I have noticed over the years that people who train at a fitness facility with the best of intentions never seem to change either in appearance – or behavior. I believe that the approach many of us end up taking to achieving their fitness goals become entrenched in predictable patterns that prevent the changes they envision from occurring. I appreciate the commitment that it takes to work toward health and fitness goals because I know first hand the many challenges – and roadblocks – that can arise on this important journey.
With this thought in mind I would like to share some thoughts with you on how you might make your efforts at becoming fit more fruitful, enjoyable, engaging and successful. Take time to reflect on your current efforts in this vital area of life and think about what it is you would REALLY like to accomplish going forward in life from a new perspective on “getting in shape”.
Any discussion on performance based training has to begin and end with appropriate goal setting. This process does not involve “looking better”, losing weight or any other number of superficial aims. Training to look better is nonsense because we ARE who we are. Genetics determines our look – not “working out”. If we don’t value ourselves in the very beginning (as I discussed in an earlier article) as we are NOW then how will we ever value who we want to become?
I believe in the power of the mind to determine our outcomes in life and the first place to begin before embarking on such a significant journey is within our own minds. What do you want to ACHIEVE? What do your want to GAIN from this endeavor? How will the ensuing results help you going forward in your life? The answers that you consider to these and other questions – and then finally adopt – will give you your goals.
I am a runner and a weightlifter. I am these things so that I may remain strong and fast as I age. That’s it. My performance as a speaker depends on the depth and breadth of my training so I schedule time for my mind, my heart, my muscles, and my flexibility. I want to cover all of these bases on a daily basis so that I can PERFORM at my best when I am called upon to share what I have learned on the principles of healthy aging. I want to be my own BEST example of what is possible so my program reflects this desire.
When you set your goals remember to include milestones and “review points” to insure you are on the right track. Getting a fitness professional to help you clarify your goals will be helpful but NOT totally necessary if your take the time to determine what you REALLY want to accomplish with your training.
- Determine how you want to train your heart in order to make it as strong as possible. My goal is to be able to sustain a 6 minute pace for a mile. My training covers 6 miles 5 days a week so I know day to day where I am on my “heart journey”.
- Determine how you want to train your neuro-muscular system. I do this through a rigorous weight training program. I do 17 individual exercises and record my results in a written journal that I keep with me while implementing my program. I see no other person tracking their resistance training in this way – ever. “If you don’t know where you have been, how will know where you are going?”
- Determine how you will address flexibility and balance issues. I do this through a stretching program that includes a push up routine (except on weight training days) and focuses on my legs, low back and upper shoulder area. I also spend five minutes in a Jacuzzi stretching my hamstrings, calves and quads. Note: Yoga is a wonderful way to embrace BOTH strength and flexibility issues.
- Determine how you want to train your mind. Set aside time to reflect on your goals and your progress. Think about your desire to keep improving your results and what it would mean to your quality of life going forward.
- Finally, visualize yourself actually DOING all the things you wish to do and see yourself enjoying every moment. I visualize myself walking on the Great Wall of China, walking through the many temple complexes in Kyoto – one of my favorite places on earth, and enjoying water skiing again in the clear waters in my REAL home of Hawaii where I spent the first 18 years of my life. In my 70’s all these are possible – and more – because I cared about my body – and mind – as they have aged over the past 7 plus decades – and DID something about it along the way.
Take time to review your goals and make sure to adjust your program to your progress. Don’t “over commit” and reach “burn out”. The fatigue factor sets in if we get too aggressive and don’t allow for recovery and “down time”. I see lack of focus as a major block to getting the results many people desire. Know WHY you are doing something. Is it an activity that supports what it is you want to accomplish or is it just a “time waster”? I see time wasting behavior all the time in my setting in the gym when I am there. I see no point is wasting precious time that should be dedicated to getting a result that would really matter to you.
People don’t realize how much time they lose by sitting on machines staring at their phones or just doing a couple of sets of something that probably does nothing toward achieving their goals. Everything I do in my training sessions is designed to do SOMETHING to further my objectives of achieving balance, strength and speed for the future. I think of this effort as making a deposit to my health and fitness bank account for the future. It is also helping me accomplish something that I truly wish to achieve because of my commitment to purpose which is: “To serve as the best example of the change I wish to see in world”.
“Doing” is the backside of “being”. BE yourself FIRST as you ARE and then move forward one day at a time, one exercise at a time. If you can’t walk comfortably set your sights on training to become comfortable walking. If can’t walk upstairs without getting out of breath – or carry your groceries while you do – then add strength training to your programming.
After 40 balance becomes a huge issue and the older we get without addressing our strength issues, the more prone we are to getting seriously injured in a fall. Think about ALL your physical needs and then implement plans that will help you in the future. Do NOT be at risk of experiencing the serious consequences of suffering through a serious accident or injury. I never wanted to tear my ligaments or tendons – especially my Achilles tendon – so I minimized my risk by NOT doing activities that could result in such an injury.
I promise you this: All the thought and planning that you can do IN ADVANCE of beginning a fitness program WILL pay dividends. Setting up your program with performance based milestones and goals in mind will pay off in spades if you are thoughtful in your evaluation of your present circumstances. Be realistic. Be focused. Be clear. MOST importantly: Be committed to your purpose.
I see my own performance based training sessions as just that – training for my future so that I might fully enjoy it. What could be more valuable than that? Take your time. There is no rush and you will find yourself getting more and more excited each day. I know I do. It brings me hope and a grateful attitude everyday I accomplish my goals. I will write more on this subject because NONE of us is getting any younger and the challenges WILL only become greater if we do nothing. See? I am accomplishing my purpose right now and it feels great!