How Fitness Made Me a Better Person
Exercise and eating healthy are disciplines, but fitness is a state of mind.
Fitness is one of the most important forms of self-improvement possible.
I don’t mean that losing body fat or sculpting a ripped muscular body is the improvement. The outward manifestation, the physical body that you and other people see, is only a thing.
I have worked with many clients who had body weight challenges. After losing a large amount of weight they would look in the mirror and still see a fat person. That’s why the outward manifestation, the physical body doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
This is the reason I take a personal growth approach to health and fitness.
Exercise in the gym of your mind
When you exercise first in the gym of the mind, you can improve your perceptions of yourself. You can create a psychologically healthier human being.
Flexing your mental muscle will make you stronger, create a stronger, better functioning, and a healthier body. A healthy body in turn helps “the mind” to be healthier on a couple of levels.
On a biological level, your brain need a steady supply of nutrients and glucose to work properly. When you exercise vigorously an often, and eat nutritious food 90% of the time, you’re keeping your brain healthy.
On a psychological level, having a growth mindset will help you go farther in life. You can improve your mindset when you
- work on your perceptions of your self-image;
- when you take frequent and consistent actions that improve all aspects of you health, and;
- when you practice regular behaviours, some of which become lifelong health routines.
Fitness begins in the mind – not out on the track, and not on the gym floor.
It’s not about looking at pictures in magazines or Instagram and wishing you had a body like someone else. To use an analogy, the late personal development leader, Jim Rohn, said,
“The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place.”
Making the conscious choice to improve your health and fitness is an exercise in self-improvement. Notice how that word exercise shows up even in this context!
This could be the most important post I’ve ever written. Not because I’m brilliant. Not because somebody else hasn’t said something similar before. But because of the raw, universal truth of this message. To quote Jim Rohn again,
“Some people take better care of their pets than they do themselves. Their animals can run like the wind and they can barely make it up a flight of stairs.”
No matter how important you think your career is…
No matter how important you think following someone else’s rules and directions are…
No matter how important you believe it is that you take care of everyone else before your own needs…
Without your health you can’t do any of the above for very long.
I’m here to tell you that the formula for good health isn’t complicated.
Good health is a series of regular, consistent habits and behaviours practiced life-long. If you’ve decided to improve your health, don’t look to Instagram for inspiration. The problem with comparison is that you will never measure up.
Look within yourself. Look in the mirror of your soul and decide.
- Decide what actions you will commit to doing to improve your health today.
- Decide how much time you will spend per week to improve your health.
Get help from a coach if you need it.
Find someone who takes a holistic approach. You are a unique human being, with individual needs. Your coach needs to find the balance between what you want to achieve and what you can commit to doing.
Sets and reps, time under tension, and loading don’t have to apply to working out at a gym, if that’s not what you want.
- There are fun and engaging outdoor and indoor bodyweight Boot Camps.
- You could ride your bike for 30 minutes every few days.
- You can take a brisk walk every morning before you go to work.
- You can climb two or three flights of stairs instead of taking an escalator or an elevator.
What about healthier eating choices?
- You can learn how to cook basic and easy recipes that don’t need a lot of steps.
- You can choose to spend two hours per week to prepare meals in bulk.
- You can find a high-quality meal delivery service and have healthy food delivered.
- You can make one meal better, every day.
Wherever you are today, it took time to become that person.
Wherever you want to go is going to take time, more than you want to accept. Give yourself the gift of permission and self-love and accept that improving your health is not a quick fix solution for five easy payments of $39.95.
Take your time, but don’t procrastinate.
Chose a handful of small, healthy behaviours that you can begin to practice, but only start with one habit at a time.
This is the approach I use with my clients. They practice a single healthy behaviour for two weeks at a time. They keep track of their daily progress. At the end of two weeks they start a new habit, which builds upon the previous.
This is why I call myself a Flex Your Mind and Body Coach. No longer am I a personal trainer, a nutrition coach, or a health coach, or a chef. Yes, I bring of those skills to the work we do together.
But the REAL work I do, is the work we do inside the gym of your mind:
- The sets and reps to flex your mental muscle.
- The time under tension when challenged by new habit or working through an obstacle.
- The challenge (loading) applied to test your ability to handle new stimulus, to grow as a person, and transform your mind and body.
Your body is a temple
“Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed. The mind and body work together. Your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and spirit. If you take good care of it, your body can take you wherever you want to go, with the power and strength and energy and vitality you will need to get there.” – Jim Rohn