SOME FACTS AND OPINIONS ON FITNESS
Achieving and maintaining health and fitness takes considerable effort, dedication, and sacrifice. There are very few shortcuts that actually provide long lasting results without any negative side effects (anyone remember ephedrine?). In terms of time efficiency and sustainability, the most effective strategy is to implement a holistic approach, which you can read about here.
From an evolutionary perspective, human beings are meant to move and eat healthy, wholesome foods. We thrive under such conditions. We are not designed to be sedentary nor are we physiologically advanced enough to handle toxic foods without dire consequences. So in order to stay healthy and strong, we definitely need to eat wholesome foods – which requires a bit of diligence – and in terms of exercise, we can either spend 5-7 hours per week doing low or moderate intensity exercise, or we can spend 3-5 hours per week doing high intensity exercise. If time efficiency is critical… then the choice is obvious.
I professionally advocate high intensity, short duration training – which is indeed tough – coupled with wholesome nutrition that requires planning and preparation. On some level, we all know that the pursuit of fitness is arduous (to say the least)… and yet, we act like we don’t, or pretend like it is supposed to be easier when it comes to actual practice.
THE CARDINAL RULE OF FITNESS: OVERCOME CHALLENGES
I often work with clients that practice diligence in their jobs, their families/relationships, spiritual practices, etc. In these particular endeavors, they are the epitome of success! At some point in their lives, they have come to understand the difficulty inherent with each respective arena; more importantly, they embrace it.
However, when it comes to fitness, the cardinal rule of overcoming challenges to build strength, doesn’t seem apply. They believe that exercise and nutrition are somehow, in some special – negative way – a totally different game. Which is actually quite detrimental to the fulfillment of their fitness goals.
If this sounds familiar, then read on, my friend. This blog was written with love and support to help you manage your beliefs about fitness, articulate why fitness needs to be challenging, and help you change your perspective so that you can stay on your path.
THE GREATER THE CHALLENGE, THE GREATER THE RESULTS
Let me preface with an empowering statement: everyone is successful in some arena(s) of their life. Be it in their profession, academia, relationships, family, spirituality, or health and fitness. Everyone, to some degree, has accepted the intrinsic challenges associated with these facets of life. And let’s face it, often times the most wholesome and developmental objectives in life are the most arduous. Indeed, this holds true – whether you like it or not. College, developing your career, maintaining a happy marriage, raising a loving family, etc., requires overcoming significant mental, emotional, and physical obstacles. And in most cases, the greater the challenge, the greater the results. The sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can begin to thrive.
If the value of an outcome is related to the adversity of the endeavor, then why do we complain about the intrinsic challenges associated with exercise and nutrition? Why do some people excel in business, yet fail in fitness? Are these aspects of life all that different? Perhaps it seems that way… but I propose you to take a deep look at your beliefs and find your inner truth and strength.
THOUGHTS –> BELIEFS –> INTENTIONS
Consider the possibility that your thoughts, beliefs, and intentions carry powerful energy. Energy that can change your perspective on life. At some point along your path, you have subscribed to the idea that you are “good at this” and “bad at that”, creating powerful beliefs. Over time, these beliefs can create a disposition for particular talents, or an aversion for others. Once refined, these talents can become passions in life. As example, children that exposed to creative expressions at an early age (such as drawing) and receive ample positive reinforcement, begin to believe that they are “good at drawing”; and with continued practice, a child can develop a genuine passion for art.
Interestingly, doing the things that we are most passionate about bring forth tremendous intrinsic satisfaction, especially if they are demanding. There is a phenomenon called “flow” that has recently received the attention of modern psychologists. “Flow” is an empowered state of being that occurs when an individual applies their refined skills to a task that is highly challenging. Interestingly, from this same perspective, applying high skill to a low challenge task actually results in “boredom”. This is a fairly accurate anthropomorphic assessment of how and why the body does not respond well to low intensity exercise (unless the duration is very high).
SO, WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS PHILOSOPHY HAVE TO DO WITH FITNESS?
If you are struggling with fitness – regardless of whether you were athletic as a child or in high school/college – you may be suffering from negative self-talk. When I hear clients complain about exercise, saying such things as: “I’m just not good at exercise”, “I’m not genetically predisposed to being thin”, or “I hate exercise”, I stop them immediately. Thinking, speaking, and especially believing such sentiments are incredibly damaging, not only to our psyche, but perhaps even on a physiological level (to further investigate this concept, please look up Dr. Masaru Emoto and his research on water crystals).
Yes, effective exercise and healthy nutrition are indeed laborious, and like college and your job – it needs to be strenuous in order to be developmental. Achieving your fitness goals is formidable enough without negative remarks – which only serve to perplex the experience and perpetuate any negative disposition. It is important to accept the intrinsic challenges of fitness, and, dare I say, even learn to enjoy the process. Once you do, its just a matter of getting the work done, devoid of unnecessary drama.
When confronted with this ideology, my clients often say to me: “Of course you believe that! Look at you! You’re already in great shape!” To which I reply: “I am in great shape BECAUSE I believe in the merit of embracing challenges and the virtues of training. I simply accept the process for what it is. And trust me, I have the same considerations about exercise as you do… the only difference is that I do it anyway, regardless if I feel like it or not, time and time again.”
I have found my passion in life (holistic fitness), and trust me, I didn’t start this way. I was not an athlete in grammar school or high school. On the contrary, I was the polar opposite, skinny, weak, uncertain of myself, and sprinkled with just the right amount of teenaged depression. Although I was intimidated and lazy at first, I became determined to get in better shape. I consciously chose to take a stand for what I truly desire, and with it, I began to embrace all of the intrinsic obstacles, trials, and tribulations associated with exercise and healthy nutrition. I continuously embrace the inextricable challenges – the very essence of fitness – that are requisite for my growth.
TRANSCEND TO TRANSFORM
Coming full circle here… the ethics and determination I have developed and refined over the years specific to holistic fitness have been consciously applied to other facets of my life – with great success! Academics, business, spirituality, relationships (with others and myself)… they all require continuous work to develop and maintain. And I choose to develop them because I believe the process, and outcome, are truly worthy of investment.
And you? You can do the same.
I encourage you to dig deep, introspect, and reveal where your strengths lie and the fundamental truth that has enabled you to excel in these particular endeavors. Be open and honest with yourself. To this end, I highly recommend introspection via journaling.
Discover your deep beliefs that allow you to succeed in one arena of life, but falter in others. Open your heart and mind to the possibility that all aspects of life are actually quite the same – they require the same energy and determination to grow and thrive. Or, without ample stimulus and devotion, they all fail. It is our egos that get in our way – the endless negative self-talk that capitulates our would-be courage and commitment to effect change.
Transcendence will not happen overnight, but I assure you the process cannot begin if you continue practicing and believing your doubts and negative-isms. Through self-discovery you can reveal subconscious mental blocks – where our deepest beliefs are stored. By empowering and believing in ourselves we can begin to transcend defeatist statements and low self-esteem. Your optimism and courage will make all of difference in your life.
Heed my words: until you resolve this, you may continue to systematically and impulsively deny your earnest intentions with negativity. External support from friends and/or your personal trainer can also be impulsively dismissed. Don’t sabotage yourself. Believe in yourself!
The pursuit of fitness is not easy, and just like anything worth seeking, its not supposed to be. And that’s a beautiful thing…