Fitness isn’t easy, it’s complicated

Probably the biggest thing we fitness experts try to do and coincidentally the number one thing that people seem to want is for fitness to be made simple. And it is, sort of. It does boiled down to four main things – eat well, exercise with purpose, rest and drink water more than anything else.

But it gets complicated.

The number one issue for most folks is time. As a society we are busier than ever before in history. There is so much to do now that our ancestors never dreamed of. More charity fundraisers, sports, events, hobbies, movies, TV shows on more channels, more restaurants, travel destinations, facebook, Twitter, etc. Add to that the fact that we work more and have more to pay for all of this stuff. We have to choose. We have to prioritize. Choose what is most important and make sure that gets done then let the other stuff fall in where it does. If health and fitness are not scheduled in and planned for, then they too, get blindsided in our busy life.

The number two issue I would have to say is mood. It ties into every aspect from not feeling like working out at a particular time, to not feeling like eating the same healthy food every day because it isn’t entertainingly delicious. What if we look at it from a different angle? Eating junk food isn’t necessarily bad, it just creates a result. The question becomes about whether eating that unhealthy food brings you closer to your goals or farther away from them. The same goes for that workout you do not feel like doing. Great. Maybe that is an appropriate response, maybe you really do need to go home for a nap instead or sleep in today. Again, the question is about whether that brings you closer to or farther from your goals. That is why trainers focus so much on goals – they help us see beyond our mood.

I have some really big goals again this year and they really help me to focus. I was accepted into the Ultraman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in November. So every time I don’t feel like swimming in the ice cold lake at 6 a.m., or riding my bike for six hours on a Sunday morning when it’s cool and windy, or run when my foot is sore, I just look at the calendar on my desk. I remind my ‘mood’ that my deadlines are fast approaching as each race comes along and I need to go train. So how can you overcome your mood with a powerful goal or commitment?

Next comes environment. If you live in a house that has cupboards full of cookies and chips and a freezer full of ice cream, you will fail at some point. Environment is stronger than willpower. If your spouse lives on pizza and nachos and you try to sit beside them and eat chicken breasts, rice and veggies, you will have a harder struggle than someone whose family is supportive. Throw out your junk food and find a way to have your family and friends support you.

Then we have genetics. I think this one more than the rest is a hiding place for people. While it is true that some people have heredity against them, I have still seen that nearly everyone can get results if they focus and put in the effort. Sure, maybe you will never look like a magazine model (truth is they don’t look like that photo either – photoshop is used extensively), but you can be healthy and leaner regardless of your genetics. Stating that you are genetically fat to justify tearing into a plate full of unhealthy calories is just a recipe for disaster. What if your goal was to search for the genetic limit of fit and healthy for you? Be the fittest you can be, not compared to anyone else, but compared to you.

So you see, it’s complicated – but it really isn’t.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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