I hear from people on a regular basis they want to get into shape or have tried to start and exercise program and failed on more than one occasion. They seem genuine in their desire to get healthy and make fitness a part of their life but they keep coming up short.
One question that ultimately comes up in the conversation is “Chris, how do you do it? You have a job, family and consistently workout and stay in shape. Just how do you do it?” While there is not one answer to that question, it’s a fair question and the first one to ask yourself if you are serious about getting into shape.
Everyone has different motivations for what they choose to do and when they do it. I use Ironman as a means to stay in shape and have a better quality of life. I also choose to get up and exercise at 4:00 am so as not to take any time away from my family and I am at my best early in the morning. For others its different, you have to find what works for you.
Here are some tips to help you get on the right track with your exercise program.
Own the Commitment! It’s that simple. You have to think about what you want to do, why you want to do it, build your plan and own the commitment. As I told a friend of mine the other day, you have to want the change in behavior and lifestyle more than you want to maintain your current state.
Remove Self-Imposed Limitations. Self-imposed limitations are things we have in our heads about how we conceptualize our own potential and what we are capable of accomplishing. I am convinced that exercise, training and getting in shape is more mental than physical. Negative self-talk such as “I can’t lose weight or I could never run a 10K are very damaging statements and program the mind to make them a reality.
Set Goals! Identify what you want to accomplish, build a plan and set goals and have a reward in mind for when you meet your goals. I am goal driven so my participating in Ironman competitions and marathons are smaller goals to help me with my overall goal of maintaining and improving my fitness. Have fun with it. Plan your work and work your plan.
Muster Motivation. Find what motivates you and use it frequently. For me its goal sheets that I look at frequently and a list of items as rewards for when I reach my goals.
Monitor Your Mood. There will be ups and downs and days you are not feeling it, are sore or just plan lethargic. Be mindful of your mood and do not let “excuseitis” creep in. Our minds will do many things to try and rationalize skipping a workout or several. Know when it’s OK to pass such as when injured or sick and have a plan to get going on days when you just don’t feel like it.