“Always keep moving, even if you’re just walking.”
We all start our health and fitness goals at different levels, but the end state can be the same for all of us. The secret is no matter how far behind you feel, just keep moving. Momentum and consistency are what will lead you to success. If you aren’t getting the results you want right away, then do not give up. Keep walking, crawl if you need to. The goal is to keep moving forward, to never give up, and to establish good habits.
“Limiting the time you’re inactive is even more important than exercise.” – Tom Rath
What is more beneficial, taking 10,000 steps over the course of a day, or exercising for an hour and taking 5,000 steps during that one hour workout? I would take the 10,000 steps over the course of the day. Having a healthier lifestyle is not just a formula of exercise and dieting, it goes much deeper into how we spend our day. If we work a job that requires us to be on our feet all day, we will already have a leg up to staying healthy. Sometimes we cannot choose a job that allows us to be active all day, but we can choose our weekend and weeknight activities. On family night instead of playing a board game, try going to the park. Or instead of hiring a company to mow your lawn, do your own yard work as a way to stay active. The more sedentary you are throughout the week the more likely you are to acquire health concerns, even if you exercise regularly.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Bill Gates, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr
Probably the most common excuse I hear preventing someone from exercising is they don’t have enough time to workout. In this quote, it’s brought up that we all have the same amount of hours in a day, but some people, such as the successful icons in this quote, still accomplished extraordinary feats. The same can be applied to everyday health and fitness. Any time you set a health goal and feel like you don’t have enough time, just remember there is someone out there that had the same goal and the same time constraints, but still managed to achieve it. Try to learn from the people who have already achieved the goal you want to achieve, because they too struggled in the beginning, but their mental toughness was too strong not to succeed. If they can do it, you can too.
“Excellence is the gradual result of always trying to do better” – Pat Riley
When you take the first step to achieving a new goal, sometimes you don’t realize that you are walking a tightrope suspended above your fears and harnessed by your discipline. To keep your balance you must take one careful step at a time, slowly moving toward your goals with patience and grace. Health and fitness are not attained through half-hearted thoughts, but rather through actions repeated and refined over time. The first step may be difficult as you step out onto the line, yet the more you walk, the gradual progress will shape your excellence. But without the discipline and motivation to improve, you will fall into your fears.
“Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you” – Arnold Palmer
How often have you had the “this is useless” mentality when it comes to your health, weight, or a fitness goal? Even when your goals seem impossible, arduous, or downright crazy, never let you or anyone else tell you it’s useless. Always give total effort to reach your fitness goals, even when your efforts are slow to be realized.
“What makes you something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose” – Andre Agassi
The common fitness goals I hear people setting for themselves include them wanting to look better and feel better. People want to improve their lives when they go on a diet or an exercise program, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. People generally focus on the gains when it comes to living healthier, but unfortunately, I never hear anything about what people have to lose by not working out or eating healthy. By not living a healthy life you risk losing your health and thus your money in medical bills. You risk having less time with your family either because of your lifespan or your inability to get around. You risk being able to play sports or go to the park with your family, friends, or pets. Your younger self had a lot of plans for later in life and in retirement, don’t lose the ability to have the life you want because you skipped taking care of yourself.
“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail” – Mark Splitz
Preparation is the key to success. If you have a goal, you need to prepare a plan to achieve it. If you don’t have a plan before you begin a workout plan or a diet, then you are not setting yourself up for success. Your preparations need to be both long term and short term. Long term, prepare to set aside as much time as you need over the coming months or years to achieve your goal. Mentally prepare for the time it will take. Short-term preparation can be anything from making sure you get a healthy meal before a workout to layout out your clothes the night before. Always take the time to prepare, or you will be prepared to fail your goals.
“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second” – William James
For runners, the idea of a second wind is that when you’re running and you’re beginning to become tired, you will eventually hit a period where you will begin to feel refreshed for seemingly no reason. While on a run, getting a second wind is often the motivation and the feeling you need to keep going and to finish your run. In order to get your second wind, you may need to run miles on empty. During this period most people decide they are too tired to continue and quit their run before they get to their second wind. The trick is to push yourself through the tough times knowing that soon you will reach that second wind which will drive you home.
“It’s not whether or not you get knocked down, it’s whether or not you get back up” – Vince Lombardi
Failure is always an option. You will always have up and downs during your training, and your mentality and your perseverance will determine whether or not you can turn that failure into success. Getting knocked down is part of the process, but the only option you should put on the table when you get knocked down is to get back up and keep going. Sometimes it will feel like you are taking 1 step forward and 10 steps back. This is when you shouldn’t be afraid to keep taking that 1 step despite the outcome. No matter how long it takes or how many times you find yourself on the ground, keep getting back up, and never stop moving forward.
“What’s the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” – John Green
You have 1 life. This life on average will last 27,000 days. Your childhood and adolescence takes up 6000 of these days, you sleep another 6500. Your time eating and preparing food, using the restroom, and other necessities remove another 2000 days. What you are left with is 12,500 days of time that you can use for work and play. If you spend just one hour per day, every day, exercising and working out, this only removes about 800 days from that pool during your adulthood. If you want to take it day by day, 1 hour of working out per day is only 4% of your total day. Time is limited, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t take that much of your time to do something remarkable for your health.
Bonus Days: Something else to keep in mind, by exercising for those extra 800 days, compared to someone who is obese, your life expectancy increases by on average about 8-10 years. That’s about an extra 2000 days after you subtract sleep and necessities. The return on the time investment is more than worth it!