Lots of love,
    Collin

    Hey Collin,

    Crunches are a popular and effective exercise to increase abdominal strength. But when performed with compromised form, crunches can easily lead to neck pain and discomfort.

    Here are some tips to maintain good form:

    • Maintain a fist-sized space between your neck and chest. This will decrease strain on the semispinalis and multifidi neck muscles.
    • Don’t tense your neck; keep neck muscles relaxed while crunching.
    • Remember: The lifting motion is done by elevating your shoulder blades off of the floor rather than straining your neck forward.
    • If your arms are behind your head, do not pull on your head. To prevent this, fold your arms across your chest.
    • Stretch your neck muscles! It well help keep them relaxed.

    If neck pain persists, then you’ll want to contact a medical professional for attention. And remember, as I shared in a recent YouTube video, it takes more than crunches to create a six pack!

    Happy crunching!

    Love,
    Davey

    Low Glycemic Index Foods: 3 Reasons to Love ‘Em?

    Because foods that are low on the glycemic index cause you to feel full longer and help control energy levels, they've become a popular choice for people looking to lose weight or improve general health.

    You’ve probably heard a thing or two about the “glycemic index” in the last year or two. Diets rich in foods that score low on the glycemic index (GI) have become increasingly popular – and there is some mounting (but mixed) evidence to support their effectiveness.

    According the the Mayo Clinic:

    The glycemic index classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise your blood sugar level. Foods are scored on a scale of 0 to 100.

    According to supporters, eating low GI foods has three benefits:

    1. Increased energy. Since low GI foods don’t cause a sharp rise in your blood sugar levels, they result in steady energy levels over a longer period of time. You won’t crash in the same way that you might after eating candy or drinking soda.
    2. Feel full longer. For people looking to lose weight, low GI foods have the advantage of causing you to feel full longer. Moreover, many low GI foods are rich in fiber. Since fiber is digested slowly, it also helps curb hunger.
    3. Improves focus. Since the sugars in low GI foods are released slowly, the brain is given a constant source of energy. Many believe this results in better attention and focus.

    There’s still lots to learn about the glycemic index, but a low GI diet may be worthwhile if you’re open to changing the foods you eat but unwilling to count calories or carbs. Since low GI foods are fairly diverse, it’s a diet plan that is sustainable longer term.

    For general guidance, below is a list of the GI scores for many common foods. Low is a score of 55 or below; medium is a score of 56 to 69; high is a score of 70 or above.

    Have you ever tried a low GI diet? Did you experience results?

    Plan for Your New Year’s Resolution Today!

    Davey's New Year's resolution is to eat less red meat. What is yours?

    2012 is just around the corner, and so it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. While we can resolve to live healthier each and every day, there’s no better time to renew that commitment than the start of a new calendar year.

    In planning for a New Year’s resolution, I follow 9 guidelines including writing my resolution down on paper (this makes it seem more official), articulating why my resolution really matters and shifting my focus to the changes that I need to make.

    Today, I decided on my resolution for 2012. I will limit my consumption of red meat to two meals per week.

    In a lot of ways, red meat is my go-to meal. Hamburgers are quick, easy and delicious – and they help me reach my daily protein requirements. Not to mention the meatballs, meatloaf and steak. But red meat is notoriously bad for the environment and rich in unhealthy fats. This resolution is important to me because it will help improve the health of both my physical body and my extended body (this planet).

    Rather than just focusing on the resolution (i.e., 2 red meat meals or less each week), it makes sense to focus on the changes that are required. When shopping, I’ll replace my beef purchases (like ground beef) with poultry (like ground turkey). Moreover, I’ll need to explore and learn new recipes with leaner alternatives. These are the steps that I need to take.

    With just over a week to go, what resolutions are you considering for 2012? Let me know in the comments below. I’ll send three random commentators a free copy of my Ultimate Guide to Working Out to help kick things off.

    How to Get Kids to Drink Less Soda.

    Earlier in the month, I wrote a post about the number of steps it would take to burn off some popular, high-calorie foods likes pizza (4,560 steps per slice), ice cream (1,980 steps) and french fries (6,000 steps). According to a new study, sobering reminders like these can lower the consumption of unhealthy foods.

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tested three different types of labeling with various signs at different corner stores. They wanted to see if any such signage deterred young people from consuming high calorie colas.

    One sign simply said that each soda can contains 250 calories. In this way, the label mirrored the nutrition information printed on the product. At a second store, the sign said that the soda contains 10 percent of the daily recommended caloric intake. At a third store, the sign reminded customers that it would take 50 minutes of running to counteract the calories in the cola.

