CFT: Let’s review what we have learned

Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. -- It's hard to believe, but this will my last edition of the "Commander's Fit Tip."

It's been a fantastic two years, and I can't thank you enough for your interest, comments and correspondence as we explored the universe of topics related to boosting performance, shedding pounds and developing a healthy, life-enhancing lifestyle.

It's been an honor to serve as your guide on this journey.

So for this last tip, let's review a bit and sum up the major themes we've explored over the past two years.

1. Change takes time.

The human body is a great adapting machine, but it doesn't adapt quickly.

In a way, this protects us from wild variations in our systems in response to short-term stimuli. So any change you'd like to make will challenge your patience.
Weight loss, muscle gain, aerobic capacity increase, speed increase ... whatever your goal, let the clock tick a little.

That doesn't mean you can't track and monitor progress along the way, but for a lasting result, think in terms of weeks, not days.

2. Stick to a plan.

If you want to initiate an adaptation, you have to sustain the stimulus and keep it consistent. Otherwise, your body won't "know" what to adapt to!

It can get a little monotonous at times, but repetition is the key to adaptation. Written (and tracked!) plans have the best records.

3. Get a coach!

If you really want to make a big change, a coach means the difference between wasted time and surprisingly good results.

Not only will they help you stick to the plan, they are the best protection against setbacks and injuries.

Certified personal trainers, physical therapists and athletic trainers are among the best to add to your arsenal. But, whomever you choose, make sure they understand what you are trying to accomplish and how you will "know" when you've done it.

4. Measure and track your progress.

Did you ever wonder why the "really big guys" at the gym are always checking a worksheet or scribbling something down?

They learned long ago that a plan and a log offer hard to refute evidence of your effort.

Plus, your coach will need some data to help them understand how you are interpreting their advice.

The few minutes you spend on this will save you hours of workout time.


So many plans go down in flames because they are just drudgery.

Variation is the key to keeping your gym time off the "dreaded" list. That's why I've become a huge fan of "multi-sport" training.

In my workups for the Mach Tenn Triathlon, I saw firsthand what a powerful tool this can be.

By combining running, cycling, spinning, swimming and elliptical trainers, you can all but eliminate the monotony; and more importantly, those nagging aches and pains that so often accompany repetitive routines.

6. Listen to your body.

Far and away the best advice I've ever received from a trainer.

This goes beyond "if it hurts, stop doing it." This is about paying attention to the subtle signals, aches, "twinges" and all the little things that can keep you from hitting the wall, or worse, heading for the doctor's office with a problem they won't be able to solve quickly.

Remember the first item on our list...adaptation takes time.

Rush for results will more than likely slow you way down.

I wish you all the very best as you continue toward your goals.
Take care aficionados!