Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Principles of Fitness: Foreword

Think of fitness as something you do every single day for the rest of your life.  It's a lifetime commitment.  Your body is not a painting - you don't get it perfect one day and then stop.  Get at least one hour of exercise a day, no matter what, from now on.  

But don't think of fitness as something you do for an hour a day.  Think of it as something you do all day, every day.  Fitness is a lifestyle.  It's part of everything you do.  Walk and ride your bike as often as possible.  Make exercise your top priority and design your entire life around it.  Your fitness is your health.  Your health is your top priority.

I wrote out my Principles of Fitness because my entire life goes the way my fitness training goes.  When I'm eating properly and training every day, I also excel in other areas of my life - because I am properly energized.  If I'm developing bad habits in my diet and training, then that affects the rest of my life as well - particularly my attitude and energy.  

Some people think that working out or dieting will drain their energy for other activities.  It's the opposite.  Working out energizes me.  A proper diet and fitness routine will have you feeling more energized than ever for your daily activities, including time with your family and friends.

You will notice that your attitude, energy and general outlook on life improve as your fitness does. This means that you will be better able to show up for your family, job and other activities because you will be properly rested and energized.

Don't think, ''I'm going to train for six weeks, look like a statue, and then stop.''  Think of fitness as a commitment that you make every single day for the rest of your life - for the purpose of enjoying your life as much as you possibly can.  Your whole life will improve tremendously as your fitness improves.  I guarantee it.

Find fitness activities that you enjoy, and keep doing them.  Join training groups focused on the activities you like.  Find friends and mentors who like the same activities you do.  Immerse yourself in the culture of the activities you like.   Fitness training is a great way to meet people and build relationships.

Probably the most important rule of all is to have fun when you train.  Training should always be fun.  If it's not fun, then you're doing it wrong.  If you get tired of doing the same activity, then do something else for a while.  You can train in multiple disciplines, or just focus on one at a time.  The important thing is just that you keep training.  Consistency is everything.  

Get deeply in touch with why you are doing this - and be honest about it.  Is it because you want a girlfriend or boyfriend?  Is it because you want to be able to run around with your kids or grandkids?  Improve your sports performance?  Sign a pro contract?  Lose weight? Get on the cover of a magazine?  Star in a movie?  Live longer?  Become a better person?  There are a million reasons to train.  Clearly identify yours.  Write them down.  Post them on the fridge, wall or mirror.  

Your hardest days in training will be the days you get most in touch with the reasons why you're doing it.  You will start to realize what you really care about - and the things you really care about will be your reasons for showing up to train again tomorrow.

You should never be so sore after a workout that you can't train again the next day.  You will see better results by showing up every day and training at tolerable intensity then you will by showing up twice a week and training at max intensity until you can't move for two days.  This is especially true for gains in joint mobility - which come slowly (1/10 the pace of muscle gains).  

With that said, do things to the best of your ability at all times.  Not just in fitness, but in everything you do.  The way you approach fitness is the way you approach your entire life.  You will get what you put in, so challenge yourself.  You don't have to be extreme, you just have to be consistent.  Consistent, daily effort is great effort.

The most important thing is to engage with fitness activities every day.  You will burn more calories and have more energy.  If all you do one day is warm up, go for a light run, and finish with core and stretching - then that's great.  If one day you just want to do an hour of yoga - then that's great, too.  Do some form of exercise every day.

By doing things every day, they become a part of who you are.  Make fitness a part of your daily routine.  Put it on the schedule, and keep it there.  That doesn't mean you can never take a day off - but think of fitness as something you do every day, with rare exceptions.  Train every day that you are not too sick or too injured to train (this should be almost never).  Unless you are literally so sick or injured that you can't walk, there is almost always some sort of training you can do to improve your fitness.


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