Diet, exercise and willpower

My friend Mark Young (check out his great articles at www.markyoungtrainingsystems.com) turned me on to this great TEDx presentation video about will power. If you have 15 minutes to spare, watch this. It is a perspective that I have never heard before.



I won’t repeat what Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis talks about as I don’t think I would do it justice. But I’d like to discuss a few key points.

1. Who knew that will power, or self-regulation, was finite? I sure didn’t. But it makes sense. And clearly it is relevant to exercise and nutrition. Maybe we’re just trying to regulate too much. Maybe this is an argument for only trying to make one big change in your life at a time, versus trying to fix all of our vices at once.

2. Planning seems to help. Dr. Martin Ginis discusses this in the video. Now she discusses it in the context of having a plan means that you will be more likely to stick to it. I think this can be taken a step further. Don’t just plan the meals or workouts; think ahead about what would be most likely to derail your plan and think about how you will overcome that barrier. Then if it happens, you will be better equipped to deal with the barrier because you’ve already battled it.

3. When you know you will enjoy the workout or healthy meal, it will take less (no?) self-restraint to skip it, so figure out ways to have fun in your workout, and make sure the healthy foods you eat are also tasty. I often get clients telling me that they were super busy or tired and would have cancelled the workout except they knew they were coming to see me. Maybe they meant that they had a plan and a commitment, but I like to think its because my workouts are so fun and my personality is so magnetic. :)

I hope you took the time to watch the video. It really is interesting stuff!

Elsbeth Vaino is a personal trainer in Ottawa, Canada.

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