Webinar Q&A – Getting Fit with a Disability: How to Advocate for Yourself at the Gym

Thank you to everyone that joined us on February 28, 2018 for the webinar Getting Fit with a Disability:  How to Advocate for Yourself at the Gym.  In the webinar, participants learned how to create a successful self-advocacy plan, effectively communicate with health and fitness professionals, and develop creative solutions that are a win-win for everyone.

If you weren’t able to join us for the live presentation, you can watch the webinar at any time.  Just click the button below to view a recording of the live webinar.

View Webinar Button - View a recording of the live webinar

Also, I want to share answers to the questions we received during and after the webinar.


Q:  Is the approach I take to self-advocacy going to be different if I am just evaluating a new gym that if I am already a member under contract with a gym?

A:  [Jennifer Hobbs] If you are evaluating a gym, you are in complete control. If you feel that you are not being heard or that the organization is not willing to accommodate you, you can choose not to join and find another facility. If you are interested in learning more about what look for when you are searching for a fitness facility, I encourage you to go to our website and watch our webinar How to Choose Your Gym: 5 Questions You NEED to Ask When You Have a Disability. You will get some great tips on how to plan your gym search as well as identify “red flags” to look for when touring a gym.

If you already belong to a gym, and specifically if you are in a contract, you don’t have the flexibility to just leave. Therefore, self-advocacy becomes more important. Remember, you have the same right to fully participate as any other member of the gym. That is when developing a more formal self-advocacy plan, like the one we discussed today, becomes more important.

Q:  If I don’t get the results that I need from my self-advocacy efforts, what do I do next?

A: [Jennifer Hobbs]  If you do not get the results that you expect, you have several options.

  1. You may want to investigate more official channels.  This may include filing a formal compliant in writing to the organization’s management. You may also want to enlist the support of a disability advocacy organization to pursue a more formal advocacy process.
  2. If you feel that your legal rights are violated, contact an attorney and consider filing a legal action.
  3. Reassess your strategy and goals. Perhaps take another approach or pursue another issue that is easier to resolve.
  4. End your relationship with the facility. If you are under contract, determine the terms of the contract and terminate your membership when the contract expires.
  5. Finally, you may choose to accept the situation, at least for now,  You may decide that continuing to pursue the issue is not worth your time and effort right now.

What are your questions and comments?  Let’s continue the conversation – share your thoughts in the Comments section.

Jennifer's Signature Jennifer Hobbs

Free Webinar – Getting Fit with a Disability: How to Advocate for Yourself at the Gym

One of the best ways to get active is by joining a gym or fitness facility. However, navigating the gym can be challenging when you have a disability. Fortunately, you can overcome these barriers and enjoy safe and effective workouts at the gym. The key is successfully advocating for yourself and knowing how to ask for what you need.

What is Self-Advocacy?

Self-advocacy is taking action by speaking up and asking for what you need.  Successful self-advocacy involves knowing your rights, understanding your needs, and effectively communicating those needs to others.

Why is it Important?

If you have a disability, self-advocacy can be a critical skill if you choose to exercise at a gym or fitness facility.  Many facilities are not designed with the needs of individuals with disabilities in mind.  Also, many health and fitness professionals are not aware of the needs of individuals with disabilities in these settings.  Therefore, you need become your own best advocate by taking action to ensure that your needs are met.

Self-advocacy helps you:

  • Get what you need (e.g. information, equipment, resources, instruction) to exercise safely and effectively.
  • Make sure your rights are respected.
  • Develop assertiveness and self-determination.
  • Learn to say no without guilt.
  • Express disagreement while respecting the needs of others.

How Do I Advocate for Myself?

The thought of having to speak up for your own interests can be scary.  Fortunately, self-advocacy doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  It is a learned skill that you can master through proper planning and practice.  The key to success is having a solid strategy that gives you the confidence you need take action.

