For most of us, choosing to be fit is more a test of will than a one time decision. Being “fit” covers a change in our lifestyle much more than just embarking upon a new exercise or diet program. For me, the choice came about 15 years ago. I was about 24 years old when friends of mine convinced me to start going to the gym as a group. At that time, I knew I didn’t really like the way I looked, so I thought it would be a good idea. How hard could it be? Well, it didn’t take long before I knew the answer to that question. And to tell you the truth, at that time my workouts were not that difficult. But getting up at 5am to be at the gym by 5:30, certainly was, Also, since there were 4 of us and only 1 really knew what he was doing, the workouts were VERY long. Too long when you mix in the water cooler talk that often took over some workouts.
So, after trying this approach for about 3 weeks I still wasn’t motivated nor did I look forward to working out and was about to quit. As luck would have it for me, 2 guys in the group beat me to it, leaving just myself and the only person who knew anything about working out correctly at that time. That changed everything.
With just 2 of us now, we were much more focused and I got some really good coaching on the basics. After a month of 1-1 time, we started increasing the intensity of the workouts and mixing in some really fun cycle classes. Somewhere within the next month, I saw a change. Not just in my appearance, but my outlook and attitude were all effected. At that point, I was hooked. I worked out consistently at the gym 5 times a week incorporating cardio, running and weights. I looked and felt good thinking this would always be my way of life.
And it was, until about 5 years ago. In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and turned my life upside down. I quickly lost interest in many of my normal activities including fitness. During the next 2 years, I really let myself go and didn’t much care to get back into the swing of things. A major life changing event will do this to a person, and I was no exception. My wife became really concerned about my decline in fitness and began encouraging me to get back into it. I tried but absolutely could not get motivated. After much research and a hard look in the mirror, I was able to pull back the self discipline I once had. It was not easy, and it took a lot of planning and hard work. So, today, I want to share what helped me conquer my fitness demons. Hope these help you.
The reason I’m giving so much background of my personal fitness experience is to show that each of us will struggle in different ways with choosing fit. Lifetime fitness really isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. We all have different situations that initiate our interest of getting in shape, keeping us motivated and sustaining the lifestyle for the long term. However, I do believe there are some common practices we can all adopt to help us overcome obstacles at any of these stages and become an improved, healthier and fit person.
1. Initiate – This may be the easiest of the 3 stages because it only requires us to decide to get fit, but not actually do anything. That said, don’t underestimate the importance and key factors that should be use to initiate your fitness journey. The main things to remember here are these:
- Do this for you! Be sure you’re not just giving in to pressure from others. You need to be willing to take this step and feel good its the right approach for you.
- Start with the end in mind. Set goals and imagine what you want your body and health to reflect during the journey. Lose 25 pounds, Get ripped, lower cholesterol, feel better, keep up with the kids.