Execution of warrior skills requires physical fitness. For a lot of people fitness training is surrounded by “ya, buts…” and other excuses. I believe the simplest answer to this problem is to just drop down and do some push ups to get your mind right. Push ups are a fast action you can take at pretty much anytime to get your mind and body headed int he right direction. Give it shot real fast… how did that feel?
Pushing the earth can get you started, but lets talk about a few things that can help you turn the “ya, buts” and excuses on their heads and get you into building the physical capability and capacity you need to live skillfully.
I Need to Work Out… but….
The initial hurdle to developing fitness is often getting the internal motivation up and going to begin with. Fortunately for the vast majority of us this is a simply a mental game, and just like any other game there are things you can practice to get better at it.
First of all the language is all wrong. “Working out” implies this is going to be tedious, boring, and hard for all the wrong reasons. Language is important and can help change the mental bias you have around building your fitness. Did you pick up on what I just did there by writing “building” fitness? I used language that if you are a tactile/kenisthetic learning would resonate better with the way you understand the world. You likely know your preferred learning style, use language that resonates with your learning style and you will start to have a better mind set about seeing yourself increasing your fitness.
Another mental trick is to develop ownership in your activity. When talking with my friends, family, and co-workers about fitness I like to claim the activities that I do. This develops a sense of ownership in my execution and the results I am pushing towards. For example, saying things like “I like to do my cardio in the morning” or “I’m working on increasing my bench press and my dead lift.” Making it yours helps unlock the power of pride in ownership. It seems rather simple but can be highly effective in tapping into some deep emotional motivation tools linked to pride in ownership and competition.
Keep it simple. Have you ever walked into a gym and been completely overwhelmed by what was going on? Free weights that can crush you, cardio machines that can throw you across the room, weight machines that look like inquisition torture devices…. cross fitters. Seriously, there is a lot going on in a gym. Sometimes I can’t help but think these places are engineered this way to sell the fitness culture of gym memberships, personal trainers, and coaches. But here’s the awesome part…. you do not need any of this! Your cardio machine is outside (yes even if it’s hot, raining, or snowing), you can get as strong as you need to be with body weight exercises, and you have the discipline and grit to be your own coach.
The last trick I use is the check box. My weekly plan has a section for daily habit tracking were I can check off my fitness activities for the day. Filling in that little box comes with a subtle but important biological side affect of a dopamine release which reinforces the behavior by rewarding you with a good feeling. It’s a lot like hearing your phone ding when you have a text message. The dopamine release helps condition and train your response…. just like you need to look at your phone to get your dopamine hit, you’ll find yourself needing to do your push ups.
Ok people, time to execute the excuses with some good ol’e fashioned bluntness.
I don’t have time. False, we all have the same amount of time. What you mean is that you don’t have proper time management skills.
I don’t like to run. Then walk, next week walk faster, or bike, or ruck, or swim, skip, or jump rope. The point is to get up and move.
I have no upper body strength. Form over speed and intensity. Do one push up today, then do two tomorrow. Eventually this results in increasing upper body strength. It’s science.
I’m too fat. Probably, but you aren’t going to fix that sitting on the couch.
I don’t like to sweat. Get over yourself, you can take a shower (you do shower, right?).
I don’t have weights/clothes/shoes/gym membership/etc. So what, nothing special required to do push ups, squats and go for a walk every day.
I don’t like to go to the gym. So do’t go to the gym.
Yoga is for girls. No it’s not, it’s for increasing strength and flexibility.
Lifting weights is for boys. No it’s not, it’s for building strength.
I’m not a good at ____________. The only way to get better is to practice it.
I’m not a morning person. You could be if you wanted to, but anyway who said you had to do your training in the morning?
I’m worried what people will think if…… Just stop, people are already thinking about you but not as much as you think or even in the way you are probably thinking.
I’ve tried before, it doesn’t work. You’re wrong. It works as long as you stick to it consistently over time.
I just can’t find my motivation. That’s because you are wasting your time looking for something you get from the results of your efforts. Just get started the motivation will find you.
People will laugh at me. Either way idiots/jerks will laugh at you and judge you. You would rather have them laugh at you for awkward gym time then being weak and lazy though, right?
You’re hurting my feelings. No, you’re allowing your feelings to be hurt because you failed to take care of yourself in the first place, and when someone tries to help you are blaming them instead of yourself.
I have a “bad” knee/shoulder/wrist/ankle/little toe. Seriously, Warrior Games…. you aren’t that broken.
Got any other excuses you need me to shoot down for you?
If you want some help, come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your insights and connect with others like you who are seeking to build their skills. Or you can email me directly at Jon@masteryofskill.com. You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.