Do you know the three most critical principles necessary for fitness success?
First, let’s start by defining “fitness success.” My definition is simply: A person who can move effectively through space and time. The more years you can do it, the better!
Realistically speaking, all of us are headed for the same six foot deep finish line. If death is inevitable, then there is a lot of value, appeal and moral virtue in maximizing our time on earth. If our bodies are the vehicles in which we travel our individual paths, I’d rather take the ride of my life with gratitude and reverence in a well-oiled machine instead of a jalopy so-to-speak.
As I continuously repair and “tighten the bolts” on my vehicle and help others to do so as a coach, I credit most of my success to three things:
You are a walking habit. Every behavior you repeat becomes easier to repeat. My coach Scott Sonnon explains it as a matter of simple physics. We are like a rolling snowball and our habits make the snowball gather mass and momentum. To get over our obstacles (limiting factors and destructive behaviors) our snowballs have to be rolling long enough to have gained the power and velocity to get over them.
This is where we get the idea that most of success starts with just “showing up”, which is the absolute first step in building momentum.
If you’re not on the mobility bandwagon, get on it now! It’s not a fad. Movement is life! A stiff and rigid body is on a straight trajectory to its permanent state.
Lack of mobility is a key factor in overuse and misuse of the muscles. This increased risk of injury can make exercising counterproductive. Even from a strength point of view, a body can’t fully project power if it’s inhibited by a lack of mobility.
Most importantly, your brain absolutely craves more complicated movement patterns to stay healthy. Fit mobility into your routine!
3. Marathon Mentality
Sometimes I think my main job as a coach is to pace my client. A marathon is a good metaphor for life in many ways. When distance running, you can’t start too fast. You most definitely can’t start in a sprint. The same is true for personal fitness.
Just think about New Year’s resolutions. One of the biggest reasons many people fail is the enthusiastic sprint off the starting line at the beginning of the year. With good intentions, people start working out multiple times a week. However, this can quickly lead to hitting the proverbial brick wall. Lack of foundational strength can inhibit growth and promote injury. When life starts to pick back up as we shake off winter’s cold, workouts begin to decline. Often this creates a scenario wherein the well-intentioned slip into some kind of defeated mindset and prove to themselves once again they were unable to get ahead.
Life can be short, but the wise choice is to play the long game. If I get plucked off at an early age, so be it. It’s out of my hands. But if I’m granted the gift of old age I want it to be golden not rusted.