Fitting a Year into a Day

Potter-Wheel-Molding-New-Years

Before you make your resolutions, think about why we make them.  Why do new years weigh down upon us so greatly?  What is different about us on January first?  We are a day older than we were on December thirty first, and will have stepped into a new year.  Our proverbial slate is clean.  If for one second in December we could vow to not repeat any of 2014’s mistakes in 2015, we make our resolutions not with the hopes of holding to them, people rarely do, but having acknowledged to ourselves that this particular area of your life you’ve chosen needs immediate, harsh attention and has become, regardless of your willingness to admit it, completely unacceptable.

My curiosity focuses on projecting your problem, through a resolution, onto others who are doing the same at this time.  They are all trying to fit a past year’s guilt and a future year’s hope into one day.  For a week we will be a network of supporters, hearing each other’s problems and stating our own. We outline our plans to change and the others in the conversation say “right, right, that sounds like a great strategy.”  They will probably ask you on Super Bowl Sunday how you’re doing with the goal.  You will either have a bunch of excuses or a good report.  Really though, with the uncertainty of human emotions, human schedules, and peer pressure, how valuable is a resolution actually?

Resolutions really to me indicate that the person deep down realizes that this area of their life has become completely unacceptable.  What bothers me is that people, instead of choosing a resolution, don’t simply take their resolution and set it as the new standard in their lives, especially if the opposite has become unacceptable.  Building a great fitness year goes this way. The successful things in your life are all built around your personal standards.

Instead of making resolutions, figure out how that thing you resolve to do can become an easy and smooth part of your life.  If you have to work up to it, then do that, but after you’ve set that standard, set a new one.  If you can turn the will and resolve to do something into the guilt and internal shame of not doing it daily, then you are now dedicated to that thing, that thing is positive and yours.  Things that you feel are unacceptable should bring you shame.  That is a natural emotion that motivates us to do anything from brushing our teeth and showering to dragging our bodies into work every day.  The shame of not doing it, the internal shame, the unwillingness to go against our basic principles is what drives us.  To make that positive change you’re looking for, your thing must be treated this way.  If your resolution is to do anything that might make you more fit, then you need to find out how fitness can become a sustainable part of your life, that you’ve built basic principles around, and that leaves you feeling successful daily.  That’s not just in 2015, but forever.  Resolve, resolutions, and the ability to make them is a daily process, not a yearly one.  If fitness is important to you, then you’re coming up with mini-resolutions every day, not just when the support system is around at the end of the year.

Your Fitness Year in Perspective

"It's ok, I just ordered that Tracey Anderson DVD set. Thirty days before the snow melts I'll start, then thirty days of summer in that bikini that don't fit right now."

This is going to seem redundant, mostly because production in life comes from consistency.  Scalesonfire.com is about consistency (even if the posts aren’t), but exercise is about practice, and workouts are for people who exercise already.  That practice though is a tricky thing.  For people struggling with weight, it is very difficult to find perspective on practice, mainly because their regular practices already involve so many deeply negative things.  People with overwhelmingly positive practices rarely struggle with anything.  Since most are simply trying to lose weight and look “better” without the practice, I will use this post in my series on practice to discourage anyone with this warped thought process by giving a a set template for fitness and remaining steadfast to this idea.  There’s are ways everyone can make this work, and that way is to generalize the average fit person’s year.

Rest days are key, so you’ll need sixty-five of them to get the most out of all of these things you’re doing.  But before you judge that number, try to put it into the perspective of a year. It’s more than one and less than two days off from everything for the week.  It might make you tired, and you might feel like working out has gotten a little hard core for you, but you’ll adjust just fine after about a month.

Then, fifty times a year you’ve got to do workouts.  Here this is slightly less than once per week.  Workouts are fun, challenging tests of your abilities.  They can not and should not be done daily, and hence, will not produce the effect that most desire from them.  They should though be done with vigor and focus because these things are what workouts build.

The staple of your fitness regimen should be your daily, personal practice.  It should be at least two hundred and fifty times or about five times per week.  If you’re a runner, you’re thinking of five runs at various speeds and distances where you practice every technique from breath to form.  If you’re a yogi it’s five yoga classes where you’re out to fully open your mind to the yoga you practice.  If you just want to be strong, lean, hard, etc., then it’s calisthenics at home, working on form, range of motion, control, and finally, numbers.

Committing to that sort of year is tough, especially because most can’t predict their entire year.  Committing to that sort of lifestyle though is generally possible.  Understanding what you want from your year will eliminate the guilt, anger, self-loathing, and the rest of the negative feelings from exercise.  It is so simple to operate this way because now your goal in fitness is to build this sort of year.  Things happen on less of a schedule and more based on trust in yourself.  “Two times this week is not enough, I’ve got to run five times,” you might say, which is a far cry from running once, failing because you tried to do too much too soon, then failing going forward because you’ve added so much negativity toward the activity between time one and time two.

The very notion of planning out the fitness year goes against what generally sells in the fitness industry.   Programs like P90X, extreme fitness to the fat world, is only extreme because in terms of selling fitness, a ninety-day program is an eternity.  On average, people, no matter what their level, expect to be fit within a month.  Knowing this, “get-thin-quick” schemes (whether they be diets, workouts or an unhealthy combination of both) are usually set out over about half that time.  My own body did not take a week and a half to build, but this building only became an easy task when I came to understand that placing a time limit on a life-long commitment is an entirely stupid notion.

Approaching fitness in every other way means that at some point, the process will stop, end, or falter before the end.  A fit person must see their fitness year in perspective, and the effective personal trainer has no choice but to offer to the client a life without cop-outs.  Fit is something you become.  The goal should be to not only change the body permanently, but to reset it.  The only way to see this reset is to make evaluations after a year or, not at all.  Really, why evaluate something that doesn’t stop?

Exercise four, five, or six times more than you rest, anything else might not make you fat, but it will keep you fat.