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Enjoying the Grind: National Self-Improvement Month

September 28, 2020

September is National Self-Improvement Month, and “self-improvement” can mean a lot of different things, depending on who you ask. It can be improving your nutrition and exercise, creating new healthy habits, spending more time with your family, taking up new hobbies, or committing to learning something new.

We believe that “self-improvement” can take on many flavors, and it’s all about finding what is healthiest for you. Fortunately for all of us, there are some wonderful resources in High Point ready to help you take control of your own health.

We asked some of our favorite health resources in High Point to define what self-improvement is (and what is isn’t!). Torrey Lowe, owner of TL Fitness, and Brittany Shaw, owner of FIT HUB both know a thing or two about what it means to become the best version of yourself physically. Check out their answers, and then check out TL Fitness and FIT HUB if you’re interested in taking Self-Improvement Month into the rest of your year!

Q. How would you define “fitness?”

Torrey: “Fitness” is a broad term that means something different to each person, but it refers to your own optimal health and overall well-being. Being fit not only means physical health but also includes emotional and mental health too. It defines every aspect of your health. Smart eating and active living are fundamental to fitness.

Brittany: Fitness is a person’s ability to perform optimally in aspects of endurance, strength, and flexibility.

A workout bench with two dumbells sits in the foreground of a gym, while two people blurred out stand talking in the background.

Q. What is self-improvement? What is self-improvement NOT?

Torrey: A common aspect of self-improvement is the practice of improving one’s life, which includes your health, goal setting, personal career, spirituality, relationships, and habits. It also means improving awareness, identifying one’s values and beliefs, and self-actualization. Whether we’re trying to improve ourselves or not, we are always changing and developing as individuals. We are all on some kind of self-improvement path, but some take more control over their future than others. You are not a static being. You are dynamic and always changing – it’s your choice to make sure you are improving and not changing in the opposite direction.Brittany: Self-improvement means making progress towards becoming the best person we can be in all aspects of life: spiritual, physical, and mental. Self-improvement is not perfection; we are all human and will always be a work in progress!

Man looks at camera while pushing weights on a lift forward. In the background there is a wall that reads "TL Fitness."

Q. Why is it important to take your health/fitness/wellness seriously?

Torrey: Physical activity or exercise (“fitness”) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life. Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones.Brittany: It is crucial to take our health and fitness seriously in order to optimize our quality of life. Being healthy and fit allows us to continue to enjoy doing the things we love with the ones we love.

A gym with a chalkboard with exercise rep instructions written on it. Around the chalkboard are several barbell weights, a medicine ball, and other exercise equipment.

Q. What is one easy step in your opinion, that a reader could take today to start moving towards a healthier lifestyle?

Torrey: A healthier lifestyle is not only about eating healthy and exercising. In reality, creating a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it is about being able to keep a positive attitude, strong mental health, and a healthy self-image. Avoid negativity within yourself. Let go of all negative thoughts within yourself. Overeating tends to happen when a person feels unhappy, so by staying in a positive state of mind, you cut out an unhealthy dependence on food to be happy and transition your focus to other areas.Brittany: Start with one thing (even if it is something small!) to focus on, and then build from there. Whether it be aiming for going on a walk every day, picking up a short personal training session, or eliminating sodas from your diet, etc. Even just one small healthy change will have huge benefits for your life! From there, you will feel motivated and empowered to continue making more and more healthy choices.

A man, Torrey Lowe, smiles and walks towards the camera. He is in a gym with "TL Fitness" written on the wall.

Q. What do you recommend to your clients/customers who want to take fitness and health to the next level?

Torrey:

  1. Just show up! Let me do the thinking. Just come ready to work!
  2. Start to regularly employ more intense techniques like forced reps, drop sets, super sets, rest-pause sets, forced negatives, and other activities into your workouts that can take you to the next level.
  3. Functional exercises. Add in more functional exercise instead of machines and cables. Free weights, body weight, bands, chains, etc. can help as well.
  4. Partner up. A good training buddy with a similar mindset and goals can definitely help take your workouts to a new level by providing camaraderie, feedback, encouragement, and the ability to push certain movements.

Brittany: Take a step back and look at the big picture to see what aspects of your life you can modify to improve your health: if you have been focusing primarily on your physical activity, maybe it’s time to also focus on making healthier modifications to your diet. Similarly, if you’ve been primarily focused on eating healthy, try adding some more exercise into your weekly regimen!

A woman lays on her side in a gym lifting her arm vertically to the ceiling, stretching and exercising.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to keep people from feeling burnt out or discouraged on their fitness journey?

Torrey: My advice to them is to enjoy the journey. If you are going to get to your goal, it’s going to take a lot of work. Every day you are going to have to exercise the most powerful muscle you have: your mind. You will never always be motivated. You have to learn to be disciplined. You are only confined by the walls you build yourself. You can’t cheat the grind; it knows how much you have invested. It won’t give you anything you haven’t worked for. Remember, “The journey is the reward.” The sweat. The time. The devotion. It will all pay off – stay focused!Brittany: Try something new! Join a new group fitness class! Sign up for a personal training session! Trying something new keeps us engaged and interested, and you end up seeing positive results more quickly!

A chalkboard with exercises written on it stands in front of a punching bag in a gym.

Q. What are some fun ways to practice health/fitness with family or friends? 

Torrey:

  1. Have a healthy food cook off or a group on social media to hold each other accountable.
  2. Share different meals and recipes regularly.
  3. Share physical activity calories burned and tally them up at the end of each week for a fun competition.
  4. Do outdoor activities, join a gym together, work out together, and encourage each other on the journey.

Brittany: Sit down with your friends or family and make a list of activities you would all like to do together (examples: go for a hike or bike ride, plan a healthy dinner party, etc.), and try to do at least one of those each month.

Self-improvement starts with you, but fitness coaches like Torrey, Brittany, and others in High Point will always have your back along the way. So let’s get started!

Keep discovering our High Points,

The HPD Team

Photography by Maria West Photography

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