I was overweight as a kid. Until I was 16 I was always the chubby, out-of-shape kid in my class. Now I’m 28 years old and I’ve become very dedicated to fitness. When I was 17 I started training for racing road bikes. I got really into cycling, and as a result got in amazing shape (for cycling). At some point while I was in college, I started going to the gym and lifting weights in the winter. I wanted to be fit during the winters when it was too cold outside for me to ride my bike. I also recognized that all the cycling had giving me some imbalances in my body. My legs were very muscular and strong, while my upper body was very underdeveloped.
So from there I dedicated myself to balancing out my physique, building muscle, and gaining strength. That was about 7 or 8 years ago, and I’ve been going to the gym consistently ever since. Now I’m obsessed with training. I’m always looking forward to my next training session. And best of all, I’m in the best shape of my life at 28 years old.
Fitness Is Not (or Shouldn’t Be) a Short-Term Goal
Fitness is a long-term pursuit. If you go to the gym one time, or even every day for a week — you aren’t going to see drastic results. However, if you’re able to dedicate yourself to going to the gym, or working out, a few times a week for the next 10 years, you will be in a much better place than if you’d have skipped it.
When you extend your time horizon, your fitness goals (no matter how big) become more realistic and achievable. You will also get to reap the benefits of being in shape for a lifetime, rather than just for a few months when you worked out a lot.
Continuously Set New Goals and Chase New Records
One of my favorite things about lifting weights and working out consistently is that I’m constantly exceeding my own expectations and goals. My efforts in the gym pay off. And when they do, I get to set new goals to work towards. If you’re new to the world of fitness, you can make improvements quickly. As you improve you can continue to adjust your goals and expectations to build on your positive trajectory over time.
Measure Your Improvements
If you want to reach your goals, people say you need to make your goals measurable and specific. When you are working on your physical fitness, you should do the same. Not only will this allow you to track your progress, but it will also keep you accountable. If your goal is to “get in better shape”, you may not actually achieve anything but you could bail yourself out by saying you feel like you’re in better shape. However, if you measure your waist or your body composition, you’ll have clear indications whether or not your efforts are working.
You need to track your improvements over time for a few reasons. First of all, when you track your workouts and how much you lift, you will know where to start next week to get a little better. From week to week it can be hard to remember what you did last week, so writing things down or keeping track with an app will make it easier to continuously improve.
Fitness Is Not About Mediocrity
One thing that frustrates me about a lot of people’s exercise strategies is that they aren’t pursuing anything. The only reason they work out is because they know it’s good for them. Now don’t get me wrong, exercising at all is definitely better than not exercising. But if you want to actually dedicate yourself to fitness, you should be working towards something.
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”Colin Powell
If you’re just working out because you constantly need to lose 10-20 pounds, you won’t have anything to keep you coming back to the gym. To truly dedicate yourself to fitness you should pursue excellence with your health and fitness. Is your goal to get to a certain body fat percentage? Is your goal to bench press 135 pounds? If you have goals, you will be more likely to improve and grow. When you’re dedicated to achieving something, you will look for anything that can help you improve. And this is why fitness goals are so powerful. To give yourself the best chance at success, you may need to improve your diet or your sleep. These changes can help you achieve excellence and improvement in and out of the gym.
I believe physical fitness and making gains in the gym is so powerful because it gives you a belief that you can set your mind to something, work towards it, and achieve your goals. This will help you set and achieve your goals in your career, your relationships, and in your personal life.
Recognize The Connection Between Fitness and Longevity
Want to know the biggest benefit to dedicating yourself to fitness? Extending your healthspan, or the period of your life that you can realistically enjoy because you’re healthy. If you dedicate yourself to being in great shape, and being as physically healthy as possible, you will extend your healthspan and possibly your lifespan. This means you’ll be able to play with your grandkids, travel the world into your later years, and keep doing the actives you enjoy for longer.
Bonus: Get Addicted To Pre-Workout 😉
This is something I did accidentally that kept me going back to the gym. I got addicted to pre-workout. I loved taking a scoop or two of pre-workout before the gym, getting absolutely jacked on caffeine and working out. I think I would have gone to the gym a lot without this problem, but it certainly made me look forward to the days I went to the gym. Although it probably led to some over-training at some point, pre-workout dependence can actually help you build consistency in your gym routine.