A habit is not born in a day, change will not come with a couple of days work. It is only through diligent work, overcoming any setbacks while continuing to learn on a consistent basis that we realize progress. In life consistency is king.
Life comes down to the choices we make. We learn, sometimes the hard way that what we want is not always what we get. If we take personal responsibility for our actions, while taking our time to think them out, life will work out.
I learned early on in life to never believe that I knew everything. Just about every single person you come in contact with can teach you something. Never stop learning. When it comes to achieving fitness goals, find people who have achieved similar goals to yours, and then learn from them. You will also need to learn by studying your body and finding what does and does not work for you.
As I’ve gotten older it has become harder to make fitness gains. While the strength is still there, speed and recovery are not what they used to be. I never used to warm up or stretch when it came time to work out. I could just jump right into it. Now, those days are long gone.
What works for me is a warm-up protocol that I adapted from a kettlebell pre-workout routine and an Olympic weightlifting program. As part of my warm-up I do some flexibility movements, lightweight movements aimed at restoring balance to muscles, and some injury prevention exercises.
I have found that by taking the time every day to do these movements, I have cut down my injuries and boosted my performance.
When I was training well over a decade ago, we used to have these crazy fight camps. It was all about getting in the work, tons of cardio, weights and lots of physical activity. We learned that it actually hampered our performance, because we were overtrained. Since then, I have learned to train smarter, which has added benefits for me because of my age.
We’re all unique, and that also applies to our bodies. We all need to find what works for us, keeping in mind there are few givens when it comes to working out and strengthening your body.
You must challenge yourself. There is no easy way, the time has to be spent and the work has to be done. If we believe that we can go through a few comfortable, easy motions and reap the same benefits, we are deluding ourselves. There is no one exercise or fad that will make us fit. While there are many types of exercise that can achieve strength and growth, they all need to have this in common: they must be ever-changing, both progressive and regressive.
Other important but often neglected aspects of being able to continue to realize gains are nutrition, recovery and sleep.
We can no longer put whatever we want into our bodies. Even if that worked for you in your youth, by the time you reach your forties your body will no longer respond the same way. A balanced diet of whole foods will not fail us in any way. Eat your vegetables, and lots of them. Over the years I have added a few supplements – minerals and vitamins – to my whole foods diet, and you may find some that work for you.
As we age, we also need to increase our recovery time. Good rest is a must.
Aside from those basics, you will need to pay attention to your body and take care of it. Learn from your failures, put in the work and reach new goals – at any age.
One day we wake up and we realize that time has caught up with us. It could have been a doctor visit or weekend adventure or even a glance in the mirror.
All is not lost! There is a solution. We can never turn back time, but we can always strive to be the best version of ourselves. The good news is that each of us has the ability to get to that place, the only question is are you willing to make the change?
Where do you start? Do you go sign up at a gym? Start eating fat-free food? Count calories?
If you are a determined self-starter you could begin walking daily, cutting sugar out of your diet and controlling your portion sizes. This would immediately make a difference.
You could do some research, making sure that the information is from reputable sources.
You could also find a good gym or a trainer that fits you and will help you achieve your goals.
So you are 30, 40, or 50 and have not worked out in a decade or ever. There is some important information you may want to consider.
Number one rule, no matter what you decide to do: You cannot out-train a bad diet.
I cannot stand the word diet when it is used to refer to a short-term eating plan. Our diet is the food we eat throughout our lives. Every meal, every day makes up your diet.
All of the popular short-term diets must work to some degree or there is no way they would be selling them. People had to lose weight following the plans.
The problem is losing weight is only part of the equation. Is it just water weight? Are you starving yourself? If so, you are just setting yourself up to gain it right back. Is this fad diet good for your heart? Causing other health problems? If we want to be healthy and youthful we need to consider carefully what we do long term.
If we only care about what the scale reads, then sure temporary fad diets will do. The problem is they are not sustainable. In many cases, we will end up losing the muscle we need.
Every day one of the most important decisions we will make is what we put into our bodies. We have to be in it for the long term, there is no quick fix or magic pill.
Understand the power of food and learn what proper training can do for you when coupled with healthy eating.
When it comes to training, you are going to have to spend a little money. You get what you pay for in fitness. I am not talking about fancy equipment, clothes or gyms. I am talking about working with someone who knows what it will take to get you on the road to a healthy body.
Find a fitness professional who has experience, who motivates you, and who you get along with.
Just like a healthy diet, fitness must be a lifetime choice. Set aside an hour a day for yourself. Carve it in stone, make it your time. Maybe you begin with 30 minutes, and then work your way up over time.
It took all of us how many days to get to where we are today? A lot! The solution is not to go all out on day one, week one, or month one. Take small steps that build on each other until fitness becomes a sustainable lifetime habit.
Once you make the change to a healthy diet and a commitment to fitness, you will inevitably see, and feel, the results. Build on that foundation and challenge yourself in new ways as you make progress.
We love to add in challenges at the gym to help people mix up their routine and try something new, even if it is just for 5 to 10 minutes a day.
What is one of the least expensive, easily portable pieces of fitness equipment available worldwide that you can own? A Jump Rope!
It is often overlooked. Most people think of using a machine when they think of warming up before getting their workout on. They jump on the treadmill for a mile, or hop on a stationary bike for ten minutes.
I prefer the jump rope. Nothing gets your blood flowing like some rope work.