If you are interested in learning how to become your own best advocate at the gym, I invite you to join me FREE 30-minute webinar.  In this webinar, you will learn:

  • A simple 3-step plan for successful self-advocacy in health and fitness settings.
  • Tips for effectively communicating with health and fitness professionals.
  • Problem-solving strategies for developing creative solutions that are a win-win for everyone!

Here is everything you need to know to join me for this exciting event!

Event Details

Webinar: Getting Fit with a Disability:  How to Advocate for Yourself at the Gym 
Date:  Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Time:  7:00 – 7:30 pm EST
Duration:  30 minutes
Presented By:  Jennifer Hobbs, MS, MBA
President & Founder, IncluFit

Can’t attend the live event? No problem! A recording will be made available to all registered attendees after the live event concludes. We’ll deliver it directly to your inbox for easy access and viewing.

I look forward to seeing you on February 28th!

Jennifer's Signature Jennifer Hobbs

Webinar Q&A – New Year, New You: Tips for Getting Fit with a Disability

Thank you to everyone that joined us on January 3, 2018 for the webinar New Year, New You:  Tips for Getting Fit with a Disability.  Throughout the month of December 2017, we asked the IncluFit online community to answer the question “What is the #1 barrier individuals with disabilities face in getting fit?”.  We received tons of great responses!  Here is a sample…

  • “Thinking they can’t do it.”
  • “Courage to do it!!”
  • “Motivation.”
  • “No help.”
  • “Lack of accessible places and understanding, inclusive-minded staff.”
  • “Assumption you will hurt yourself.”

…and many, many more!

It was difficult, but we compiled your responses and determined the top 3 barriers faced by individuals with disabilities in getting fit.  In the webinar, we discussed each of these barriers and identified strategies for overcoming those barriers in the new year.

If you weren’t able to join us for the live presentation, you can watch the webinar at any time.  Just click the button below to view a recording of the live webinar.

View Webinar Button - View a recording of the live webinar

Also, we had some great questions during the Q&A that I wanted to share with everyone.  Here is a recap of the Q&A session.


Q:  You talked a lot about advocating for yourself at the gym and asking for what you need, but how do I know if what I’m asking for is reasonable?

A:  [Jennifer Hobbs] That’s a very good question. First, I want to start by saying advocating for yourself can be incredibly challenging especially if you’re someone who doesn’t like to make waves or is afraid of asking for what you need. So, that can be very challenging in and of itself, just to get up the courage to ask for what you need.  Then having the fear of “Is what I’m asking for reasonable or are my expectations skewed? Am I asking for something that’s really not reasonable?” Now, that’s going to depend on what you’re asking for, in what situation you’re in, but I am definitely of the opinion – ask for what you need! However, be willing to have an open conversation with the people. For example, if you’re in the gym and there’s a piece of equipment that would really benefit you that the facility doesn’t have, approach the manager. Have a conversation, but be willing to have a good back and forth. Educate them on why it is beneficial. Help them understand the benefits that it will bring to you and, not just you, but their other clients as well. But, expect that it might not be something that they could do right away. So, always ask. Don’t expect immediate results, but you can, at a minimum, try to work out a plan to see if maybe they could do that in the future. Maybe there’s another option that they could implement right now. So, in my opinion, no request is unreasonable but the important thing is the conversation that you have that you have afterwards.

Q:  How can I tell the difference between pain and just discomfort associated with exercise?

A:  [Jennifer Hobbs]  That’s a tough one. That can be a really challenging one, especially if you live your life with chronic pain. It can be very hard to distinguish what is pain from an injury or condition and what is just general discomfort from using your muscles in a different way or being physically active. In general, anything that causes a sharp, acute, sudden pain that makes you wince or makes you immediately feel like you have to stop, that’s probably an indicator that you should stop. That is, something is exacerbating your injury or condition or potentially causing a new injury. Stop, assess, take a break, come back. The sensations associated with physical activity and exercise feel something like a warmth or a kind of a muscle burn or kind of a gradual buildup of fatigue. That’s indicative of a normal response of your body to exercise, particularly exercise that it may not be used to. So, pain associated with injury is usually more sudden, acute, sharp, extremely painful. Pain associated, pain or discomfort, I don’t want to say pain, but discomfort associated with physical activity is generally a little more gradual, not as sharp, and develops over time. But the best way to really determine that is to set small goals and work up slowly. The more slowly that you work up, adding in exercises to your routine, adding intensity and time you’re going to start to develop the sense of what is pain and what is just regular exercise discomfort.


