Exploring the Mental Aspect of Fitness
By John Perry
I promote and teach the 3 phases of fitness to all my clients. Many are unaware of what the three phases entail. If you fall into this same category"let me take this opportunity to enlighten you.
The 3 phases are the Mental, Physical and Financial aspects or phases of fitness. This is a concept I developed a little over two years ago and have had great success with improving client's mindsets. Let's look at how each of these relate to your health and fitness.
Mental fitness: Everyone has a fitness "script or mindset concerning fitness. This is what is instilled in each of us at an early age. It is how our parents, teachers, loved ones, and society as a whole views health and fitness. Just like most beliefs we posses they were learned.
I like to call it a fitness script.
Most scripts have been formed from the experiences in one's life. This script is what is keeping people overweight, unhappy and full of excuses.
Speaking of excuses, in order to fulfill the "I am not worthy prophesy, clients will sabotage their potential success with reasons why exercise will never work.
You see, they do not actually want to succeed.
Achieving their goals would mean they are abandoning the script; the script for failure.
No matter how much weight some people lose, they will eventually start to gain it back because they are "destined, in their minds, to have big hips, thighs and buttocks.
There is also the added pressure of keeping it off, lifestyle changes, ridicule and judgment from the family.
Making excuses relieves the pressure. Actually, people become pretty good at it. The more excuses they make, the more they will believe them too. It becomes reality.
A lot of the excuses are based in fear as well.
When he or she attempts a weight loss program the fears begin to surface.
"What if I fail?"
"What if I lose weight and then gain it all back?"
"How will people look at me "judge me?"
"This will take up a lot of time."
"I will lose a lot of freedom."
"I would rather go down the traveled road"the easy road."
All of this thinking is based on someone's blueprint or script of fitness and of success.
Much of failure in life is rooted in fear.
The good news is anyone can edit the script at any time. They can discard the old ways of thinking; the thoughts that belong to someone else anyway - the reasoning that has lead to being overweight, unsatisfied and miserable.
When clients make up their minds to develop their own fitness script, one that involves proper exercise, eating habits and respect for their body, then they begin to write a "happy ending - for themselves.
Proper fitness knowledge, affirmations/positive self-talk, support partners or friends are all tools to re-set the mental aspect of fitness and to get it moving full steam ahead.
When it comes to meeting fitness goals, I feel changing the inside first is the way to go. Your mindset will affect how you approach health and wellness. It can make all the difference in your fitness aspirations.
Looking and feeling good should be something you desire to do; not what you think should be done.
Beyond achieving goals or resolutions, proper health should be a way of living. If people would just make it a priority, then being fit would not be such a struggle or loathsome routine per se.
One of my clients, we will call her Joan, tells her story this way:
"I am a busy mother who put work and family above my health. After talking with you I decided to make my health a priority; not a time-consuming one, nonetheless a priority. I don't really set goals. I just make sure I do something everyday for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes that is 7-8 minutes here and another 10 minutes there, but I always find time to exercise it is never a matter of if, just when. I have a passion to look and feel great. By making exercise a part of my day, no matter what, it has made all the difference. I am a better mom, better accountant and better person for it."
You see, it does not take extravagant routines, flashy exercise garb or expensive equipment to be fit. The main thing is that you do something to stay healthy. For me, (and my clients) it begins with the mind. Train your way of thinking. Write your own script on what the "healthy you looks and feels like.
Find routines that make you feel good about you.
Before you ever pick up a dumbbell, get rid of all the "negative information about exercise. Create a new script based on good, solid health and fitness information; this, alone, will have a huge impact on your fitness results.
Take home points:
Don't believe what others have told you about exercise and fitness.
Develop your own fitness script based on good health information and positive experiences.
Begin any program focusing on your mindset and getting the inner self prepared.
Prioritize: make exercise a must for you.
Do some type of exercise everyday. This does not have to be time consuming to get results.
Focus on improving how you feel about yourself and how that affects the world around you.
Having a fitness lifestyle is not just about the exercises you do; it is about how you view exercise and its ramifications on your life that makes the difference.
"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust
Copyright 2006 John Perry
About The Author
John B. Perry, P.T., C.S.C.S. is a fitness and biomechanics enhancement expert. He has a fitness newsletter website, writes e-books and articles, produces fitness videos and performs seminars and teleseminars on Health, Wealth and Fitness.