“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
What is your attitude toward exercise? Is it just a necessary evil — a means to achieve your ideal body? Or is it something much deeper, like being a role model to your kids?
Perhaps it helps instill the mental and physical toughness to better tackle your day. Or maybe it’s your daily moment of zen so you can achieve more clarity and a calmer focus in your life.
Whatever your reason, the take-home point is this: Exercise is much more than a means to “looking good” (though it can be an added bonus). We have all been given the chance to strive for optimal health and vitality. Making a commitment to our health opens up all the doors for self-discovery and living life to the fullest.
Now I realize some of you have long been “awakened” to this point, while others haven’t found your “truth in fitness” quite yet. But once you find a deeper and more positive way to approach your exercise regime, it will lay the foundation to long-term success and better overall enjoyment. Here are a few ways to establish it.
Exercise should ALWAYS be a positive outlet: If exercise is something that you absolutely dread the majority of time, then it’s time to search for a workout alternative that better suits you.
Of course exercise should always come with a challenging amount of work, but not at the price of enjoyment. Exercise is supposed to enhance the quality of your life, not feel like self-inflicted punishment for poor lifestyle choices — or a necessary evil. Which brings us to our next point.
Find what works for you: People always ask me, “What do you do for workouts?” Lots of things! I personally include a combination of interval training, sports conditioning and strength training for my “gym” workouts 4-5 times per week. I also enjoy recreational activities like snowboarding, flag football, Spartan races and volleyball.
But what I do could be light years from what you enjoy. Perhaps mind-body activities like yoga and pilates resonate with you more. Or maybe outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking or trail running would give you more satisfaction. Point being, variety is the spice of life, especially with getting fit. I always encourage people to try out different activities and workouts until you find what you enjoy most and works best for you.
Aim to improve every week: Narrowing your focus and keeping more of a “baby step” approach to success for individual workouts every week will make your goals seem more feasible and easier to manage. It could be as simple as increasing your barbell squats by 5 pounds each week, improving your minute-per-mile running pace by 1-2 seconds or getting a little further into your warrior pose in hot yoga.
Micromanaging your workouts with the goal of making small improvements can quickly add up as the weeks turn into months and months turn into years. The only requirement needed is adapting this mindset and consistently showing up.
Celebrate your accomplishments: Last, make sure to take the time to enjoy your accomplishments along the way. Don’t get me wrong; you should continue to strive for more, but without losing sight of how well you’ve done up to this point. It’s very easy to forget when your workouts and/or results become stagnant. However, it’s important in these moments to take time to reflect on how far you have come and let it serve as a catalyst for personal empowerment and motivation for continued success.
Jason Wanlass is the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or championfit.net.