Random semiconscious musings

Monday, May 08, 2006

An Essay- what's so hard about getting fit?

In addition to many other roles, I am also a CanFitPro certified fitness trainer. I like what I do and would not change this for any reason. My goal is to show people that yes, fitness is not an unattainable ideal, everyone can succeed if they allow themselves to do it- it can be made fun and enjoyable. And of course, there will be some effort and sacrifice- but it doesn't need to be excruciating self-abuse like some wingnuts seen on TV or over-evangelic fitness gurus who look like they would snap in half if someone laid on top of them. Remember, you only have one thing which you will keep your entire life- YOUR BODY. Everything else can be lost or expire, and this includes your mind.... But your body, your self, you will keep for a lifetime.... it's worth maintenance to insure a long-lasting return..... because once you actually lose your body.... well, you'll be dead.

There is no acceptable excuse to convincing oneself not to take care of oneself. What are the reasons? It's too hard? There's no time? I just don't like it?

What are the real reasons?
"It's too hard" = I'm just plain lazy and instead of admitting that to someone else, I have to make up a reason to justify it.
"There's no time" = I really can't be bothered, although I make time for plenty of other things, I can't make time to exercise.
"I just don't like it" = I've fooled myself into denial of my appearance in a mirror, therefore everyone else will subscribe to the same practice.

News flash... the only one you're trying to convince is yourself. People aren't stupid, and most of them will see right through this. And if you're in a position to make an impression on someone, guess what the type of impression you're making is....

It becomes very tiring to hear people say, "Oh, that's being judgmental of overweight or unhealthy people." Well, sure it is, because not only is being overweight and unhealthy an eyesore for others, it's twice as bad for the person in question. Society has a cruel and demanding way of making points. Yet in this case, it is actually derived from a concern for the individual.

Now, let's get one thing clear here- this is not a rant, nor am I trying to make myself feel better by belittling others.

I train in several gyms around the city where I live. Many times I see people giving an all-out effort, this makes me proud for them- some are real troopers. On occasion I also see individuals who are grossly obese, but at least they're in there DOING SOMETHING for now. Kudos for them! It will be twice as difficult to make progress for somebody like this however, but it's always possible, if they stick to it and really want it enough.

There are three stages to improving one's health when beginning a fitness program:

1. Undo the damage: How long has it taken someone to get to the condition they're in? Has it been years upon years of inactivity? Years of self-abusive practices or substances?

The bad news is that before there's going to be any visible achievement, the individual must bring themselves back to a state where progress is possible. And it won't happen overnight, unlike these fad diets or revolutionary machines proclaim. Start by identifying what it is that's brought them to that state and remove it- inactivity, overeating, smoking, excessive drinking, whatever- by small minimizations or cold turkey. Yes, I know that may be harsh- but think- the goal is to CHANGE ONE'S BODY. Think about it- THE BODY... it takes years to grow it up and then mature it- can a person possibly change the way their body has developed? SURE, IT'S POSSIBLE! But again, if it's taken 5 years for a person to get physically into the way they are, it's going to take some time to undo that damage.

2. Make the commitment: Now that the decision has been made to cut out the unhealthy contributants to poor health, commit to get fit. Make a true effort. It's always tough at first- any new venture usually is- but it will soon become more of a part of daily routines. Get regular- and show up for workouts. Take the stairs whenever possible. Cut desserts or snacks out on a few days of the week. Start out with an achievable goal, say twice a week for an hour.... and move up from there. Set believable ideals: if you're 100lbs soaking wet and want to bulk up to 250lbs of boss muscle by summer.... or if you're 350 lbs and want to fit into a size small bikini in three months.... come on- it's already a set up to fail. Make realistic goals, then adjust them as time passes. Try to get the weight up to 110 from 100 or go from 350lbs to 320lbs. Once you reach that goal, set a new one and go for that- but make sure you reach that goal before trying another one.

It has been said that no achievements can ever be realized if a goal is never set. I know many people who get into a gym saying to themselves, "I gotta get in shape", and the first thing they do is bust an artery lifting their own body weight. They don't know where they're headed, except for a burnout. Again, get real- set a goal, and one that's right for you. Once you commit to this goal, it's easier to up the ante just a little as time goes on and actually realize the achievements. And believe me when I say it- it does get easier as you progress further.

