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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Fitness is rented.

By Pete Ryan

We’ve all see older guys and gals, they often used to be fit or were in incredible shape, even just a few years ago. These people ‘achieved fitness’, they may have even reached amazing heights. The trouble is that fitness should not be thought of as a goal you achieve, fitness is process you move towards or away from on a daily basis. While one day may not make a difference, you may only move an inch in either direction, the process continues every day, and it is the summation of these days added together that give you the result. Worse than that, if we think of training as a bank account that you save into, or draw upon, then older savings are worth less and less as time goes on.  This can be negative if you used to be fitter, but it could be good if you used to be very unfit.  It is also more like rent, you need to make regular ‘payments’ or you lose the right to own fitness, most days you should try to move towards fitness. 

We all have celebrations or special days when we forget about fitness and enjoy an event, but generally we should try to make choices that move us towards fitness and health, and we need to do this regularly to achieve our goal. This does not mean take a 30 day challenge, fitness is not a 30 challenge, it is a lifelong challenge and one we need to grasp firmly and decide we are going to battle for every day. These battles need not be excessive, it may be walking up the stairs and not using the lift, getting to the gym once or twice a week, it may be not adding high calorie dressing to your meal. Whatever the battle, however small the victory, it inches you closer towards fitness.  Remember you do not ‘achieve’ fitness, you move towards or away from the goal in an undulating pattern throughout your life. At some points you may get very fit, while at other times, you may have moved some distance from fitness. It is virtually always possible to regain lost fitness, it is also very easy to let fitness slip through your fingers. It is time to forget about the goal of fitness and look at the process of fitness, it should be a goal to maintain fitness in the on-going journey through life, not to simply achieve it, then move onto the next challenge.

How to plan for success

The first idea you should get away from are the ‘challenge’ style of dieting, or short term dietary fixes. These ideas may be ok to kick start a lifestyle change, but your aim needs to be to make lifestyle changes that you can live with, but still move you towards fitness. I suggest making small manageable changes. Add more greens into your diet, eat fruits and vegetables every day, drink more water, buy a smaller plate (so you can fit less food on it) if you need to lose fat. Make one or two changes every few weeks. Each change will take a while to become a habit, but if the changes are small, then they should not be so hard that you cannot maintain them.  The good thing is these small additions and subtractions can accumulate over time. First you can add more greens, this will fill you up more, so you eat less, so your fat levels will drop. A few weeks later you could increase your intake of water, this will full you further and so more fat is lost, it will also hydrate you, so your body starts to function better and your skin looks healthier…The process continues, and if you do not back slide, before too long you will move towards fitness and health.  The secret is to constantly maintain the habits you add, if you can keep the exercise you introduced and the dietary changes these will keep you on the right track, even if you fail to add more things you think you need for a while, still hold onto the things you have already started to do.  There is always time later to add more things, but never drop a fitness improving facet of your life as long as increasing fitness is your goal.  Obviously there are special occasions or events that mean plans must change, but generally try to keep those actions as habits that are a normal part of your life.

If you always remember that you do not ‘achieve fitness’, that it is rented, and every month you need to tally up your ‘rent’ and see if you have earned enough to have it, or if you are drifting away and need to work more on it. Hopefully, if you can stay consistent you will maintain a fit, healthy body throughout your life.


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