I hope this month’s newsletter finds all my precious readers in good health and having a fantastic summer! I know I am.

As anyone who reads these newsletters and comes into personal contact with me knows, I’ve been quite busy with the writing, creating, producing, marketing, etc., of my very first fitness eBook. Well guess what? It’s finished!

SO YOU JOINED A GYM…NOW WHAT? is finally available for purchase and download at Straightforwardfitness.com. Whew! What an undertaking! It is just the beginning of many more to come, as I have a whole "Now What?" fitness series planned. I am very excited about this project. So be sure and check this first book out and please be sure and tell all your friends about it too!

What a learning process this has been. Along the way, I’ve discovered a very interesting parallel or common denominator lying beneath the principles of fitness and the creative process behind making dreams become a reality or achieving one's goals.

In my case, I am writing a series of ebooks and hope to become a successful internet entrepreneur one day. You can fill in the blanks with your goals and dreams. And I think it’s safe to say we are all striving to be as fit and healthy as possible.

Are you ready for the common denominator? Here it is: It never ends. You never really finish. It’s a continuum. If you quit, whatever you were working for begins to diminish. Whether it’s de-conditioning when quitting training or the death of goals and dreams when you stop working towards them, the end result from no action is stagnation, or worse, deterioration.

Once you set a goal, you should try to do at least one thing daily to bring yourself one step closer to that goal’s fruition; otherwise, it’s truly just a dream that will most likely never come true. However, dreams become reality through the implementation of several steps; action is only one of them and perhaps not even the most important.

One crucial step is to envision the dream as if it has already happened or occurred. Picture your healthier, fit body. Envision your shapely biceps and six-pack abs. Try to imagine how it will feel to have already achieved your dream.

However, this step alone won't get you very far. Let’s face it, if all you did was sit around and envision your dreams, it is highly unlikely they would ever manifest into reality.

But, by the same token, if you are working towards something that you just really can’t see happening and you don’t really believe it can happen, it is highly unlikely that it will.

Therefore, you must take action. Your active participation in the making of decisions and taking not only well-thought out but also intuitive action to bring about the desired end result is imperative. So, if it’s a fitter body you want, a good plan of action would be to hit the gym regularly and do cardio and strength training plus a healthy nutrition plan.

In summary, you must dream the dream and envision it. Believe it’s possible and then plan the steps you must take to make them happen and then work daily towards that end.

Equally important, however, is tadah…finally to the subject of this newsletter:

Celebrate your successes, whether they are great or small. Stop long enough to smell the flowers you’ve been nurturing, and pat yourself on the back for your achievements along the way.

I am preaching to myself as well as to you guys. I am very guilty of getting caught up in the “so much to do—so little time” mindset. This sets the stage for emitting frantic, dramatic, anxiety-ridden energy. This is not the energy I wish to put out; however, I am a work in progress just like the rest of the human race.

It is, in fact, one of my dreams and goals to emit peaceful, harmonious energy instead of the frantic, harried vibes that emanate from me at times when I am feeling pressured and stressed. Hey, I’m working on it. Admitting you have a problem is half the battle, right?

Hence, let’s take more time to celebrate our successes, kids. Because, not only do we deserve it, but I truly believe the positive feelings that we feel when we celebrate will, in turn, facilitate more and more success. It’s the law of attraction in action.

5-minute daily visual exercise
What we focus on expands. Take some time to see what you’ve achieved and spend less time focusing on what you haven’t. Pretend you've already achieved the end goal and focus on how good that feels. Spend 5 minutes each day doing this visual exercise. Never mind what is. Imagine it the way you want it to be. When your vibes match your desire, your desire will manifest that much faster.

For example:

  • Don’t think about how heavy you are. Think about how thin you’re going to be. Picture it in your mind and imagine how good it will feel.
  • If your goal is gaining muscle and six-pack abs, then think about how your arms will bust out of their sleeves and you’ll be able to do laundry on your washboard abs.
  • Notice how much better you are already looking and envision your muscles growing and responding during the execution of your exercises.
  • See the pounds you’ve lost, not the ones left to lose.
  • This is a biggie: Realize that what you’ve accomplished so far is a mere drop in the bucket compared to what you are capable of now and in the future.

    Envision it. Believe it. Take action. Don’t give up. And last but not least, celebrate your successes along the way and recycle more success back into your life. Tell yourself job well done and then stay the course. This type of positive self talk really will help keep you on the path to further success, not to mention it will help you feel better right now.

    A word of warning: It may not be a good idea to celebrate with the reward of your favorite cheat-food, i.e., pizza or a large Blizzard from the Dairy Queen. That can be quite counterproductive. Besides, if you are following a healthy nutrition plan, your cheat-foods (in planned small amounts, of course) are a part of your weekly menu; thus eliminating the need to binge on them in “celebration.”

    Better to reward yourself with a massage, fitness apparel, or maybe those jeans you can finally fit into that once you could not. Yay! Enjoy!

    You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.
    --Sidney A. Friedman
    Entrepreneur, Speaker and Author

    Okay, as you may know I’ve tried several little segments in this newsletter. I’m in search of finding just the right fit for a permanent section that is short, sweet, and to the point. One that serves the purpose of good-to-know info for fitness attainment; which is what we are all after, right? I think maybe I’ve finally stumbled upon it. Duh, it only took me 6 issues. And the winner is…(lower the lights and cue the drumroll, please)

    This is the part of the newsletter where I will picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution. This month’s exercise is the lat pulldown. Yay, and the crowd goes wild. So, without further ado:

    Lats are short for latissimus dorsi. Would anyone like to venture a guess as to why we call them lats? They are the V-shaped muscles in your upper back that look like wings when a bodybuilder hits the double biceps pose. When these muscles are conditioned and developed, they help give your back that nice V-shape and they make your waistline look smaller. I vote yes to both, how about you?

    Front Lat Pulldowns
    Primary muscle group worked: Upper/mid back or lats.
    These should be done pulling only to the front since the back lat pulldown has been proven to be dangerous for your shoulders and neck.

    Starting Position: Grasp the bar just past the bend on each side with thumbs up and over the bar. Allow upper body to feel a good stretch and keep a slight natural arch in the lower back throughout the move. Movement: Slightly lean back (being careful not to lean back too far, as shown) as you pull the bar down to the upper chest. Pause and slowly return to the start position while bringing body back up completely vertical focusing on the stretch in the lats (upper back). Repeat for the desired number of reps. Tips: Envision bringing the chest up to meet the bar and keep chin slightly tilted up throughout.

    That's about it for this month! Until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

    If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

    And don't forget to tell everybody about Straightforwardfitness.com where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

    From my heart to your health,

    Linda Burke, CPT

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