Making the Commitment to Exercise

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Mark Rippetoe probably said it best when he stated the following:

“Exercise is not a thing we do to fix a problem – it is a thing we must do anyway, a thing without which there will always be problems.”

It’s a fine quote. No, I’m no Mark Rippetoe and nor to I pretend to speak for him, but I believe that I can do well in trying to elaborate on what Mr. Rippetoe is saying. In a nutshell, Mark is stating that we have two choices in life: we can either exercise now and prevent plenty of things from happening, or life can make us take care of ourselves down the road. One chosen path is enjoyable, rewarding, and self-fulfilling. On the other hand, taking the other road in the fork is filled with pain, discomfort, and can be quite costly. Which road do you want to go down?

I’m sure you’ll probably pick the road packed with accomplishment – I mean, who wouldn’t? But implementation is a whole other concept, and you would be surprised at how many people would like to pick that road, but end up making excuses as to why they can’t make that choice as opposed to why they’re not making that decision.

Here’s the issue at hand: getting in shape takes a strong commitment. Committing to exercise is the biggest, and potentially hardest, decision to make in the entire process. But you don’t get in shape by accident, and I always tell people that in order to see results, getting fit needs to be towards the top of the list. After taking care of your family, performing at your chosen profession, and doing basic necessities of everyday life, training should be in the next few things on your to-do list. If it’s not, then you’re not going to get in shape – plain and simple.

From my career, this is where the rubber meets the road for a lot of clients. Yes it does require a commitment, and yes you need to devote some personal time to it. Training 4 days a week is 2.3% of your time – a very small commitment that vastly improves the other 97.7% of your time. Unlike the stock market, this is an accurate prediction. That mere 2.3% of your time results in an ROI of self-confidence, determination, focus and energy for other activities, less stress, and a kick ass body. If you could bottle that up and sell it in pill form, you’d be the richest person on the planet.

However, even with all of that knowledge, people still throw out the exceptions that stop them from starting a training program. If you don’t believe me, just drive by your local fast food joint. In 2015, you don’t need a phD to understand what that food does to you, yet I guarantee that you’ll see a line of cars going around the building. Well call this a disconnect; and even though people know the great physiological and psychological benefits of exercise, they still stop themselves from achieving these things.

These are the things that I usually hear:

  • “It sounds great, but I’m just too busy right now.”
  • “I know I need to exercise, but I have too many other commitments right now.”
  • “There’s no way I can fit that in my schedule.”
  • “I can’t afford to exercise. I just got back from my second visit this year to Cancun….plus I want to buy a Playstation4 for my four year old. “

You may think that the last one is an exaggeration, but I’m not kidding. I once worked with a very nice and giving lady who wanted to sign her daughter up but was conflicted between buying her personal training for her weight issues or a new Cadillac.

What we have is an issue of priorities, plain and simple. Where your priorities lie will determine how much energy you’ll focus on your training and nutrition and thus carry over into whatever results you have to show from your efforts. As I always tell people at seminars: we make time for exercise, we do not find time for exercise. Making time for exercise, and how much of that time you come up with, is dependent on your priorities.

Here’s the two step process to making time for exercise. List everything you do, from hour to hour, for three days. Be as honest as possible; if you watched television for three hours then you need to write it down. After your three days is up, then write down your top priorities. Exclude the previously mentioned job, family obligations, etc. This means that you’re deciding, right at that current moment, how important getting in shape is. If you just can’t move it up the list over other things then it’s probably not for you. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger said: if you’re not thinking about it before you go to bed, and you’re not thinking about it when you go to bed, then you need to do something else.

Truer words have never been spoken. However, in today’s society, dedicating yourself to exercise is often seen as a vain activity and you get labeled as a fitness junkie. Well, it’s an ignorant statement to make. You can file that along with other ill-mannered comments such as “so and so can get in shape – she has all the time in the world.”

Now, no one is saying that you need to live in a gym to get in shape. And I’m certainly not advocating turning into a neurotic who carries around all their food in a Tupperware container. With that being said, getting in shape is only 2.3% of your time – and that 2.3% of your time needs to be well spent. Better choose wisely.

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