    Though each sign reduced soda sales, the sign that highlighted the physical activity equivalent (i.e., 50 minutes of running) was the most effective. Soda sales plummeted by a shocking 50% at that location.

    It seems that some people don’t really understand the concept of calories and what they really mean. But they do understand the concept of spending 50 minutes on the treadmill; that translates much clearer. It makes things less abstract.

    Dr. Sara Bleich, one of the researchers from the study went on to say:

    People generally underestimate the number of calories in the foods and beverages they consume. Providing easily understandable caloric information – particularly in the form of a physical activity equivalent, such as running – may reduce calorie intake from sugar – sweetened beverages and increase water consumption among adolescents.

    On a larger scale, I think the study challenges our current nutrition labeling system. While more research is clearly needed, perhaps we need to consider changing the way we highlight nutrition content to make things clearer and easier to understand for consumers.

    Cardio Before or After Lifting?

    Whether you do cardio before or after lifting can depend on your goals.

    Whether cardio should be done before or after strength training is one of the more hotly contested fitness debates – and it’s a subject that I touch upon in my Ultimate Guide to Working Out. Though there are pretty good arguments on either side, it often comes down to goals.

    If your goal is weight loss or cardiovascular endurance, then it may make sense to do cardio first. You’ll be on the treadmill with a fresh set of legs and able to really push yourself hard (especially if you’re engaged in high intensity interval training). An often-cited study from the Human Performance Research Center at Brigham Young University found that doing cardio first resulted in the greatest number of post-workout calories burned. They also found that doing cardio first was less psychologically taxing. If you’re looking to burn some extra body fat or to improve your cardiovascular endurance, then it may make sense do cardio first.

    If your goal is more muscle size or muscle strength, then you might want to hit the weight room first – while your energy is still high. Many lifters feel partially depleted after a hard session of cardio, and they believe that this impacts their strength training abilities. Lifting also requires a lot of focus – and it could be hard to focus after a brutal session of high intensity interval training on the treadmill. For individuals targeting muscle size or strength, it may be more advantageous to save cardio for the end of the workout. It may make even more sense to do cardio on a different day altogether.

    While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages for the timing of your cardio, know that it’s not going to make or break your workout. If you’re looking to build muscle, for example, but strongly prefer getting your cardio out of the way, then do it first! The most important variable to consider is you – and your personal preference.

    Do you do cardio before or after lifting? Why? Let me know in the comments below.

    Does Alcohol Damage Muscles?

    Dear Davey,

    I was about to start working out when my friend mike was complaining to me about how we wanted to lose weight. So I invited him to join me. He declined by saying, “I’m drinking at the moment and you shouldn’t work out when you drink because it dose more damage to your muscles.”” Is this true? Dose drinking actually do muscle damage when working out?

    From,
    Sam

    Hey Sam,

    Alcohol, depending on how much you drink, can have a fairly dramatic impact on your body’s muscles.

    For one, alcohol hinders the process of protein synthesis (i.e., the production of muscle proteins needed to grow your muscles). By preventing muscle growth, you’re not going to make gains at the gym.

    Second, according to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, binge drinking can cause “acute mypopathy.” Myopathy is myopathy is a muscular disease in which the muscle fibers do not function for any one of many reasons, resulting in muscular weakness. In other words, binge drinking can greatly hinder your performance at the gym by preventing your muscles from working properly.

    I suspect that your friend is referencing myopathy in his refusal to work out. However, it’s the alcohol – and not the physical activity – that is the problem. It’s an important distinction.

    The University of California San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics Department put together a comprehensive bulletin about alcohol and its effects on performance. Some of these include increased fat storage, delayed reaction time, decreased testosterone and many more.

    The bottom line: If you make the decision to drink, it’s important to to do so in moderation; alcohol abuse and misuse can certainly sabotage your gym results.

    Hope that helps! And when alcohol abuse is starting to take its toll on the body of a friend or a loved one, perhaps it’s time to get a professional alcohol intervention specialist to help out.

    Love,
    Davey

    17 Best Healthy Recipe Substitutions.

    Speaking of Canadian bacon... Yum!

    One of the great advantages to cooking at home is that you can control what goes into the food you eat. It’s your food and it’s your body.

