Physical Training Feb 2002

The Fit Kick

By Bill Whedon

A Fresh Start!

A New Year, A New Beginning
All of us who are Personal Trainers, Registered Dietitians, and Aerobics Instructors, will be seeing more of you over the next few weeks.  You're going to come in ready to whip the world!  Gonna get in shape!  Gonna lose that spare tire!  Gonna get back into that swimsuit this summer!  And some of you will stay, and work on, meet, or even improve on your goals.  Others will not, and we may never see you again.  Why not?

This Stuff Is Difficult
No argument there!  Hardly anything worth doing is ever extremely easy.  But you have to start somewhere, and if you will just continue for six to eight weeks, you'll discover that it gets easier.  The fact that you're training, will make your body more able to accept the training, itself.  Sort of the "practice makes perfect" idea, and it's right, in this case.  The more you exercise, not only the easier that exercise gets, but the easier it also gets, to do even more!  You get stronger, more flexible, your reflexes improve, and it's reflected in smoother, more assured motions, and more confidence.  But you have to stay with it long enough for that training to set in, or you're cheating yourself!

I Just Haven't Got The Time
This one is difficult to argue with, but I'll try.  Somewhere in your day, most days, you're going to have an hour where you aren't doing anything overwhelmingly important.  Maybe not every day, but you don't really need to exercise "formally" every day.  So, maybe three or four times a week, use that hour to do something nice for you - like, work out.  It doesn't have to be at a gym, or in an aerobics class.  It can be something as simple as a brisk walk around the neighborhood.  Instead of driving everywhere, walk or bike.  Park at the far end of the mall lot.  Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.  Carry your groceries out to the car yourself, instead of pushing them in a cart, or allowing the sacker to carry them for you.  Little "slices" of time, but they add up!

I'm Not Improving
... quickly enough, you mean?  How frequently are you measuring your progress?  If it's weekly, that's much too often!  We aren't talking "infomercial exercise" here, where you're Guaranteed To Lose That Fat In Only A Week!!!  This is the real world, and unless you're doing something wrong, (that's right!!  "quick weight loss" is the WRONG way to do it!), you aren't going to see much, if any, progress before you've been at it for six to eight weeks.  But the best sort of progress is slow progress, especially at first.  It means that you're taking an approach toward exercise and proper eating, which is sustainable.  Sustainable.  You'll be able to keep on improving, without adversely affecting your body or your health!

It's Not Fun To Do
So, maybe you're doing the wrong thing - for you.  Exercise shouldn't be a chore.  It should be something you look forward to.  Your own, personal time, when you get to do something fun, and get physical benefit from it.  So if what you're doing during that time isn't fun for you, maybe you should change it!  Oh, yeah, you'll still have to get all sweaty, and you'll still be a little sore tomorrow, but that's just part of the game!  And if you're playing a game that's entertaining, or lets you "zone", or really kicks up your adrenaline, you'll like it a lot better than if you're doing something which you consider drudgery "because I gotta...".

Time For A Story...
I think I must've spent the first 47 years of my life doing my best to avoid anything which appeared in the least bit physically strenuous.  For the most part, I succeeded.  I was in the band and on Rifle Team in high school, because you didn't have to run, kick, throw, lift, or catch, to do those things.  "The Jocks"?  I sort of looked down on them.  But secretly, I also sort of wished... Later in life, I also avoided exercise.  I got sucked into a tennis game once in my 20's, got totally skunked by a young lady about 5 feet tall, and decided that I didn't want to do that any more.  I'm 5'10", and until I was in my mid-30s, weighed under 150.  I had no strength, but I didn't "look fat", so I figured that exercise was a total waste of time.

My company moved me around a lot.   I hit my 40s in Texas, and things started to change.  First, I went up to 165.  Then to 185.  Little by little, I inched up into the low 200's, culminating with about 240, about the time the company moved me to California.  There, I met a young lady who, for some reason, took it upon herself to be my friend, and to try to look after my health.  Did I mention that my BP was 165/90 by then, with cholesterol in the 230s, high LDL, and I got out of breath going up one flight of stairs?  Now I have.  Anyhow, one day at work, my friend walked up to me in the hall, grabbed both of my hands and looked up into my face (she was about 4'10"), and said, "Bill, you're way too fat.  If you don't do something about it, you're going to die.  I don't want to lose my good friend that way!"  Ouch!  Nothin' like a slap or two in the face, to get your attention, huh?

Anyhow, she convinced me that I should go with her to an aerobics class.  At a fitness club!    I was not enthusiastic, but I went.

The rest is pretty much history.  I discovered that I liked aerobics, so much so that I wanted to teach.  I got my cert, and started in, got my Personal Trainer cert the following spring, and here I am.  180 pounds, still got a little more around the middle than I want, but I'm patient, and working on it.

Maybe I Wasn't Really So Bad...
But you and I both know that I was.  And so are you, at least in your own perception.  That's why you're reading this now, and why you plan to turn over a new leaf, and start an exercise program this year.  And that's why I'm here to tell you -- don't let anything or anyone, even yourself, stop you from doing this, and doing it right!  If I hadn't done it -- if I had ignored my friend and gone on the way I was going, I consider it very likely that I wouldn't be here to tell you.

Bill Whedon is the owner of World Fitness. He has been a Certified Personal Trainer since 1994. He presently teaches aerobics at several sites, trains individuals who have a need but little money, and programs computers for a living. Bill lives in Lawson, MO.

This article was previously published at the World Fitness Organization website:
Free fitness information and counselling. Fitness Trainer certification programs

Physical Training Feb 2002