When Learning to Tread Water, Don”t Dive Headfirst Into the Ocean

When I write an article or give advice to clients, I do it it based on my 12 years experience as a professional in the fitness industry. I rely on this experience and the education (which is constantly being updated) to fuel the subject I am addressing. I do not re-open old textbooks or paraphrase others in the industry.

The point here is, at a certain point you rely on experience and intuition because you”ve seen what has worked (and what hasn”t) many, many times.

While my education has and continues to be a solid base for my programming and fitness philosophy, my experience and practical application of this knowledge has taught me volumes more.

One of the things I have learned to be true in my time in the fitness world is that “baby” steps is truly the way to go when making an eventual lifestyle change toward healthy living.

I tend to cringe (a lot) when I hear advice given out to completely change ingrained habits overnight in the name of health and fitness.

Hearing a constant barrage of ultimatums asserting that someone”s current lifestyle is atrocious and is killing them swiftly, and the only remedy is a steady diet of broccoli makes me shake my head and laugh.

Yes, change is good, and may in fact save a persons life.  A sudden 180 is not an effective way to make that change. It doesn”t work for 95% of us.

I have found that small changes add up. Over time, the cumulative effect can lead to the lifestyle change that can change a persons life.

Pushing someone to the edge of cliff and forcing them to jump off without a parachute is bad advice. I”ve seen it happen, and I”ve seen the failure that follows.

If you”re wanting to drop some weight, start by tracking or journaling EXACTLY what you eat. Being aware of what you”re doing is an eye opening first step in changing your diet. You can make changes based on this awareness.

Adding two days of exercise into your week when you are used to none is a feasible (and effective) way of improving your strength and cardiovascular health almost immediately.
While on a trip last week, I saw in a Golds Gym (painted on a wall) the saying “if you can”t tie your shoes in the morning, you”re doing something right”.

“The Biggest Loser” mentality rears its ugly reality (fallacy) head again.

This is exactly the wrong advice a novice exerciser needs.

Start slow. Make changes one at a time. Keep your fitness goals in mind and know that changing your life is a process. Adopt changes at a rate that will stick and don”t be fooled by the insistent fitness “do or die” commands that are so popular today in social media.

Do it right and those changes will come. Take on too much too fast and you”re likely to be overwhelmed.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

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