Disclaimer: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program as well as making any nutritional changes in order to determine if it is right for your needs.
In Scott Peck’s opening statement of his famous book, “The Road Less Traveled” he writes: ‘Life is difficult.’ It is not meant to be easy – and if you think this “No Excuse Plan” is going to be a cake-walk then be aware right now that it will not. According to Peck, a fulfilled human being is a disciplined human being. Components of disciplines include delaying your gratification for future gains, accepting responsibility for your choices, dedicating yourself to seeking truth and balancing life’s conflicts.
Remember that word, because it will come up often in this “3-month No Excuse Program”.
Why THREE months? I use it because the number 3 is a sacred number. It represents balance, growth, abundance and clarity.
There are 3 evolutions in this process:
- Your mind
Your mind has the power to create and the power to destruct. It will find a way or it will find an excuse. This fitness journey will require you to control your mind and the negative, self-defeating thoughts that stream through it on a daily basis. If you can discipline your mind, you can control your actions, if you can create positive works you can dictate your own destiny.
- Your body
Your body is your temple – it’s the only thing you own in this world. It houses your incredible spirit and will be your savior or your setback in your long life on this earth. When you begin to treat your body with love, nourishment and respect, your body will begin to serve you.
- Your spirit
There are feelings – felt in the mind and influenced by the body – and then there is intuition, which is felt in the soul. Your spirit is the invisible energy that will train when you’re tired, work when you’re weak and drive when you’re drained. Your spirit will unmask itself when you challenge it to fight for something you truly want.
There are 3 components we will focus on:
Muscle building is absolutely key to sculpting a toned physique. Muscle speeds your metabolism, increases your flexibility and protects your bones. Muscle is what literally shapes your body.
Cardio requires you to challenge your heart and the blood and oxygen that flow through your veins to vital parts of your body. Cardio increases circulation, boosts endurance and burns fat.
Flexibility is having an optimal range of motion. Focusing on your flexibility helps prevent physical pain, loss of balance and risk of injury. In other words, it keeps you young.
There are 3 Macronutrients we will focus on:
I don’t promote low-carb diets. I can never survive on one. This is a balanced diet, which includes complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, brown rice/pasta/bread, sweet potatoes) and fruits – all of which provides you with energy.
Proteins are amino acids, which are primarily helpful in building and repairing tissue in your body. It can be found in animal meats, fish, tofu, eggs and protein shakes.
Fats are key to brain health and overall energy. It can be found in avocado, olive oil and nuts.
There are 3 key people pertinent to your success:
- Your mentor
That’s me. I will guide you. I will answer your questions and I will be your inspiration because I have walked your path before.
- Your supporter(s)
That’s someone of your choosing. You may have to do this alone – but I assure you, if you really wanted to find someone who wants the best for you, you can find someone, even a stranger online. You need someone (other than me) who will be your support in this process.
- Your follower(s)
Life is about give and take – it’s about balance (remember Peck’s statement?) So in order to receive, you must also give. Find someone who you will inspire, motivate and guide. There is always someone who needs more help than you, so find that person and help them. Becoming a role model creates a level of personal and social responsibility that most first born children are “blessed” to be given. In helping others, you are in essence, helping yourself.
Lastly, there are 3 stages in this transformational process:
- 3 days to overcome a craving
- 3 weeks to develop a new habit
- 3 months to see a significant transformation
This is my “No Excuse” Fitness Plan. This isn’t (all) about how to eat right and exercise. This is about Goal Setting. It’s about getting to know YOU: your strengths, your weaknesses, your excuses and most of all….your motivation.
I get countless emails asking ‘how I lost weight’ after carrying three kids in my belly for three years and the answers can be summed up like this:
– I conditioned my body through exercise and healthy eating years prior
– I gained the recommended pregnancy weight (30-38lbs for me)
– I performed various core exercises and massaged my belly after every birth
– I constantly set short term goals.
– Most importantly: I was MOTIVATED to get back in shape.
Motivation is the KEY principle in this fitness journey. If you examine the lives of those who are incredible shapes you will see an invisible energy constantly pushing them to stay disciplined and train harder. It’s motivation. It’s motivation because their career depended on their physical body and beauty (celebrities). It’s motivation because their personal identity is closely tied to a fit body (athletes and models). For us ‘normal’ people, it’s because we set a life stage where we set higher expectations for ourselves.
I really want you to examine what motivates you.
