One of my clients recently thanked me for all that she has accomplished under my tutelage. Her back feels better, she can balance on one leg again, she has learned to make healthier food choices and she feels less stressed.
"I have tried it all before" she said, "but this time you made all the difference in my success."
After offering congratulations on her multiple successes, I told her my part in this was very simple. I had just helped Release Her Inner Jock. To that she laughed and replied, "What?"
For a variety of reasons, people find starting and sticking to a regular fitness program a formidable hill to climb. Even though regular exercise has been shown to be a miracle worker, improving both good health and longevity, it is still hard for most people. At birth, moving your body was a natural inclination. Babies are constantly in motion unless they are sleeping. They are all about movement from trying to roll over to sticking a foot in their mouths.
Part of the current exercise challenge is rooted in habits started when you were just a little kid. Influences from parents and peers have shaped your early exercise experience. If your parents pushed you out the door to play outside, then sports, games and exercise are more familiar and less threatening.
If on the other hand, mom and dad let you sit and watch TV or play video games in your formative years, then moving your body now is going to be a little more intimidating. Can you use your upbringing as an excuse to not exercise? Sure you can but I suggest that you do not.
Regardless of your past exercise experiences, I have three suggestions that can make it easier for you to release your inner jock. Hopefully they will allow exercise to become a pleasurable and beneficial experience while improving your health and well being.
1. Get Professional Help
This is not the kind of professional help that initially comes to mind. Having watched countless people start and stop exercise programs; I am here to tell you that there is a better way. A curious myth exists in the exercise world. It says "one should be able to exercise on their own."
The people that adhere to this myth will willingly engage an accountant for their taxes but claim that hiring a fitness professional is a luxury, almost an extravagance. Do yourself a big favor. Get professional fitness help and I guarantee the cost will be well worth your investment tenfold.
2. Create an Exercise Connection
Most people who decide to join a health club come by themselves and after 60 days, leave that way as well. Exercise is social; fighting that fact is a losing battle. The faster you create an exercise connection to this strange, new fitness world, the better your chances for success. Connections can be made through friends, work relations or the professional I spoke about earlier.
If you choose a friend or co-worker, be sure their fitness advice is accurate and current. The fitness professional may be the better choice because they can facilitate the necessary fitness connection and offer accurate exercise information and guidance.
3. Work at a Realistic Level
All too often I see people trying to start higher on the fitness ladder than their ability will allow.
"Going harder," especially as a fitness novice, will only lead to injury and leave you watching from the sidelines. "No pain, no gain" is another recipe for disaster creating an exercise program full of discomfort and one you cannot reasonably sustain.
So keep it simple for yourself. Get a good fitness evaluation, set reasonable long-term goals and take your time as you enjoy the journey. Releasing your inner jock is all about having fun!