"Tell me a little bit about your fitness goals."
"I want to lose 20 pounds."
Me, interrupting, "No, you don't."
I know a little bit about Fat Bikes. I learned about Freeze/Thaw Cycles. I was there for most of the discussions about the Skills Park project. But in all fairness, I'm not an expert on any of those things. If you've been reading these blog posts, thank you for your time & interest. I hope you've enjoyed them. Today, I'd like to take the opportunity to work through something that I know a lot about; achieving fitness goals. Since it's that time of year, it seems appropriate to touch on the subject of the much loved, much assailed New Year's Resolution.
I've worked in the fitness industry for almost 20 years. I have a degree in Sports Medicine & have to stop to figure out how many personal training certifications I've had over the years. I've taught exam prep courses and continuing education workshops for some of these certifying organizations. I have managed personal training departments for the largest fitness facilities in the mid-west. This is what I do.
Losing weight sucks.
In all those years, if I've learned any one thing about health and fitness it's this: nobody wants to lose weight. Losing weight sucks. You have to exercise. More importantly, and this is the really hard part, you have to watch what you eat. You have to change long-held, deeply ingrained habits that you've become accustomed to and relied on for years. And you have to do it consistently with VERY few exceptions over a long time. It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen easily.
No, nobody wants to lose weight. What everybody wants is what losing weight is going to do for them. Let me say that again; nobody wants to lose weight, everybody wants what losing weight is going to do for them. There's a difference and that difference is everything. Everything.
Losing weight, or any other fitness goal for that matter, is simply a means to an end. What is losing weight going to do for you? What's the point? Put a different way: let's fast-forward to the end of December, 2015... roughly a year from now... and let's say that you've achieved that fitness goal. You've lost 20 pounds, you've built strength, you've increased your flexibility... whatever your goals are, you've achieved them. How is life different because you achieved that goal? That's what you really want to do.
More often than not, it comes down to having the energy to do the kinds of things you want to do. Improving your relationships with family & friends. Being passionately engaged with life. Having that epic journey to the hallowed trails of Colorado. Being able to complete your first downhill run with your teenage son. Sitting under a shady tree at the top of the covered-bridge climb at Mohican with your daughter, eating, drinking, and planning the next few miles while rationing your last few snacks. It's the experience that matters. It's the experience that will drive you and help keep you on track when you inevitably start to stray from achieving your fitness goals.
It's a simple idea.
Unfortunately, the simplicity often times shrouds the importance of the concept. Focus on 'why' and your goal will take on a completely different meaning. Why does this matter? Why is it important to me? Is it really about those skinny jeans fitting or is it about your confidence level and how you feel about yourself when you get them on?
As we approach the time of year when many choose a New Year's Resolution, spend some time to figure out your reason why. Begin with that idea, put a date on a calendar, build a plan. Work your tail off. Don't lose sight of the impact that achieving that goal is going to have on your life. In a year from now, you'll be glad you did.
What are your goals for the coming year? What do you want to do? More importantly, what do you REALLY want to do and WHY? It's a deeply personal, emotional thing if done right. If you'd like, please share your thoughts in the Comments section below and, as always, thanks for reading.
Have a Safe & Happy New Year!