There is a philosophical principle that states all human behavior is motivated by two things: seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
For some of you, your desire to get incredible shape stems from wanting to look amazing in an outfit or walk confidently into a room without feeling physically insecure.
For others, focusing on your health means avoiding health-related diseases or escaping the torment you felt as a child for being overweight.
You need to find what motivates you – and WRITE IT DOWN.
After I gave birth I was motivated by both pain and pleasure. In my twenties I feared childbirth because of how it would destruct my body. At the gym older women would constantly react to my fit physique by saying, “What until you have children…”
I wanted to prove them wrong.
I also wanted to feel confident in my skin. After recovering from an eating disorder my weight ballooned into the 150’s and didn’t decline for several years because it became unresponsive to my yo-yo dieting. I wanted to feel sexy, firm and fit again. I was driven by the pain of failure and the pleasure of success.
You need to be too.
This plan is not about perfection. It’s about progress. It’s about not giving up. I will be honest with you by confessing that I ate a couple cookies earlier tonight. I was premenstrual, incredibly stressed from work and fatigued from days on end with the kids. Do I feel bad? No. Will I begin anew tomorrow? For sure.
My point is that I’m not going to ask you to be perfect. I’m going to ask you to try to be perfect, knowing that it is impossible. While unachievable, it’s the strive that I’m seeking you to master…
As I stated (a couple sentences ago), The goal is to get to the end without giving up. You will achieve your fitness goals this year if you make a personal promise to not give up until you get there. This mentality makes success a matter of ‘when’ you will reach your goals and not ‘if’ you will.
In the next 3 months I will continue giving workout routines, nutritional advice and fitness motivation. However, since this is a community effort and I’m a busy mom with 3 kids, a business and hopefully a life, this effort will require a set of rules you will need to follow.
- Follow every task I give you
- Set weekly fitness and physical goals
- Do not message me. If you have a question, post it to my page: www.facebook.com/mariamkang and allow me and other people to comment. This ensures that I don’t have to answer the same question multiple times and provides other people to provide advice.
- Do not be negative towards anyone. I will block you.
- When I ask for results, I need your comments. I read every comment and I notice trends in those who comment most. In working with people in the past, I have observed that the more a someone communicates, the more successful he/she will be.
- Set your notifications to ‘see in news feeds’ for this page as I will be providing information daily.
- Eat Breakfast every morning.
- Write down everything you eat
- Workout 3-4 times a week (or more)
- Drink ONLY water (or straight black coffee/tea)
- Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime (preferably 7pm)
- Eat small meals throughout the day (calories are dependent on current weight)
- Each meal must have a protein and carbohydrate. Include healthy fats as needed.
- Limit carbohydrate intake after 4pm.
- Weigh yourself weekly. Measure yourself monthly.
- Focus on core training twice a week
- Plan your cheat meals, which you can have once a week.
- Warm up for five minutes before strength training
- Stretch after you warm up
- Focus a minimum of 20-40 minutes of strength training 3x/week (home workouts will be given later) Strength training can be broken up into upper/lower, push/pull, whole-body circuit splits.
- Focus on intense cardio and focus on a minimum of 20 minutes at least 3 times a week (or more) making sure you’re at your target heart rate, which measures anywhere between 130-180 beats per minute. (put your finger on the side of your throat, count how many beats for 15 seconds then multiply that number by 4)
- NOTE: I imagine you will be performing both strength and cardio training together, which is why you should be training 3-4 times a week for 40-60 minutes at a time. (see the math fits!)
- Use proper form : shoulders back, stomach drawn in, hips squared, back slightly arched, knees straight ahead.
- Stay hydrated at all times.
- Don’t starve yourself. Get to know calories and how much is in the foods you consume. I strongly suggest not changing your diet drastically in the beginning, just cutting your consumption for unhealthy foods in half.
- Don’t go low-carb. Enjoy bread, but just eat a slice. Enjoy rice, but try brown. Enjoy pasta, but measure out one portion size. Carbohydrates are your main sources for energy so don’t eliminate it.
- Don’t drink high-calorie, sugary drinks at Starbucks or Jamba Juice. (your body and budget will thank me)
- Don’t drink alcohol. You can indulge in one glass of wine a week (I would say totally omit it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t indulge in one glass per week) Just know that it’s best to eliminate it totally if you seek faster results.
- Drink water but add lemon to it if needed. The acidity in lemons helps balance and detoxifies the body.
- The day after your cheat meal, get right back on track.
