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Covey’s Four Dimensions of Life

The next four postings to my blog will involve what Steven Covey (see https://www.stephencovey.com/). Each posting will discuss a specific dimension of life Dr. Covey talks about in his books. These four dimensions are the physical dimension, the social dimension, the mental dimension, and the spiritual dimension. We’ll start with the Physical Dimension.

The Physical Dimension

Your body is a gift. It is the physical manifestation that allows you to negotiate your life while you live it. A healthy body is built by a few things: 1) exercise, 2) eating right, 3) regular medical checkups, and 4) regular dental/optical checkups.

Exercise Apps and websites

Exercise should be composed of strength building exercises, cardiovascular exercises, and flexibility exercises. One of the best websites to visit, particularly if you are looking to achieve a particular health goal is www.bodybuilding.com. This website has all kinds of tools, supplements for sale, exercise routines, apps for your workouts that are android and iPhone friendly, and a collection of some of the best exercise and nutrition experts on the planet.

Eating right is another way to keep the body healthy. Eating right can best be achieved by doing what is called a meal prep. Meal prep is about choosing the foods that contribute to your health and building the meals you are going to eat for 2-3 days at a time. Your meals should stick with the three primary macros: Protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. You can find the appropriate way to measure out your macros on the www.bodybuilding.com website. Protein sources can be fish, poultry, pork, beef, shellfish, whey protein, eggs, and dairy products like cheeses. Your health fats would be olive oils, coconut oils, flax seed oil, avocado, etc. Carbohydrates should come from the complex carbohydrate groups like whole wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice. Complex carbohydrates will minimize spiking your blood sugar (which causes your body to store body fat), but give you the energy you need in the gym. You should always take multivitamins and other supplements. Again, your source should be www.bodybuilding.com or your doctor, if you have special circumstances to deal with.

Visiting the doctor for physical checkups, cancer screenings, and other needed monitoring should occur when your doctor recommends a visit. I usually get a full physical each year and checkups every 6 months, unless you are hurt or get the flu. Dental visits should include one deep cleaning per year and your eye doctor should see you at least annually to make sure your eyes are healthy and your prescriptions (if you wear glasses or contacts) are up to date.

The JYM Army

If you are already working out and looking for a real edge or challenge, you may also want to visit www.jimstoppani.com. The owner of this website is Dr. Jim Stoppani, who is also the creator of the JYM Army. The JYM Army is a group of like-minded bodybuilders who are striving to build muscle, lose weight, and remain on the cutting edge of exercise science. Dr. Stoppani is consistently publishing new articles, has his own supplement line, and creates exercise routines that will take you to the next level (trust me). Yeah, I’m plugging bodybuilding.com and Dr. Stoppani’s website, but I am not an affiliate collecting any money. I only want to point folks in the right direction if they are looking for some online resources that can really help you in your health journey.

Recommendations

First, visit with your doctor or health care provider. If you have never exercised before or pursued a consistent exercise regimen, I always advise you meet with your doctor to make sure an exercise routine will not hurt you. You may also want to inquire about your current medications and if there are any vitamins or supplements you should avoid.

Second, start small. There is a reason why the various gymnasiums out there push memberships at the later part of the year. They want to capitalize on the “New Year’s Resolution”. Memberships spike after Christmas and the gyms are a little more crowded in January and February. Take it from a guy that is in the gym 5-6 days a week. About the end of February, all of these folks stop coming and the gyms still collect their membership fees. To avoid all of this, start small. Start an exercise program in your home. You can find all kinds of apps for your iPhone or Android that you can download for free that are totally worth it to get in the habit of exercising. If you find these are still too intense, walk. That’s it, walk. Start with walking for about 15 minutes each day. Choose a time that works best, whether it’s in the morning before you go to work, take a walk for 15 minutes during your lunch break, or do your 15-minute walk at the end of the day. Regardless of the time, stay consistent. The time is irrelevant, but the pattern of doing your walk each day at this time is critical. It is much easier to establish an exercise habit if you stick to the same time of day and at the same place.

Third, do not over do it. I’ve been lifting weights for most of my life. I started lifting weights when I served in the Army and just kept up the habit when I left. I see this all the time in the gym. You see some guy or gal just crushing their work out and doing way more than they should be. In other words, what they are doing is just not scalable and not sustainable. Progression is important to see results, but initially, it is all about consistency. Build your routine gradually and limit your progression to small changes. For example, let’s say you choose to start walking for 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week. Once you feel comfortable with 15 minutes, move it up to 16 or 17 minutes. Stick with this for a month or at least 2 weeks. Then adjust again. The one thing you’ll find is that you’ll run out of time at some point. Once you’ve gotten yourself to 30 minutes or so, the next way to progress is to add in some strength exercises. One of the best apps out there for this type of thing is the 7-minute workout by Wahoo. You’ll find this in the iTunes library or Google Play. Regardless of which app you use, try it out to see if the workout is easy or too hard. Some of these apps are difficult and may be too much. When you find one that is your sweet spot, that’s the one to use. Again, consistency is the key.

Do your 7-minutes in the morning when you rise or when you get home at night. The key to this, particularly if you are working is to choose a time of day that you can get some hygiene in once you’re done. I lift during lunch, but I’m retired and have the time to get to the gym, knock out my workout and then shower in the gym or shower when I get home. When I was working, the time that worked best for me was in the evening on the way home from work.

Gym membership or not?

This is a personal decision and one that you’ll have to consider. These can be very expensive and if you are not motivated or utilizing the gym 3-4 days a week, I’m afraid this could be a huge waste of money. My membership costs 27 dollars per month. There are some gyms that charge much more. I’ve seen some that run 100 dollars per month. Frankly, I could care less about day care services or whether my gym has a juice bar. As long as my gym has the equipment I need and is large enough that I won’t be inconvenienced waiting for 10 minutes for a machine or bench, the gym is good for me. This is obviously a personal choice.

I would recommend getting a gym membership once you have truly established an exercise habit. I would say that if you are exercising for a consistent time period, let’s say 90 days and you are excited about your workouts every day, get the membership. You’ll be able to get a lot more done in a gym than you would in a home gym.

What to look for in a gym

I look for a large free weight area, a swimming pool, sauna, locker room with showers, a stretching area, and a cardio area. This may seem like a lot to ask, but there aren’t too many gyms that do not have this equipment and cater to their customers. I used to utilize LA Fitness when I lived in California and Arizona. Now that I’m home with the folks, I use a small gym in my hometown that has all of the above.

If you are in a metro area, run with LA Fitness or one of the larger franchise gymnasiums. They will have fitness classes (bike, yoga, Zumba, etc.). They will have a large selection of cardio equipment, exercise machines, and ample areas set up with free weights (benches, squat racks, smith machines, etc.). These are really important when you commence a bodybuilding routine. You may also want to engage a fitness trainer. The larger franchise gyms usually have 4 or more resident trainers that are always looking for new clients.

Even if weight training is something you are not interested in, the classes that are provided for free are worth the membership. Cycling classes, Zumba classes, Yoga, and others will provide you with enough variety that will keep you coming back. Another thing that is nice is the ability to network and make new friends in these classes. Your new-found friends will keep you coming back.

Well, I could go on and on with this stuff. I’ll tackle one of Covey’s four life dimensions in my next few postings. This one is one of the most important in my opinion. Without a healthy, strong, and fit body, your quality of life can be absolutely horrendous.

If any of you are brave enough to visit Jim Stoppani’s website. Tell me which exercise routine you are interested in (he has hundreds of them). I’m working through Jim’s Daily Grind currently. I’ll see you there. Go JYM Army!!

Until next time…

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