WHAT IF YOU WERE DEDICATED TO YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS?
By O. R. Marv
What would happen if you were dedicated to your health and fitness for 6 months?
That’s right…for a full 6 months, just one day at a time, you put every effort into eating smarter, exercising often, and giving yourself some much needed personal “TLC.” What would happen?
Don’t think you would be happy with your progress?
Don’t you think you would feel better and be just a little more secure and confident with yourself?
Don’t you think it would pay dividends far greater than what you put into this endeavor?
If you are in Recovery and attend 12 step fellowships (no those are not a requirement for living a clean and sober lifestyle) you hear them say, “Give us a year and at the end of that year if you’re not happy we will gladly refund your misery.”
Well I’m cutting that time frame in half - you’re welcome. 6 months is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Sure our brain wants to yell at us that, “Holy crap that’s a long time!” but in reality that’s just the blink of an eye over the course of our lifetime.
But trust me…I get it. I was faced with that dilemma of thinking that even 4 months was waaaaaaaaay too long to be in a treatment center after my latest relapse. Or that’s what my disease of addiction and ego (they are big time “Partners-In-Crime”) wanted me to think. And you know what? Those 118 days of an intense short-term behavior modification program and 6 months of outpatient rehab afterward were the most important days of my life, because they didn’t just save my life…it gave me a NEW life. Without those 4 months, none of this would have been possible.
And that’s the challenge I present for you. For 6 months, give me everything you got.
What have you got to lose? If you’re still reading this post it means you are at least weighing the pro’s and con’s in your head of this proposed endeavor as we speak. If you’re still reading this post there’s something inside thinking, “This crazy sober fitness guy might just be right, that it might just pay off.”
So why 6 months? Why not 90 or even 60 days? We want you dedicated for the long-term which will mean the measures we have to take in the beginning will be less drastic. I’ve discussed the principle of minimum effective dose on here before but in case you missed it I’ll re-iterate the concept.
Utilizing the “minimum effective dose” for both exercise and nutrition – specifically while “dieting” on the nutrition side of things means this:
When it comes to exercise we want you to do the least bit possible while still doing just enough to change your body via strength, muscle size, and endurance gains.
When it comes to nutrition and dieting in particular we want you eating the most calories possible while still losing weight – in particular body fat.
Hence…what is the minimum effective dose that can still change your body?
The problem when people try to cram their fitness and health goals into a very short time period is:
They set their expectations way too high given their time constraints
When they see that the results aren’t coming as quick as they expected they resort to all-or-nothing extremes which in turn backs them into a corner down the road meaning they have to devote way too much time exercising or eating way too few calories to be able to keep up for the long-term
This is NOT to say that you can’t make 90 days work and find fantastic results. There’s a reason why most at home workout programs (you know those popular ones that have letters and numbers in the name) are for 90 days which is because when you combine proper nutrition with intense daily exercise that burns calories for a full 3 months, magical things can happen.
The problem is most at home workout programs can be way too much way too soon for most people out there. I am NOT bashing on them by any means…they have done a LOT of good of getting people to workout maybe for the first time ever since they can do it at home with NO judgements from others. That’s great…some really good friends of mine work for those programs and my hat goes off to them. Hell I have every video of those systems in my house as we speak!
For the majority of people however, it’s just too much too soon. This is when small actionable steps come into play, and they build on themselves. What steps am I talking about?
You prepare 70-80% of your meals yourself and eat “smart”…yes this means bringing your OWN lunch to work with the remaining 20-30% being for sanity sake so long as it doesn’t trigger you into all out binges which leave you assigning morality to yourself for your perceived “failure” of staying on track.
You start to do some sort of daily physical activity...if you are severely obese this can mean just going for a walk or spending time on a piece of cardio equipment that you have access to.
You trade in your gallon-sized sodas for water and energy drinks for black coffee…emphasis should be on properly hydrating yourself through pure water with the end goal being you drink 3-4 liters of PURE water daily.
You work on your stretching and mobility work every single day…hold each stretch for 45 seconds while breathing deeply and sit in a deep squatted position a total of 5 minutes per day.
You find other forms of physical activity you enjoy…this can be playing with your kids or grandchildren, yoga, Pilates, going for a hike, playing in a softball league, attending classes at a local health club, swimming, etc.
You start to incorporate resistance training into your routine, whether that be through bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, weights or machines at a local gym or your house….yes resistance training is going to be mandatory at some point as it changes our bodies in ways no other form of exercise can.
Can you see how those steps build on one another? We start from the bare basics – nutrition and daily activity - and work our way up to the more rigorous and demanding steps involving more intense activity and resistance training. That’s 6 things I ask of you to do, day in and day out, for a measly 180 days.
But wait…180 days?!? That’s a long time!!
Is it really? Given the average life expectancy in the USA today is just under 79 years¹…180 days of the average 28,835 day lifespan is just 0.6% of that lifespan.
You aren’t even willing to give less than 1 percent of your lifespan to do something to improve your quality of life which will potentially enable you to live longer than the path you may currently be on? Are you insane?!?
I mean yes…I once was insane so if you spot it you got it! But really…what have you got to lose? NOTHING!!!!
Now yes, this post may be a little more stern than my usual tone of voice…but this is an issue that’s been popping up more and more that I felt I needed to speak my mind on.
You deserve to live a higher quality of life than what you might be currently living. You deserve the opportunity to make a direct physical amends to yourself for your past. If you are in Recovery from active addiction then yes, we know we dragged ourselves through pain and heartache for way too long. But for those of you NOT in Recovery from active addiction, guess what? You still owe yourself an amends. The amends you owe yourself is for not taking care of yourself to the point that you are currently out of shape or not as healthy as you can be.
So again, what have you got to lose? Busting your butt and losing the fast food and sodas for less than 1% of an expected lifespan? Doesn’t seem like much of a downside given the potential on the other side of the equation if all goes well.
And the best part is we can do this – we always much more capable than what we give ourselves credit for.
We can do this just One Day At a Time.
One Meal At a Time.
One Set At a Time.
One Rep At a Time.