This is something that comes up time and time again - Why is it that people still find fitness so hard.
I listened to a brilliant TED Talk called 'Winning The Mental Battle of Physical Fitness and Obesity' by Ogie Shaw on YouTube the other day - click here to watch it. There were some amazing points that I took away from it and I definitely won't claim them as my own but I did feel inspired enough to write about them.
The same excuses as to why people don't exercise have been and probably always will be the same. People don't have time and don't feel motivated. There are a lot of people out there who say you make time for the things that are important to you. In many ways that's true. However, exercise isn't easy and is rarely seen as something which we reward ourselves with. In most cases people perceive exercise as the thing you do to punish yourself for eating too many carbs and drinking too much wine. Motivation is another one, a great concept maybe but you will always find that motivation is rarely there when you need it the most.
In the TED Talk Ogie Shaw talks about the importance of understanding what fitness is - to you. Not in a generic sense. When you understand what it is you're working towards it becomes easier to stay on track. Having a range of clients that I work with I see just how many reasons people have to exercise. The other thing you notice as a personal trainer is how those motivations change over time. Some people start with a goal or an aim in mind and over time they develop a love for something else or find a new passion for exercise in a way they didn't initially anticipate.
Our bodies are incredible machines that grow and change and become more efficient the more we use them. In fitness variety is key, without it, like all things in life it can become boring and isn't sustainable long term. The body needs variety both in the types and the intensity of movement we give it. Most importantly all movement has merit.
The online fitness community is growing thick and fast and so much information is out there and accessible to people. It also feels overwhelming, confusing and so much of it can be complete misinformation. Modern society has become obsessed with quick fixes, shortcuts and miracle pills to get us from A to B in the quickest and easiest way possible.
There are also so many ideals out there when it comes to fitness. With every new trend and craze that hits the market it seems we're constantly trying to achieve a different physique and look that goes with it. The market is saturated with bikini transformations and shredded summer workouts that promise to make you look ripped in 12 weeks. The reality of it is that extreme transformations are never sustainable long term. It is also confusing when you're presented with so many ideals to know what ideal is - to you.
A lot of people start embracing fitness for the aesthetics. They want to lose weight, drop a dress size, tone up, get lean, get ripped - you name it I've heard it all as a PT. One thing I have found is that if you have a reason outside of the aesthetics you are much more inclined to stick to it. The visual is great and don't get me wrong, we all want to look good. However, what happens once you reach your weight goal or drop a dress size? Is fitness over then? Of course not - you need another focus and goal and aim to work towards that compliments the aesthetics you have achieved.
So the question is: "What is fitness to me?"
Fitness is my career.
Fitness is in my life every day.
Fitness is learning to love my body.
Fitness is making me strong.
Fitness is therapy for my mental wellbeing.
Fitness is teaching me and helping me learn every day.
Fitness is a challenge.
If I could give you any bits of advice to take away from this post it would be:
1. Define what fitness means to you.
2. Find time every day to move, make exercise a habit.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Only get advice and guidance from qualified trainers.
5. Decide when you're more likely to exercise and stick with it.
6. Treat exercise as a reward and not a punishment.
7. If you miss a session or drink a bottle of wine - move on from it. Don't use it as an excuse to write off an entire week.
8. Find exercise you enjoy.
9. There is never a perfect time to start, sod motivation.
10. You're body is designed to move, get to know it, push it and see just how incredible it really is.