If you were asked what the most important benefit to exercising and eating right was, what would you say?
Over the years, I’ve had a few injuries. I’ve broken or torn multiple bones, ligaments, and muscles; donned casts, slings, crutches and a wheelchair. Some injuries occurred through my own stupidity and some were just freak accidents that seem to catch us when we least expect it. You know, life.
When I first found myself incapacitated with a hip-to-toe cast, I figured any hope of staying in shape was out of the question. I surrendered to the fate of withering away on the sofa medicating on Oreos and chocolate milk. I had 12 long weeks to feel sorry for myself.
It was at my lowest point of self-pity where I arrived at a very important question, how am I going to react to this?
Simply because I couldn’t run or walk, I was focusing on things I couldn’t do rather than what I could do. I was being a victim of circumstances I couldn’t control rather than taking responsibility for what I could. My leg needed to heal, but beyond that, I had total control of what I ate and I still had complete use of my upper body, which allowed for plenty of exercise.
This left me with the sobering (and empowering) conclusion that if my health and fitness declined, it was because I allowed it to, not my injury. And I wanted it too much to stop.
In the gym, you’re not only developing physical strength, but everyday you are exposing yourself to the pain of exercise. Our bodies change because we expose it to stress and stimulus causing it to rebuild stronger and more resilient than before. But more importantly, you’re fighting the urge to say “the hell with it” and give up. Every day you defy this urge to skip the workout, you get a little stronger.
Over time you develop patience, mental strength, and discipline, and what were once weaknesses (both physical and mental) have been built up to make you a better version of yourself. Someone who has more energy, complains a lot less, and walks taller. And that, my friends, is way better than a nice pair of biceps.
Some people may be thinking, “Oh, I’m not strong or disciplined.” You are. In fact, if you are struggling with getting fit or losing weight it is not a question of how strong you are, but rather a question of wanting it badly enough and knowing that it’s possible. Most of us fail simply because we kind of committed to something we only kind of want, or never really believed we could have in the first place.
You have to decide that it’s possible for you and you have to want it more than watching television, more than sleeping in, more than donuts, wine and beers. When you want to get in shape, feel younger and more confident, more than any of those things, you will have no problem getting there.
That is the greatest benefit of exercise, discovering how much control you have over your body and life when you truly commit to get yourself out of the rut.
Every decision you face is made according to your commitment and belief in the outcome. The people you surround yourself with, the food you eat, the books you read, the television you watch, how much sleep you get, everything is a decision that has you either moving in a better direction, remaining complacent, or worse, moving backwards.
If you feel stuck, you have to look at your situation and know that it can be better. When you know it can be better, decide to make it better. Then act. And when it gets hard, you will find out how committed you are.
You will discover that can you work around any obstacle, albeit money, time, age, or injury. You just have to get off the fence and decide. spt