BY KELSEY LYONS
Setting and sticking to fitness routines requires planning, hard work and dedication.
Sheridan Musical Theatre student Carlo Bianchini, 19, says he always sets goals for himself.
“A huge goal I’ve had for myself this year is [to gain] about 15 pounds of lean muscle,” he said.
Bianchini says that he started this journey by altering what he eats.
“I started off by changing around my diet to include things that were high in carbs and I consumed a lot of protein every day,” he said. “Eventually I was able to achieve the goal and reached my goal weight of 165 pounds and with lean muscle.”
Another goal that he has been working toward is obtaining a lower percentage of body fat.
However, he says that it’s sometimes a struggle.
“Finding the right workout for you can be a challenge and having to dance almost an hour and a half every day because of my program didn’t help because I was consistently tired,” he said. “Staying committed and having a great diet is what kept me going, otherwise I wouldn’t have hit the gym every day after dance classes.”
Bianchini also writes down his fitness goals and meal plans, he says it helps him achieve success.
“I’ve got two separate notebooks, [one] for my workout plans and then [one for] my meal plan.”
“If you want to take it seriously you have to make sure you monitor everything,” said Bianchini. “So the only way that’s possible is by logging in everything.”
However, Bianchini says that there can be a down side to note-taking.
“For example, calorie counting can sometimes lead to negative things like restricting and bingeing,” he said. “My motto has always been you don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.”
Toronto personal trainer and fitness expert Kathleen Trotter agrees.
“The thing with any type of monitoring is that it’s a great way to become mindful of your habits,” said Trotter. “So many of us are not mindful, you know you grab a handful of almonds here and then another one there, then a couple glasses of wine and then at the end of the day, I say to my client, ‘Have you eaten well’? and they say ‘Yeah.” And then you have to wait a second and think about it and then you’re like ‘Oh wait a second, no’. ”
Trotter says logging is a great way to make you mindful, but it’s a tool that should be used in addition to something else.
“But ultimately it starts with you and you have to decide your motivation and have discipline and set yourself up for success.”
Trotter says there’s a fine line between health and obsession and we need to be careful not to cross that line.
“I never encourage people to track their food forever and always, because I also want people to be able to learn to stop eating when they’re full and how to drink more water, and how to enjoy their food,” she said. “And the problem with tracking is it’s always giving power to an outside source. It’s like saying, ‘Oh this app is telling me I have 100 more calories, well I might as well eat another apple.’ Well, not if you’re not hungry.”
Trotter says it can be tricky, but there is a time when you just need to listen to yourself.
“Ultimately what I always say to people is, the goal is to be mindful so eventually you can be mindless.”
Former Performing Arts student student James Weicht, 23, says he doesn’t log his daily fitness activities and meals.
“I don’t log. For me it becomes work,” says Weicht, a TV actor and stuntman. “That breaks my focus and for me I need it to be natural flow to stay on track.”
“I’m known for my size, I stand at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds,” he said. “I carry the weight well but I’ve always had a bit extra.”
At his heaviest, 280 pounds, Weicht took his health more seriously, mostly because of the high physical demands that it took to perform stunts.
He went to the gym at every chance, whether with his sister or a group of friends, he was there.
“So long story short, my method for achieving my fitness goals is to put myself in every possible opportunity to promote a good healthy and fit lifestyle,” he said. “I think the key to a successful fitness plan is to make it about your lifestyle and just to stick with it.”