Fitness as a Lifestyle – Jason Yule
Last week we posted that fitness isn’t a seasonal hobby, but rather it should be treated as a lifestyle. What does that even mean? Well, it basically means that you shouldn’t use fitness as a stop gap solution for a short term desire. In the most practical sense, that means you shouldn’t turn to fitness because it is spring time and you want to get in shape for the summer. That isn’t reasonable in terms of expectations versus what you can actually achieve, plus that mindset sets you up to despise fitness. Rather, what we need to do is cultivate a lifestyle out of fitness. We need to make it part of the routine so it isn’t “something you have to do” in order to get in shape for any particular reason. Fitness should just be “something you do”.
So how do we do that? First off, we need to set realistic and meaningful goals. Looking good for the beach isn’t necessarily the best motivating goal because it is very superficial. You need to look deep within yourself and find out what you want. Maybe it’s to be healthy to play with your children or grandchildren. Maybe you’re just sick and tired of being the overweight and out of shape person. Maybe you want to prove someone wrong. Whatever it is, you need to find the true reason so that you’ll be motivated for the long haul.
Next, you have to make health and wellness a staple in your routine. It has to be a habit, or it won’t stick. Ever hear those people who say, “I just go when I want” or “I might go to the gym tomorrow”? I hear it all the time. And it’s always the out of shape people who say that. If you want to be successful, and make fitness a lifestyle, you need to treat it like it’s important. Just like you’d schedule an important meeting or appointment, you MUST schedule your workouts. Every week, after I put my work hours into my calendar, the very next thing I do is schedule my workout sessions. This turns “I might workout tomorrow” into “I’ll be working out tomorrow.” Sure you might have to cancel every now and then if things come up, but if it’s scheduled, the chances of you sticking to your workout plans are significantly improved.
When it comes to the diet, you need to have a plan. You can’t just go day by day hoping things will be ok, because the default will be to get something cheap and easy to eat. If you want to clean your diet up for the long term, you need to learn how to plan your meals out for the week, create a shopping list, go grocery shopping, and then meal prep if needed. Most people prefer to do the shopping and meal prepping on Sunday because it’s such a good day to set the week up for success. I always say, “If you want a successful week, you need a successful Sunday.” If Sunday’s don’t work for you, then pick a weeknight to reserve for shopping and prepping. Even if you have to sacrifice a workout during the week to get your diet and nutrition handled, it is worth it.
After you start scheduling your workouts and learn to manage your diet, then what? Well then the rest is just sticking to it. Just like anything else, it’s a process. You can’t go to the gym for a week or two and expect significant results. You need to build weeks and weeks upon each other, without getting lazy in between. There will be ups and there will definitely be downs, but the key is to ride them out as best as possible. After sticking to this for a period of months, then it begins to be routine, and you stop thinking about it. Then fitness is truly a lifestyle for you and no longer a hobby.