What are your questions and comments?  Let’s continue the conversation – share your thoughts in the Comments section.

Jennifer's Signature Jennifer Hobbs

Free Webinar – New Year, New You: Tips for Getting Fit with a Disability

The new year is quickly approaching which means it’s the perfect time to start thinking about setting your fitness goals for 2018!

Getting more exercise is one of the most common new year’s resolutions, and for good reason! Exercise is one of the best ways to improve both mental and physical health.

Although we all know that exercise is good for us, getting fit and staying active is easier said than done. Maintaining a regular exercise program can be particularly challenging for individuals with disabilities.  Research shows that 47% of adults with a disability get no physical activity.  

Fortunately, you don’t need to let your disability stop you from being active. I invite you to join me for a FREE 30-minute webinar, where I will show you how to overcome the challenges of exercising with a disability and get fit in 2018. 

Here is everything you need to know to join me for this exciting event!

Event Details

Webinar: New Year, New You: Tips for Getting Fit with a Disability
Date:  Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Time:  1:00 – 1:30 pm EST
Duration:  30 minutes
Presented By:  Jennifer Hobbs, MS, MBA
President & Founder, IncluFit

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The top 3 barriers to getting fit faced by individuals with disabilities.
  • Strategies for identifying and overcoming these barriers.
  • Practical tips to help you stay on track and make 2018 your healthiest year ever!

Can’t attend the live event? No problem! A recording will be made available to all registered attendees after the live event concludes. We’ll deliver it directly to your inbox for easy access and viewing.

I hope to see you on January 3rd!

Jennifer's Signature Jennifer Hobbs

Webinar Q&A – How to Choose Your Gym: 5 Questions You NEED to Ask When You Have a Disability

Thank you to everyone that joined us on November 15, 2017 for the webinar How to Choose Your Gym: 5 Questions You NEED to Ask When You Have a Disability.  Attendees came away with valuable tips on how to take the stress out of finding the right gym when you have a disability.

If you weren’t able to join us on the 15th – no problem!  You can watch the webinar at any time.  Just click the button below to view a recording of the live webinar.

View Webinar Button - View a recording of the live webinar

Also, we had some great questions during the Q&A that I wanted to share with everyone.  Here is a recap of the Q&A session.


Q:  I have already signed a contract with a gym, and I do like it, but now that I’ve taken this webinar I am realizing that there are some things that should have been red flags. I’ve always just accepted these limitations in the place meeting my needs, but now that I know better what can I do to address the concerns at my current gym?  In other words, how do I advocate for my needs in a gym that I already belong to?

A:  [Jennifer Hobbs]  That’s a great question.  So, I think you’re right, there’s one thing about having the information and knowing the questions to ask and actually being able to advocate for yourself in the gym.  As I had actually just touched on, don’t be afraid to ask questions and if you’re not getting the responses you want one thing I would say first take a look at who are you talking to.  Maybe you’re not talking to the right person.  Maybe you need to talk to a manager.  If you’re still not getting the information or getting the response that you want, I always recommend taking an approach of educating the staff.  Give them your thoughts. Tell them a little bit about inclusive fitness, how they might be able to improve their accessibility and inclusion at their facilities.  If you’d like, volunteer to help them and be your own advocate to help them get that knowledge.

Q:  I can’t seem to find a gym in my area that’s really inclusive. Am I really just looking for a needle in a haystack?

