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Health and Wellbeing

13 Nov 2014

Exercise is a means to an end. What’s your end point?

One’s motivation to pursue a fitness goal of any type is what fuels your prime mover to success. That is self-discipline.

I refer to the self-discipline to adhere to a diet plan and a training schedule. In today’s world of abundant, fantastic training and diet concepts, it is actually these two words that matter most – motivation and self-discipline. Without them, the best programs all fail. Where we get our motivation from, is the question that concerns me most.

Too many people come into our gyms motivated by change and the desire to get moving. These emotions are most common after January 1 or at the start of the spring racing carnival.

Once we start training, running and lifting, we get fitter, stronger and leaner. It’s all good. But what will keep us moving once this becomes the norm? What will keep us moving once our gym-buddy changes jobs or moves house? It’s time to get serious.

I was faced with this conundrum myself recently and probably for the first time in my life. Being sport mad and playing team field sports my whole life, I was always motivated by the desire to be in the best possible condition I could be each week.

Like all of us though, I hit an age where life demanded alternate priorities and the contact started to break. Furthermore, golf was fast becoming my sport of choice.

Training wise, I have never been one to train for the sake of training. Or as some may do, train to get better at training. This is part of why many Australians still don’t exercise regularly. Only about 20 per cent of us do something regularly for the health and fitness. Regular exercisers are the minority. Why?

Commit to something! Commit to something significant.

This is where I applaud the world of endless weekend fun-runs, half-marathons and other mostly well-meaning charity events. They offer a combination of external motivational forces for the individual otherwise doing very little.

A 200km bike ride for a cancer charity recently turned the lifestyle and the life, of a dear friend of mine for the better. “James” was motivated by the question of could he ride that 200km Everest, along with the desire to do something positive for a charity.

For the first time in years James trained regularly and with a purpose. He paid his entrance fee, bought a bike and committed to his fundraising. He lost 10kg, raised $3000 for cancer research and achieved something he had never before in his life. He is now working out what he wants to do next. and now knows how he is motivated.

I joined James on this year’s ride. I was most moved by his commitment and what it all meant to him crossing the line. In preparation for the ride myself I was confident that I had my needs in check, so I set an alternate external motivation for myself. Something I have never done before and something that will require a commitment level and adherence that I have only replicated for short times in my life.

Though I know, come March 2015, the sniggers and laughter from my family and friends will turn to cheers – that motivates me. Well that, and the idea of getting on stage in your undies, is enough to motivate anyone to get in shape.

Training and exercise should always be a means to an end. Choose your end. Choose your goal and come and tell me about it. I’ll then go back over the bits about how a foundation of strength is the best launching pad, though this time you will listen more, as you will see I am trying to help you climb Everest more efficiently and not just lift heavy stuff for the sake of it.

Be motivated. Be healthy.


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