Coming into the new year, the vast majority of new year’s resolutions will be:
- I want to lose weight/become physically fit
- I want to save more for retirement/pay down my debt
By far, these are the top 2 new year’s resolutions and they need not be contrary to one another.
The first step that most people take on their journey to physical fitness is to join the gym. A gym membership can cost anywhere from $20/month to as much as you want to pay (upwards of $200+/month). The gym membership cost completely erodes your potential for extra savings.
Why do we see financial and physical fitness as contrary?
Industry and the media try to sensationalize everything to make physical fitness seem like it takes all kinds of gear and special locations in order to become fit. It doesn’t.
When you think of a fit person, how do you imagine them? How does the media portray them?
Let’s take a look at Sylvester Stallone.
No one will deny that he is physically fit. He looks like a bodybuilder and to achieve that look he must go to a gym on a regular basis. He was also caught with steroids to help him build up that other-worldly physique.
Despite the drugs, muscles don’t build themselves. He would have had to work for 2+ hours per day most days of the week to build that kind of muscle mass. When we mere mortals look at that we deem it impossible and get discouraged.
Another superstar athlete is Michael Phelps.
Everyone knows the name and the dedication that it took to achieve his domination of swimming. We like to dwell on the genetic advantages that he had:
- Super tall
- Short Legs
- Long arms
- Looks like a monkey
However, we skip over the fact that even with a genetic pre-disposition to sports, you still have to dedicate the time to becoming awesome. Michael was not born a fast swimmer. He developed it over years by swimming and swimming and swimming some more. During the Olympics, we heard of his training routine which included upwards of 4 hrs of swimming in a day and many many thousands of calories eaten to sustain the effort.
We are not all cut out to be superstar athletes and that is okay.
Let’s look at what it takes to become physically fit.
Physical fitness is a state where we feel good about ourselves physically and we are healthy. Many, if not most, of today’s illnesses, are caused by ourselves. Obesity is rampant, smoking is still popular, drinking is a national pastime. What is a guy to do to stay healthy?
Physical fitness takes the dedication of one resource and one resource only. That is time.
Without the dedication of time to physical fitness, you will never achieve it. You can dedicate money towards it, but without the dedication of time, you will get nowhere. The only way, and I really mean the only way to move towards a healthy and fit life is to dedicate time.
Let’s put it in a big red box to emphasize it.
FITNESS REQUIRES TIME
There is no other way around it. You must dedicate time each and every day to work on your fitness. If you do not you will fail.
But don’t let that get you down. It does not need to take a huge amount of time and it can be incorporated into your daily routine without giving anything else up. It’s amazing what time can be found when you dedicate yourself to fitness.
Think about your day.
- Wake up
- Read a bit/play on the phone
- Eat breakfast
- Commute to work
- Eat Lunch
- Commute home
- Relax/play with children etc.
- Eat dinner
- Relax again
- Go to bed
Now, where in there do you see time to exercise?
If you are like the majority, you see no time to exercise, and that is okay. That is why you are here reading about how to become physically fit. Time dedication is required, so let’s find some time to dedicate to it.
The relaxation time at the end of the day is always a good candidate for some time to dedicate to exercise. However, I hold this time dear to my heart and like to relax with family during this time. I may hold this time near and dear though because I am so tired from bike riding that I take that time to be as still as possible.
I like to follow the ultimate laziness quote:
Why stand when you can sit. Why sit when you can lay down.
This is a great quote to live by when you are an athlete. The most important time for you is rest because you are already dedicated to exercising. However, when you are on the other end of the spectrum, you need to turn the quote around.
Why lay down, when you can sit. Why sit when you can stand. Why stand when you can walk.
Following this will allow you to gain many hours per week for exercise that you didn’t even know were available.
Right after you wake up is a great time to exercise. You can get a jump on the day and get your engine started early. It leaves you feeling more awake for the rest of the day. You can wake up each morning and instead of playing on your phone or reading the news, you can go for a walk or a run, or do yoga, or any other physical activity and get on your way to a better life. You can spend as little as 15 minutes each morning, though 30 minutes is preferable.
If you need to wake up a few minutes earlier to get started that is okay. The end of the day relaxation time can also shorten and you can go to bed at an earlier hour.
If you tell your loved ones your intentions and dedication to physical fitness, they will support you and help you achieve your new dream. Be prepared for it to become a way of life.
My favorite time to sneak in workouts is during the daily commute. What a waste of time commuting to and from work is. You spend it in traffic getting stressed and going nowhere fast. Imagine if you took your bike instead.
The commute by bike now takes a similar amount of time as it would have if you had driven, and now you get twice a day workouts to crush those calories and become a healthier better version of you.
Most of us take a lunch break where we relax, right? Who’s to say that going walking or running during our lunch break is not relaxing?
Taking advantage of your lunch break to exercise and then eating while you work can be an excellent way to squeeze in some extra exercise and health time without taking any extra time in your day. Like commuting, you are replacing a current activity with a healthier alternative.
Now that we have discussed when to exercise, we need to take a look at how to exercise. This post is not intended to be a comprehensive list of what you can do. It is intended just to give you some ideas on exercising you can do.
Exercise does not need to be expensive. It does not even have to have a cost. The vast majority of exercise that you will want to do to lose weight and become healthier is endurance exercise and that simply does not require things or locations you do not already have.
The Simplest of Them All: Walking
The simplest exercise that you can do is to walk. Just walk.
It really is that simple. Walk farther, walk longer, walk faster. You will begin to lose weight, just make sure not to compensate by eating more and more.
Walking takes no special equipment. You can walk barefoot or with shoes, in dress clothes or in athletic clothes. It really doesn’t matter. The idea is simply to get out there and do it. It is also the easiest activity to do with other people.
Most everyone can walk together at a reasonable pace. It gives you time to talk about all types of topics and relieves stress as well as builds camaraderie.
Running like walking is a free sport. All you need is a pair of shoes that you already have and the will to head outside and do it. I know the winter-time may seem like a bad time to go running, right?
It’s cold. There’s snow. Maybe even ice.
That’s okay. Get out there anyways. You can walk when you need to and run when you can. As the weather warms up and the roads clear of snow and ice, you can run more and more. The time running in the winter helps to build your base so that you can continue to build to more and more volume as time goes on.
Then there’s the Summer. It’s so hot and miserable…
Just do it. Nike got it right when they picked that as their company slogan.
Most people have a bike. It is that thing in your garage with only 2 wheels that are not more than 3 inches wide. So many people buy them as garage ornaments because you are “supposed” to have one.
Take it out. It is time. Go on a bike ride and enjoy the roads or trails. The sense of freedom you get from a bike is like that of a child. You can reminisce about the feeling of freedom the bike gave you when you were younger and see if you can reclaim that feeling.
The bike can help you to free yourself from unhealthy habits and build a better life.
Just a little warning about exercising
If you try to go big and go long when you start you will probably end up hurting yourself. Trust me, from one that has hurt himself many times from this, it is not worth it. So start short and slow and slowly build. If you stay consistent, you will continue to get stronger.
While exercise may seem like a hassle to lose weight, it really is not. If you do not enjoy it, then you have not found the right one for you yet. There is one out there for you and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to participate.
When it comes to new year’s resolutions, most of us try to follow through on them for about a month or 2 and then they fall by the wayside. Let’s stand together and stand strong on our mission to become a better healthier version of ourselves!
So readers, is physical fitness part of your new year’s resolutions? Let me know in the comments.
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