By Andy Laird (trainer and motivator extraordinaire)
There are three attributes that I refer to as “The Three C’s of Fitness” – Commitment (the point where motivation turns into action), Consistency and Context. Today I would like to discuss Context and the way it relates to how we train and eat.
Context is defined as “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed”…. or, in other words, doing the stuff that makes sense and fits congruently with the rest of your life. And it’s important that what you do, how you workout, what and why you eat are all done in ways that make sense for your life, your goals. Only then will it become a lasting contributor to the quality of your life.
Let’s face it, if you decided to follow a generic program from an athlete’s website and the plan calls for you to weight train four hours every day with daily massages for recovery but you are married, working full time and raising two young children, chances are good that you will not be able to stick to the plan (or you end up divorced and unemployed…!)
Or, a more common scenario I see is that someone wants to lose 20lb. by “trying to get to the gym three times a week and trying to eat healthier”. In truth, this isn’t a plan – it is a vague admission that something needs to change without the necessary commitment to make it happen. And I’m sorry to say that, quite often, people employing that approach quit because they don’t see the results.
So, how do you find the approach that works for you and fits into your life?
Start by asking yourself some questions.
- What do I need from my fitness regimen? The answer can be as simple as “I want to be able to be active and mobile into my senior years” (I think this eventually ends up being almost everyone’s goal) or “I want to compete in a physique competition” or “The doctor told me that I am pre-diabetic, have high cholesterol and I need to lose weight, so I had better do something”
- What are my limiting factors? Limiting factors refers to those things that impede your progress; they can be physiological, emotional or societal. Perhaps you have chronic pain from an injury or ailment; perhaps you are suffering from depression so that the notion of becoming fit feels insurmountable; perhaps your circle of friends don’t want to embrace healthier habits and try to entice you to continue to overeat, drink and smoke. We all have limiting factors of some sort. The key is to mitigate their effect – work around injuries, schedule workouts, accept that “baby steps” are still steps in the right direction, let friends and family know that this is important to you and if they care about you, they can’t attempt to sabotage your efforts.
- How do I incorporate physical activity and proper nutrition into my daily routine in a way that supports my life? There are so many choices available with seemingly contradictory information on diet and exercise. How do you make sense of it all? Trial and error is definitely one approach – it’s what I did “back in the day” before the internet… heck, even before there was such a thing as Personal Trainers – but it took me years to discover how I would respond to any of the various fitness options. Not to blow my own horn (well, kinda…) but enlisting the service of a Personal Trainer will go a long way toward reducing confusion and improving the efficiency of what you do, so that it belongs within the context of your life. Through experience and education a qualified Personal Trainer will help you to reach your goals and find your own healthier lifestyle.
Be honest with yourself in your answers because some of them might not be what our pop culture is trying to convince us is that one true ideal to which we are all supposed to aspire. But, if they are the truth for you then they are the truth for you. Be prepared to return to these questions on occasion because the answers will change as will the rest of your life; you wouldn’t expect to have the same goals as a partying single 21 year old as you would when you are 45 and supporting a family or a senior looking to enjoy retirement.
Once you have a clear idea of what health and fitness mean in the context of your life, then you can work on the details – specific exercises, foods, group fitness – so that fitness is a positive, enjoyable part of the rest of your life.
A great big thank you goes to Andy Laird (trainer and motivator extraordinaire) for sharing his expertise with our clients. Visit his website at www.metamorfit.squarespace.com for more articles and information on his training style. OR, stop by 24/7 NRG Fitness in Keswick (www.NRGFitness247.com) to meet him in person. Together we can help you make fitness fit YOUR life!