Starting an exercise program is a daunting endeavor.
A lot of us have tried and failed at this noble undertaking, which typically lasts a few weeks or even months. There are dusty P90X DVDs behind your gaming console of choice on the entertainment center. The person at the front desk of the health club asks if it’s your first time and if you would like a tour of the facility. “No thanks, I’ve been a member for 10 months. Can I get a towel, please?” Treadmills, stationary bikes and Bowflex machines at home become storage facilities for ironing or scrap booking or filing that needs to be done.
It seems there is never enough time and hardly ever enough energy to consistently exercise in a way that gets us the results we want.
It’s frustrating. And it keeps us from trying again. It’s so much easier to just forget it.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
What if we could find a way to make this workout thing work? What if you could move from inactivity to action? What if, in 6 months, you looked back and said, “Wow, it really wasn’t that hard!”
We have no program for you to follow, no goals to set and no percentage of body fat to lose. It’s not about time or energy. There will always be excuses or other things to do.
The battle is not with your body. The war is with your mind, and you can’t defeat it. Ever. You can only learn to work with it. Convince it, one step at a time, that the norm is no longer the way it’s going to be.
We aren’t going to tell you what to do or how to do it; this is simply a challenge.
Here are some guidelines that have worked for us and I believe they can work for you. Try them. Modify them. Do Something Different Today!
Stop thinking about what you look like.
Change the focus of your physical activity from wanting to look a certain way to wanting to feel better. Muffin top? Who cares. Beer belly? Forget about it. It takes a long, discouraging time to change the way you look, and honestly, your perception is skewed. You will probably never really like the way you look. There will always be something you want to change. There will always be some clever marketing scheme that lures you into a physical comparison with unrealistic expectations. But how do you feel? This is the shift in the way you think that will make an enormous difference in your well-being. After a few days of healthy movement (exercise) you will notice that you feel better. You won’t feel amazing, in fact you may hurt like hell. But that is a good thing. After a few weeks you’ll notice you’re beginning to sleep better, think more clearly, have more energy. You may not look any different, but you are different.
Get rid of your scale.
Don’t measure your progress or success by how much you weigh. You can lose a lot of weight and be very unhealthy, and feel like crap. Again, stop worrying about what you see: yourself in the mirror, numbers on a scale, people on TV. Cut the cord, break the chains. The scale is a disconsolate friend who will always drag you down into a devastating codependency. Living well includes eating good foods, moving your body and thinking freely. Living well changes you from the inside out. The scale doesn’t fit in this lifestyle. Get rid of it.
I’m very good at diving headlong into new ventures like it’s my last day on earth. This trait can be good and bad. There are some things that I just plain old don’t want to do. Ever. Where are you on this spectrum? Here’s the balance: start slowly. Start with one thing, but stick with it. I started riding my bike, not very far and a few times per week. That was not a difficult task to begin and stick with. If I would have tried to ride everyday and progress quickly in miles and pace, I probably would have burned out, and would constantly be seeing a relic in my garage reminding me of my failure. The picture in this post is from a mountain bike race series I decided to try. The two images are from March of 2013 and June of 2013, about 10 weeks apart. What can you start doing? Go for a walk. Go for a run. Do some pushups. Do some situps. It doesn’t matter, just find something that works for you and start doing it. Try 2 or 3 times per week to start. Don’t spend any money on equipment or join a health club. Just start with who you are and where you are.
This is pretty straightforward. Do something different today. Don’t set a goal. Don’t spend any money on a membership or a program. Just go for a walk, do some pushups, some situps, use the stairs more at home or at work. Do something today.
Get someone to join you.
It’s easier to succeed in regular movement if you have another person or a group to support you in this endeavor. It might not even be someone who actually ever exercises themselves. Tell someone what you are doing and ask them to check with you to see if you are actually doing it and to ask you how it’s going. Email us and we’ll work with you!
Do what works in your situation.
Biking works for me. It might not be your thing or may even be impossible. Don’t make any excuses, just find what works for you. You may be able to afford a trainer. Go for it, but again, start slowly. I hate running, you may like it. You may watch 2 hours of television per night. Perfect. Exercise for some of that time while you watch. Battle your mind, don’t give in, change the way you think. We are here to help if you need it.
Do you have any suggestions? What has worked for you? What has not worked for you?
As with any change in lifestyle, please be sure your health can handle your efforts. Talk to your doctor if you have any health concerns or questions.