This is a huge topic that I’m pretty sure one little article would never be able to cover entirely. So my goal with this is article is to hit on some of the reasons that a person could feel the desire to get into better shape and start living a healthier life.
What do you think of when you hear, “Health & Fitness”? Some people think of weight loss. Others think of keeping a healthy heart. Others, still, will think of a million other things involving the human body and how it operates or is maintained. I think this term is funny because at a scientific level, health and fitness pretty much mean the same thing. In the biological sciences world they both refer directly to an organisms level of adequacy, its ability to maintain itself and reproduce. Unhealthy and unfit organisms simply have a lower chance, more difficult time, perpetuating their species forward. I digress.
Usually I find that if someone has any type of desire to start training or being healthier in their decisions, their immediate answer to this question will be whatever their goals are. For me, my health & fitness goal have changed more times than I can count but one thing has always remained constant. I want to become better. That is my ultimate goal and no matter where it leads me, I know that I am the only person that will know if I’m on the right path to achieving this goal. This vague goal also means that I will never reach it. This is simply due to the fact that for me, this whole fitness thing is about more than just a number on a scale or a percentage of body fat. It’s about testing my ability to push through limits, remain disciplined, and work hard. That is what gives me extreme amounts of fulfillment, as cheesy as it sounds. Over the years, this North Star has kept me on the path to having a better physique and health markers but those were just a byproduct of my personal goal of pushing myself to be better
So what is yours? The most common answers that I get are weight loss, strength, or longevity related. People want to lose a couple pounds to look better in a swimsuit. They want to add some pounds to their favorite lift, like the squat or bench press. Some want to be healthier purely to be able to spend as much time with their families and maintain a higher quality of life for as long as they can.
Whatever your motivation is, it’s the right answer. Whether its slanted towards vanity, mental well-being, overall health, sports performance, or just a mindless hobby, it’s the right answer. What I mean is that the world of health & fitness lives in the gigantic area of gray, in between the black and white. There are so many ways to accomplish goals, so many goals, and our bodies are such a personal facet of life that there’s no way it could ever be as simple as yes or no. My advice to you though, would be simple:
Find what drives you. Set that goal. Then invest yourself into that goal appropriately.
If it’s a certain amount of weight loss, say 20 lbs, then track your weight every day, start eating slightly less than you currently are, and start increasing your level of activity to get you away from your baseline of what your already doing on a daily basis. And when I say eating slightly less this more often means, start switching out those unhealthy snacks and drinks for healthier options. Reduce your caloric intake slightly. Gigantic soda versus maybe a diet soda to begin with then when you feel that you’ve got a better handle on this swap-out, either decide to keep that diet soda in their and focus on another snack throughout your day or keep the swap-outs going and change that diet soda to another low calorie drink with less chemicals and preservatives inside. The key with this is small, incremental, but purposeful steps toward an overall reduction in your consumption of sugar and unhealthy foods. This is just one example of setting a goal, establishing the steps needed to reach the goal, and then executing.
But what do your goals mean to you? Do you want to lose that weight or gain that strength for yourself or is there another underlying motivation? My opinion is that we all have deep underlying reasons as to why we want things and why we do everything that we do. Regardless, just know that it’s okay to have those motivations which often stem from insecurities with how adequate we feel. Every single person on the planet has insecurities and they key to becoming happier and healthier is to simply accept those shortcomings and work as hard as you can on pounding them into the ground. Nobody will ever be 100% confident as a human being but we don’t need to be. We just need to be MOTIVATED to be BETTER and then make it happen.