At the risk of being overly semantic, the hardest part of getting fit is consistently doing the things that would get us fit. The hardest part is showing up. Quite literally, the hardest part is consistency.
Getting fit is a by-product of the choices we make. Being fit is a state that exists only to the degree that we are doing the things that would make us fit. We keep doing those things and we keep getting fitter. We stop doing those things and we stop growing our fitness.
Simply put, being fit means we have to pursue and do the things that would get us fit. What are those things?
To summarize Fitness in 100 Words,
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, the jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climbs, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.
A few days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Keep workouts short and intense”
There it is. Do that and you’ll be fit. Simple.Direct. Short (not even 100 words!).
But just because it’s simple, direct and concise doesn’t mean it is easy. There are a plethora of behavioral, environmental, financial, time-bound changes that have to be made for most of us in order to engage in that kind of eating and workout program. And there are a plethora of ways, theories and suggestions to modify and change all of that.
But it all boils down to this: consistency.
So, three quick tips:
Start Small and Start Simple
Begin by engaging in simple cardiovascular exercises like rowing, biking, and swimming. The goal is simply to get the heart rate up and get us breathing heavier. From there we can incorporate muscle building exercises like the squats, deadlifts, and presses.
We’re aiming for short and doable training sessions. No need for hours in the gym every single day. One CrossFit class at FCF, three times a week is a fantastic place to start.
If we can’t do that, begin by committing to a 10 minute walk around your neighborhood, four times a week? Can’t do that? Walk to the edge of your driveway once a day. Seriously. Do that for a week and push it to twice a day, or extend it from the driveway to the nearest stop sign.
What gets scheduled gets done. Just like you schedule meetings with your boss, date-nights with your sweetie, or hold space for your kids’ events, put your workout sessions in your calendar. Choose specific times and days and hold it sacred. Make a decision that makes a thousand other ones. If you commit to going to the noon class, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and show up consistently you’ll fare a lot better than trying to decide each day when and where you’re going to engage in fitness.
Do what you enjoy
Fitness is meant to be fun. It is a celebration of what our bodies can do, not a punishment. If weightlifting or rowing isn’t for you, do the thing that you find fun. It can be a light jog. It can be Jazzercise, yoga, RomWod, ballet, Ti-Chi, Karate, salsa-dancing or whatever brings you joy. The goal is to get movement in, putting your body in a range of motion and get your heart-rate elevated. We naturally return to the things that bring us joy or a sense of accomplishment. Make your fitness program the same!
Some may say that hardest part of consistency is remembering why you’re continuing to show up. That might be true. We typically are consistent with the things that pull us with a strong why, or a powerful vision. Vision is an unforced desire. It is a way of seeing things. Vision is what compels us to take action. It is what motivates us and drives us to pursue something, or to move forward on a project, goal, or resolution. All action is guided by a vision. If we don’t have a strong enough vision, we won’t take action. If we have a misguided vision, we will take misguided action.
However, in my own personal experience, it’s easy to forget why we do what we do, or the why changes over time, but if we are committed to consistently taking action on something that benefits us, we might find our real “why”, not our ideal/aspirational “why”.