Shhhhhh! Do you want to know the secret to being successful in just about anything? It’s as simple as ABC – or, more properly, CBA, according to internationally best-selling motivational author Napoleon Hill:
Conceive, Believe, Achieve
Most of us say that personal health is of tantamount importance to living the good life – yet most of us believe we fall short of the “ideally fit” mark.
Why aren’t we as fit as we say we’d like to be? The two main reasons I hear you saying are:
1. “I don’t have time!”
2. “I don’t want to work out, get all sweaty, and hurt all over!”
Motivational videos or a fitness buddy might help resolve the second reason. Do keep in mind that perspiring is natural, normal, and healthy. So is a reasonable amount of pain after working weak, unused muscles. Too much pain for too long after working out (more than a few days) means you are probably overdoing a bit. Dial it back a notch. As my swim coach said:
“Train, don’t strain.”
This article, however, focuses on the first reason. Establishing a regular fitness regime or routine is often a very large obstacle for the best-intentioned people. Jobs, kids, family, recreation, and basic survival (shopping, cooking, eating, laundry, paying bills) occupy most of our days and nights.
Many of us devote more time and energy to maintaining a car or house than we do to keeping our own bodies well tuned and in top performance condition. Does this really make sense? After all, what good does a nice home and groovy wheels do if poor health won’t let you enjoy them?
Still, many people – perhaps not even consciously – prioritize their own health below mere material objects.
The great news is that if you can devote 20-30 minutes a day for 3-6 days a week to improving your physical health, it is almost inevitable that your body will respond by becoming more flexible, toned, strong, and able to process life-giving oxygen more efficiently.
If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, adopting new health habits will be a life-changing process. But more good news: it only takes a couple of months to habituate yourself to your new lifestyle, according to an article in UCL News.
This is where Mr. Hill’s “CBA” comes in.
First, imagine (visualize) what the ultimately fit “you” would look like. Then – and this is crucial – make up your mind or take a leap of faith that you absolutely, positively, can morph into that Ideal You. Then, make a reasonable plan that you could actually stick to and make work in order to transition into Ideal You.
This is why it is vital to figure out what time of day you can devote to yourself. If you work, will you get up earlier – or perhaps cut out some TV or computer time in the evening?
If it helps, add a 30-minute personal fitness appointment on your calendar to reserve the time committed to this essential self-improvement.
You will need to get some workouts clothes, including supportive shoes. Soup cans can serve as hand weights. Splurge and get a comfy yoga or other type of foam mat, as needed. Do you (or your kids) have a jump rope?
If you can’t afford to buy gear or equipment, please carry on as best you can without injury.
Finally, you need a place to work out. If a gym membership isn’t appealing, clear some space where you live and dedicate it to Ideal You.
Last, but not least, if you are ready and set, but don’t know where to go to find simple exercises, five 30-minute workouts are listed at the end of this article.
Give those a try, but also keep looking online for new workout ideas. Talk to your fit friends and find out what they recommend. Change routines from time to time. This promotes renewed interest and works different muscle groups or physical systems (cardio vs. strength training, for instance).
Personally,I set a goal to work out seven times a week. I know that goal is not only unrealistic, but not necessarily desirable: my sage swim coach recommended taking one day a week off to let the body rest and recover.
I set this goal too high on purpose because I find it’s very helpful to ask myself, every day, “Is today a workout day?” I can allow myself to answer “no” twice a week and still hit my “real” goal, which is five days a week.
So what if I don’t always make my actual, realistic 5-days/week goal? Any exercise is better than no exercise, and regular exercise is what it takes to stay well tuned and in peak performance. If you slip off the “gymnastics horse,” get back on it as soon as possible – and don’t beat yourself up about it.
Pommel Horse champion Samuel Mikulak, US 2016 Olympics Gymnast
(Photo: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Five 30-Minute Workouts
1. Health – “30-Minute Workout, No Gym Required”
2. LesMills – “YOU CAN GET IT ALL IN 30 MINUTES”
3. Refinery29 – “Got 30 Minutes? Try These YouTube Workouts”
4. Shape – “Blast Calories and Build Muscle in 30 Minutes”
5. Parenting – “30 Minute Workout Routine”
Always remember: Good things take time. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, did you? Stick with regular, short periods of exercise, and feel better fast!