On just about any subject, I’m really not a big fan of the “all-or-nothing” crowd:
“Eat this way or you’ll never lose weight.”
“You should only buy x-product or you’re not getting the best.”
“If you don’t exercise this way you’re weak and not challenging yourself.”
The list goes on. We are individuals and (for the most part) know what we like and what we don’t. We shouldn’t have to be goaded into doing anything; encouraged yes; educated yes; motivated yes. But sometimes extreme is simply that – extreme. We don’t have to scale a mountain, run a marathon, bike across the country or become a power lifter in order to make our bodies healthier. I think sometimes with all of the ‘EXTREME this’ and ‘EXTREME that’, we forget the pleasures of simplicity. Competing to be the biggest and the best isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. There are plenty of other methods to accomplish your goal of being a healthier you.
If you are in the process of changing or thinking about changing some of your exercise habits, I would suggest starting with what you can handle, both physically and mentally. There’s a couple of different ways to tackle this:
- If you know you want to eventually work up to a certain skill or type of exercise, check with that gym or trainer to see if the workout can be modified until you are able to do the workout in its entirety. Of course, CrossFit comes to mind. It’s a rather controversial exercise program according to most. I tend to think it’s a good way to work out DEPENDING ON THE SCHOOL (or “box” as they call it). I tried a workout once to check it out and see if it was really as difficult as some say. Needless to say I had a great instructor who worked very closely with me prior to the workout or WOD (workout of the day). He explained the importance of proper body mechanics when doing each exercise and was very patient with me (Thanks, McKeeman!). I asked for modifications on some of them, and he gladly obliged. This was a positive example of trying a new exercise routine in a safe and challenging manner. Any other trainer worth their salt will be more than happy to do the same for you. If they don’t, they either don’t understand your needs or don’t understand how to actually be a trainer. So move on.
- Go with what you know! If you are trying to get back into the habit of consistent exercise for a healthier lifestyle, and you did something in the past that was fun and challenging, go back to doing that to re-motivate you. You may want to switch it up after a while and try something new, but in the meantime, it’s perfectly okay to pull out the old exercise videos and get to work! Every now and then when I want a change from my MMA-style workouts, I will put together a Jazzercise set from when I was an instructor (WAY back in the day; 2002), head to my garage and get in a workout! Of course, the garage door is down even in 90 degree weather. I love the extra sweat!
- Sidenote – I really enjoyed being a Jazzercise instructor. The format for the class works on a curve, beginning with a light pace, working the students to the top of the curve (high / fast pace) with a gradual increase in speed and intensity, then heading back down the curve until your heart rate has reached a regular pace again. We then ended with strength and conditioning. I also had to be accredited as a personal fitness instructor and know CPR. My job was to keep you motivated and working at a safe and challenging pace. I was accountable for my actions, and backed up with training and knowledge. We were also taught modifications for every move in order to accommodate everyone in the class. You don’t find this level of commitment in an instructor anymore. And that’s just sad.
The point is to MOVE. Do not be afraid to get up and commit to being more active. Want a workout buddy? Fine, but realize that the responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders when it comes to your health. If you aren’t willing to motivate yourself, don’t expect your buddy to do it for you. Encouraging is one thing; coaxing or goading is another.
And if none of the above appeals, go for a brisk walk, take a few laps around the pool, walk up and down the steps in your home. Just move. Show yourself that you can do it. Make a commitment and stick with it. Set an example for your friends and family (especially your kids). You’ll be surprised how much better you feel, not only from the workouts but also from keeping a promise you made to yourself.