A:  [Jennifer Hobbs]  It can probably feel like that sometimes.  What I have found is a lot of it does depend on where you are. I think here in the United States, what I’d like to term “the inclusion revolution” in the health and fitness industry, is just starting to build momentum.  Inclusion and accessibility is not something that most gyms have high on
their priority list.  I think that certain places, like Great Britain and Australia, have made a lot of progress and are way ahead of the United States in terms of offering things like training to fitness professionals and raising awareness about the importance of inclusive
fitness. So, I can see where you’d think it would kind of be a needle in the haystack and that’s really where the advocacy has to come in.  More than likely, if you are in the United States, if you’re going to a gym, that’s probably not going to be something that is in the forefront of their business model. So, as long as they are willing to work with you, then advocate for yourself and you can probably make a difference. Hopefully, with more training like this and starting to get the word out more about the inclusive fitness movement here in the United States, we are going to start to see a change.  We’re going to see more facilities being more accessible and being more inclusive of individuals with disabilities.


What are your questions and comments?  Let’s continue the conversation – share your thoughts in the Comments section.

Jennifer's Signature Jennifer Hobbs

Free Webinar – How to Choose Your Gym: 5 Questions You NEED to Ask When You Have a Disability

It is no secret that most of us struggle to maintain a regular exercise program.  This can be particularly challenging when you have a disability.  Work, school, health issues, and just life in general can make it difficult to carve out even a few hours a week to spend on our own wellbeing.  So how can you get motivated to move more and make exercise a part of your normal routine – join a gym!

A recent study Iowa State University showed that gym members logged a whopping 484 minutes of exercise on average per week compared to only 137 minutes per week for non-members.  Additionally, the odds of meeting weekly physical activity guidelines were 14 times higher for gym members than for non-gym members.  As if that wasn’t enough evidence of the value of a gym membership, researchers also found that gym members were less likely to be obese, had lower blood pressure, higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, and smaller waist circumferences than non-members.

Sounds great!  Sign me up, right?  Unfortunately, the thought of finding the right gym and committing to signing on that dotted line can easily become overwhelming, especially when you have a disability.

Good news!  Choosing a gym doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.  I invite you to join me for a FREE 30-minute webinar, where I will to show you how you can take the anxiety out of choosing a gym when you have a disability.  All it takes is a little planning ahead and asking a few simple questions to help you find your perfect fit.

Here is everything you need to know to join me for this exciting event!

Event Details

Webinar:  How to Choose Your Gym: 5 Questions You NEED to Ask When You Have a Disability
Date:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Time:  2:00 – 2:30 pm EST
Duration:  30 minutes
Presented By:  Jennifer Hobbs, MS, MBA,
President & Founder, IncluFit

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Tips on how to plan ahead to make the most of your gym search.
  • “Red flags” to watch for when touring a gym.
  • The top 5 questions to ask gym staff during the first visit.

I hope to see you on November 15th!

Jennifer's Signature Jennifer Hobbs

Loneliness, Disabilities, and the Importance of Inclusive Physical Activity

While it’s normal to feel lonely at one time or another, chronic loneliness poses serious risks to both mental and physical health.

The British charity, Sense, recently released a report on disability and loneliness showing that individuals with disabilities are more likely to be chronically lonely than individuals without disabilities.

The Sense Report goes on to state that:

  • 53% of all individuals with a disability report feeling lonely on a regular basis
  • 77% of young people with a disability experience chronic loneliness

How can we combat such staggering and disturbing statistics? One solution may be exercise!

Both Current Psychology and the Journal of Nursing & Health Sciences report that physical activity has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation in all age groups. For individuals with disabilities, participation in sports and other physical activity has also been shown to positively impact social experiences and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Although any form of physical activity can be beneficial in combatting loneliness, research suggests that participation in inclusive (i.e. individuals both with and without disabilities participate together) sports and physical activity programs benefit individuals with a disability to an even greater extent.

Why is loneliness bad for you?

Nobody likes to feel lonely. It’s an undesirable and emotionally distressing experience.

A girl sits alone with her head down, looking sad, tired, and depressed.
A girl sits alone with her head down, looking sad, tired, and depressed.

