One Shameful Secret about How I (and Other Healthy People) Stay in Great Shape

Would you be surprised if I told you that on most given days, I dread the thought of exercising? It would rarely make my priority list and if I did not have to leave the house every day, I would be happy to stay in my pyjamas.

I know, this does not sound like phrases that you would expect from someone like me whose run marathons, triathlons (a mini one) and ultra-endurance-marathons to say, yet I’ve got to shamefully admit that it’s true.

Here’s the thing…. Over the years, I’ve found that I’m not alone. Many of the people that I’ve met who are successfully maintaining a high level of health are not exercise-addicted, junk-food hating, fitness obsessed junkies. Sure there’s the odd person I’ve met who you’ll see running during a hurricane because of the sheer pleasure of it but the majority of people that I’ve met are somewhat lazy and do not exercise for the sheer pleasure of it.

So what’s our secret?

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know myself. I’ve gotten to know what motivates me and what drains me. I can be fiercely competitive in some areas of my life and I can be the worlds biggest procrastinator in others.

In the area of health and fitness, I’ve learned to put systems and rituals in place to help me achieve the level of health and the body that I want. I encourage my clients to do the same.

I give my clients a behaviour checklist that they use to track the behaviours that they are committing to each week. I do the same and also keep a (mental) list of what is not acceptable in my life.

Here are a few of the items on my Behavior Checklist that help to keep me on track and in shape:

*I drink a glass of lemon water everyday as soon as I wake up
*I schedule my workouts either before or after I see a client – once I’m out the door then I have no excuse
*I plan out my day before it starts so it doesn’t spiral out of control
*I start my day in prayer otherwise all hell breaks loose

Here are a few items on my not acceptable list that keeps me from sabotaging myself:

*I can never let myself get too hungry
*I can never make my to-do list too long or I will frustrate myself and rebel
*I can never go without a glass of water. Otherwise I will feel sleepy and crave junk food
*I can never go a day without a protein shake
*I can never go more than 3 days without exercise – after that it feels almost impossible to restart.

Two lessons you can take from this:
1. Know yourself – get to know what inspires you and what will deflate you. Know your high points in the day and know what times you will not be productive.
2. Its not about whether you’re naturally lazy or motivated. You can train yourself and learn how to put systems in place to help you get to where you want to be.

If you want to learn how to put systems in place to help you accomplish your health and fitness goals, contact mailto:cathy@activeimage.ca for 1-on-1 telephone coaching.

If you want more practical tips like these, be sure to pre-order a copy of my book. It comes out on April 1, 2014.

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