In grade school, I struggled to find a sport that I was good at. I tried a lot of them, and it was not until high school that I found one I excelled at – rowing. It turns out I was pretty good at sitting down and going backward for long periods of time…And I got better the harder I worked. Crew was the perfect sport for this two left footed athlete, and it propelled me into college where I eventually found a path to SEAL Team – another perfect fit. In both fitness endeavors, I was not focused on a better-looking body, I was focused on a better functioning one. As a byproduct of training for rowing and SEAL Team, my body naturally developed muscles that folks make their focus when they join gyms…like “six-pack” abs or bigger arms or a ripped chest or toned legs. The results happened from training for something that had a purpose greater than getting a smaller waist.
However, after I decided to leave the SEALs and start my next career as a civilian, I struggled to find a fitness focus that kept me motivated. I packed on 25lbs in no time flat and started convincing myself that “it is okay, I will get my body back in time for next summer.” My training focus shifted from one of function to one of form (a better-looking body). Well, that summer came and went, but the extra weight stuck around. It was not until I decided to leave software sales and start my own company, a fitness company, that I found a new fitness focus. The way I saw it, I “had” to be in better shape if I wanted to run a fitness company, and that purpose helped me lose over 30lbs. The purpose was not much different than the other two fitness focuses earlier in life: rowing and SEAL Team. Both required level of fitness to participate but it also involved other people. I found that the more I linked my fitness focus to those that matter to me the more I became successful at attaining my fitness goals.
But even running a fitness company can’t always ensure perfect health. Here I was the inventor of the “Perfect Pushup, ” and once again I was packing on the pounds. I was getting burned out of using the very products that we invented, and the ideal of staying in shape just because I ran a fitness company didn’t keep me as motivated anymore….and that’s when I found mountain climbing. It’s a perfect fit for me really – I don’t have to run just walk slow and steady and be willing to suffer for long periods of time. Not only that, there are other people involved which give me an added boost of staying fit (I don’t want to be the one that doesn’t summit because I’m too out of shape or worse holds the team back).
Here’s the thing, it’s easy in today’s world to postpone a workout or two and then fall into the routine of saying, “I’ll start next Monday.” The fact is fitness is work – it’s hard, and it’s supposed to be if you do right. But the benefits are irrefutable from living better and longer to being stronger and healthier. Our bodies actually crave it once we make it a habit (we’re built to move), and you’ll never feel better once you do. But the rub is, just like all other things, it’s starting that’s the hardest part – it’s finding your “why” to do the work in the first place.
And that’s why I’m writing this. If working out for you has become boring, or just the mere thought of going to a gym conjures up negative thoughts then switch your focus altogether.
As the summer comes to an end, and you’re looking down the barrel of the last four months of the year, which ends in a series of holiday weight gaining opportunities, do something different by Labor Day. Call up a couple of friends and commit to doing something physical that perhaps you’ve never done before, like competing in a triathlon or climbing a mountain… Then get to work, one day at a time, using your new found fitness focus to do something fun while you get stronger. That’s exactly what I did with my two “swim buddies,” we’ve picked a new mountain to climb next year, the hardest one yet: Denali. And that’s the beauty of pushing yourself, once you conquer one goal you’ll find yourself eager to tackle a bigger one (we’ve climbed five mountains together), and that’s a recipe to Be Unstoppable….and you might also discover those long-lost six pack abs you had in high school….I did!
Onward and upward,
This post was originally published on LinkedIn.