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Dr. John Spencer Ellis on Getting in Shape
John Spencer Ellis, Ph.D, is the CEO of the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) and the Spencer Institute for Life Coaching. He is also the CEO of the Get America Fit Foundation and serves on the advisory boards of the National Health, Wellness and Prevention Congress; Exercise TV; Conference for Healthy Living; Life & Leisure Television; and Health Journal Television. Ellis is also a fellow of the National Board of Fitness Examiners and the author of the eBook How Badly Do You Want It?—Your Ultimate Guide to Optimal Fitness. Ellis has also developed TriActive America, his signature series of outdoor exercise equipment. In this interview, Ellis gives advice on getting in shape.
What are the typical fears experienced by people during the first 30 days of getting in shape?
People need to realize that the first changes are neurological. Your body is gradually adapting to the exercise, but the changes are not usually visible. You don’t always see it, but you’re changing and improving. Because they’re not actually seeing change, such as a change on the scale, people are sometimes afraid that the new fitness program is not actually working. This can affirm previous fears about “never being able to get in shape.”
What are some of the emotions associated with getting in shape?
Frustration: People want results overnight. It’s not realistic to think you can completely change your body in just days if you’ve neglected it for years.
Denial: People feel it should come easier.
What are the most important actions people should take during the first 30 days of a new fitness plan?
Consistency, documentation, accountability, assessment and honesty with yourself. Decide that getting in shape is very important and nothing will get in your way—nothing. Plan a specific time of the day for your workout. Keep a training log to document your progress. Find a workout buddy that you’re accountable to and have a trainer assess your progress.
Who is it important to be during the first 30 days of your fitness plan?
The person that can look at themselves in the mirror and value themselves enough to do whatever it takes to attain optimal health and vitality.
Why are the first 30 days of a new fitness plan such a vital time?
You must set the stage for success. Once the stage is set, the following days, weeks, months and years follow much more easily.
What is one of the keys to success?
People simply need to come up with enough compelling reasons to make it a priority. Some may be internal—“I want to feel great!” Other reasons may be external—“I want my spouse to think I look fantastic.” Both types may be needed. You just need to have the right combination of reasons to propel you in the right direction and to stay the course.
Please describe the phases people go through during the first month of their fitness regimen.
Number one is excitation—they are desirous of the outcome. Number two is frustration—“This is tough work and I’m sore.” Number three is breakthrough—the results become visible and their bodies respond in positive ways.
What can people do to continue to progress beyond 30 days?
Hire a trainer. Become educated. Take a class. Read a book. Recruit a buddy. Involve your family. Join a club. Set realistic goals that propel you forward.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
After completing the Ironman, I knew nothing could hurt that bad and likely would not last that long. I use that experience as contrast. Everything else seems easy by comparison.
The best thing about change is...
The new person you become, and benefits from the change itself.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Delegation, automation, consolidation—it actually took all three to have one desired change. Delegating responsibility to others, using email instead of telephone calls and consolidating my company made it easier for me to pursue my own interests and create time for my own fitness program.
For more information on Dr. John Spencer Ellis, go to www.johnspencerellis.com.