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Gin Miller on Getting in Shape
One of the top fitness industry professionals for the past two decades, Gin Miller is known as the creator of step training and a pioneer of stability ball programs. She is the winner of the 1991 IDEA Health & Fitness Association’s Instructor of the Year Award, NY Metro Sports Award, World Fitness Festival Innovation Award and a 2006 inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. In 1994, People named Miller one of the “25 Fittest People in the World.” She has created a number of exercise DVDs, including “Build Up Your Muscles,” “Circuit Challenge,” “Simply Interval” and others. Here, Miller explains what you can do to get motivated for your workout plan.
What does it mean to be “in shape?”
Getting “in shape” is not about how you look. Genetically thin people can be as out of shape as someone who is overweight. People need to assess how their bodies function in daily activity and with occasional increases in work demand.
What are some of the mistakes that people make during the first 30 days of getting in shape?
The first is doing too much, too soon. For those who recall what they “used to be able to do,” they approach a return to fitness with a vengeance in an attempt to make up for lost time. Just because you rode a bike everyday when you were a kid doesn’t mean you should start out in the Tour de France.
The second is sizing up others in comparison. By nature, people tend to look at others to see what they’re doing. If it’s someone they deem to be similar—either the same age or particularly if they look older—they think they should be able to do at least what that other person is doing. Try to avoid beating yourself up with comparisons to what you used to be able to do. Remind yourself of your commitment to take back control of your physical well-being. The most important thing to remember is that ultimately, you’re in charge of your change.
What should people do during the first 30 days of getting in shape?
Direct your focus inward—be in the moment and reconnect with your body. As with any change, start slowly and congratulate yourself on progressive accomplishments. Enlist the services of a personal trainer who can assist you with overcoming your fear and lack of knowledge. Doing so helps you feel you belong there and reinforces that what you’re doing is right for where you need to be on your journey back into regular exercise.
What do people overlook when they start a fitness plan?
Most people overlook the true value of personalized assessment and the development of a realistic plan to achieve health goals. If you don’t know where you are, where you really need to be going or have any kind of map to show you the way, you’re just lost in the woods.
Should people be focused on cardiovascular or strength fitness during the first 30 days?
For health reasons, they should do both—along with the often-ignored flexibility aspect of fitness. Consumers get information from headlines and “get results” articles—again, part of the marketing machine that’s designed to sell products, books and magazines. People get confused with conflicting information, but that’s because they’re buying into “amazing results” marketing. If you put “amazing results” aside and commit to exercise for the health of it, you should be doing both cardio and strength along with flexibility.
What’s the most important thing to do in order to progress beyond the first 30 days of getting in shape?
Note the change in your mindset—not just a mental note, write it in your journal. Know that getting in shape is not about what you’ve been able to “lose,” it’s what you’ve gained. Once you’ve made physical activity a regular part of your life, you’ll realize the empowerment of it. Be it endorphins released in intense workouts, improved posture that makes you stand tall and proud, or just knowing that you can persist will give you a sense of control over your life.
Why is it so hard for people to stick with a fitness program and stay in shape?
People set themselves up to fail, thinking that exercise is just about weight loss. Expectations should be realistic—if it took you a year to get out of shape, you have to expect that it may very well take you a year to get back into shape. The larger goal should be overall increased activity and movement as part of a lifestyle change.
How can people continue to motivate themselves to stick with a workout plan?
Without results, people just give up. You have to know where you are now, so assessment is very important. If you need numbers, measure and weigh yourself—at the very least, use a tape measure or get a proper body fat-to-lean tissue measurement done by a qualified professional. Weigh yourself for benchmark purposes only, but realize that it’s not the best indicator of changes in body fat-to-lean ratios.
Perhaps the most important motivator is to make a connection with someone else—a doctor, a trainer, an exercise group or even an online forum. Most people need someone to be accountable to and the support of others to keep going. If they didn’t, they’d already be working out on their own at home.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
That things may seem bad at the time, but there’s real suffering in the world. I am thankful for my lifetime commitment to fitness, as it has helped me keep perspective and been my best release in times of stress.
The best thing about change is...
…it takes you to a new chapter in your life, full of scary unknowns, but it serves to keep you humble.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Embracing God and the power of prayer to help guide me through my journey in life.
For more information on Gin Miller, visit www.ginmiller.com.