I know this sounds a little flippant, but the point I’m really trying to make is that the act of getting more fit doesn’t require a major time commitment, or gut wrenching effort, it just requires you to do a little more than you are currently. That increase in activity will start you on your way to change.
When thinking about doing more, there are a few variables that you can consider. Choose one to start with.
- More Frequency – This could be more times per week or even more times per day. Maybe what you’re currently doing is a five or ten minute walk in the morning with your dog. More frequency might mean taking an extra five minute walk at lunch and/or before dinner. If you’re actually hitting the gym twice a week, maybe you squeeze in one more workout in the week (even a short one).
- More Intensity – This essentially means making the effort level higher. This can be done by increasing the speed of movement, the resistance, or, if you are doing intervals or sets, decreasing the rest in between.
- More Duration – Do what you’ve been doing, but longer. This could be more time or more repetitions (which will also take more time).
So, no matter what you have heard about the time and effort it takes to get fit, changing your fitness level doesn’t require endlessly long or endlessly intense workouts. It just requires that you do more than you are currently doing.
“Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need” was a book I read on networking by Harvey Mackay. The premise is that, because both digging a well and building a network take time, if you wait to start until you need it, it is going to be too late to help you.
Recently, it occurred to me that many people do the same thing with health and wellness. They wait until they have problems before they seek a solution. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having said, “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.” and that certainly holds true with our health.
Now, while it’s never too late to start, it can be a lot more difficult fighting your way back from injuries or illness than if you had begun before there was a problem. Proper nutrition and exercise can help with so many health and wellness issues, that the sooner you start, the more likely you are to avoid or postpone them.
If you’re not currently working toward better health and fitness, what are you waiting for? Move more. Better your diet. Manage your stress. Dig your well(ness) before you’re thirsty.
Have you ever known someone that was working really hard to reach fitness goals, reached them and then fell off the proverbial wagon all to end up back where they started? You want to run up to them and ask what happened, but generally don’t because you know that they are likely to feel pretty upset by it being brought up.
Falling Off the Wagon
As a personal trainer, I’ll bump into people where this has been the case. They are usually embarrassed or ashamed and will often try to avoid me. I don’t let them off the hook that easily. “We’ve missed you.” “What have you been up to?” At that point they will usually fill me in on what upset the cart. It often is a very understandable event that threw them off and then the inevitable, “I’ll get back to it soon….”
This is the important thing to note, we all fall off the wagon at one point or another. That should be something for everyone to expect (although most do not). It will happen. But, don’t wait until you feel like you can stick to it before you start back up. Start back up again as soon as you can. Don’t worry about how long the attempt will last, just get back up on the wagon. The number of times you try and fail doesn’t count against you. In fact, you will be far better off by repeatedly trying, learning from your mistakes, making new plans, and trying again, than waiting until the situation is perfect before you restart. What’s past, is past. You can’t change it. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty about it. Learn from it and move on. Start as often as you need and you will eventually succeed.