Do you want to know the secret to long term fitness? Read on to find out what little things can help you get there...
There are so many articles out there with workout plans, diet plans, and supplement advice, and how to do this, how to do that but there aren't many written about other things that are just as important. With a quick search we can all find training programmes, diet plans and how many hours of sleep we need to be optimal but what about all the bits in-between?
Visualise this; you have a large jar, you have golf balls, you have sand and you have some water. Place the balls within the jar and you’ll find there isn’t much room for anything else. Then add the sand and you’ll see that the sand fills all the gaps between the golf balls, where previously you thought you may not fit anything else. Then we have the water, you’ll be surprised how much water will still fit in the jar despite the balls and the sand seemingly taking up all the space but water will still fill the gaps.
The golf balls are your training and nutrition. They are staples in your regime and must be regimented to get the best possible results. The sand is the small things like supplementation, hydration and sleep. Then we have the water the water is the most important part as it seemingly fills the jar when the jar appeared full. The water is your lifestyle. It’s what you do day in day to pass the time between your training and you’re eating. Its things like motivation, rituals, relationships, friendships, careers and all the things you take for granted within everyday life.
Now you may be wondering where am I going with this and you’re right in thinking that but I want to cover all of the small things that make the big picture. All those small things that fill your jar of life. It’s these things that help the most when you’re stuck with something.
Most people believe that in order to start exercise they need to find motivation, they need to get this special pill that will make them get up every morning and do something that they don’t normally do. Motivation is something that comes from within, it’s deep down inside us and the more it means to us the more we are motivated. Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes meaning we are all motivated for different reasons. Most of the time when people change a habit or behavior they become motivated and inspired by change. This means that you HAVE to start something to kick start motivation if you've not already. An easy solution to this is to create a ritual. Making a habit out of something has been proven to make things easier, especially when it comes to exercising. How many times have you dreaded doing something but when you’ve started you actually enjoy it? Exactly.
Rituals work for some people and don’t work for others. If you like structure within your life and you need to have a plan then a ritual could work really well for you. A ritual is something you do religiously before beginning exercise. So for example before I train I write down what I want to achieve out of a session and then take a pre workout; this means I have consciously started and there is no going back. It can be something as simple as tying your shoe laces in the same place, putting on your bike helmet, listening to a song to get you in the mood. Anything, just make it work for you. Once the wheels are in motion it is generally easier to keep moving forward.
Fitness and health are two of the most important things in life, health being a priority. Unfortunately, some people sacrifice far too much in order to be fit and healthy. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate for taking training seriously but there is a line and I myself have crossed it. Sacrificing relationships with friends, family or loved ones is something I have done. Do I regret it? Yes. These are the most important things in life, with a strong network around you I can guarantee that your training and nutrition will improve, without these they could lack. Finding a balance between having a rigid training programme and good relationships with friends and family is easier said than done but it is worth finding.
Happiness is one of the key ingredients to success and that can be applied to anything you do. Far too many people face negativity in their lives every day. Now some cannot be helped but some can. Have you got positive people around? Friends that help, support and encourage you? Or have you got friends that mock, ask questions and take no interest in what you do? You can instantly see which is the better group of friends to be around. These traits will rub off on you and your own lifestyle, so choose wisely. Not happy with something? Then change it, some changes are simple but some aren’t. The biggest thing I find is people aren’t happy with their jobs, which they then spend 40 hours a week being un-happy. Why? Learn something new, challenge yourself, take risks and look for something different.
"If you will change, everything will change for you. Don't wait for things to change. Change doesn't start out there. Change starts within. And when you change, miraculously, your relationships, your health, your business, your children, EVERYTHING else changes around you. But all change starts with you."
We all have the same 24 hours each and every day, so it is up to you how you use them. Time is the most precious commodity in life, it’s one of the only things you can never buy, or buy back. Be happy, be positive, remain humble and always remember, whatever your current situation there is always someone worse off so be grateful for the greatest gift to man; life itself.
By Lewis Brierley