For individuals who are chronically lonely, there can also be significant impacts on long-term mental and physical health. Chronic loneliness has been linked to a number of mental health conditions, which include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide

Not only does loneliness have significant effects on mental health, but it can also directly impact physical health. As you can see, loneliness is not a minor health threat. Research suggests that chronic loneliness is as much of a threat to health as obesity and smoking.

Chronic loneliness has been linked to:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Alterations in gene expression, causing the body and brain to go into a protective mode
    • This causes additional stress and aging while the body is constantly in a state of “high alert”
  • Increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)
  • Changes in levels of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that determines impulsive behavior)
  • Long-term inflammation and damage to the tissues and blood vessels of the heart increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Sleep difficulties

The statistics on the impacts of loneliness on physical health are sobering. According to the Harvard Medical School and Everyday Health, people experiencing chronic loneliness are:

  • 64% more likely to develop dementia in later life
  • 29% more likely to suffer a heart attack
  • 32% more likely to have a stroke
  • 45% more likely to suffer early death

These risk factors can have an even greater impact on individuals with disabilities, as they often struggle with concurrent health conditions and other impairments.

Why do individuals with disabilities have higher rates of loneliness?

Individuals with disabilities face additional barriers when building social connections. Depending on the nature of the disability, these barriers may include:

  • Physical barriers, such as a lack of accessible transportation and/or facilities
  • A lack of inclusive programs
  • A lack of needed supports and accommodations to participate in programs

While these barriers all present issues for individuals with disabilities, the biggest barrier to all meaningful social engagement among individuals with disabilities is our society’s attitudes towards individuals with disabilities. Most commonly, an overall lack of awareness, stigmas, and other misconceptions about individuals with disabilities makes developing social relationships more challenging.

A boy using a wheelchair sits by himself and watches a team prepare for a game.
A boy using a wheelchair sits by himself and watches a team prepare for a game.

According to the Sense Report:

  • 49% of non-disabled people don’t believe they have anything in common with individuals with disabilities
  • 26% of non-disabled people admit they have avoided engaging in conversation with a person with a disability

With these statistics in mind, how can we all work together to break down these barriers and facilitate social connections among people both with and without disabilities?  

Inclusive sports and physical activity programs offer a solution.

How does physical activity help?

It’s no secret that exercise does wonders for both your physical and mental health.

Participating in physical activity has been shown to provide the following physiological, emotional, and social benefits:

  • Physiological Benefits
    • Boosting mood
    • Reducing the risk of numerous diseases, such as strokes, heart disease, and cancer
    • Increasing mobility
    • Improving the ability to perform other daily living activities
  • Emotional Benefits
    • Increasing self-esteem
    • Providing an opportunity to develop new skills
    • Creating a sense of accomplishment from setting and meeting goals
  • Social Benefits
    • Feelings of inclusion and belonging to a part of a larger group
    • Providing all participating individuals with common ground to talk about and share experiences

Why are inclusive physical activity opportunities particularly important?

According to the English Federation of Disability Sport, research suggests that participation in any sport or fitness activity, whether in a segregated environment (i.e. only individuals with disabilities participate) or an inclusive environment (i.e. individuals both with and without disabilities participate together) reduces loneliness and social isolation in individuals with disabilities.

Both of these types of programs offer numerous benefits to individuals with disabilities and help to decrease feelings of loneliness and increase opportunities for social interaction.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Greater self-sufficiency
  • Improved communication and social skills
  • Developing friendships
  • Opportunities to assume a leadership role as a coach or mentor

However, research suggests that individuals with disabilities garner even more benefits from physical activity when participating in an inclusive program. An inclusive environment offers opportunities and advantages that simply do not exist in segregated programs.

