Set a Goal and Get Started

My wife has been an athlete for most of her life, but recently has become more interested in fitness training, and the fitness industry as a whole. This is great news for me, as her background is a great compliment to my own. While I’ve spent the last 10 years focusing on training and nutrition, her background is in psychology.

She has agreed to help me transfer principles of behavioral and sports psychology into the realm of fitness athletes. I think psychology is a very important, but often overlooked aspect of the “fitness game”. Her enthusiasm on this project has spilled over into creating her own fitness and healthy lifestyle blog. I’ve included her first post below because I think there is a lot of valuable information fitness athletes can take from it.

At times in my life I considered myself an athlete. I played volleyball for 20 years (gosh that makes me sound old!). As a teenager I dabbled in basketball, then quit because it involved too much running and bumping into sweaty people. I swung a tennis racket from time to time. Somewhere along the way I even learned to enjoy running! However, this was only after I was in control of pace and wasn’t forced to run 10 “suicides” as fast as possible before being allowed to go home and eat dinner.

As an adult I have tried to stay active but as we all know the life of a “grown up” doesn’t always make staying in shape easy. To compound matters, there’s that little thing called metabolism that slows down with each year that goes by. I didn’t want to believe it either, but when I hit my 30th and 35th birthday, I swear it was like a car shifting into a lower gear. LAME.

I have been off the healthy-living wagon for about a year and half now. Time and time again I’ve tried to get back into a workout routine and eat better, but haven’t been able to make it stick. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why things aren’t working and how I can fix it. While talking to my husband we came to the conclusion that it’s all about INERTIA.

Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion. According to Newton’s laws of motion, an object that is not in motion will remain at rest until some force causes it to move. Conversely, an object will always continue moving at its current speed and in its current direction until some force causes its speed or direction to change (thanks, Wikipedia). For the past year and a half, that object at rest has been ME!

In applying this law to my history of in/activity, I realized that the times that I have been “in motion” were periods that I was either working out for a sport or event, or engaged in something that I truly enjoyed. I trained for collegiate volleyball seasons, to run a marathon, to do an AIDS Ride, and in preparation for my wedding. I had so much fun in recreational volleyball leagues that I was frequently on 2 or 3 teams at a time. But in all of these situations, my motion came to a screeching halt when the event or season was over. The subsequent periods of “rest” weren’t overcome until a new activity or purpose came up.

Thus, my challenge now is to find a way to STAY IN MOTION for good. The first step I have taken in this direction is to go back to the basics: to do what I like to do (run and lift weights), when I like to do it (before work). It’s not always easy to move this resting body out of bed in the morning, but I’ve been at it for about 2 weeks and it gets a little easier with each passing day. Hopefully soon it will be as routine to me as going to bed by 10pm (don’t laugh, I get a full 8 hours of sleep!).

Of course there are mornings that are rainy and cold, or when I stayed up too late the night before watching a movie, and I consider skipping a workout. More than once I have told myself that I could work out at lunch…but I know I won’t. On mornings like those I need to power through and keep the momentum going…take my butt to the gym even when I don’t feel like it, and do SOMETHING. Getting there is half the battle; once I am there, anything I do will be better than if I had stayed in bed.

Here’s to keeping this object in motion!!!

Yep, I couldn’t agree more. It’s all about getting going in the right direction, and keeping that momentum going. So think about a short-term goal to get the fitness ball rolling. It could be anything — a summer vacation, an upcoming doctor’s appointment, a wedding, a competition, etc. Keeping that goal in the forefront of your mind will motivate you to break some bad habits, form some good ones (like timing your meals and getting your portions under control) and guide you through the toughest part of any fitness or nutrition plan — getting started.

Until next time, take care.