Yes, this is change, and yes, change takes effort. In order for us to change, we have to want to change. We all want to make a large salary, drive a fancy car, have others look up to us, and be the best expert in our city or town in our chosen craft. Once we realize just how much time, effort, and sacrifice it takes to get these wonderful things, we tend to second guess ourselves, our wants, and desires. Many of us typically conform, slowly and progressively, into the normal American lifestyle. In other words, we become Average Joe and Plain Jane, and we never make it beyond what we initially intended.
This is life, and this is also the lifestyle, so this relates very, very well to fitness. How many of us have been thinking about getting fit or living a healthy, active lifestyle? What about attempting to make changes in order to steer yourself in that particular direction? Now how many of us have leveled up to the point to where we kept that lifestyle change up for up to six months? Who made it beyond six months? I’m very sure the first question I asked will receive a lot of ‘yes’ answers, and very few ‘no’ answers. Those of us answering ‘yes’ may be answering ‘no’ as I scroll down my list of questions. The final question more likely has a majority of ‘no’ answers and few ‘yes’ answers. I rest my case. Why is this? Because many of us see just how challenging it really is to adopt a new lifestyle. It’s not easy, and it’s not going to be easy for any of us. It wasn’t easy for me and it wasn’t easy for you.
I love relating an active, healthy lifestyle to life in general, because wherever we currently are in life, we all desire to get better. Until, that is, we start to see just what needs to be done in order to get there. It takes time, energy, and effort. Time, energy, and effort means sacrifice, but the benefits must outweigh the cost. So, when it comes to an active, energy-filled lifestyle, what are the costs? It really depends on where you’re currently at in life, but I’ll lay out a scenario.
Many of us typically have weeks that look like this:
- Forty to fifty-hour work week
- Friends, family, co-workers who engage in something other than a fitness oriented lifestyle
- Other commitments, such as weekend projects, daily chores, organizations, etc.
- Curveballs, such as daily traffic to and from work, or someone calls off and you’re needed to work over, you’re off and someone calls off and you have to go into work.
- You also have adopted a habitual lifestyle where you sleep in on weekends, or on days you have to go into work later, unwind by relaxing in a recliner chair and watching television after dinner, or playing video games if you’re a gamer.
` This all leads us back to the time, effort, and sacrifice debate, because I can honestly pinpoint an argument to all of these. As for the forty to fifty-hour work week, and we’ll add the drive to and from work onto that, it can be anywhere between sixty and seventy. You still have between ninety-eight and one-hundred and eight hours left in the week. Furthermore, even if you add in eight hours of sleep per night, you are still looking at between forty-two and fifty-two hours of leisure time. Maybe we spend two hours of our day doing daily chores, so we’re still between twenty-eight and thirty-eight hours. If you have another commitment as often as two hours per day, three days per week, that’s six hours, so we’re now at twenty-two to thirty-two hours of free time. We all need to eat, and we spend an hour cooking and an hour eating per day, seven days a week. Now we’re at eight to eighteen hours of free time where we can fit our workouts in, but this lifestyle is more than only workouts, since we’re taking the time to cook and prepare nutrient-dense foods. You still have between eight and eighteen hours left over.
As for the television shows, friends, family, and co-workers leading different lifestyles, and sleeping in on days off or later work days, this goes back to the excuses debate, as these are just simply excuses to carrying out the healthy lifestyle you continue to talk about doing for the past week, month, year, or years. If your friends follow a different lifestyle, then choose new friends and cut ties with the ones you have, and I don’t care if you’ve been friends with these people since grade school. There is a gym full of like-minded people to become friends with. If your family continues to follow their own lifestyle habits, that’s their decision, and even if they have temptation foods in the house, you ultimately control what you eat. The fact that you just can’t resist something and overeat it is an excuse, which is a lie you tell yourself in order to feel better about choosing the wrong foods. Sometimes, justification is a sin. Lack of support from friends, family, and co-workers is also an excuse, as again, there are like-minded people in the gym. Use them for support and return the favor.
If you have no idea where to begin, then it’s time to talk to a fitness professional about it, because those of us who have not only lived an active, healthy lifestyle but make a living off teaching people how to do so is a natural next step. You can’t just change overnight and if you’ve been trying to do this on your own for a long time, it’s time to step into an office and talk to a fitness professional about lifestyle change. Sure, only you can change, but change happens a lot faster and a lot smoother when someone is showing you what you need to be doing. In other words, fitness professionals prescribe the program and not only the workouts. Fitness professionals prescribe the workouts, nutrition, accountability, and motivational practices, individually tailored to fit exactly what you want in your own unique situation.
Put it this way: if my car breaks down, I’m not going to attempt to even open the hood because I know nothing about fixing engines. But we all know a mechanic or two who do, and we take our vehicle to a mechanic and they fix the problem. Fitness is the same thing. You tell us your current lifestyle habits, and we’re going to fix them into something that works for you and you only. You don’t buy a package of training sessions from a fitness professional, or a true one anyway. What are twenty-four, thirty-six, fifty-two, or even one-hundred workouts going to do? Fix only a fraction of the problem. Do you lack support? Fitness professionals provide that. Do you struggle with nutrition? Fitness professionals prescribe solutions to your nutritional woes. Do you have a tough time breaking your bad habits and adopting new ones? Fitness professionals hold you accountable to that. Do you have not the slightest idea on how to measure progress? Yeah, fitness professionals have that to help you with as well.
You’ve wanted to change your lifestyle for some time, but you’ve always hit a wall. Either you thought about it, said it was going to happen, and it never did. You may have said “the buck stops here” and started making changes, but they fizzled out. You may have even made the changes, yet for one reason or another, flamed out entirely. Or maybe you went to the gym for two years in a row and hit it hard, only to fall off the map? If you’ve failed in the past, it’s because no one was there to support you, hold you accountable, change up your current workout and nutrition program when the results stalled, and kept you motivated and going at full speed.
Look, when I was younger I failed at a lot of things fitness-related. I wanted to be right up there with everyone else yet I lacked the discipline to do so. I wanted to be the best player on the team, only I was one of the worst because I had no desire to put an ounce of effort into it once I realized effort had to be put into it. I saw the talent of the other kids and immediately gave up because I thought I couldn’t do what they could. As I said in my very first post, everyone I knew doubted me, and when I saw that they did, I doubted myself and I proved everyone right. Then one day, I said that was it, and I never looked back. Did I have help? You bet I did. When I was a freshman in high school, I actually worked out with a senior who knew a lot about fitness and nutrition. The end result? I gained about twenty pounds of muscle in nine months, and my once sluggish metabolism (even for a young kid) lit up, and it’s been lit ever since. Any time I had a steady workout partner to workout with, share nutritional, motivational, and accountability with, I always looked better than I had when I did things alone. Sure, I can workout alone and even eat right alone, but I’m that much better when I have a like-minded individual with the same goal working just as hard next to me because I’m pushed to work harder. And my results, especially from an aesthetic standpoint, looked like that of a cover model, and I’ve never looked the same since I’ve gone back to living the lifestyle on my own. I’m consistent, but I’m not at my best and I’m definitely not where I’d like to be from an aesthetic standpoint.
If you’ve been thinking of adopting a healthy lifestyle, this article is definitely important for you. It’s equally as important to those who have tried and failed many times, or for those who are consistent yet aren’t where they want to be. We, as people, need to be prescribed something in order for us to see our best results. Are there self-motivated people out there? Of course, but just remember that NFL Quarterback and 5x Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady has a personal chef, several different trainers, workout partners, and an entire training staff at New England Patriots headquarters holding and keeping him accountable. If he needs it, then so do the rest of us.