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"The key to a sustainable lifestyle change".... and other musings.

Oh no, here it comes, another blog about how you can change your life with these simple steps.... well kind of, but not really.


I'm not going to patronise anyone here, we all know how hard it is to go from doing virtually nothing, to training multiple times per week and taking care of our diet. We've all made the new years resolutions, and we have all tried our best and often failed. I've been thinking recently about why it is so difficult.


Firstly I should probably lay out who I'm actually talking about; I'm talking about the general working person, whose athletic background kind of ended with high school, or were never really athletic to begin with, who just find it hard to motivate themselves to go to the gym and work out. I'm talking about the people who "feel like they should really start going to the gym" but they "Don't have time" or "want to get fit first". On the face of it, to put it bluntly, these sound like excuses, and there is a good reason for that, they are. We all make up little reasons for not doing the things we know will benefit us that are hard, it's natural, but let's take a look at these two as I think they are the the most common.


"I DON'T HAVE TIME..."

Sorry but i'm calling bull**** on this one. Plain and simple we have a lot more time on our hands than you think, trust me, open your phone right now and look at your screen time for social media, I dare you. All you really need to be getting into your daily exercise regime is about half an hour, just take it from your social media scrolling time and you would be well on your way.

I do however understand where this comes from, a lot of people FEEL like they don't have any time, and I think it's because of routine, over time we all naturally set into a routine, we have to be home at a certain time, eating at a certain time, what about time for relaxing? Working hard all day doesn't exactly promote getting up and running, I get it, but it's one of those unfortunate problems that only has one answer, there is time somewhere in our day for exercise, we just often aren't clever enough with it. Now i'm not going to tell you exactly how you should use your time, that's a job for you to figure out, but I'll just give you one piece of advice, and it's how I started to get back on track - START WALKING/ CYCLING TO AND FROM WORK (If you can). Walking burns calories, and in the morning can kickstart your metabolism and help you digest your breakfast. It's a simple way to get around the time issue, and only requires you wake up a little bit earlier than you usually would. I know that won't work for a lot of people who commute etc, but it might be relevant to some people who work less than an hours walk away and insist on driving every day.


"I WANT TO GET FIT FIRST..."

I really want to talk about this one because in my line of work, which is teaching Kickboxing, it is the most common response to "would you like to start?" So this one needs a little unpacking because I think it comes from a good place but in essence doesn't make much sense. I get the concept that someone would want to be physically fit enough to be able to perform at a sport before they start training in that sport, I get that people are afraid of embarrassing themselves by not being as physically fit as the rest of the room. I get it because I have felt it, I have tried many different sports in my life and every time I have been scared to start, worried about my fitness and ability to perform. But surely that's why you're there, to get better at something, and I think this is kind of where the answer starts.


We often start exercising with the specific aim of reducing body fat, increasing muscle, and generally looking better, and whilst this is a perfectly adequate reason for starting, I wonder how sustainable it is for the majority of people as a motivating factor. The reason I think this is because that result, takes a VERY long time to achieve, because we're often imagining a six pack as opposed to a nominal and healthy reduction in body fat, which looks slightly different. Because it takes so much time, and so much dedication to reach the body images we see on magazine covers or the latest superhero movies we often become disillusioned and demotivated when we don't see results fast. So how do we keep the same goal for the length of time that is needed to achieve it, without getting disheartened?


THE BI-PRODUCT

We have to turn the primary goal, into the primary outcome of a different goal, learning a skill. I truly believe this is the answer to the motivation problem. If we stop concerning ourselves with measuring the success of exercise by our weight, or body fat percentage, or muscle definition, and move it to being able to say kick and punch properly, to learning combinations and trying to improve on our speed, agility and accuracy (you can apply this to any sport) then all of sudden the bi-product of this becomes an improvement in your overall fitness and body image. The thing you initially set out to accomplish happens naturally, and now your goals and aims are measurable, you can literally see this improvement in a much shorter timescale, and I think this is far more sustainable than simply going to the gym. Some of my students are already supplementing their training with their own so that they can come in and perform better, it's become about being a better kick boxer and not losing weight. I know that it's easier said than done finding an environment in most sports that promotes this way of thinking, they're usually pretty cut throat and competitive right from the off, so it's important to find a gym, and importantly a coach, that understands this. It is what I am trying to create with KickStart Kickboxing... a place where people who want to get fit, can do as the result of learning something new.


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