This will be the first in a series of posts about fitness as it applies to our plans for adventure. After all, if you want to get the most out of fun activities like hiking, cycling, or rock climbing, you’re going to want to be in shape. If you want to learn more about the Path Untraveled approach to fitness, please read my blog post where I introduce it. Otherwise, let’s jump right in!
All changes start right here.
If you were expecting a diet plan or a workout routine, I’m sorry to disappoint you. While we’re going to get into detail with food and exercise later, I’m going to start elsewhere. Our fitness approach begins with the most important part of our bodies: our brains. More specifically, we’re going to talk about mindset.
Our approach to fitness is going to focus on the ultra-fundamental concept of food in, energy out. In theory, this is what every single diet book and exercise program is focused on, but they tend to complicate it with proprietary terms and convoluted schemes. In reality, fitness is not a hard concept to understand and master. However, you can’t expect to make any progress at all without the right frame of mind.
The first obstacle that many people run into is the concept of “self.” We tend to think of our situation in life as a definitive example of what or who we are. If we’re not active, “sporty” people, we start to identify with the opposite – and that can make it very hard to change our behaviors. “I’m not fit because I’m not an athletic person,” and thoughts of that nature. The truth is that you’re whatever you want to be, it just takes time and effort to change from one thing to the next.
Another hurdle is the fallacy of “lifestyle.” Niche lifestyles are a marketing gimmick, not an required part of life. Sometimes when an unhealthy person thinks about getting in shape, they’re dissuaded by the idea that their entire lifestyle has to change. They think they’ll have to start going to the gym every day, eat nothing but salads, and read health magazines instead of National Geographic. Sure, there are people who seem to live and breath exercise, but that isn’t the norm. For every person who bikes to work, then goes to the gym to train for a triathlon, there are 200,000 people who could improve their quality of life by swimming a few laps every day. Fitness is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Small changes make a difference.
I would say the most difficult hurdle for many people is simple embarrassment. When you’ve got a lot of work to do, it almost feels like you’re calling attention to yourself by even trying. It can be pretty intimidating to go to a gym full of fitness nuts with bulging muscles when you’re barely able to cross the parking lot without getting winded. The best advice I can give to people who feel this way is this: push past that feeling and get started. You’ll find out soon enough that it feels pretty good just to know you’re making an effort. That boost in confidence will be enough to see you through to the end.
Besides, anyone who looks down on someone who’s making an effort toward positive change should be slapped.
We’ll talk more about the relationship between mindset and fitness in the next post. For now, be a little introspective and consider how you think about the idea of fitness. Is there anything stopping you, or a hurdle that I didn’t mention? Please share it below!