Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Than Just A Lifestyle Change

As I work with individuals looking to regain health or maybe go to a new level of fitness, the conversation often goes to "lifestyle changes".

I am a big believer in changing lifestyles for lifetime maintenance of health and vitality.  As Zig Ziglar says... "You wouldn't keep a million dollar race horse out all night, drinking and smoking!"  Its critical to long term success to look at life in a different way, find the things you enjoy because those are the things you'll do consistenly that will keep you healthy and quite frankly to place a higher value on your personal health annd well-being.  If you can manage to make these mental changes, you will have success in changing your life and setting up a life of great health.

However... all that being said, there comes a time when if you want to get results (make changes), you are going to have to put in some good old-fashioned supreme effort!  While it is true that once you reach your desired level of fitness and weight you can maintain it doing things you enjoy including anything from bike riding to walking to gardening and even housework, when it comes to getting to your desired goal you are going to have to put in some work... OK... a lot of work.

You don't drop 20,40,60,100 lbs or even more over the course of a year by simply going out and mowing the lawn every other week.

You may hate walking or jogging or running or riding an exercise bike or lifting weights, but if you want to drop the weight and get back into a state of excellent health... well quite frankly you can't avoid them.  And, although you may be able to maintain your health with  a 3 mile run three times a week at a leisurely pace, that's not going to cut the mustard while you are dropping the weight initially.

I'm sorry if I'm the first one to say this to you but... you didn't gain the extra weight overnight and totally by accident.  You didn't just wake up one morning and find you were overweight.  I did not simply go to  my closet one day and find that the only pants I had to wear that I could fit into were size 42!  And quite frankly, I did not just wake up yesterday and suddenly realize I could wear size 32 jeans.

On the contrary, over the last year I  have worked my butt off! (literally)  I have logged thousands of miles both walking and running.  I have done more crunches in the last year than I had done in the previous 45 years of my life.  I've donne more pushups and curls and presses in this last year than in any other year off my life including those years when I was bodybuilding in my late teens and early twenties.

I have weeks when I am in a constant state of soreness.  I have ignored pain that in the past would have had me avoiding workouts for days or even weeks.  And most importantly, this time around, I have done it all for me.

As I was out on a run today, I caught myself doing what most of us do at some point... comparing myself to the other runners I saw on the street.  I know I'm not the only person who does this.  For me it usually happens when I'm on a long run and someone goes whizzing past me.  Now quite honestly, I really don't need to compare myself to anyone else and quite frankly because I'm running  over 10 miles on most of my runs I can pretty easily explain why someone running a couple miles is moving faster than me, but still I can't help it.  The problem is, when I do this I either spped up which only throws me out of my rhythm or I just get distracted and end up slowing down.  Either way the result is not productive.

Today, when I found myself doing this comparison thing, I finally smacked myself and said; "This is not about anyone else!  This is only about you!"  It worked!  And it was true.  This last year of training has not been about impressing anyone else, its been about taking back my life and creating a lifestyle I enjoy and that I can maintain for the rest of my life.

If I have my way, I'll still be running when I'm 100 and loving the freedom it gives me.  I happen to love running.  Maybe you love tennis or walking or yardwork.  Whatever you enjoy that keeps you active, I hope you enjoy it well into your later years in life.  But if you are out of shape now, you are going to have do some work, some of it not  so enjoyable to get back into shape.

I think a lot of people get frustrated with a training routine because they don't enjoy it and quite truthfully, I don't blame them.  I'm not a big "gym" guy any more.  I really don't enjoy weight training and yet, I know that to regain the health of a lifetime, that is the short term price I'm going to have to pay.

I'm here to tell you that there will be pain.  There will be days when it hurts just to run a mile.  There will be days when you will feel like throwing up after a particularly tough strength training session.  You and I made our choices in life up to this point and now if we want to get back to health, we are going to have to put in the effort.

The upside...

One of the best parts of working out is the way you feel when you finish!

The way you will feel when you reach your goal weight or run your PR in a race or finish your first marathon or whatever else it is you're seeking, is absolutely incredible!

Your whole life WILL work better if you have great health and an active lifestyle, its a proven fact!

You will be extremely proud of yourself when you finish a workout that a few months ago you wouldn't even have considered doing!

When you finally throw away your "fat" clothes for the last time, knowing you'll never need them again, it will be one of the best days of your life to that point!

The day will come when you look forward to being active every day!

Here's a bonus thought from today's run.  If you are self conscious about working out in the gym because you think everyone is watching and judging you... forget it.  No one is evaluating you if you are overweight but are working out and trying to improve.  If any one is having thoughts about you at all it is generally thoughts of encouragement.

People do however notice you if you are overweight carrying the double bag of McD's or the two for one pizza deal!  That you should be self conscious about!

Its time to stop making excuses.  Get ready  for a little (who am I kidding.. a lot of) worthwhile soreness!  And look forward to the day when you can do whatever activity you want to maintain your new healthier you!


1 comment:

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