Fitness is a Journey
It involves going from one place to another. Where you’ve been and where you are heading is unique to you. It’s your own personal journey. That person you see on the treadmill next to you, they’re on their own fitness journey. Where they started and where they’re going may be similar to you but, most likely, their journey will be quite different. That’s because every one of us is unique. There is no other person on the planet who is exactly like you. So, when approaching your fitness journey, be yourself, because everyone else has been taken!
Some journeys are easy. They are smooth and straightforward. Every step you take is a step in the right direction. Chart the course and proceed “full steam ahead.” If you follow social media, many of the influencers you’ll encounter make it seem like fitness is a relatively easy journey. Do a few of the things they suggest, and you’ll look and feel just like them! Unfortunately, for most of us, that’s just not the case. Our journeys will be more challenging.
With challenging journeys, there will be plenty of bumps and bruises along the way. You may need to go sideways in order to keep moving forward. You may need to take a few steps back to get one step ahead. You may even need to go all the way back to the beginning and start over again! Yet, with each of those bumps, we might find ourselves feeling invigorated, having completed difficult tasks and reaching new milestones and destinations. It’s rising to the challenge that makes us stronger.
Some journeys seem impossible, though. They appear to have steep hills, dangerous curves, and rough terrain with many roadblocks. Often times, simply beginning a difficult or “impossible” journey is the hardest part. We foresee all the negative and uncomfortable parts and hope to avoid them. It feels easier to just not begin and instead remain stationary behind the starting line. Unfortunately, remaining behind the starting line will not get us to where we want to go. While standing there, we see others on their journey passing us by and reaching new milestones, seemingly enjoying it every step of the way while posting their accomplishments on social media. We want to go where they are going, if only we can find the easy way there.
Wouldn’t it be nice to simply teleport from the beginning directly to the end results of our fitness journey? We dream about achieving every desired goal and outcome. Unfortunately, while many try to find that elusive teleportation pill, it’s about as common as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. In other words, don’t count on it! Instead, we can create our own magic by eliminating those obstacles preventing us from having a successful journey.
How we approach those obstacles will go a long way in determining our outcomes. If we view them as an excuse for not making progress or meeting desired goals, then we are making our journey harder than it needs to be. We may even place obstacles in front of us to avoid a predetermined perception of failure.
One common example is the perception of time as an obstacle. I’m sure you know someone who’s said, “I’d love to get to the gym, but I just don’t have the time, ” or “I’m just too busy to exercise.” Maybe that someone is you? Truth is, there are 24 hours in a day, and everyone has some time to get physical activity in (if not every day, at least a few times per week).
It comes down to choices. What do you choose to do with your time? Do you spend an hour or two scrolling through your phone checking out people who are working out? Instead of doing that, dedicate that hour to getting your own workout in! Do you spend time binge watching your favorite show? You can still do that…while getting a good cardio workout in on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, or other favorite piece of equipment!
You can remove the obstacle of time by simply making physical activity part of your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be “pumping iron” at the gym or running 5Ks (although both are fine choices). It can be as easy as doing a handful of exercises in the comfort of your home or getting outside and enjoying nature. If you have chores to do around the house, you can turn that into your exercise for the day. Yes, you can have a sparkling, clean kitchen while doing a bunch of sit-ups, push-ups, and squats! Have work to do in the yard? Raking, shoveling, and chopping wood are great exercises.
If you are hesitant to get started, remember every journey starts with a first step. Sure, taking that first step can be scary, but once you get going, you might find those things you once feared aren’t all that bad. You might actually start to enjoy some of the things you used to dread! Along the way, your fitness journey may take you to places you never thought possible. The adventure is ready for you to begin. So, get out there and get your journey going!
-RGS YMCA Personal Trainer Dave Kuczynski