Following the Program: What a Mentor Can Do For You

A couple of months ago, I was speaking at a conference which required me to stay at a hotel.  When I am away, I usually take advantage of the fitness facilities, especially the pool.  However, this trip, I forgot my swim suit so I needed to improvise and do something different.

You need a Plan

I got up early, went to the gym and decided to walk on the treadmill.  Since my goal was losing weight, I decided to click on the fat burning program instead of the cardio program.  Before the program started, it asked me a few questions like weight, target heart rate, age and whether my measurement was time or amount of calories burned.  The program helped me PLAN out my workout instead of just jumping in and going.  It made suggestions about the target rate and the time.  Since it was the expert, I followed the machine’s guidance.

I began to see the treadmilTreadmill equipmentl as my mentor who had the information I needed and was going to guide me through this workout.  And you know- I was really open to that. It allowed me to choose a starting speed from the ones listed; plugged in the program and off I went.

Follow the Plan

At first, I thought I was going too fast but then I really settled into the pace.  I noticed that my heart rate was at its target for fat burning which is different from cardio.  In the past, I might have been tempted to push it up a notch so that I could increase my heart rate.  However, that would have been an action that would not have supported my overall goal.  Quickly I noticed 3 minutes had gone by and then 5 and then I was almost at 10 minutes.  I was in the flow and moving forward and it felt easy even though I was definitely working.

My mentor, the treadmill, would challenge me by increasing the incline I was walking.  If I took my hands off the pulse straps (the equivalent of not checking in and reporting current status), I received a message across the top that in order to properly measure my targets, I needed to have my hands on the strap.  It was keeping me accountable to my target heart rate and fat burning and showing me what I needed to do to measure that.

Achieving the Goal

As I noticed that 17:23 lapsed, I thought- WOW only 2 and half minutes left.  I felt great and had been moving along at a good pace and could feel the fat melting from my hips.  Since I usually walked for 20 minutes, I would be done in just about 2 minutes.  However, my mentor, the treadmill, had set the program for 30 minutes.  My mentor knew that in order to accomplish my goal, I needed a longer program and I needed to stay committed to that program.

So now I had a choice.  I could have said, “But I only planned for 20 minutes, or I usually only walk for 20 minutes or I don’t think I can walk another 10 minutes.”   WHINE!  WHINE!  WHINE!

Now, of course, I did not do that.  I was motivated to continue on.  I had burned 145 calories and wanted more.  I had walked 1.76 miles and knew I could do more.  So I pushed on past the 20 minutes and I stayed in the flow.  I was proud of myself.  I felt strong and healthy as I watched my heart rate stay in the target zone and the mileage increase.

At the end of 30 minutes, I was pumped and excited and guess what, I still wasn’t done.  The program told me I needed to do a 5 minute cool down to bring my heart rate down.  So that is what I did.  It was interesting because I usually walk a minute at a slightly slower speed when I cool down and then jump off the machine.  Not today! The treadmill took me slowly down until I was at 1.0 miles per hour.  Let me tell you, this is slow.  I almost had trouble walking  because it felt too slow but this is what my mentor (the program) told me to do and so I walked slow and watched as my heart rate came down out of the target zone.  In the end my training took 35 minutes instead of my original workout which had been scheduled for 20 minutes.  However, it was much more effective than what I might have done on my own.

Having a mentor is like that.  They have the expertise to look at your overall goals and to know what program will be the most effective for you.  Mentors take you out of your comfort zone so you can go to places you never imagined were possible.  They believe and support you to think differently and to take action that feels a little scary and will move you forward.

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3 thoughts on “Following the Program: What a Mentor Can Do For You

  1. I love the step by step example you walked (no pun intended!) us through.

    I am a firm believer in mentorship and finding someone to guide me in areas I need support

    Of course, it’s also something I do everyday with my clients who are looking for a program to support them with finding solutions for their anxiety, stress, depression and emotional eating.

  2. What a great post about mentoring. The treadmill visual is perfect and I could just see it happening. I agree about mentors. It is so important for everyone to have a mentor. Regardless of what level we are at in life, we always need someone to nudge, coach, train and lead us towards our next level of greatness.

    • So true Tandy. I have always have mentors to help me move to that next level. I always say “You can’t see your shirt label when you are in the shirt.” You need someone else who have take a look and give you guidance and perspective.