Friday, October 10, 2014

Exercise 101

I read an article on fitness that aptly stated “you can’t out run your silverware.”  Unless you are a world class athlete that partakes in several high intensity workouts for eight plus hours a day, there is no amount of exercise that can cancel out a diet that consists mainly of processed foods, junk food and calories from low quality liquid sources such as soda, processed juice and alcohol.

I don’t know if it’s the influence of pop culture or relaxing social values, but people in today’s society have an amazing and creative ability to justify and rationalize almost anything, yours truly included.  For example, I have never been a fan of swimming so when I first started practicing, each morning on the way to the pool I would find a host of reasons to justify and or rationalize cutting the workout short and most days I almost believed myself.

According to author Steve Kamb, we use rationalizations to justify horrible behavior and then compound those decisions by saying things like “well, I already made one bad decision, so today is ruined.  I’ll start tomorrow.” Another example is, “well I don’t feel like swimming 2,600 yards this morning, so I will just do 1,000 and I will come back and make the rest up later today.”  If I only had a dollar for every time I said that and never went back to the pool.

Starting or maintaining an exercise program can easily fall victim to the demons of justification and rationalization.  To live a healthy lifestyle you need to take time and think about all the reasons you “want” to get and stay healthy. You then need to “want” these reasons and the change in lifestyle more than you want the current state you find yourself in.  As my blog title says, “How Bad Do You Want It?”

When choosing to change to a healthy lifestyle, there are some axioms you need to consider and accept that will make your transition to health smooth and will help you establish new habits.

Exercising for an hour or more that burns 300-400 calories and saying “you earned this” to justify eating 1,000 calories worth of (insert junk food here) is a negative proposition. If you can rationalize or justify this, STOP it immediately.

Exercise does not mean running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike for four hours and hating every minute of it. The end goal of getting healthy should not be devoid of fun.  Find something you do and remember the goal is to elevate the heart rate and the more intensity, the more calories burned.  If you find something you enjoy, you will likely do more of it.

Your diet is responsible for 80%+ of your success or failure when it comes to losing weight or getting healthier! Yes, it is that important!

Every decision is important and every choice you make is like putting a deposit in the bank. One bad decision does not ruin a day or one day off doesn't ruin a week. One week off can ruin a month if not timed correctly and can take you further away from your ultimate goal. Don’t let being tired or not feeling like doing a workout turn into a habit or justification for not doing it. Some of the best workouts I have had were on days when I didn't feel like doing them.


Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.