July 12, 2013
Have you ever wanted to make a lifestyle change, such as eating healthier or committing to regular physical activity, but felt overwhelmed at the thought of going it alone? With so much information available about improving fitness and health (which can often be contradictory), it is a challenge even knowing how to begin—until now. The ACE 28 Days to a Healthier You program is an innovative system designed to give you the best possible chance to successfully achieve a healthier lifestyle—with minimum stress and anxiety while working toward your goals. I recently signed up for the program to experience its benefits for myself before I recommended it to my clients and social media followers. Here is what I found.
In a word, this program is excellent! It is based on the Japanese principle of kaizen, which is the idea that small improvements can lead to big changes. The ACE 28 Days to a Healthier You program provides a month-long, online, interactive health-coach experience designed to engage previously sedentary individuals in a lifestyle change that includes healthier nutrition, increased physical activity and behavioral reconditioning. Some of the best features of the plan are the connection you feel with the health coach (through daily contact), the homework activities that prompt small, sustainable changes over time, and the encouragement from your coach and other community members who are eager to share their own challenges and achievements with you.
On the simplest level, kaizen is a Japanese philosophy of bringing about large changes through small continuous improvements. Kaizen methodology includes making changes and monitoring results, then adjusting. When it comes to lifestyle change, a typical kaizen cycle consists of:
- Identifying ideal behavior
- Assessing current behavior
- Comparing current behavior to ideal behavior
- Developing and implementing a plan to achieve a do-able version of the “ideal” behavior
- Making the new, improved behavior the norm
- Repeating the cycle
The thing that really sets this program apart from other health/fitness improvement plans is the behavioral component, which is the most significant aspect of lifestyle change. I was impressed with the program’s focus on creating new behaviors that over time lead to big changes, because the reason most people fail in making health improvements is that they feel overwhelmed by making drastic changes to their daily routines. There are no large or overwhelming tasks in this program, yet by the end of the 28 days, you will think and behave differently than when you started. You will have adopted strategies for shopping and preparing meals that improve your nutritional habits significantly, and you will be engaging in meaningful physical activity as part of your healthy lifestyle.
The ACE 28 Days to a Healthier You program applies the kaizen cycle to inspire significant lifestyle changes through small steps, which include:
- Online health coaching via a daily email message highlighting a behavioral strategy for lifestyle change and ending with a simple “call to action” homework assignment
- A daily nutrition and physical activity “lesson” that builds upon the daily behavioral tip in the email. Each day’s content builds upon the previous day.
- A daily optional text message briefly recapping the day’s topic and activity
- A simplified food and activity journal to track progress
- A private journal to save thoughts, feelings and observations
- Social media platform to engage with others participating in the ACE 28 Days Program
If you’re considering making a change to become more physically active and improve your nutritional habits, I believe the ACE 28 Days to a Healthier You program will give you the tools and resources to make it happen. Even better, you’ll learn strategies for making these new healthy behaviors part of your permanent routine, which could last a lifetime—a long and healthy lifetime!
Sabrena Merrill, M.S., is an exercise physiologist and ACE Education Content Development Expert. A 20-year veteran of the fitness industry, she is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer as well as an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach and Group Fitness Instructor. Sabrena holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education (sport science) as well as a master’s degree in physical education/biomechanics from the University of Kansas. A former full-time faculty member in the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department at California State University, Long Beach, Sabrena has a passion for educating others about current fitness topics as evidenced through her work developing curriculum for continuing education programs, writing for fitness-related publications, creating educational videos and speaking to fitness professionals at conferences and workshops nationwide.