The chance that this post raises some hackles is pretty good. The topic is highly subjective and opinionated and attacking lazy is usually met with the tried and true, “but you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes” response – or excuse would probably be a more apt word. The chance to be derided aside, because it’s never stopped me before, you can fix lazy when it comes to fitness. There is one problem with the term “lazy”; it’s quite easy to come up with excuses to disprove the notion. I have a day job, I have to take care of the kids, I have to do this, or that. These excuses are too numerous to list. So let’s start out by banishing the term “lazy” right now. I’ll simply refer to it as LIFE, or Lacking Intestinal Fortitude to Exercise.
The simple truth is anyone can find 30-45 minutes a day (3 per week minimum) to get out and move, it just has to be a priority – at least to start. I can certainly understand not wanting to, especially in the winter when it’s cold and nasty outside, but there’s a big difference between “don’t want to” and “can’t”. So how can one stay motivated to go out and run when it’s so cold that you’re forming icicles on your eyelashes within the first couple of miles?
A small part of the trick to fixing lazy is having goals. I’ve got a couple of Centuries to ride (a metric and imperial), two or three Olympic Triathlons and a 10 Mile Run and if I want to be smiling at the finish line, I won’t be able to miss many training days – that’s actually gotten me out the door maybe twice where I’d have stayed home or cut my run short. Don’t waste too much time forming and mapping the goals out though. I’ve seen too many people spend all sorts of time on formulating plans, setting goals, making vision posters/collages, etc. only to find that they have no time to actually work toward the goal. I like to plan the goals while I’m out running.
Another small part is a fear of getting old. My dad has Alzheimer’s and I’ve read that the more active you are, the better and longer your life will be. Now Alzheimer’s is said to not be an issue of heredity, I can only hope, but in the mean time I’m not going to be sitting on the couch worrying if it’s going to hit me or not. In addition, I want to be one of those old farts still running at 80. I really have no choice there – I promised I’d give my wife at least 60 years of marriage which would put me at 87 (and I think I can do better than that). I don’t want to be a tired old man until I’m done. My long term goal is to leave this world exhausted. The more we exercise, the more we put off aging.
I have had for quite some time, a desire to not get fat. I can think of a laundry list of things I hate about flabbiness but the thing that keeps me going is that being overweight is not necessary – getting or staying fat is a choice, once you boil all of the BS out. The longer we allow the excuses get in the way of our freedom, the harder it is to leave them in the dust we kick up as we’re out running (or riding or mountain biking, walking, swimming, etc).
I liken staying fit and recovering from laziness to recovering from alcoholism as they’re alike in many ways. The main likeness lies in the reality that there is a point where recovery is not so much work anymore – it becomes a way of life. As far as alcoholism goes I am as recovered as you get. I’ve been clean four times longer than I used, I work a program based on the principles of recovery and I’ve become a contributing member of society. This doesn’t mean I can’t give all of that up in a fifth, plenty of us do that every day – I have to be vigilant and maintain this life to keep it. Exercise (and recovery from laziness) is no different. I have to maintain my fitness to keep it. The trick with both is that at some point it wasn’t “work” any longer. I began to need the good life, rather than the wreckage or laziness. The hard part is sticking with it until we get to that point. While being fit is fun and rewarding, getting there can really suck if the priorities aren’t right. Now I wasn’t too far gone when I started running – 195 at 6′ tall, I was just “overweight” on the BMI chart, though I did have an ugly gut. I also never looked back. I was the same with drinking, once I was done, I was done – I’ve been straight ever since. So what makes me so special, and why is it that I’m able to stick to these things when others struggle just to stay in the game? I can tell you, the average for most treatment centers out there is maybe 10% make it more than 5 years. The one I went to was a lot better – 85% that graduate made it 5 years, but I left early. I walked out the door after only two months. So what’s the difference between me and someone else who ends up relapsing all the time (in either fitness or recovery)? It’s all about “getting done” as my buddy Dennis says. When I decided that I wouldn’t get fat, I became done with doing that which would make me fat. It took a lot of trial and error, it took some time, I made mistakes, but in the end I just refused to quit quitting. Recovery was no differt. When I was done, I was done.
So the question is, are you sitting on the fence, dabbling around the edges, or are you done?
Lazy is hard to get rid but once you do….you realie how much you have missed and how you never want to go back to being a victim of LIFE!
Amen to that.
Great post. I find that consistently setting new goals (i.e. signing up for longer distances) and pushing myself keeps me motivated and moving.
Thank you. Longer distances, faster times, it’s all good. I agree.
Great post. When I talk to patients about adding exercise, I get to hear every excuse in the book. There’s a great youtube video by a preventative medicine doc (google “23 and a half hours”) about the benefits of adding just 30 minutes of activity per day. His main question to patients is “Can you limit your sitting, eating, and sleeping to just 23 and a half hours per day?” It’s powerful to hear when you put it like that! Always having a big race to do every quarter keeps me motivated!
I’d be willing to bet I’ve uttered some of your favorites, years ago. I’ll check that video out. Thank you.
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