    To take your healthier cooking commitment to the next level, I’d encourage you to experiment with some of these amazing food substitutions. Though recipes might call for unhealthy ingredients, feel empowered to try these delicious and flavorful replacements:

    1. Bacon: Try Canadian bacon or turkey bacon instead.
    2. White bread: Whole grain bread.
    3. White flour: Black beans, drained and rinsed, or whole wheat flour.
    4. Butter: Unsweetened applesauce, avocado puree, prune puree or just cut the amount of butter in half.
    5. Cream: Fat-free milk.
    6. Cream cheese: Low-fat cream cheese.
    7. Sugar: Unsweetened applesauce, or cut sugar in half and add some vanilla.
    8. Frosting: Use meringue instead.
    9. White rice: Brown rice.
    10. Pasta: Zucchini ribbons.
    11. Breadcrumbs: Rolled oats.
    12. Beef: Bison – it’s lower in fat and has more vitamins.
    13. Ground beef: Ground turkey.
    14. Sour cream: Greek yogurt.
    15. Mayo: Mashed avocado.
    16. Salt: Herbs.
    17. Soda: Seltzer water.

    Do you have any healthy recipe substitutions that you use at home? Let me know in the comments!

    How to Manage Emotional Eating.

    Emotional eaters reach for food not when they’re hungry, but rather in reaction to what they’re feeling. Emotional eating may be triggered by sadness, anger, anxiousness or any other feeling – and food is used as the pacifier or cooping mechanism.

    When we talk about reducing mindless snacking and controlling the amount of food we eat, it’s common to hear tips about hiding unhealthy foods or storing them outside of reach. And while these tips are helpful, they’re treating the symptoms and not the actual problem.

    A new study by UCSF researchers, published online in the Journal of Obesity, looks at the relationship between mindful eating, stress reduction techniques and overeating. While the study was conducted only with women, I’m sure that men can learn from the findings as well.

    The participants were divided into to groups. The first group was the control. The second group underwent a series of classes to help the women better manage their stress and understand their eating habits. The women learned meditation techniques and how to be more aware of their eating by recognizing bodily sensations like hunger, fullness and taste satisfaction.

    Not only did the second group of women who received the training decrease their stress (researchers were able to measure drops in the stress hormone cortisol), but they also lost the most weight.

    The lead researcher reported:

    In this study we were trying to cultivate people’s ability to pay attention to their sensations of hunger, fullness and taste satisfaction as a guide for limiting how much they eat. We tried to reduce eating in response to emotions or external cues that typically drive overeating behavior.

    She went on to note that additional research is still needed.

    But this study does point to the importance of managing the triggers that lead to overeating – rather than just trying to reduce the eating itself. It’s certainly food for thought.

    Video: Six Pack Secret Exposed!

    For the last few weeks, I’ve been participating in YouTube’s Next Trainer program.

    As part of the program, we get video assignments. Two weeks ago, we were charged with making a holiday-themed video – and so I made one about the worst holiday foods. This week, we had to create a core-themed video. While an ab workout would be the obvious choice, I thought it would be more interesting to explain why crunches and situps don’t necessarily result in a six pack.

    Check out the video and let me know what you think!

    How Many Steps Is That Pizza?

    A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, but it takes 4,560 steps to burn the calories in a slice of pepperoni and cheese pizza. To put that into perspective, that translates to about two miles. Sobering, isn’t it?

    Obviously, we need food to live – and calories are a necessity. But by being aware of the calorie content in some of these unhealthy food options, we can can make wiser decisions.

    Courtesy of a company called GlobalFit, here are some of the top offenders:

    • One serving of mashed potatoes – 1,540 steps
    • One serving of chocolate ice cream – 1,980 steps
    • Macaroni and cheese – 2,640 steps
    • Large French fries – 6,000 steps
    • Slice of pepperoni pizza – 4,560 steps
    • Cheeseburger – 3,840 steps
    • Doughnut – 2,640 steps
    • Chocolate-chip cookie – 2,520 steps
    • Milk chocolate bar – 2,520 steps
    • 16 potato chips – 1,800 steps
    • Mug of beer – 1,680 steps
    • Can of cola – 1,680 steps
    • 4 cups of buttered popcorn – 1,488 steps
    • 10 thin pretzels – 1,320 steps

    Of course, rather than focus our energy and attention on all these unhealthy foods, I think it’s much wiser to think about all the wonderful, colorful and nourishing healthy foods that are available to us.

    And who eats just one slice of pizza, anyway?!

    Kettlebells Review.

    To get into shape for the movie "300," super-hunk-daddy Gerard Butler used a kettlebell workout!

    In a world where fitness trends come and go (shake weight, anyone?), one can’t help but be suspicious of kettlebells. Since kettlebell enthusiasts claim you can get an amazing strength training AND cardio workout in just 20 minutes, it begs the question: Do kettlebells really measure up – or are they too good to be true?

    The American Council of Exercise, with the help of research experts from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, recruited male and female volunteers that were experienced in kettlebell training. After establishing baselines using a treadmill workout, participants engaged in a 20-minute kettlebell snatch workout.

