Fit Doesn’t Quit

adapted from a rough draft submitted to

Where Fitness Starts
Everybody starts somewhere. Being, or becoming, fit is no exception. Sure some people are born with a natural athleticism, but if they don’t watch it, or take advantage of it, they will get big and soft just like most everyone else. Understand that fitness is also a journey, and like any other journey, it really starts in your mind.
Let me back up just a minute. First, I am not a certified personal trainer, sports therapist, kenesiologist, or any sort of fitness guru. If I am certified in anything, it is being a normal guy who has struggled with fitness and his weight his whole life. So, maybe I am just like you. Here is one thing that might make me different: I have been through some pretty major injuries. I have literally spent years just being able to walk again… twice. Yep, I couldn’t walk, and had to rehabilitate twice. I am still currently rehabilitating. You may be thinking, “Yeah, but that is a good reason to exercise, I don’t have that.” And if you are, you have never had a major injury like that. I can tell you, it is HARD to get up and keep walking those extra steps when every little bone and piece that was screwed back together hurts. You just want to quit and let it stop hurting, just for a minute. I don’t like having it taken from me. You may take being able to walk for granted, but have it taken from you just once, and you never will again. I knew in my heart that walking again was in my power, and all I had to do was not quit. That is the big secret. That is what brings me to what I am writing about here. When you start your journey, you should be mentally prepared for what is coming, and for the journey to not end.
You read that right, I said not end. Fitness isn’t a goal, those should keep changing. Fitness is the journey, it is process. When you are rockin’ the pants or dress you only dreamed of, or when you are just starting out, you will have to look in the mirror and motivate yourself just the same. You have to understand that. Results happen after you have already motivated yourself. There are tons of sites, people, and resources for finding out some “secret” to losing weight, getting fit, and rockin’ your body. But the real secret is this: You have to want it. Bad. You have to know that you are going to make promises to yourself that you will keep, and some you will not keep. You have to love yourself enough to do this. You have to look in that mirror and know that you will make mistakes, sometimes falter, and it won’t stop you from going forward and continuing on your journey. When you set that alarm 30 minutes earlier just so you can get 20 minutes of stretching and movement in before you eat anything, you have to know this. When you cook the chicken breasts with only mustard, or hot sauce, or some lime juice and chili powder on them, and only have vegetables with them and worry about your tummy growling later, you have to know this. When you splurge and eat that ice cream, or spoonful of Nutella, or 2nd piece of pizza, you have to know that it is a journey, you will not stop, and little stumbles are a part of living, and you aren’t going to give up. You are changing yourself, the habits that got you where you are aren’t going to go quietly! They are a part of you too, and if you find yourself struggling with them, just remember they are tough, but you made them, and you can break them because no habit is tougher than than person who made them. Think on that for a moment. You are tougher than your habits. Believe that, and live it.
There are a lot of little changes anyone can make on their fitness journey, eating habits, exercise habits and so forth. But the most important one is getting that muscle between your ears in shape. Want it. Believe in yourself. It isn’t easy, few things worth doing ever are, but it is simple. There is a difference. If you don’t understand that difference, let me illustrate, becoming a parent is simple, being a parent is far from easy. That is why starting out with simple changes is important. Things like waking up a little earlier and doing some activity, cutting out as much sugar from your diet as you can, cutting most butter and fatty dressings from your diet, cutting out fried and fast food. Notice the ratio there? 25% activity, 75% diet. Simple, not easy. This is how it works, as you get more fit, your goals change, but the basics never do. Forgive yourself the occasional indulgence, you are still living life! But realize that they are little things, do not let them become habits again! Dance for 20 minutes to your favorite 5 songs before you let yourself watch TV, hell, sing along and have fun! There are so many things you can do, but I have one mantra that has helped me so many times:
Being fit means you never quit.
It even rhymes so you can keep it in mind. Maybe you will discount what I say because there aren’t a bunch of letters after my name, I used too much italics to emphasize, and that’s okay, I understand, this article wasn’t for you. But if you have struggles, if you find yourself splurging for one meal, and it turns into 3 days of overeating, then maybe you can understand. Use those indulgences to reinvigorate yourself. When you stumble, look at the ground, curse it for making falling hurt, thank it for teaching you the lesson, then get back up. You can always start over, keep your mind strong by allowing setbacks to never become failures. And whatever you do, don’t quit!