The Reason We Struggle With Fitness

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - we humans are incredibly good at solving problems. We have been great at problem solving as far back as the day that we decided to climb down out of the trees (maybe even further back), but something has changed in the latter part of our evolution, we learned how to make problem solving easier, in almost every aspect of our lives. And this is a great thing!

But it has had some unintended side effects. We have learned to apply this idea of making everything easier to everything, especially the things we really don’t like doing. We have made work easier, play easier, travel easier, and general living easier. But there is one area of our lives where this way of thinking has failed and is doomed to fail in the future, and that is our health and fitness.

Review - The Four Agreements

As I have mentioned before, there are a handful of books that I truly consider to be life changing. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is one of them, in fact it may be at the top. If there is one book that helps us to understand why we are the way we are and give us guidance on how we can make profound changes to the path we are currently on, this is the one.

If we believe that refining and rebuilding our character is the core requirement for making these changes, then The Four Agreements can give us the tools to start the rebuilding.  

Who we currently are, the person that we have become is a product of our programming.

Day by day, at home, at school, at church, and from television, we are told how to live, and what kind of behavior is acceptable. The environment we grow up in teaches us how to be human. And we learn to judge: We judge ourselves, judge other people, judge the neighbors.

The Fall

If you talk to almost anyone who is in the advanced age group, there is one thing that they will tell you as to why they are not as active as they used to be. It is the fall that they sustained. The story is almost identical - "I used to run, hike, or bike so many miles per day, and then one day I fell. This might be down the stairs, off a curb, or slipping on a wet floor, but whatever it was, it laid them up for an extended period of time, and then, best case scenario, is that they got back to exercising but just could never get 100 percent healed, and ultimately failed to ever get back to their former condition. But for many, the fall actually leads to a near or complete cessation of exercise altogether.

That's when they utter the "self-prophesying" words - "I guess I am just getting too old for this." If age wasn't a good enough excuse to quit before, it certainly is now. Understand something, I do not wish to belittle those that have gone through this, and in many cases, the fall is truly devastating and results in injuries that are difficult or even impossible to recover from.

Adventure and Play

Would you rather run up a humongous sand dune, or run around the block?

Would you rather climb a mountain, or climb the Stair Master?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

A very important step in our own personal evolution from the person we were programmed to be to the person we desire to be is to figure out just how did we get here?

At some point in our life we left childhood behind and charged into adulthood down a path that was laid out for us whether we realized it or not. Once we were out on our own, free from the control and safety of our parents, we realized that life was a little more difficult than we were led to believe.

Our path was littered with hurdles and roadblocks, each of which being a detour off the path that was to lead us to the good life and the happiness that it would provide for us. And while these hurdles seemed like obstacles thrown in our way by external forces, upon reflection, we need to realize that they were actually choices and decisions that we made that seemed to make sense to our past self, but now our present self has to deal with the consequences.

The Basic Laws of Human Nature

"To be happy, you have to "know your favorite flavor of suffering"--fear, anxiety, depression, denial--then free yourself from it." - Tony Robbins

The most important principles, the ones that resound with us the most, are the ones that seem to have a profound “truth” to them at their core. We don’t always know why we believe certain ideas and not others, we just have a feeling about it. These beliefs are so ingrained in us that we accept them as laws. And these laws not only determine what we believe, the determine what we do.

Potential Peak Performance and Aging

We all have within us a performance potential. This would represent the highest level of physical performance we could ever hope to achieve. This is the level that professional athletes perform at. It’s what separates them from the rest of us. It can be argued that they were born with a potential that is higher than ours and then they put in the work that it takes to perform at that level. But I would argue that, while we may never have been able to reach the same level as professionals, most of us never even tried. We didn’t need to.
We have been operating at a level that might be half or even a third of what we were capable of, but believe it or not, that’s good news. Because as we progress down the path of life, and we start to feel like we are slowing down, getting weaker, and maybe not able to do the things we used to do, we can feel reassured that we are still operating well below our potential. And if this is true, then all is not lost. We still have the ability to make physiological improvements that can bring our level of performance closer to our Potential Peak Performance.