It’s Fitness Friday and we have a new interview with Coach Nicole of Acacia . Nicole and her team focus on helping their community live healthy, joyful lives.
1. Tell us how you became a fitness advocate and why it’s important to you?
I have been an advocate for fitness and health most of my life! Healthy living is one of my passions and I believe that health is the real key to lifelong happiness. It helps you live longer, stay independent, and enjoy life’s greatest pleasures and experiences. When you have good health and fitness, you hold the key to a happy life. That’s why I care so much about helping others achieve better health and improved fitness.
2. What role does fitness/nutrition/healthy living play for those dealing with chronic illnesses or serious diseases?
These healthy habits play a significant role in everyone person’s life, not only in the prevention of many chronic illnesses but in the management of them as well. A healthy diet impacts your body, your joints, your brain, your mood and energy levels, which we all need to be in tip-top shape if we’re going to continue staying as healthy as possible especially when facing challenges like chronic disease. And we know it can play a huge role in disease management for all of these reasons. Exercise is no less important. It can also provide a mental benefit (both in coping with the challenges of a chronic disease and prevention of related depression) and a physical one, too.
3. What advice/tips do you have for those interested in living a healthier lifestyle or getting back on the fitness bandwagon?
- Don’t wait. Start now. If you care about your health and you have the desire to do something about it, there is no perfect time to get started. If you are waiting for work to calm down or life to be less stressful to take on these lifestyle changes, you’ll be waiting forever.
- Start small. Every little bit does make a difference. You don’t have to work out for an hour a day or eat perfectly 100% of the time in order to see positive changes. Do what you can right now and think about “adding on” later.
- Set a goal. Make sure it’s SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-specific). If it has all of those elements, you’re well on your way to making it happen.
- Ask for help. Everyone needs supportive people in their lives especially when taking on new challenges that can be difficult, new or unchartered territory. Reach out and tell people about your goals and accept advice and help where you can get it.
- Avoid the gimmicks. When it comes down to it, the tried and true advice you can really trust is quite simple: eat whole foods (less processed stuff) and move more. You don’t need special gizmos or diet plans in order to be successful and reach your goals.
Put “motivation” on your to-do list. Motivation is something that requires regular attention or else you’ll quickly lose it. You have to find words, images, stories and ideas that motivate you on a regular basis. The only way to keep you motivation is to “train” it—much like a muscle! Try to do something to focus on your personal motivation for your goals each day.
4. What keeps you going when exercise/fitness is unappealing?
I don’t find exercise to be unappealing. I find it to be liberating! To me, exercise isn’t an “optional” part of my life. There are a few things we all make sure we do regularly. We eat three meals (hopefully!), we sleep, we brush our teeth, we drink water to stay hydrated. We go to work or care for others. Exercise is a non-negotiable on my list of daily tasks, and that is what keeps me coming back to it. When you believe and remember that exercise makes your life better in a multitude of ways, it’s easy to stick with it. It makes you free and able to enjoy your life better. But it IS important to find things you enjoy. I am not an advocate of painful or punishing workouts; rather, each individual should find workouts or active pursuits that they look forward to doing and that feel good for them. That is the only way you’ll truly stick with it.
Thanks Nicole and Acacia!