Even professional athletes most times remind themselves of the fact that whatever big event or game they are training for is not some kind of remote one-off in the not so-near future. It is something that requires training every single day! The point is, competing at the highest level on the planet is not some kind of project with a clearly defined goal and end date. Rather, it is a continuous process, part of a long-term lifestyle.
“Being fit isn’t magical. It is not a permanent state of being. It is…a constantly becoming act!”
It is an important piece of wisdom, even if, mostly if you are not a professional or an elite athlete. We all struggle with the thoughts of being active, whether we are neophytes hoping to get in shape or professional trainers struggling with our most recent challenge. It allows us to recall that being fit is not magical, neither is it a permanent state of being. It is an act that constantly evolves, one that is continuous, and requires a certain level of discipline to become a habit.
To have a proper understanding of what it means to get fit, and stay fit, we spoke with fitness professionals. One of professionals used his daughter who played soccer as an example. “There’s always this sense with adolescents that now I’m going to be done, that now I’m going to be good,” he says. “One thing I talk to her about is that you’re not going to be done getting better at soccer until you’re done playing soccer.” What this means is that, being active is all about the journey, and not the destination. It is a journey that never truly ends, when done right.
Here is something else we learned, and how it might be of help to you, as you go about keeping and setting your fitness goals. Which remind me – the first tip is: never set goals…I’ll explain.
Goals Are Simply Overrated
The problem with setting goals is that, they are usually unreasonable, especially if the goal setter has no history of being active. A major challenge that experienced by candidates of fitness programs is that they receive a lot of negative feedbacks. These feedback hurts. And they get sore. They get hungrier, and so they eat much more than they should, and then gain even more weight. Expenses come up, and they buy shoes.
There’s even more bad news: the rewards seem to be delayed – weight loss, improved mood, and other health benefits. These are things that don’t show up for over two months, right? There is an extended period where you should be able to navigate these negative experiences.
Experts suggest that you focus on the process and understand that everyone is struggling to adapt to a new routine. You should understand that the first six weeks will be very uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than they are comfortable. The general way to handle this is by understanding that it is a common experience, it is normal. This won’t ease the six weeks anyway, but it will allow you to focus on the positives rather than on the other side of those hurting days.
Train – Not Exercise
There is a difference between both. Exercise appears disparate, it is untethered from a way of life or from an overall project. Training has a target, a goal, but it is also rewarding. Let’s say you are running a 10K, for instance, that’s a challenge. So, you will train hard, and naturally you may modify your training as you follow along. It isn’t a huge expense, mostly, but you have committed yourself to it, a commitment that will motivate you to do those workouts.
Another way to remain motivated is to surround yourself with people that will motivate you. It could be followers or friends on MapMyRun or a running club. It could be your personal trainer, or a buddy who would go with you on a workout, maybe once or twice weekly. But this person will motivate you. He or she will make you accountable to yourself and also serve as a kind of IRL role model for all your concerns and questions.
Change Your Habits
Here is the reality of things: switching from a routine that doesn’t involve any workouts, to having one is a drastic lifestyle change indeed. And so, to make the transition easy, you will want to take out as much friction as possible between you and your exercise regimen. Experts recommend an early morning workout, rather than at night. Setting aside time at the end of the day is very easy, but you’ll be wondering whether to drive to the gym, or just drive home at once. Most people will prefer driving home. Any way you can arrange or structure your environment so that physical activity is set to default is helpful. Some tips include placing running shoes in your car, finding a juice place or a coffee shop near your gym for an after workout treat. Running on a track close to a playground equipment you can use for pull-ups (assuming the kids aren’t using it already).
See yourself as an active person. It doesn’t matter whether it is miserable on the outside or not
It isn’t enough to be active and enjoy it, because some days will show up where you don’t enjoy it. Everyone can jog on a beautiful spring day when the sun is shining and it’s 75. You need to have other forms of motivation. Experts recommend defining yourself as a highly active person, rain or shine. You don’t skip work because it is a cloudy day, right? Not just because of the pay, but because you view yourself as someone who is responsible. Staying active is a constant process, and that should make it more fun. If it isn’t fun, then it is going to be hard.
Reward Yourself and Experience Fun
Achieving your fitness goals is a journey, and a long one at that. It you drudge all day just because you hate what you are doing, your chances of succeeding will be very slim. Find activities that you enjoy, and they will help you to reach your long and short-term goal faster than you thought.