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.

Our brains have made this rapid transition, to an easier life, very smoothly. It actually fits right in with our overall evolution of finding better solutions to existing problems, but the problem is that our bodies didn’t get the memo. The vessels that our brains are forced to occupy are much closer to the design required when we were roaming the savanna, than the one needed to strive in today’s modern world.

So, the problem really is that we want to look and feel healthy and fit, but we don’t want to do all that work like our ancestors did. We want the quick and easy solution. We want the pill, or the fad diet, or at least the five minute ab video.

Here’s the slightly-subconscious little secret that deep down we know about but we don’t want to let our conscious in on - we know that the easy solution isn’t here yet, and we know that the alternative is to do all that hard work that we really don’t want to do. But, if I refuse to do the work, then I won’t look and feel like the person that I want to be, or worse, the person I want others to see me as. But if the work is too hard, or too time consuming, then I can excuse myself from all that training with the best excuse of all.

I Can’t Because …
I would look and feel like [insert celebrity or athlete here], but I can’t because [insert best excuse possible here]. The problem is that this excuse may feel like it works when given to others but it doesn’t work on the one person that it matters most. So eventually, we know that we have to give it a try afterall we are the world’s greatest problem solvers and that’s just what we do. Except that we set the bar so high that we are doomed to fail (and deep down we know it) and after a week or two of giving it our best shot, we can go back to the couch and tell ourselves - "I did my best” or “I tried but…”

“People will spend a lifetime trying to find the quick fix”

Nothing worth attaining in life is free and, conversely, anything worth having is going to take work to achieve. We can have whatever we truly desire in life as long as we are willing to do the work to attain it.

When it comes to our health, as with pretty much anything else, we are going to have to do the work to get to where we want to be. But the most important thing to consider is that it’s that work where the true benefit lies. The work is not the means, it is the ends.

The Solution
There is a third way. It’s not the easy solution, but it’s also not the ridiculously difficult one either. We need to start with a strength, fitness, and nutrition routine that implements a level of difficulty that is not “easy” but is well within our current abilities. Then when, and only when (maybe within a couple weeks), we have determined that we are capable of maintaining this new lifestyle for the rest of our lives, we need to make incremental adjustments in difficulty. We will repeat this cycle for as long as it takes to reach the maximum level we are capable of attaining, or achieving the desired results.

But most importantly, we are developing a new lifestyle and leaving the old one behind. One that we will never go back to. Let’s make a commitment that our health is our number one priority, and if we can’t, then we need to find a way to make it so.

The benefits of taking the long-term approach are that you will be stronger, fitter, healthier, and "younger" as you progress down that trail we call aging life.

Start Today
So let’s not waste another day. Let’s make the change today. Let’s go do something, anything that gets our heart beating a little, or a lot, faster. Let’s do something that might make us a little stronger today than we were yesterday (like a push up - yeah one). Let’s do anything today that will make our life more adventurous than it was yesterday.

Take care and I’ll see you out there!