To many of you fitness is a word that you do not identify with. Fitness, to you, pertains to the person that has the perfect body or the one that knows his/her way around the gym, knowing a lot of different exercises or the person that enjoys exercise. Let me guess, you can’t possibly picture yourself having the ideal body. The thought is almost laughable. So unattainable. So why even try? The thought about even walking into a gym feels intimidating, after all where would you start? Oh and everyone will be looking at you. Talk about a spotlight! Also, who the heck wants to put their body through pain and get all sweaty and ridiculous looking?
What would you say if I tell you that there is no difference between the “fit person” and the “unfit” person as far as what goes through their minds? Both have all of these same thoughts in the beginning. The only difference is what they do after thinking this way. They make a choice. The “fit person” decides to push through and face their fears and discomfort. The ”unfit person” allows these thoughts to deter them from reaching their fitness goals. Every one of us must make the choice, what type of person will we be? Will we be the one that takes a proactive approach to health or the one that takes a reactive approach to health? We will eventually have to be one of these…
One Small Goal at a Time
We tend to forget that exercise is a necessary part of life. It is not a hobby that just some people do. Reading this, you might be telling yourself of course it is necessary that we exercise. The question that we need to ask ourselves… Why don’t we exercise then? Or why don’t we exercise consistently? Some psychologists believe that the real reason people do not exercise is because of “our desire to avoid any experience of discomfort”. We tend to forget that most diseases out there are prevented by diet and exercise. It is puzzling to me how the human mind works. We avoid an immediate discomfort meanwhile facing an inevitable and major discomfort in the future like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, high blood pressure, and obesity. We live in a society that comfort is very important to us. If it is too difficult, we avoid it. There are many of you that already have these diseases. I have good news for you. Many of them are reversible with diet and exercise. You do not have to live this way.
You might be thinking that you do not know where to start. It is an overwhelming thought to you to start a fitness routine. My advice to you is to set small goals at a time. For example, one day set a goal to be on the treadmill or walk outside for 10 minutes. I bet you that you will feel accomplished after you achieve it. The days following, set slightly bigger goals. Before you know it, you will be exercising for longer periods of time, more days out of the week, and feeling more energized than ever before.
It is in our human nature to avoid discomfort, which is a huge reason why we avoid exercising. However, in reality we live in discomfort daily. One day I came across one of my Facebook friend’s post, “Weight Loss Goals: To able to clip my toenails and breathe at the same time”. This made me laugh but it also made me think about how many people find it difficult to do basic everyday things like put socks and shoes on, walk upstairs, or just walk from the car to the office. They are uncomfortable but they are comfortable enough to not make a change. There is a term for this, Comfortable Misery. It is a situation that you don’t like, but one to which you have grown accustomed to. Dr. Dan Johnston from the website, “Self Growth” states, “The problem is that trying to get out of comfortable misery is frightening. You could make a change, but then what? You’re tempted by the hope that things could get better, but paralyzed by the fear that they could get worse…….If I change I might create something more miserable………Maybe it is better to stay like I am. At least I know I can tolerate it.”
I want to challenge you today to do something out of the realm of your Comfortable Misery. It might be purposely engaging in an activity that makes you feel out of breath or work up a good sweat. I guarantee you that once you push through these uncomfortable first steps, you will find that it was not so bad after all! Taking the time to read this article is a good step. It is “uncomfortable” to hear the truth and yet you are still reading. Now what will be your next uncomfortable first step that will lead you to being “fit”?
In or Out of control?
We must ask ourselves, are we in control of our bodies or do our bodies control us? Are there certain activities you sit out on? Do you choose to sit and watch rather than participate? Maybe the reason is that you do not have the energy to participate. If that applies to you, then your body is controlling you. One of the most difficult exercises that I ask my clients to do is the Burpee. It is difficult because it forces the body to use all the muscles to stand back up. The exercise entails going from a standing position, to a laying down position and back to a standing position again. Sometimes my clients look at me like I am crazy when I ask them to do this exercise. However, when they accomplish it, they feel so proud of themselves. I am then quick to say that they are gaining back control of their lives!
Before I got into shape, I would bring my kids to the playground and just watch them play. I would look at their little bodies running around and climbing and wonder how they have so much energy. I grew tired of feeling like I am getting old. I was losing control of my energy and my youth! I decided to hire a Personal Trainer, one that would keep me accountable and help whip my body into shape. It was the best thing I have ever done. Now that I am in shape, I play with the kids and use that time to get a little cardio in! It feels great to know that I am almost 40 years old and do not feel like I am. I have gained back my energy and youth! Now ask yourself this question…..”What area in my life, do I need to gain control of again?”