3. Monitor Progress: Once it has become a regular part of day-to-day activity and you're comfortable with it, it is important to make these efforts become a perpetual reward. Take measurements when you get started, and at points along the way. Show yourself that your efforts are making a difference. If it's losing weight you want, try by fitting into a pair of last year's pants. When that's possible, see the size of them- get a smaller pair and shoot to wear those. Keep track of body measurements- the waist, the chest size, the arms, the legs- get a Body Fat index reading.

And keep the self-rewards consistent. For example, you cut unhealthy things out of your diet all week- eat reasonable portions and remove the fatty, greasy, prepackaged unnecessary stuff- cook at home everyday (remember, THE LEAST PROCESSED, THE BETTER)- and then make Saturdays or Sundays your "eat-out" day where you can have your fill on buffet or whatever you like. The body can handle a simple once-a-week binge like this, and you get the satisfaction of looking forward to your treat. And it won't undo what you've been doing the rest of the week.

Or, reward yourself with a nice new set of clothes for the 'trimmer' you. Make sure they accentuate your changes and show off your work nicely. Guys can get shirts with short sleeves and tapered waists and women can reveal a bit more leg or wear flattering designs. You will be proud of your achievments, and those critical eyes upon you will see that you are making a valiant effort at a positive change.

And most of all..... enjoy it! Make virtue its own reward.


  • Hey Larry!

    Thanks for checking out my Blog!

    Wow...I never would have thought that you were 30 pounds heavier, from the pic you posted on the forum ;)

    Yeah...55 pounds in about 6 months or so. I took off a total of about 60 and put 5-7 pounds back on during the winter (not bad, huh?). People were thinking that I actually took off a little too much, so I look less "gaunt" at 158 pounds (give or take a pound).

    No special diet...mostly portion control, keeping processed foods to a minimum, as well as icecream, cheese, beer, etc. Making sure I get my cereal for breakfast and oatmeal for lunch (I'm strict during the week). At the age of almost 48, it was hard enough to lose; I don't want to gain it back.

    I also run 3-5 days a week (or try to, when the weather isn't too hot or rainy). I'm up to about 6.5 miles at a clip.

    Thanks for the inspiration and congrats yourself. Feel free to drop me another comment on my forum.

    I just found out that after December, 2007, you will need a passport to visit Canada or Mexico from the US. Looks like I should start filling out the paperwork ;)

    By Blogger Richard Kish, at 11:32 AM  

  • Hello Larry,

    This is Leviathan from GAC Forums. I came across your blog when i was reading Thad K's post on Puss and Booty. I'd never seen the cartoon before and i found your identifying of the animatiors and their traits very interesting.

    Anyway, after i read your posts on animation, I scrolled down and found your post on fitness (I had no idea you were a fitness trainer, you learn something new about someone every day), which is very relevant to me. I have as of late, started a fitness program with my parents, which involves various activities at my local gym, 1-2 hours a day, 2-3 days a week. For the first couple of weeks we started small, with our program: 5 minutes on the treadmill, bikes, and what i like to call "mechanical skis", working out on the various machines (most of which are weight-lifting/cardio, we started doing one set of 10 or 15, depending on the machine), sit-ups (started at 25), swimming (started at 2-3 laps), plus turns in the sauna, steam room, and hot tub. Over the six weeks we've been doing it, we gradually increased what we did (for example, we added a minute to the amount of time we did on the treadmill, bike, and skis each week, as well as modfying speed, and other variables, using the "fried frogs" method). We're also controlling our diet (lots more fruits, vegetables, salads, and plain water). Suffice it to say, it's hard work and requires consistancy, discipline, willpower, and a bunch of other traits that are all too rare in America nowadays in my opinon, and i was apprehensive about the whole deal when i first started, but i'm getting pretty used to the routine now. I have a bit more energy t6han i did, and i have something to do over the summer.

    Hope to hear more from you.

    By Blogger Kevin W. Martinez, at 7:04 PM  

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