The mind body connection is real, use it to your advantage.
(Caution – skip immediately to step 1 to avoid the rambling thoughts of the author)
For most people their body has far greater value than their home so let’s begin by asking this question, would you spend money and energy to build an impressive house but cut corners and skip over important steps in the foundation with the full knowledge that your investment would soon need costly repairs, sucking up your cash, draining your time and even preventing you from using your home for an undetermined period of time?
Of course not, the idea is enough to make anyone feel upset but that’s exactly the type of disaster we risk in beginning a fitness journey without preparing and educating ourselves in the details.
In spite of this example the temptation remains very real to say, “Sure, training is easy I’m going to start exercising right away, it’s no big deal because I have enough will power so let’s go!” As a matter of fact you might even have a fitness program ready and the intention to follow it every day until you look like an Instagram model, yeah hold up a second there Champ. Yes you are right in so much as that you can do great things in fitness with a sold foundation and I want to be the first to applaud and support your effort but did you know that the quickest way to failure for most people is to throw themselves into an exercise routine without a thought out and balanced plan for success which is why a full 90% of all these same people with great intentions to become their fittest selves will abandon their dreams in as little as only a few months.
Have you ever seen that person on Facebook purposely jumping up and down, straining through dangerously improper technique and too heavy a weight? Why would anyone place their health in such danger for a few minor neurological changes only to end only up aggravating an existing injury or creating a new problem before abandoning in despair, it’s complete madness.
As a society we sleep too little, exercise rarely or never and overeat processed food for too long. Add to this socially encouraged fermenting, over caffeination and blind acceptance of health risks that can culminate in illnesses and worse, no wonder FB guy is frantic, he and most of society is crying out for help.
There is a sane and rewarding way of self care though fitness and nutrition, and your example can even help the people around you as you increase your positive energy and outlook on life as a healthier, fitter and more balanced person. Beginning a fitness journey is among the most selfless things that you can do, the effect of improving and maintaining your health will positively impact your family and all the people that count on you including your future self. So, even though some changes might seem like a bit of a short-term shock, you can lessen the impression of physical and psychological impediment by agreeing right now that you deserve to enjoy as much of your life as possible and that you are willing to follow a plan to reach this goal.
Now if you waited for a perfect person to share how simple it can be to turn yourself around from a downward health and wellness spiral to wellness and performance, it wouldn’t be me because I’ve been guilty of most of the above and perhaps it was even worse. After having begun a career in fitness at 19 I succumbed to my own personal version of the Superman syndrome by ignoring my body’s warnings as I tried to reconcile the excitement of a growing family, entrepreneurship and triple digit work weeks. Slowly but surely I not only ignored training and nutrition at the expense of health and happiness but ended up on an operating table for bicep tendon reattachment surgery as my reward. The initial injury wasn’t so bad but the subsequent daily instalments of time and lost opportunity during rehabilitation were a hard stop grounding experience that really sucked. In retrospect I’m very grateful as the experience was a test of my resolve and forced me to change a lot of broken things in my life which became the blessing and catalyst that brought me to rethink my concept of whole body fitness and re-immerse myself in the nutrition components that support total wellness and performance. Let me share with you now a few of the lessons I’ve learned while rebuilding my body and returning stronger with greater balance, energy and zest for life.
Moving forward lets consider the general perception of what exercise is. According to Wikipedia “Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.” Depending however on who is speaking it’s common to hear more about personal preference than what is actually right for us and because we also have individual preferences it’s common to focus on a single aspect or activity for a time. Often enough any single-minded focus can satisfy an urgently lacking need in the short term but as soon as our bodies send us the signals that we are still not alright we quickly either move on to the next best thing we hope will complete our wellness, take a break or quit. This lack of a holistic fitness foundation is a major contributor to failure for most people who regularly start /stop and abandon their fitness goals.
Most of us enjoy trying new sports and activities, even participating in multiple sports, i.e; mountain biking in the summer and skiing in the winter (that’s me by the way). If you really want to get the most out of everything you do sport or not, you’re going to need a go-to health and fitness system that supports your goals.
A successful fitness system begins with #1, a balanced and motivating physical preparation that creates positive reinforcement, #2, improves your nutrition and #3, culminates in a progressive and often multi-phased physical training program. Although the concept is presented as a how to guide for entering into a fitness program from low or complete inactivity, the 3 steps we’ll discuss are designed to assist in encouraging the adoption of a healthy fitness lifestyle that will benefit the casual fitness enthusiast and professional athlete alike as the system provides an easily adapted framework capable of scaling with changing performance demands.
While it’s normal to think the primary benefit of physical exercise is physical, the following 3 steps are also powerful tool in the maintenance of mental health. To be clear I’m not suggesting exercise is the one magic cure of all mental health issues for everyone but, studies show people think and perform at a higher cognitive levels and with greater emotional stability when following a regular workout. From personal experience and working with all types of people who have increased their focus after beginning a progressive return to physical activity after an extended period of inactivity, I definitely agree.
Below are the steps I have found to be the safest, sanest and most rewarding while leveraging the power of whole fitness to feel better and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.