    Here’s what researchers found: Aerobically, participants burned 272 calories in the 20 minute session, or 13.6 calories per minute. Anaerobically and aerobically combined, participants burned a total of 20.2 calories per minute – which, according to the lead researcher is “off the charts.” The incredible calorie burn occurs because the kettlebell snatch workout uses the entire body and is done in an interval-training format. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

    In terms of heart rate, HR averaged 93% for participants. The VO2 max (often considered the best indicator of an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance), however, was 23% higher for the treadmill workout.

    What does it all mean?

    Researchers, based on the data and comparisons to previous research on weight training, concluded that the kettlebells can provide “one heck of a workout.” Beyond just building your muscles, the kettlebell snatch workout “easily meets industry recommendations for improving aerobic capacity.” In other words, it’s a very intense but efficient workout.

    Especially with the busy holiday season upon us, kettlebells can provide a great cardio and strength-training program for people that don’t have a lot of time. Just make sure you work with an instructor, trainer or follow a DVD.

    How Much Weight Should I Be Lifting?

    The amount of weight you lift is best dictated by your fitness goals of strength, size or endurance - and not your weight or height.

    Fairly often, I get emails from guys and gals with a common question: Based on my weight and height, how much weight should I be lifting?

    As it turns out, there’s no magic formula. Instead, the amount of weight that you lift needs to be based on your goals. More specifically, it’s based on the number of repetitions that your goal necessitates.

    Here’s how it breaks down:

    • If your goal is strength for a given muscle group, then you’ll want to complete 1 – 6 repetitions of each exercise.
    • If your goal is size (or size and strength) for a given muscle group, then you’ll want to complete 7 – 12 repetitions of each exercise.
    • If your goal is endurance for a given muscle group, then you’ll want to complete 12 – 15 repetitions of each exercise.

    Since you’ll want to be fatigued on the last repetition, the number of repetitions clearly dictates the amount of weight that you need to lift. For example, if I were training for strength, I could perform 5 bicep curls with 65 pound dumbbells. But if I was training for endurance, I’d need to opt for 45 pound dumbbells to complete 15 solid repetitions.

    Also, keep in mind that in order to progress toward your goals, you’ll want to add more weight over time. If you find yourself getting too comfortable (or able to perform two extra repetitions on your last set for two consecutive workouts), it’s time to increase the weight.

    You’ll often hear people say that you should be able to curl or lift or press a certain percentage of your bodyweight, but here’s the truth: The amount of weight that you use is best dictated by your fitness goals of strength, size or endurance – and not your weight or height.

    How to Get Your Boyfriend to Work Out: 5 Tips.

    Dear Davey,

    I go to the gym a lot and enjoy staying active. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a couch potato. While I love him the way he is, I really think hitting the gym could benefit him. How can I get him to exercise?

    From,
    Casey

    Hey Casey,

    The funny thing about changing other is that it’s nearly impossible; people only change when they’re ready. It takes tons and tons of energy and effort to try and bend someone to our will – and, ultimately, I think that energy is better served is other endeavors.

    Having said that, if your boyfriend seems open to exercise, I do have a few tips to help cultivate his inner Arnold:

    1. Lead by example. Inspire your boyfriend to exercise by being a role model. Through your own active and healthy lifestyle, demonstrate the amazing exercise benefits that you enjoy.
    2. Plan fitness dates. Who says date night needs to be dinner and a movie? One of my favorite date ideas is going climbing at a rock gym. It fosters great communication and team work – and it’s fantastic exercise. If your boyfriend enjoys it, he’ll probably want to go back. Sometimes you just need to find the type of exercise that he enjoys. You could also try gymnastics, tennis, swimming, spinning, hiking, yoga or any other activity.
    3. Pin it on Fido. If you have a dog, start taking more frequent walks. Eventually, you can make it a habit. Even an afternoon walk, when done over and over again for many months, can make a big difference.
    4. Use positive reinforcement. A lot encouragement goes a long way. After engaging in exercise with your significant other, compliment him on his progress, increased energy levels, etc.. Flattery can work wonders.
    5. Give him the gift of fitness. For a lot of people, the biggest exercise barrier is not knowing what to do. For a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift, book him a few sessions with a personal trainer. The trainer can show him the ropes and help create a plan tied to his goals.

    Using these tips, you may be able to inspire your boyfriend to live a more active lifestyle. But you may not. While it’s very difficult to try and change others, it’s much easier to change ourselves. If your boyfriend wants to be sedentary, ask yourself if it’s something you can learn to accept.

    Love,
    Davey