Picture this…You’re all psyched up with a new fitness goal and feel unstoppable. You have the program – tick. The knowledge (to an extent) – tick. A hot new outfit – tick. And absolutely nothing is going to stand in your way.
All of a sudden you believe this fitness caper is not just a wild dream but in fact a possible reality.
The first few weeks of the ‘new you’ are fine, then things start to get a little monotonous. Perhaps you don’t see results as fast as you would like or sleeping in seems a more attractive proposition. The willpower has faded…
The main issue most of us face is hoping we follow through with a fitness regime by flippantly incorporating it into our lifestyle. Somehow relying on magical powers that will transform us into fitness loving earth beings. Typical conversations in our heads go something like “Geez, I hope I don’t get sick of this” (like I usually do), or “I’m just not cut out for this kind of crazy fitness stuff” (I’m just going to sleep in).
Committing to a fitness regime just because you feel you should isn’t enough to drive a passion for long term sustainable results. Your friends may see results with a certain form of exercise but if it’s something that simply doesn’t gel with you or make you a little bit pumped, then it just ain’t gunna happen.
We carry with us unique past experiences, beliefs and future goals. One person’s perception of fitness is different to another and it’s all relative to what we expect from ourselves. Basically if you can’t do what you would like to do in life due to fitness restraints or could benefit from a bit of huff n puff then it’s time to revaluate.
Finding and doing something you like/love/can’t get enough of is key to lasting change. Lifelong behaviours can be reprogrammed by finding something you consistently enjoy. This is the first step but most often missing ingredient in the fitness equation (or anything in life).
Willpower is a great quality to kick your butt out of bed when the sun is shining but once the weather turns nasty, chilly and miserable then it is habits and routines that reign supreme. This is where an individualised movement program that you’ve created (or had input with) and choose to do shines through.
Perhaps you didn’t gel with your initial program like you thought you would, or something else was stopping you from enjoying the workout. Don’t give up on this thought, just go back to the drawing board and really ask yourself what activities you enjoy doing and what barriers are currently standing in your way.
This is what is going to get you through when there is no willpower to draw upon.
I don’t love every aspect of fitness. Well, I lie, there are certain types of workouts I prefer over others that get me excited about making the time. Being the endurance junkie that I am, running a marathon doesn’t rock my boat but stick me out in the middle of the ocean and ask me to paddle the same distance and I happily would.
The same can be said for the gym. I much prefer to work out on my own at home, where I can easily and happily punch out a creative and effective circuit workout in private. Can you see it’s more about finding something you love?
The most important factor of your fitness equation is just creating the habit of making the time and committing to starting the process. The rest will come later.
You have to start somewhere. Everyone has to. Once increased strength and endurance enters the picture as a result of consistency, then momentum builds and it becomes easier (not that it’s meant to be easy in terms of effort). Hitting a certain level of competency makes it easier to enjoy doing.
The next step is to not get too caught up in the process of the smaller details.
I strongly urge you to consider learning to love exercise before you worry about the finer details of how you will look or how many repetitions you need to complete. Pleasing the inner core of what you’re about is going to override anything, no matter how much knowledge you have.
Without a doubt our minds are our worst enemy when it comes to committing to movement. We often overanalyse stuff that doesn’t matter. The number of reps, the gear we are going to wear, the correct techniques (which is important at some stage) but the biggest drawcard for you in embracing fitness as part of your lifestyle is by simply just doing it.
Be consistent with making the time and build your momentum from just showing up. Remove emotions from the equation and embrace automation.
Tricks such as setting your clothes and running shoes out beside your bed, or packing a gym bag for work, helps to remove ‘paralysis by analysis’ banter and encourages the habit changing process as much as possible.
Overthinking opens us up to what I call ‘evil twin’ talk. This chatter soon sees us taking the easier option, not necessarily the best, but the easiest. Have you ever reconsidered that workout you did as you watched a beautiful sunrise or set? Hardly. This is what you should be focusing on rather than the small details that are irrelevant if you don’t even make it out of bed. Look at the positive trade-offs and worry about the rest when you begin.
I guess I have learnt that the angst of skipping a workout does not match the satisfaction I feel after. By holding myself accountable for my actions without excuses has been a foundation that has led me to consistently working out all year round.
Genuinely gift yourself the time to connect mind and body and it will help immensely when you’re feeling out of balance or ‘stuck’. Incorporating fitness into your day becomes more than what it actually is. Once there is a flow happening in one part of your life, other parts begin to follow such as choosing healthier food options, getting to bed earlier, feeling more energetic and less stress…
Habit formation is the pot of gold and it begins here and now.
For more great tips from Karla go to her web site
www.karlagilbert.com.au and facebook @ironmumkarla