STAYING COMMITTED TO EXERCISE – THE SECRET
REMEMBERING THE TRUTH
I have been asked a lot of questions over the years, but there is one question I get a lot more than any other, “How is it you stay so committed to working out? What’s the secret to staying committed to exercise?”
Recently (as in the past few months) I have been getting this question a lot, and, for some reason or another, I kept giving people the wrong response.
Since the age of 13 I have been a firm believer in one steadfast truth about what it takes to stay committed to exercise…but, for some reason or another, it seemed like I had forgotten that truth.
So, when recently asked, ““what’s the secret to staying committed to fitness,” instead of responding with what I used to know the correct answer was, I was responding with what got me into fitness instead – “I workout because I love to eat, and if I don’t workout I’ll gain a lot…and I mean a lot…of weight.”
BUT THAT’S NOT THE SECRET TO STAYING COMMITTED…that’s just the reason I have to workout.
So what is the secret…?
HATING TO EXERCISE BUT LOVING TO FEEL HEALTHY
As luck would have it, right as I started writing about this very topic, a friend of mine sent me an e-mail that reminded me about the single most important element needed to stay committed to exercise – and it had nothing to do with my love of food and/or tendency to gain weight.
From the outside looking in someone might think I love working out (hell, I’ve been working out 5-7 days a week year round for at least an hour a day for over 21 years) but the truth is I really don’t like working out. I really don’t!
Why don’t I like exercising? BECAUSE WORKING OUT IS HARD!
Hell, if you are doing it properly, most workouts should be exhausting…and who in the hell likes feeling pain, out of breath, and weak…?
So, you see, I honestly don’t like exercising.
BUT WHAT I DO LOVE ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF EXERCISING!
I love feeling healthy – fit, strong, happy, full of energy, being able to keep up with my kids, beating my little brother at pull-up and push-up contests, etc. And, because I love feeling healthy I have to exercise….
…BUT THAT’S STILL NOT THE SECRET TO STAYING COMMITTED TO EXERCISE!
HOBBY VS. HABIT
So, back to my friend’s eye-opening e-mail – what was it my friend said that reminded me about the true reason I’ve stayed committed to exercise for over 21 years (yes, even during my XXL days I would still workout at least 4-5 days a week)?
My friend said something in his e-mail along the lines of, “I started playing guitar again and I no longer have as much time to workout…seems like I don’t have enough time for both hobbies.”
AND THEN IT HIT ME!
Let me repeat that last part one more time – “…seems like I don’t have enough time for both hobbies.”
I immediately thought, “Wait a minute, EXERCISE IS NOT A HOBBY!”
Just think about it for a second. Is being healthy and fit a hobby? Is being the best you you can be a hobby? Yeah, hobbies are something you do because you genuinely love doing them…BUT HOBBIES ARE TYPICALLY DONE IN OUR EXTRA TIME…
…AND EXERCISE SHOULD NOT BE SOMETHING WE DO ONLY IF WE HAVE TO DO IT. EXERCISE IS SOMETHING WE NEED TO MAKE TIME TO DO….
…EXERCISE SHOULD BE A HABIT, NOT A HOBBY!
THE SECRET – EXERCISE IS PART OF MY LIFE
You see, it is simple, either exercise is part of your life or it isn’t, and if it’s not, if exercise is not a habit (just like brushing your teeth and bathing), then…
…THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS YOU WON’T STAY COMMITTED TO EXERCISE….
….BUT THE DAY EXERCISE BECOMES HABIT, THE DAY YOU WORKOUT AS MUCH AS YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH OR BATHE, IS THE DAY YOU’LL STAY COMMITTED TO EXERCISE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
You see, I started exercising when I was 12 because I loved to eat and I noticed that if I ate what I wanted and didn’t exercise I gained a bunch of weight. Then, even after my debilitating shoulder injury and gaining 80 pounds, I worked out as soon as my shoulder started to heal, and after reaching my goal of losing all the weight I had gained I continue to exercise 5-7 days a week.
I continue to exercise not because I still love food and will gain weight if I don’t exercise, but because exercise is part of my life, it’s something I must do to feel right. Just like I have to brush my teeth before starting my day, just like I have to take a shower in the morning to feel fully ready for the day, just like all my other daily rituals and habits, I exercise because it’s part of my life – exercise is part of me…and that’s the secret to staying committed to exercise!!!!!
So, how will you know when exercise is part of you?
It’s simple really. The day you start craving exercise, yes just like you crave chocolate, is the day you’ll know exercise has become part of you – a habit.
It sounds simple right, “make exercise a habit and you’ll exercise the rest of your life,” but it’s a bit more difficult to achieve than it sounds…BUT FRET NOT, WE’LL TALK ABOUT HOW TO MAKE EXERCISE A HABIT NEXT TIME – “Same Bat time, same Bat channel.”