Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shift Your Focus

 Why do we exercise? The majority of people will answer: to lose weight, to get trim, to get toned, to lean up, to get strong or one of many other ways of saying "to get in shape”. How will you know when you have reached this goal? Will you wake up one morning and say to yourself “Ah, finally I’m in shape”? Chances are this magical moment will never happen. You will always find your fitness wanes and waxes depending on your commitment level, work schedule, and motivation. Motivating yourself by focusing on your body image is not healthy and not helpful to getting you where you want to go, but most of us insist on doing just that everyday.

People are constantly meeting with personal training coaches and saying “I want to get in shape”. Their reason for is almost always to look better and lose weight. Invariably, the answer to this is  “"Okay, let's get after losing that weight” or some variation thereof. The problem with this line of thought is that it is not fun to lose weight. It is not fun to focus on decreasing your chance of chronic illness or disease. It is simply not fun to get in shape. It is really not fun to wake up in the morning and have your weight be the first thing on your mind. Changing the focus from what is not fun to what is fun is the first step in creating an actual lifestyle change that is long term and sustainable.

This is not a "6-minute abs" commercial or a "12-minute a day ripped body" advertisement. This, instead, is the straight goods. This is the "work very hard for a very long time and see amazing results" plan. It is not as enticing as the "bow-flex body" that it seems you can inherit with almost no effort, but the big difference here is that this plan actually works.

How do we fight the “I guess I should go to the gym” mentality and make it “I can’t wait to get to the gym”? We shift our focus. We find things that we enjoy doing and set goals that are not related to our body image. Don’t focus your attention on the “I don’t want to’s” (I don’t want to be fat, I don’t want to get sick, I don’t want to hurt anymore, I don’t want to… etc etc..), instead focus on the “I want to’s” (I want to hike that mountain, I want to run that trail, I want to ride that canyon) and you will find that, while your attention has shifted away from the fat on your belly and your quest for fitness and to be in shape, your enthusiasm will find new energy. While it is not fun to ponder weight loss, it is fun to plan the next bike ride!
There is a magical thing that will happen with this focus shift. While you are planning your next event, adventure, workout with a friend, or run, you will be losing weight, trimming up, and getting healthy.

Exercise works 100% of the time if it is actually done. It does not work when it is done sporadically and/or with half effort. You need to put in the work to get the results; the real trick is how to put in the work and enjoy it. Don’t just dream about enjoying the eventual end game of being fit, but, instead, enjoy the right-now moments of the run, the ride, the hike, and the adventure!
          ~ Yoshia

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