The benefits may surprise you. They include engaging your upper and lower body, cardiovascular health, increased lung power, core and bone strength, lung power, speed, agility, coordination, cognitive ability and endurance.
The wear and tear on your body is minimal with a jump rope, and you can modify your jump to make it even less so. Skipping rope is not as hard on your joints as jogging is, and it can be done indoors and on softer surfaces to help reduce the impact on your joints.
Jumping rope is hard at first, so if you are one of those people who do not like doing activities that you do not excel at immediately or look great doing, then this is not for you.
At K-FIT we have a Rock Steady Boxer named Bob. Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over 20 years ago. He joined our Rock Steady Boxing program to fight back against the disease over a year ago, right after we first opened the gym.
Bob came in on a walker. He watched as the other fighters all jumped rope to warm up at the beginning of class. Instead, we warmed Bob up with weights, or a ball or some other piece of equipment instead. Then one day Bob said it was his goal to jump rope.
He ditched his walker, and stood shakily on his feet on the gym mats. The first day he did this, he struggled to swing the rope from behind his body to the front. With practice, Bob managed to coordinate the swing. Then one day he was able to step over the rope after swinging it, without tripping, and the whole class erupted in celebration. Eventually, Bob, who was more determined than anyone I’ve ever seen, hopped over the rope. We all went wild. Then it was 5 hops in five minutes. Then 8 hops the next class.
Sure, he still got the rope caught, or tripped. Sometimes he fell. He had days that weren’t always moving forward, but that did not deter him from keeping on. Each class during the warm-up we counted his hops and we cheered him on.
Bob would wear himself out jumping rope at the beginning of class, and then he spent the rest of the class boxing from a seated position. But he was determined to reach his goal. The day came when Bob was able to jump rope thirty-eight times in five minutes, and many of these were consecutive hops.
If Bob can do it, you can too.
Were you aware that jumping rope may help with bone density and the fight against osteoporosis? When you compare it to jogging and other forms of cardiovascular forms of exercise, the jump rope stands above because it engages the entire body.
Jumping rope is whole body synchronization, something that is not possible with a machine. Learning to breathe, relax and jump is tough. It takes time, but without a doubt it has major benefits.
So yes it is hard, but never impossible.
Get a rope and start skipping yourself to a better you.
We are all guilty of telling our friends and family about the things we hope to do one day, and then doing nothing towards achieving those goals.
Inaction costs us our desires. Think about the inventions, art, music, literature and financial gains that are lost because we never take the necessary steps.
Could it be that we are all lazy? Or do we just derive enough pleasure from picturing our perfect scenario without having to do any of the work it will take to get there?
The problem with this is that one day we will begin to have feelings of regret and disappointment.
I see it all the time in the gym. People come in to get into shape. They know they need to do something and yet they just cannot persevere or push through mental/physical obstacles. Sometimes they blame it on “not having time,” which simply means it is not a priority. We all have time for the things that matter to us.
Then, a year passes, and inevitably they are worse off.
I have seen it in Jiu Jitsu so many times. People come in and want to learn, but they just are not willing to put the time into learning. I can tell you this observation I have made. Those that have become black belts in Jiu Jitsu that I have trained with are not the loud, weight-lifting braggart types. They are those that showed up day after day and put in the work and the time to learn.
I also observed it in my writing career. People often talked about their projects, took classes, seminars and did everything they could, except actually putting pen to paper day after day.
The problem comes from the inside. Each of us must ask ourselves if we are content maintaining our current life without making any changes. If the answer is no, then we must make changes.
Dreams, goals and destinations will never happen without first taking solid steps that will build the momentum to reach them. Each of us holds the power to change, no matter what our situation is at this moment. We cannot blame anyone else for our failure to accomplish our goals. The decision is up to us, we alone must take action.
I know that I am not the only person to have big internal battles, so today I will share a little about mine.
When my day begins roughly around 2:30 am five days a week, the first of my daily battles kicks off. I may wake up just before my alarm, in which case I wonder to myself if I should close my eyes or just get up. Often I am shocked into alertness by my alarm and I dream about what it would like to just turn it off and roll back over. I always get up, because a few minutes extra sleep will make no difference. It may sound crazy, but I enjoy getting an early start on my day.
After I have read the news and enjoyed a cup of coffee, I take my dogs out for a long hike at about 3am. During my walk I judge how banged up I am from the day before. My leg, foot, shoulder, back or a combination of them all, may hurt.
It may play out in my mind something like this: I am not going to do everything today. Maybe I’ll just do half a workout or I’ll just move around. Then I think about my end goals and I know I will do what I need to do.
The bottom line is we all struggle with many things every day. We know what we should do and yet we often settle for what is easy to do.
This is where personal responsibility comes into play. We as adults should know the cost of any decision as well as understand the reward. We are the ones who will ultimately need to take action to reach our goals.
It is hard, not fun or popular and at times we may feel like we are missing out. If we are honest with ourselves, we all know deep down what choices we should make for ourselves.
Making better choices is a learned behavior and it takes work. The good news is if we practice it, it gets easier. It may be really hard to get up before the time you usually do to get in a workout, but after a few weeks of doing it, it becomes a habit. Keeping our ultimate goals in mind is a great help when we become distracted by something. Immediate gratification is tempting, but if we change the way we look at life, we come to understand while it looks, tastes or feels good at the time it is not greater than the alternative prize.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.