Inclusive fitness environments provide three major additional benefits:

1. Changing Perceptions

Participation by both individuals with and without disabilities can help erase the biggest barrier to meaningful social engagement among individuals with disabilities – society’s negative attitudes. When people participate in physical activity together, they:

  • Share common goals
  • Work together, thus acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and others
  • Gain insight into the abilities and potential of others

These outcomes result in increased levels of social acceptance of individuals with disabilities by changing perceptions and decreasing negative stereotypes.

2. Building Community

One of the greatest factors driving loneliness in individuals with disabilities is the perception that they do not “belong” or “fit in” to society as a whole. Inclusive sports and physical activity programs are incredibly beneficial because they foster a sense of being part of the community.

This sense of community is important because:

  • Individuals expand their social networks to include people with more diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • Unlike in segregated programs, inclusive programs provide the opportunity for everyone to participate so individuals with disabilities can enjoy time and exercise with non-disabled family and friends.
  • Perhaps most importantly, feeling like a part of a larger community has been shown to significantly reduce feelings of both loneliness and social isolation.

3. Developing Self-Confidence

Participation in inclusive sports and physical activity programs can help individuals with disabilities develop a sense of self-confidence, which can, in turn, lead to more plentiful and meaningful social interactions.

Inclusive physical activity for individuals with disabilities offers the opportunity to experience feelings of freedom and inclusion not typically experienced in everyday life. Over time, this self-confidence and self-esteem grow as individuals with disabilities feel accepted as peers.

Conclusion

As you can see, loneliness is a serious threat to both mental and physical health. Unfortunately, individuals with disabilities experience loneliness at much higher rates compared to those that are identified as non-disabled. Luckily, encouraging individuals with disabilities to be more active in inclusive sports and physical activity programs can help combat feelings of loneliness.

A man rolls in his wheelchair on the trail on the left while a woman cycles alongside him on the right.
A man rolls in his wheelchair on the trail while a woman cycles alongside him.

It takes each and every one of us to help make inclusive and accessible fitness available for all to enjoy. In order to make this a reality, however, we need to:

  • Create more inclusive opportunities in both sports and fitness programs
  • Ensure that staff are properly trained to support individuals with disabilities
  • Raise awareness about the importance of inclusive sports and physical activity programs

Are you interested in learning more about creating an inclusive fitness environment that everyone – no matter the age or ability – can enjoy? Check out our education and training offerings for more information.

Further Reading

English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). (2014, August). Active together: Evidence-based report on how to provide sport or physical activity opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to take part together. Retrieved from English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS): http://www.efds.co.uk/how-we-help/research/1836-active-together-august-2014

English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). (2015, March). Talk to Me – Principles in Action. Retrieved from English Federation of Disability Sport: http://www.efds.co.uk/how-we-help/research/1878-talk-to-me-october-2014

Gupta, S. (2015, August 4). Why You Should Treat Loneliness as a Chronic Illness. Retrieved from Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/loneliness-can-really-hurt-you/

Harvard Medical School. (2016, June). Loneliness has same risk as smoking for heart disease. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publications: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/loneliness-has-same-risk-as-smoking-for-heart-disease

Haugen, T., Säfvenbom, R., & Ommundsen, Y. (2013, May 4). Sport Participation and Loneliness in Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Perceived Social Competence. Current Psychology, 32(2), 203-216. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236693927_Sport_Participation_and_Loneliness_in_Adolescents_The_Mediating_Role_of_Perceived_Social_Competence

Mayer, W. E., & Anderson, L. S. (2014). Perceptions of People With Disabilities and Their Families about Segregated and Inclusive Recreation Involvement. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 48(2), 150-168. Retrieved from http://js.sagamorepub.com/trj/article/view/5192

Robins, L. M., Jansons, P., & Haines, T. (2016, January). The Impact of Physical Activity Interventions on Social Isolation Among Community – Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing & Health Sciences, 2(1), 62-71. Retreived from https://www.omicsonline.org/scholarly-articles/the-impact-of-physical-activity-interventions-on-social-isolationamong-communitydwelling-older-adults-a-systematic-review-70173.html

Sense. (2017). “Someone cares if I’m not there” Addressing loneliness in disabled people. Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, London. Retrieved from https://www.sense.org.uk/sites/default/files/loneliness_report_-_someone_cares_if_im_not_there.pdf

Logging Food & Exercise – Is it Worth the Effort?

