By: Darrell W. Butler – ACE, NFPT, ISCA Certified Personal Trainer
and Mary J. Butler – M.Ed., Certified Government Financial Manager
Whether you’re still scrambling to locate those final missing receipts after filing for a tax extension or you’ve already blown through your entire tax return, this is the time of year when everyone seems to have their mind on their money and their money on their mind.
The arrival of Spring also serves as a reminder that beach season is just around the corner, so if you’re looking to shed a few more pounds before summer, now’s the time to get focused!
The good news is that the same advice for making your pockets fatter can also make your waist slimmer! I didn’t fully realize this concept until I accidentally copied and pasted my accountant’s financial advice into my fitness column. It actually took several proofreading sessions before I even noticed the mistake, because our tips were almost identical!
Of course, the linguistic similarities shouldn’t be a complete surprise as “my accountant” is also the same woman who carried me around for nine months and subsequently gave birth to me. However, DNA issues aside, important money management tips remain valid for both finance and fitness. Just take a look at this good advice, and see for yourself!
1. Define your financial goals. Write them down and create a plan to help you achieve them.
For fitness, come up with short and long term goals as well. Having a clear objective in mind will help you stay motivated to go the extra mile…literally. Circle a date on your calendar that you want to shed 10 pounds by, and place that on your refrigerator. Purchase a pair of jeans in your ideal size and hang them in the front of your closet. Do whatever it takes to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind until you make them a reality!
2. Make a spending plan and stick to it. Keep track of everything you earn and spend. Review it regularly to make certain that you are getting your money’s worth.
For fitness, keeping a workout and nutrition journal is a great way to track your progress. Seeing your results in written form will allow you (or a trained professional) to analyze your habits to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workouts.
3. Stay on course, even when you are tempted to buy something that seems like a really good deal at the time.
You’ll also need to stay on course with your fitness goals as well. I once had a neighbor who used to walk for a mile every night (good)…to TCBY (not good!). While I truly believe that any food can be consumed in moderation, you can’t splurge every single day and still expect to build your dream body. Try and push all of your temptations to a single “cheat day” and keep yourself on track for remainder of the week by arming yourself with healthy snacks to help steer you through cravings.
4. Invest in a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and cash instruments based upon your financial goals and tolerance for risk.
To reach your fitness goals, you’ll also need a diversified plan of attack. If you’ve been doing the same workout routine for more than three months it may be time to shake things up if you want to see more results. The human body is designed to adapt to repetitive activities, so you’ll need to keep your body guessing in order to continue making progress.
5. Educate yourself in investment choices.
When selecting your new exercise routine, make sure that you honor your own body to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Do your research or seek the help of a trained professional to help you learn how various exercises will affect your body.
Also, be careful who you take advice from on the fitness floor. Just because a 23-year-old man may have lost a few pounds by bench pressing 400 pounds and doing back flips over a table, this may not be the best workout plan for Grandma! Blindly following other gym members is never the smartest approach, so always do your homework.
6. Always pay more than the minimum balance due; otherwise, you’ll never pay off the debt.
If you’re going to workout, you might as well benefit from it, so go hard or go home! I’ve seen some people brag about being at the gym for four hours, but all they actually do is talk and read magazines for 90% of the time! Always remember that when working out, quality is better than quantity. So if you’re going to invest the time, you might as well work hard enough to see some results.
7. Make timely payments. Late payments will cause higher interest rates, late fees and bad credit reports.
With regard to fitness, you’ll also need to make timely deposits of food into your system. Whether your goal is to build lean muscle or to lose fat, your body will need a constant flow of nutrients.
Instead of three larger meals, aim for five to six smaller meals to be consumed every two to three hours. This loosely translates to a quality snack (no, Doritos do not count!) between breakfast and lunch and another between lunch and dinner.
Your highest quality meals should be at breakfast and after your workout. For breakfast, aim for a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein and fruit. For optimum recovery after working out, a high quality protein shake within 30 minutes of completing your routine, followed by a balanced meal containing whole foods within 90 minutes is ideal.
Best of luck with all of your goals! Let us know if you have any of your own good tips to add – we’d love to hear from you!
For more tips from Darrell W. Butler, go to DBPTonline.com and take your fitness goals to the next level! Registration is free so sign up today!
Darrell W. Butler is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise and The National Federation of Professional Trainers. He holds a wide spectrum of coaching and group instructor credentials, and serves as a fitness and nutritional consultant for several radio programs and media publications.
Mary J. Butler is a Certified Government Financial Manager, and has a BS degree from South Carolina State University and a M.Ed degree from the University of North Carolina. She is the author of MJay’s Financial Management Guide and the founder of MJay’s Investments and Publishing.