Treat fitness like financial planning. A little bit of effort pays off big. It is your body, energy and happiness after all!
Reading through the financial pages on a recent Sunday morning, I was reminded again of advice that is just as true for our fitness activities.
A big part of success is execution, yes. But almost more important than doing the work is planning the work.
|More advice on your physical "investment:|
|How to Hire a Trainer|
|Resolve to get in shape the painless way.|
|Restructure Your Mental attitude toward exercise. Think of it as fun and not hard.|
|"Book yourself" to exercise early in the day so other meetings or chores don't push it off.|
This may sound counterintuitive, but stick with me. I say this because, after 34 years of hitting my workouts, I've learned that the only thing more difficult than physical exercise is mental exercise.
You think working out is hard? I rest my case. Note, I said you "think" working out is hard. It isn't. It's just using your body. But because you let yourself believe, mentally, that it is difficult, you erect a mental barrier. I'm convinced it's possible to restructure that mental landscape, to create a new picture that casts exercise in a positive light.
You start by planning. Fiscal advisers tell us to develop a financial plan. We need to allocate resources. We need to invest on a regular basis. We need to pay ourselves first.
Ditto with fitness. It doesn't need to be a complex thing. Let's say your goal is to exercise an hour, three times a week. Your plan: Half that time will be devoted to aerobic activity. The rest will go toward a simple, three-exercise weight-training circuit.
Now, when are you going to do this? Before you answer, consider the fiscal advice to "pay yourself first." This means you should set aside your savings before paying other bills. My experience has always shown it is easier and more beneficial to exercise early in the day, before everything else.
When you exercise first thing, you reduce the risk of putting it off for other things, emergencies and lack of time. You give your physical health the time it deserves first, because everything else depends on a healthy you.
Then you go to work, refreshed, invigorated, the blood pumping nicely through your body, mind alert, body relaxed from its early dose of exercise. Everything else becomes easier, especially knowing that you don't have to worry about fitting in a workout between picking up the kids, cooking dinner and helping with homework.
But starting the day with exercise? Man, that's ugly. I'm going to have to get up an hour earlier, at least. I hate alarm clocks.
Dismiss those thoughts. It's a mental box you're building for yourself. Instead, think how nice it will be to go to bed an hour earlier in the evening, knowing you've traded 60 minutes of sit-coms for a better, healthier body.
Now, what days? Leave a day of rest between workout days. Pick days into which you can fit the workout time. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? Great. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays? Fine. Whatever works for you, pick the days and stick with them. Remember, these times are sacred. Tell yourself you will never miss a day, except for serious illness. Carry this through to vacations.
You've got to invest money to make money. You've got to invest exercise to make fitness. While only you can determine how much you've got to invest, remember: the more you invest, the bigger the returns.