If you have ever tried keeping a food and exercise log you probably realized very quickly that logging not an easy task. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and guts to (truthfully) write down every bite and every bit of activity, but I promise you it is worth it!

Here are some of the common questions that people ask about logging and the reasons why it pays to stick with it.

Is there something else I should be getting out of my logging besides a daily countdown to my goal? 

The benefits of logging go far beyond the obvious – knowing the number of net calories you consumed in a day to stay within your daily budget. Of course, this is a very important function of logging, but only a small piece.  Additionally, logging provides a…

Baseline or Starting Point

In order to get to your ultimate goal, it is important to understand where you are today. It is very hard to set goals and develop an effective plan to reach those goals when you don’t know your starting point

Reality Check 

People tend to underestimate the number of calories consumed and overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise. Logging provides a “reality check” to help understand how much you are really eating and how many calories you are really burning during exercise. Measuring out food provides a reality check for portion sizes. Once you have a better understanding of your true caloric intake and output, you can set or reset your expectations to better meet your goals.

Basis for Identifying Problem Areas and Stumbling Blocks

Logging increases your awareness of your eating and exercise habits. By analyzing your log, you can:

  • Identify current issues and lapses.
  • Pinpoint habits that are impeding your progress.
  • Notice patterns in your eating and better plan for dealing with obstacles.

Once you understand where your problem areas are, you can develop strategies to address them.

Will I have to do this forever? 

The short answer is no. Over time, as you continue to log, you will begin to develop an internal sense of your calories in versus calories out. Look at the logging process as a training period. You need to learn the skills necessary to be able to accurately estimate your nutrition needs. This takes time, patience, and lots of practice. The more you log, the better you get at being able to look at a meal and roughly guess the portion sizes, calories, and other nutritional values without having to look it up. The same goes for exercise. As your estimating skills get better, the less you need to log.

How do I make sure that I am getting the most from logging?

Here are a few tips that can help you get the most out off logging.

  • Be Honest – record everything you eat and all exercise.
  • Be Accurate – measure out portions, read labels, and make sure to include everything including condiments and “extras” (e.g. butter)
  • Be Consistent – log every meal, every day.
  • Review Often – frequently analyze your log to see where you can improve.

Logging can at times seem like an exercise in futility, but the benefits of keeping an accurate log far outweigh the time and effort required to do it.  If you want to make long-term changes to your health and fitness, keep on logging!

 

Welcome to the IncluFit Blog!

I want to personally welcome you to the IncluFit blog! The purpose of this blog is to share information related to a variety of inclusive health and fitness topics. Whether you are a health and fitness professional, an individual with a disability, a family member, own or manage a fitness facility, or are just someone who is interested about learning more about inclusive fitness this blog is for you.

The blog will cover a variety of topics, including:blog

  • Exercises and workouts designed for everyone. Inclusive cardio, strength training, and mind-body workouts that you can do at home or the gym.
  • Advice and how-to’s for selecting and using universally designed and adaptive fitness equipment.
  • Practical tips for getting active and staying active.
  • Insight into the latest research and news in inclusive fitness and sport.
  • Tools for health and fitness professionals and facility owners and managers on how to make your classes, programs, and facilities inclusive of individuals of all abilities.
  • Inspirational stories of individuals and organizations that embody the spirit of inclusive fitness.
  • Information on inclusive fitness advocacy. Learn how to become involved in promoting inclusive fitness in the community.

IncluFit is committed to breaking down barriers and giving individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to fully participate in physical activity. We are excited to launch this blog to share this passion with you and spread the word about inclusive fitness. We sincerely hope that you visit this blog often and find it both educational and inspirational.

Remember, fitness is for everyone. No boundaries, no exceptions!

Jennifer's Signature