Stop “Working Out”
Exercise is boring. It’s hard and it can really be difficult to see the point sometimes. If you get on the treadmill and run for ten minutes or an hour you always end up in the same place. If you go lift weights you just end up putting them right back on the rack where they started. It’s enough to drive somebody insane because it all seems like a whole lot of work for a whole lot of nothing.
Think about all of the stuff you could be doing in the time it takes you to do your workout. Then there is the time it takes to travel to and from the gym, shower and all of the extra stinky laundry. Let’s not forget the fact that exercise can be really hard! You sweat and breathe heavy. All that lifting makes your muscles sore and if you’re doing it right it will exhaust them. Results can be very slow. You aren’t bigger after each workout. The cover of magazines lie when they say they can get you six pack abs after two weeks of working out 12 minutes a day. No wonder people just sit around most of the time.
If you identify with the sentiments above then here is the solution: stop working out; stop exercising. I’m serious. Replace all of this nonsense with something better: TRAINING. Training is specific and focused. It involves measured improvement. When you get on the treadmill or lift a dumbbell what the heck are you doing? What are you working for? Fill in the blank: I am training for __________. Is it a marathon? Is it to be a better basketball player? Is it to become stronger? Are you training to keep up with your kids or grandchildren?
Exercise CAN seem pointless when you don’t have a goal in mind. When you adopt an attitude of training it can change everything about your life and your health. I can’t count the number of success stories I have heard that start out with somebody taking a challenge. Maybe it was a 5k race, a pedometer challenge at work, or joining a city league sports team. Everyday people start their journey to fitness and better health with something they think is just on the other side of the limit of their abilities. Pushing these limits is how we become stronger. I’m not just talking about stronger in the sense that you can lift more weight. I mean you become a tougher person who is better able to identify and conquer goals in ALL aspect of life. Also you will find the ability to harness great power in dealing with the stresses and challenges of life.
Training is not just about moving and sweating. Training is planning, plotting and scheming a way to reach your goal. This is mental exercise. It’s cardio for your soul. Training is transformative. You start out weaker and untrained and you progress until you are skilled, strong and able. Training has the power to enhance every aspect of your life. Proper training requires a good balance of work and rest. If you are in training you need to eat appropriately and with a purpose. You begin to manage your time and plan your day. You connect with others who are training for a similar goal. You start to feel accountable for the way you live your life and conduct your training.
Now that you’re all revved up and ready to run through a brick wall or climb Mt. Everest (you are right?) let’s talk about how you begin training.
1) Find a Challenge Notice I didn’t say “Find an Easy”. Pick something that makes you wonder if you can actually get it done. Maybe it’s a 5k or a 50k. Maybe it’s a slam dunk or 100 sit ups. Whatever it is it must be challenging for you.
2) Find a Mentor Who has done the thing that you are looking to do? You may not know them personally. Maybe your mentor wrote a book about your challenge? Maybe there is an online forum or a website. Whoever your mentor is and wherever you may find them they are crucial to beginning your training.
3)Identify the Skills You Need It’s tempting to just jump into the activity but this step is crucial. If you can’t identify the skills you need to gain then your training won’t be effective. For example if you want to run a marathon you need to develop cardiovascular strength and endurance, learn to manage fluids and nutrition, condition your joints, muscles and tendons, etc. Once you identify these skills then the next step becomes clear.
4)Develop a Training Plan This is where your mentor comes in really handy. Your mentor can provide you with training activities that will help you prepare. Schedule these training activities to develop the skills you have identified. Remember that it is just as important to schedule your rest as it is to schedule your work.
5)Plan Your Victory Party when you conquer a challenge you deserve a reward. Are you going to treat yourself to a vacation? Maybe a shopping trip, or an ice cream cone? Whatever it is you choose, you deserve to revel in your awesomeness. One thing you will find is that looking back and seeing how far you’ve come is often the greatest reward.
6)Work Your Plan Since you have carefully planned your work, now you must work your plan. Hold yourself accountable to what you have come up with. Work with your mentor to adjust parts of the plan that may not be working out for you.
7)Repeat Don’t stop after you reach one goal. Make plans for the next boundary to push. Each accomplishment will give you momentum for your next challenge.
Think about this: How often do you feel like a champion? If you haven’t felt this way in a while or ever then it’s time to start training. Absolutely anybody can do it. If you adopt the principles of training then you will feel healthier and more empowered than you could ever imagine.
I know some of you have great training stories. Send me your story at [email protected] If I publish your story on this blog I will send you your own Body of Health Training T-Shirt.