“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates
All of us (especially those who would be reading a fitness blog,) start with the best of intentions when it comes to being healthy and getting the most out of life. The problem as we all know, comes in the form of life. Long work hours leave little time for anything other than drive through food. Friday nights after long weeks draw us to the local bar so that we can blow off the stress from long hours worked all week. Usually there is some bit of rationalization in there about how we deserve an opportunity to let our hair down after a long week. If you can’t relate to the young professional grind, perhaps your obstacles look more like kids, work and bills. Either way, the responsibilities of life do a great job of creeping in and pulling us away from our best selves. Even people that do make time for the gym often do an amazing job of rationalizing junk food as a way of rewarding yourself for hard work. While I don’t argue that a reward structure and life balance has its place, I am arguing that you don’t need to give yourself a treat every time you do something good. First of all, you’re not a dog. Second of all, what may feel like a temporary reward does a lot more subtle damage than you may think that it does. The sugar spike in your brain can cause sleep issues, the chances that you worked hard enough to burn it all off is unlikely and your building a negative feedback loop in your body. Over time these subtle differences leave you feeling like you have less energy and perhaps just a little “beat down” by life.
What I propose is a mindset shift. Force yourself to engage in only activities that give you energy. Your body and mind over time, will thank you. In a culture that glorifies cheat days, makes donuts a staple in every fitness personalities Instagram account and where an all day Netflix binge has somehow become a badge of honor, be the one that doesn’t accept mediocrity as a way of life. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Do the research to find out what kinds of things your body reacts positively too. Explore just how capable you can be. Figure out what foods leave you feeling lethargic and stop f**king eating them! Learn new sports and take on new hobbies that force your body to learn new movements. Talk to people and read books that force your mind to expand. There is such a vast opportunity in front of you and thanks to current technology; no one in the history of the world has ever been more uniquely positioned to explore it. Yes it is hard work but if you stay committed, over time, work will feel a lot more like routine and life will feel a lot more like living.