“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”- Chinese Proverb
On Christmas Morning there are many out there who will unwrap a set of workout clothes, new ear buds and maybe a diet plan book. And, maybe a few of you are lucky enough to get a brand new road bike with a bow waiting for you in the garage December 25th. Yes, your family may have given you a hint or maybe you asked for the equipment to get into “shape”. The new years resolutions. A time to start new. As they say “New Year New You”. What better resolution to have than better health. So, I applaud you for realizing its time; however, your not the only one with such aspirations.
Gym memberships soar, Fitness DVD’s fly off shelves and Diet plans start. Its quite a fascinating thing to see the amount of new people at the gym January 2nd. All sporting brand new workout attire dropped off by a jolly man in red. I know, most of you don’t believe in Santa anymore, but just go with it. The stuff that came down the chimney would almost guarantee success in your new fitness endeavor. Who wouldn’t want to work out with the latest of Under Armor garb and some flashy lifting shoes. Yep, seems everyone is on the fitness bandwagon. Their resolve is strong and this is going to be the year; However, come February the flood of fitness enthusiasts drops to a stream. By March a trickle. And, by April eBay is filled with discounted fitness gear all claiming to be “lightly used”.
What Happened? These people had a strong will to change; however, somewhere along their short path to progress and one to many sets of curls in the squat rack, they gave it up. Some may have compromised, moved onto to other forms of finding fitness. They said “the gym isn’t for me”… and moved onto a home workout program, only to quit that a few weeks later. It turns out they did not want to find a way to stick to their resolution, instead they were looking for the quick solution.
Theres a secret to progress and its not hidden in the ancient writings of a demigod, its consistent action over volume. I often find people race to the “big action”, the large shift in their life. A drastic attempt to make up for the years of unhealthy living; however, what you’ll find is small daily actions compiled over a long amount of time is the key to progress.
Think about your 401K retirement plan. Do you dump 6 thousand dollars weekly for 4 years into the account or do you contribute a couple hundred a pay check over 20-30 years? Of course the latter makes more sense. After years of consistent action your account will compile and compound. Its the same with your health and anything in life, if I might add. Small actions over a long period of time will compound your results.
The news years hopeful plows full speed ahead into a fitness program or diet plan. Logging long workouts and cutting out chunks of their entire diet. What they find is their actions are not sustainable. You’ve spent the last couple of decades living a sedentary life, your body wont change over night. We are often duped by the fitness industry who claim “fast” results. They show us before and after pictures with headlines such as “8 week fat melting workout”. Listen, thats a load of crap, but it sells. It plays into our desire for quick results. A quick solution. We don’t have time to wait for results. We won’t these gains now!!! In comes the need for discipline and patience. Small actions offered up to your goals. This may prove difficult for many; however, its the only way.
The true solution comes in small changes and tweaks to you current state. Slowly cutting out bad foods and replacing them with healthier choices. Look, you’ve been eating like garbage for a long time now. Your body is used to this diet. Quitting cold turkey can have drastic results on your mood and even your health. Crash diets will leave you worn out, pissed off, and maybe even sick. Now, this approach may work for some; however, know you have better options if it doesn’t. Instead of eating an entire chocolate cake, eat half (just an example, if you eat a whole chocolate cake, yikes). Every day and every week begin limiting the awful things you drive into your body. Eat less and less garbage over a longer time span until you’ve build a diet that can sustain your health goals. Remember a diet is what you eat on a regular basis, not just a health buzz word.
This approach goes for your workouts as well. Don’t run into a Crossfit gym on a Metcon day and expect to survive. Take daily action with small workouts. Get your body ready for the longer ones. Start with 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week, for 8 weeks or more. You’ve been sedentary for so long, so you need to remind your body how to move. Concentrate on light weights, good form, and higher repetitions. Find good information and maybe a good coach. Slow down and realize your abilities. Don’t jump into a shallow pool head first, it won’t end well.
Don’t treat your workouts as punishment for how you feel about your body. Have fun with your workouts. If your not having fun you won’t stick to the plan. No one wants to be miserable, even at the gym. I have yet to find a person who has dedicated themselves to a life of fitness who hates working out, they just don’t exist. Although these people may enjoy some workouts better than others, they found their niche. Find your workout niche. It might not be p90X or Cross fit, maybe its biking. Choose a program your most likely to enjoy and stick to, even if it may not be the best program. The best program for you is the one that will keep you interested and having fun.
Patience may begin to wear thin; however, don’t focus on the aesthetic. Instead focus on the way you feel and perform. Thats what its all about, not six pack and bulging chests; however, those may come down the road for you with consistent action.
Its won’t be easy and your patience will be tested. But, you will be better for it. Again, I applaud you for starting. Now, it’s time to match those good intentions with good actions. Do the work and not the quick solution.