Nicholas Chase is a professional triathlete, the owner of Braveheart Coaching, and hosts the Real Triathlon Podcast. You can connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.racechase.org
The COVID-19 Pandemic has shaken our very foundation– we all felt a bit lost. Through the turmoil, the athletes I know who maintained a consistent training program were able to preserve a sense of stability. For them, the pandemic was a chance to un-plug, reset and spend some time with their thoughts. It took their mental and physical strength to new heights and they learned that this renewal needs to happen Every. Single. Day.
Life, especially now, can feel overwhelming. Daily exercise habits give us the scaffolding we need to build and maintain physical and mental stability. That’s why 2021 is the best chance for you to follow some of these steps, take control of a 30 to 60-minute window each day–and grow!
Let us define a “fitness program”
Unique to you
When starting a fitness program, most of us are hot and cold until we’ve spent over 1 month within a program. At that point we are less likely to quit because we love the daily sense of achievement and endorphin release. The foundation of a successful fitness program stems from knowledge of asking “what, why, and when”. If you can answer these daily questions concerning your routine, this can help simplify the daunting task of “what should I train today”? A fitness program is unique to you, your goals, and the lifestyle you WANT to live. More important than anything, a fitness program fits into your life MOST of the time.
Fitness programs become a success with consistency. As you maintain consistency, the habit of exercise becomes forged into your being. A daily release of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment will change your life, guaranteed. The beauty of consistent endorphin release is that you don’t need a gym! Use your environment– explore new bike paths, hiking routes, go camping or learn to swim! Swimming is by far the most beneficial means of exercise for all ages and ability levels. If your goals are to build muscle, of course…the gym is the place for you. Find accountability among friends or a trainer and build a progressive program. The hardest part about walking into a gym is…finding “where” you actually need to start. Always do research, ask questions and consider a personal trainer.
What, why, how?
What keeps you engaged?
Let’s talk about “what” it is you want to accomplish. Let’s say you want to increase your 5k time from a walk-level of exertion to a brisk jog. Next, “why” is this important? Physical exertion can add a lot in terms of mental stability. We can’t control traffic, A-hole drivers or a 45-minute delay on your DoorDash order…but you can control your training. Knowing “why” this training is beneficial in every aspect of your life is the main reason to even take on such a task.
We are purpose-built to accomplish tasks with a very capable body. Heck, even athletes with disabilities are thriving with structure and it’s one of the most inspiring parts about this whole process. Find your “why” and never let it go.
Finally, don’t let the 5 people at the gym tell you “how” since you might find conflicting thoughts. Find an expert, hire them for a few months and absorb everything you can. If you can afford to keep them on, please do. However, if you need to learn and then branch off into your own program to save funds, pay close attention and take notes! A professional can help you avoid newbie mistakes, gives you the knowledge you need to adapt for fatigue, and encourages healthy habits of rest and recovery. Also, it’s likely you’ll avoid injury this way.
Along with becoming physically fit, consistent exercise helps you maintain emotional fitness. You can take total control of HOW you feel and WHY you feel this way. Your 2021 fitness program starts now, today…make some calls and get creative. Don’t be afraid to sweat a little either.