I read a great article today that compared choosing a fitness plan to conducting a symphony. The author likens the transformation of creating a fitness repertoire that encapsulates the whole body to that of orchestrating a symphony that encapsulates the whole spirit.
I especially like the first part where the author describes choosing a fitness plan that leads you to what you want to accomplish based on who you are. Now, the article is a bit skewed based on the fact that it was written for the Team Beachbody newsletter, however as a concept I think the idea ties real nicely into this whole concept of Being and Authentic Self. In order to figure out where you want to go...you have to know where you are.
So I would challenge folks to take a step back even further. A lot of people who jump full force into exercising end up losing momentum and ultimately stop. Time marches on and they wonder, "What ever happened to that exercise thing I was doing?" People give up, the desire fades, they get to busy, life gets in the way....in other words, Epic Fail.
I believe that in order to be successful in something, including transforming one's lifestyle to include a fitness regimen, one has to start with soul searching and ultimately orchestrate this life change based on their Authentic Self.
Where to start? Here are my thoughts:
1. What are your goals? In other words...why are you doing this? To lose weight? To lower blood pressure? To gain muscle? To get ripped? To feel good? Really take the time to think about this, because the answer will drive everything from this point forward. Once you have decided on what your goals are (which could change at any time by the way) WRITE THEM DOWN! Studies show that those who write their goals down are significantly more likely to achieve said goals than those who do not write them down.
2. What type of person are you? What is your inherent personality? Why is this important? Because it will determine what type of exercise you will choose to do and more importantly STICK WITH. For example: If you are a "Thinker" that likes to keep to yourself, do things at your own pace, and eschew group activities signing up for a boot camp or joining a community intramural sport is probably not the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you are a "Doer" joining an Ultimate Frisbee league is probably right up your alley!
3. What is your current lifestyle? Do you work 12 hours a day? Do you have a family? Are you engaged in hobbies? Do you attend a lot of social activities? How is exercise going to fit into the way you live your life? If you go to bed at 1am on most nights, don't plan on waking up at 5am to exercise. You will never sustain it. If you pick up the kids after school and have to run them around to their own activities on most days, don't plan on exercising in the afternoon. It will never work. Choose something that fits your lifestyle and you will be more likely to sustain it over time.
4. Research. What is available? Do you live near a fitness center? Do you have room in your home to do at home exercise? Are their boot camps in your community? What are your options? Fitness is nothing more than physical activity....anything active done purposefully can be exercise including cleaning the house and shopping.
5. Plan. Put all of the above together and come up with a 30 day plan. Don't commit to more than that until you know that your plan is working for you. If you find that you have not stuck to it within the designated 30 days or you don't get the results you want, it is time to re-evaluate steps 1-4.
WHEW! And you haven't even picked out your gear yet. This fitness stuff is hard work. Making a life change is not easy and it takes planning and patience. I guarantee though, once you figure it out and find what works it will just happen, like an orchestra performing the perfect symphony. Everything just falls together in the right places.