All aboard the health wagon
So it’s that time of year again when we rebound from the festive feasting and book a seat on the health wagon with a one way ticket to body nirvana. We enthusiastically jump on board only to realize that it’s standing only and it’s a longer journey than expected! Some will endure the tired legs, back ache and bumps in the road to get to their destination and some will get off at the first available stop. With over 15 yrs experience as a health & fitness professional I’ve witnessed thousands of health journeys into the unknown and observed the commonalities between those that stay on the wagon and those that catch the first bus back to the depot. In the following blogs I hope to provide you with a smidgen of inspiration and a few gallons of fuel for your fire by sharing my take on the fundamentals of activating and sustaining habits such as exercise and decent eating.
In the hope of not sounding too corny, I do what I do because I have a genuine passion for helping people help themselves. Whether it’s on the gym floor, or in a clinic room I have experienced the most inspiring moments of my career when people become motivated enough to turn ambivalence into action and transform the way they feel, look and perform. Whether it’s regaining mobility after a total knee replacement, losing excess body fat or recovering from a sporting injury, I am continually inspired when people align their innate motivation and values to become more robust, healthy and happier human beings. For some, the process of physical improvement seems easy, but the reality is that it’s a challenging process for everyone. What often makes the difference between outcomes is the perspective of the individual.
During my time as a healthcare practitioner and fitness professional I have both treated and trained thousands of people with a broad spectrum of health related aspirations, from cardiac rehabilitation patients who have survived life threatening experiences, to professional athletes recovering from career threatening injuries. Every person that I have worked with has had good reason for improving health and performance, but unfortunately not all have had the motivation to sustain their efforts. Through working with such people, I have gained insight into the attitudes and characteristics of people who adopt healthy behaviours and sustain them in the face of life’s inevitable obstacles. Conversely, I have also come to understand the mindset of those who lose the motivation when life’s hurdles present themselves. If you’re somebody who fizzles out like a firework when it comes to keeping up your exercise and , I hope to help you establish and nurture the most critical component of your journey- a motivated mind.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”
With so much information about health and fitness at our fingertips it would be easy to presume that we should be able to find a modus operandi that suits our individual needs and lifestyle. However, the endless conveyor belt of conflicting dietary advice and exercise routines tends to confuse rather than aid the cause. So much of the limelight in the health and fitness industry is consumed by trendy activities, re-hashed diets and panacea like products, rather than focusing on the most influencial factor in your success- your attitude. The industry makes millions of pounds every year from our lack of motivation. Gyms take a large percentage of their revenue from unused memberships, and the diet industry prospers on the lapses in self discipline that keeps its consumers going round and round in a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain.
Most people will start their health kick brimming with enthusiasm and intention, but for many, inertia slowly starts to creep in when the initial burst of progress slows down, the needle on the scales stops moving anti clockwise, and life inevitably gets in the way. These are the critical times when we are most likely to fall back into old habits such as poor eating and avoiding exercise. On the flipside, these are also the times when the right perspective can keep you flexible, motivated and moving forward.
It’s important to acknowledge that feeling de-motivated is a completely normal experience because motivation levels can change from moment to moment. It’s also important to appreciate that despite our individual motivations in life, most of us are also inspired by similar values such as enjoyment of life and maintaining good health. With this in mind, If we embody our fundamental values and respect the relationship between our physical condition and enjoyment of life, we can develop a state of mind that transforms habits such as regular exercise into effortless behaviour as opposed to sacrificial chores
Our efforts to develop and maintain robust health are an expression of our gratitude for being given the gift of life.
To thrive in a modern day environment that is steadily becoming more conducive to diseases of lifestyle than robust health takes a bit of effort. We now live in unprecedented times that are wreaking havoc on both our physical and psychological health. We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is insidiously reducing the need for us to move our bodies, and also at the mercy of food giants who care more for producing profit than quality foods. In addition, we have a healthcare system that is buckling under the burden of lifestyle related disease. Our need to go above and beyond our activities of daily life to be robust is greater than ever, so by sharing some observations, experiences and rants I hope to help people step out from behind excuses and limiting beliefs in order to reclaim their vitality.