- Prepare your meals in advance (invest in Tupperware) to ensure consistent consumption
- Speaking of which – make sure you eat every 2-3 hours.
- Create a successful environment. This requires you to get rid of junk food in your house (nobody needs it there, not even your kids).
- Tell everyone you know that you are changing your lifestyle. (sometimes people like to be hush about this – but it doesn’t create a level of social accountability required to push you to the next level)
- Befriend other people who are on a similar journey (you will find many on my page, I encourage you to ‘friend’ each other)
- Write down your long term, specific goals and secure it in a place you see every day. (I would choose my bathroom mirror)
- Envision what you want every day. Envision your day, your meals, your workouts and your positive attitude every morning.
- Write down motivational quotes and post it in places that will assist you in making better choices. For example, I post “you’re not hungry when you’re sleeping in my bedroom” – I have posted “take action” above my TV and “Nothing tastes good like being fit” on my refrigerator. Find the quotes (and people) that motivate you and post it!
- Reflect on your past Excuses. Was it lack of time? Lack of support? Stress? What was it?? Most often, the end answer is ‘lack of motivation’
…..because if you truly wanted it, you would make it happen. Regardless of excuse. I suggest you find what has prohibited you from succeeding in the past and create action plans on how to battle them in the future. Sometimes you will fail in the battle, but you get up and try again, and again and again…until you master the ‘excuses’ that prevents you from progressing.
- Enjoy the free service that ‘Google’ and ‘YouTube’ provides. I get so many questions, but the answers are also online. Find healthy recipes, home workouts, core training and nutritional information all on Google, Youtube, Bodybuilding.com and even my own websites: www.mariakang.com and www.fitnesscure.com
- Get organized. If you have a cluttered house, a messy room or a dirty car, clean it now. Your outward life is a reflection of your internal energy.
- Invest in a jump rope, pair of dumb bells, workout bands and a fitness DVD. If you don’t have a gym membership this is a $30 investment towards your health.
- Write down your goals. Make at least 5 goals that are specific. I don’t want you to say ‘lose weight’ or ‘get a six pack’…I want it to be personal and realistic. I want to hear that you want to fit into old jeans, lose 20 pounds or run a 5k. Tape your goals to your bathroom mirror.
- Invest in your End Date, which is set for March 31st. At this time I would like you to invest into something that will make you personally connected with that date. Is there a family event at this time? A birthday? Can you treat yourself to a photo shoot or a shopping spree? What will you do in exactly 3 months that will motivate you to stay on track???
- Write “Thoughts becomes Things” and place it somewhere in your house, on your screensaver or in your car. You are telling yourself a story every, single day, so make sure it’s positive, uplifting and progressive. Don’t tell yourself excuses, tell yourself there are solutions. Don’t say, “I am stressed, fat, tired, busy….” Say: “I am beautiful, fit, strong, energetic, positive, and happy.”
- Weigh yourself. Remember Progress is made where progress is measured. I need you to get on a scale and not be afraid of the number because that is your starting point. Put that number in your journal (which will be used for writing your daily food intake as noted in Program Rules #2)
- Measure yourself. Take a measuring tape (soft one) and someone or yourself measure your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, waist, hips, legs and calves. (make sure you know exactly where you place the tape)
- If you have access to a trainer at the gym, have them take your body fat via skin calipers. This is typically a free service (they might try to sell you training – which I am not against. I believe in the value of a trainer) If you can’t, that’s ok; this is just another measurement to track your progress.
- Perform a series of fitness tests: how many pushups can you do (not on knees) without dropping? How long can you perform a plank? How fast can you run a mile? Put your results in your journal
- Start writing down everything you’re eating right away. You don’t have to change your diet too much (I assume many are waiting for Jan 1st anyways) – it’s key to see what your habits are…when you do eat, or don’t eat. When you eat, how often and why you eat (or overeat).
- Create a fitness calendar. You can color code it as you complete workouts but DO NOT write down workouts in advance. Only write when you’ve completed a workout. Find the instructions and download here.
- Tell everyone in your life including those on Facebook you are starting a fitness plan and encourage them to join you. Accountability is important. Your friends will look for your updates, be inspired by your progress and support you in this process. Creating a successful environment requires you to be accountable to others.
With that said. Get to work. This is a ton of information and it’s only 10% of what’s going on in my mind right now! Print all the rules out and read it as a reminder to you. Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you. So get uncomfortable in your environment. Rid yourself from comfort foods, comfort people and comfort thoughts.
It’s the year of No Excuses.
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