Try to SEE your 4Cs

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer

Anyone who has ever purchased an engagement ring or a wedding band is aware of the 4Cs of diamond selection: Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat weight.  These form the basis for assessing the quality of the gemstone (okay, so the 5th and rarely mentioned C, Cost, may also figure into the selection process…!)

In assessing the quality of a fitness program, we can also find 4Cs: Commitment, Convenience, Challenge and Consistency.  Armed with these 4 attributes, the framework for a successful exercise regimen, a training program is likely to yield long-term success. 

Now that the students are back in school, take stock of what your goals for Autumn look like, and weave in the all-important 4Cs.  Is your commitment to change strong?  If so, proceed to the next step. How convenient is your chosen facility?  If you are an outdoor runner, is there a park near your home or workplace? Is it well lit in the pre-dawn hours, or after sunset? If you prefer to exercise indoors, what is the proximity of your gym or fitness center?  A location that is not terribly out of the way of your daily commute will help to reinforce the budding of good habits. 

Creating a challenge is one of the key motivators when it comes to workout dynamics. A challenge enables you to set goals, strive for attaining such goals, find success, reassess, and set even loftier goals.  There is no limit to how much you achieve when you are the one in control!  The final C, Consistency, proves the most difficult for many individuals. My clients sometimes cite a lack of time, busy carpool schedules, impromptu business trips, and family responsibilities as the number 1 roadblock to maintaining a consistent exercise program. We all have variations on this theme in our own lives; it is nothing a trainer has not heard previously.  Making consistency a priority often requires making oneself a priority, a task many find difficult, especially women.  Trust me – with practice, it gets easier.  You deserve to carve out a few times each week to do something that enhances your health and wellbeing!

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As the New Year unfolds, create a plan for your own 4Cs. If you need help getting started, ask a friend or a personal trainer for a nudge in the right direction. Once your vision is clarified, put it into action! Treat yourself to a healthy 5777!