A New Fitness Program
Just a Little Bit Better
No, this is not another way to be the strongest, fastest guy on the mountain. It’s not a training program to help you to run a six-minute mile, or do a backbend. It’s really more of a motivational speech than it is a fitness program.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a certified personal trainer or a CrossFit instructor. I have received no training as a yoga instructor nor have I been track coach. I’m just a guy who has dabbled in a number of different fitness venues with some varying degrees of success.
I have done a number of fitness programs. I’ve done anything from trying to run 100
miles, to doing CrossFit and doing Bikram yoga, to only watching my diet and being too tired to exercise. They all serve a purpose, but any one of these regimens by themselves can lead to staleness and burnout, which can lead to failure. As a person who suffers from ADD, it seems like my mind is constantly wandering and wondering about the next exercise phase in my life, and I fret about it so much, that I end up doing nothing,
which is the worst. That stalemate usually snowballs and I find myself out of shape.Naturally, when I am out of shape I want to regain the level of fitness I once had. Thinking about the training and changes it would take to get to that point once again, however, often leaves me discouraged.
That being said, this is what we’re going to do. This is groundbreaking concept here, so get ready. We’re just going to get better one day at a time. Yep, you heard that right. No pyramids, WOD’s, or tables of workout plans. We are just going to focus on getting a little bit better every day. Just a little bit better. What I have found is that sometimes the big picture is too scary or too daunting to say, “Yeah, I’m all in!” If our goal is to run 100 miles or to lose 100 lbs., the process can seem scary. We know how we live, how we eat, how we exercise, and making the required changes may seem so radical our goals can appear to be impossible. But…. It is always possible to get a little bit better.
Step one in this revolutionary program is to trend a little better than what we have been doing. So your diet sucks. Start by improving it a bit. Eat a little less for dinner. Maybe eat anything you want, just not everything you want. Go for a walk with your spouse or a friend. Don’t worry if it’s not the 45 minutes of aerobic exercise they say you need (whoever “they” are). Just get out and do something.
One of my personal obstacles tends to be extremism. For my fiftieth birthday I decided it would be cool to run a fifty-mile race. The problem was I had never even run a marathon before. I chose to run the Bighorn Mountains 50 miler. Starting at 4500 feet and peaking at nearly 9000 feet, this course was challenging. This race also took place over 1000 miles from home making it a logistical nightmare. For someone who had struggled through two half marathons years earlier, and only had six months to train, the preparation for this event was tough.
In the end I finished it, and did pretty well, all things considered, with a time of 11:37. Regardless of this success the extreme leap into ultramarathoning did not lead to a healthy, permanent lifestyle change. After that I swung to the other extreme of not exercising at all for 6 months. This struggle with consistency leads to both physical AND mental failure.
The moral of the story is that we need to adopt a LIFESTYLE that will get us to the finish line of life, being healthy and energetic. So have one or two pieces of pizza instead of half of it…or the whole thing. I can see a lot of diet and exercise gurus who read this (like a lot of anybody reads this), saying, “you’ve got to eliminate that completely”, or “bread, carbs and sugar are a killer”. And they might very well be. However, for someone whose dietary habits have consisted of consuming large quantities of this stuff, maybe cold turkey is a little scary. Their failed attempts at perfection are causing them to quit. A little bit better is a good start. Enjoy some success. Maybe you didn’t get your 20 minutes of cardio in, but you walked once around the block. That’s better than you did the day before. Possibly, some better, or dare I say, good, habits are forming, and you’re feeling a bit better. Did you mess up your diet three of the seven days a week? Don’t get down on yourself. That’s better than messing up seven out of seven days! You suffered a set back during the holidays (Halloween through Easter), That’s ok. Starting again is better than not starting at all. You know what starting again is called? It’s called “Not quitting!”.
Lets do a little better together! Let’s make the changes and live a life we can enjoy. Let’s go for a walk or run, and if we’re already doing that, lets go a bit farther when we’re up for it. But enjoy it; enjoy yourself, your friends and your family. Have a slice of pizza, enjoy it, and then go do something. If you blow it, get back on the horse and try again. Failure is not permanent, quitting is. Put yourself in position to win. Have success. Capitalize on what you do well, and minimize what you don’t. Remember, you haven’t crossed the finish line yet. Your story is not over, the best of you may be yet to come whether your 18 or 80. Keep trending up and you’ll realize your dream!