Fit for Leadership

This month's contributor to Pump Up With Club Industry is Teri O'Brien of Teri O'Brien Fitness Systems Inc. She is a fitness and motivation expert and author of "The Personal Trainer's Handbook" and the upcoming "Principles of Personal Training: 88 Essential Rules of Excellence." Here, she discusses her own routine and tips for keeping yourself motivated.

One of the questions I'm most frequently asked when I train personal trainers is "How can I motivate clients?" In speeches to other groups, it's "How can I stay motivated?"

In my experience, people who aren't motivated to exercise and eat a nutritious diet haven't identified meaningful, personal reasons that they should do so. In order to do anything, especially something we may not always enjoy, we need to be able to answer one important question: "What's the point?"

People say they don't have time, but the fact is that once people have identified their personal reasons for wanting to do something-whether it's watching TV, drinking beer or exercising-they make the time to do it. Having a purpose changes perception, and successful people know that perception is everything!

The good news for time-challenged adults is that the immeasurable payoffs that exercise and good nutrition bring (increased energy and productivity, avoiding creeping obesity, and longer, healthier life) don't require two hours a day in the gym. Two to three hours a week is more like it.

Of course, once they discover the empowering feeling of being a living, breathing athlete-which, whether we know it or not, we all are!-many find that they want to do more. People tend to notice that they may have begun their exercise programs thinking about things like looking buff or at least being able to button up their pants, but after a few weeks, they look forward to the exercise session itself and the relaxed, satisfied feeling they get right afterward.

My personal routine involves lifting weights three to four days a week, and doing 40 to 50 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, usually on a treadmill, three to five days a week. I like to mix up the cardio routines by doing long, moderate intensity workouts, such as walking 3.0 mph at a 10 percent incline for 48 minutes one day, and doing intervals of running (5.5 mph) for two minutes and walking for two minutes to up the intensity.

Of course, when I say I "like" doing anything involving cardio, it's a stretch. I used to have a feature on my old radio program called "Cardio Haters' Support Group," and it was for me! I guess in my erstwhile running days, when I ran five marathons and dozens of 10 k's, I ran all my steps. Resistance training and yoga are my favorites now. I do some yoga postures every day for at least five minutes to keep my posture and flexibility in line.

I'd like to close by reminding people that the process of becoming successful is about being able to sustain your confidence, commitment and vision during those inevitable times when few others can see the bright future ahead for you. John Grisham's first novel got rejected 28 times before he published anything. I'm sure that when he was practicing law all day and coming home at night to write-all while trying to raise young children and otherwise have a life-he did some serious visualizations, especially after another rejection arrived.

Successful people are often simply the last ones standing, the ones who refused to give up. You'll be one, too. I know it!

Now drop and give me 20.