Total Read Time: 6 Minutes
Picture a man riding a chariot pulled by two winged horses. The horses: one noble and sound paired with one of the opposite will. The horses are the devil and angel on your shoulders. The charioteer is your mind. The chariot, your body. Without the reign of enlightened reason and discipline, your horses will guide you to danger. – Phaedrus, by Plato.
A quick disclaimer by Andrey Starostin: I am not a physician. Please consult your doctor to ensure your safety both physically and mentally before you follow any of my suggestions.
To gain control over your body, you must first control your desires pulling you to the path of least resistance. I can’t speak for everyone, but several of my friends and I agree that once you abstain from sugar for a little while, it becomes less appealing. Every once in a while I fold under pressure and have a blueberry muffin. I’m reminded every time, it’s not even THAT good. Trust me, not only is it possible, but it becomes easy to make the right decisions for eating, for choosing engaging activities, and even choices for your financial health.
“The initial resistance that trees face when they stretch their roots is the same Earth that solidifies to hold them in the face of any storm.”
Have you ever noticed how annoying people are who start working out?
They’re onto something…
“Once your environment is supportive of your goals, you will weather any storm.”
The way to upgrade your lifestyle is to update your ecosystem. If you are growing and your ecosystem is not, your surroundings will resist your progress and pull you back to your previous comforts. If you FIRST change your ecosystem, you will be pulled UP and into improvement.
When you begin to work on yourself, It is uncanny how irresistible it is to talk about fitness and health. No matter what stage you are in your journey, the temptation to share will always seep out of your smile. That’s why people who take care of themselves like to talk about their skin care routine. *eyeroll*
A note on empathy. People who are fit and healthy make working out seem so easy. It’s hard. Damn hard to start and even harder to keep going. I can’t stress enough how important it is to reward every little victory. I really mean every little victory. Make small goals. Take consistent effort. The plateau is real, and when it hits try your exercises at a different angle, with more intensity, or simply with less rest between sets.
“If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
- Measurement = Progress
- Progress = Desire
- Rinse, Lather, and Reinforce with REWARD
Let’s start with Ease of Use
The more we talk about fitness, the more excuses come up why you can’t.
Start with what you can do.
Forget counting calories.
I tried counting calories one time, realizing it’s too easy to bullshit. Even the most honest record will have the human error between who made the food and who is measuring their meal.
That’s not to say it’s impossible; I’ve seen people take control and transform their life measuring their food intake. I’m being honest. I succumb to dishonesty in self reporting the measurement of calories.
A farm needs a good fence.
(Stay with me here) A farmer building his fence can carefully measure every post. He can save an enormous amount of time and energy. How? By measuring the first one and using it as a stencil for the following hundred posts.
I consider counting calories a calibration. Cacophony of alliteration at it’s finest.
I like to check in every once in a while with my portion control by counting a meal’s calories. Once I know roughly what the size of my meal is, my infantile mind is appeased.
Basics to calories:
Keep in mind, this is an exaggerated simplification.
Food intake – Physical expenditure during the day = caloric surplus or deficit at the end of the day
Surplus in calories = gaining weight
Deficit in calories= losing weight
Forget the Gym
Your home is your gym and you are the squat rack. ESPECIALLY in the beginning. There is no need for bars or weights. Your foundation should be set with proper range of motion and flexibility. Body weight exercises mitigate risk. Your focus should always be on form. If you don’t believe in commitment without buying something, make it a pull-up bar.
If you turn your fitness into a routine, you have a much better chance of sticking to it. Even if you can’t give it 100% every day, SOMETHING will be so much more effective in the long run than nothing at all.
Pacing with Intention
Calendars make something actually happen. Schedule ahead. Plan out a routine for yourself. Set an end goal that is a certain skill or technique that you want to be able to do.
For example, I started out wanting to touch my toes at any point in the day without pain.
The important part here is pacing a difficulty that is not too hard, but challenging enough that you don’t get stuck in a plateau.
I made sure to stretch. I stretched all of the muscle groups involved in touching my toes every day. I identified where my weakest links were.
You should schedule a recalibration day every week to see where your progress is at. This leads us to…
Your fitness goals will always be scalable if you follow a recalibration schedule. The focus on constant adaptation and change will never allow for a plateau. Your body is smart. It likes to be ready for challenges. So keep challenging it by looking for creative ways of doing the same things you’ve mastered.
At every interval you have to treat yourself. It’s so important to honor the fact that you are putting in the work that so many people struggle with. Making the right decision every day will grow and harden your discipline. The best way to make sure you’re rewarding yourself is by measuring your progress. While scheduling your routines, set goals and measure where you’re at every day.
Thank you to Kyrie, to my family and friends, to you, my audience and my peers. You motivate me and make me feel significant.
(Yes, I respond and read every one)