Many of us are real fast at making fitness goals and faster yet at breaking them. Fitness is foremost a choice. It can start as an aspiration to look a certain way or to be able to do a certain thing, but eventually it is all about how you make it a part of your life, every single day. It’s not just the exercise you do but what you eat and how you live. It’s the little choices you make every single moment of your life towards a healthier and stronger you. Here’s a list of things that you probably think of when embarking or deciding not to embark on your fitness journey, let’s look at them from my perspective:
A lot of people blame their genes on how they look and feel. It’s a sore spot really: some people eat to their hearts content and more without putting on an extra kilo while others feel like they are breathing in fat. I say – however you are genetically predisposed, please exercise. You need to stay active and do regular exercise to stay healthy and fit. Will you have that page 3 model body, maybe not. Will you look like your favourite body builder, I don’t know. But what I do know is that if your exercise regularly, you will feel stronger, healthier and more confident.
Your environment shapes your behaviour and habits. This is real. If you are unable to stick to exercise or eating healthy, you will blame your lack of willpower and discipline and probably let it go at that. But reality is did you do enough? Did you try and shape the environment that dictates how you behave? With a little bit of thought, you can actually shape your environment to support your fitness goals. It can be something as simple as going to bed early to ensure that you are able to wake up in time for your morning jog. It could be eliminating processed foods and sugary drinks from your refrigerator. Think about it clearly and you’ll find what’s stopping you.
As a beginner, you want immediate results and lasting ones too. In that enthusiasm, you probably take on more than you should. But the truth is that if we challenge ourselves too much before we are ready, it is highly likely that we will eventually fail. You must challenge yourself based on your current abilities. Too easy and it will bore you. Too hard and it will overwhelm you. When you start an exercise program, try and consult a professional trainer to guide you through the ropes and also help you create a program that matches your interests and your fitness goals. Keep challenging yourself as you progress. The idea is to thrive under just the right amount of difficulty. Consistency is the key. One workout won’t change anything, but think of where it will get you if you work out regularly over a year. Stretching once in awhile is not enough but when you do it over a period of time, you will feel greater flexibility and mobility. One healthy meal is not going to matter but when you do it for a year, you will be leaner, healthier and happier. Positive change requires commitment. But when you set yourself up for consistency, remember not to be too hard on yourself. You must find a balance and gradually progress. Occasional slip ups will happen but that should not throw you off the track altogether. Remember consistency is not perfection; it is being committed to stay the course in an effective and sustainable way. Also remember that all your efforts add up! Learning to be consistent – even when you don’t feel like it – is a valuable trait that will benefit you, not just in the gym.
Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.