I believe the most important difference between this time and all of my failed attempts at weight loss in my past, is the change in my thoughts and views and on health and fitness.
Growing up, my feelings towards exercise and fitness were negative to say the least. I avoided all physical activities that may have caused sweating or exertion. I actually believed that it was both smart and beneficial to accomplish the “most” with the least amount of physical effort.
It simply never occurred to me that daily exercise would benefit my health and improve my fitness.
This may be common sense to some people, but I viewed exercise as a short-term weight-loss plan or something that athletes and naturally fit people pursued. I figured it would be very difficult for me because I was not athletic and therefore was inept at exercise. This of course, meant that I should give up and leave it to the “natural born athletes.” Boy, was I wrong…
Exercise is beneficial for both weight loss and health because of the challenge it provides. This is where the old “use it or lose it” adage comes into play. And fortunately, the body learns to adapt to each new challenge, more and more, each time that it faces the challenge. Which means that exercise actually gets easier the more you do it! Yay!
The body gradually increases strength and endurance to adapt to habitual physical challenges. Walking, biking and other forms of exercise improve the health of your cardiovascular system by challenging your system to regulate your heart rate, despite the physical activity. A daily walking habit will make long walks feel easier. Regularly taking the stairs will eventually make a long flight of stairs feel easier as well. In the same way, habitually lifting weights challenges your muscles to improve strength. If improving health or weight loss is your goal, exercise is not supposed to be too easy.
The major difference between the old me and the new me, is the way I view exercise. I now embrace exercise and all of its benefits. I no longer look for the easy way out. I know that each new exercise will begin as a challenge and get easier each time. Until it begins to feel “too easy,” and I must find a more difficult challenge to continue to improve my health and fitness.
I no longer view making choices and efforts to improve my health as a hardship. I view exercise as a logical and beneficial action, just like taking a bath or brushing my teeth and hair.
Remember the choices you make today have a direct effect on results you will experience tomorrow. Use this knowledge to motivate yourself to make healthier choices today and empower yourself to create a healthier tomorrow.
Personal Trainer Tip:
Exercise does not have to be incredibly difficult to produce results. Just find exercise that provides a challenge. It can be a small, medium or large challenge. Many people starting a new fitness routine work too hard or long, and consequently feel overwhelmed and quickly give up. Avoid this “jump start/failure cycle” by starting small. Start with the type of challenge that you will be most comfortable completing on a regular basis. I started with a small challenge and as my fitness improved, I became motivated to find larger challenges. I am very happy that I began with a small challenge because the smaller the challenge, the quicker it will begin to feel easy. Seeing and feeling your physical fitness improve provides fantastic motivation.
It worked for me and it can work for YOU!