by STEFAN ANGHELI, editor
Sadly, too often I see people full of enthusiasm and hope, fail to achieve
their health fitness goals. These are almost the same individuals who
only months ago walked into a gym with more enthusiasm than Maradona at
a Colombian party and with as much aspiration to succeed than Gandhi at
an English convention. But what happened in the meantime that made these
I can answer this question unfortunately from first hand experience. Having
excitedly decided to take up running about three years ago, I went to
a running track nearby my house. Remembering how fit I was years ago (back
in my high school days) and how relatively small the track distance was
compared to what I was used to, I was determined to finish the entire
track. Yes, I did finish running the entire track, but later I hoped I
didn't. I never ran again for about a year. Why?
Struggling to finish the distance and hoping to make this workout a major
success, I worked myself to death. Instead of running conveying messages
of health and energy, it was clear to me at the time that running caused
headaches and lethargy. It was no wonder I never ran again. I think one
of the main causes of fitness failure is that these newcomers to the fitness
circles failed to condition positive emotions relating to their fitness
experience. Instead they condition feelings of negativity through tiredness,
pain and relatively small results. Turning feelings of enthusiasm and
hope into ones of pain and frustration is apparently an easy task. But
You see the beginner will walk into the gym with his new Nikes, water
bottle and towel ready at his disposal, full of excitement and hope. Sounds
good so far. The story sours when this individual will inevitably try
every machine in sight, perform a monster two-hour session, and go to
their limit the very first time.
What they fail to realize is that it took them years of neglecting their
health through inactivity and bad food choices to feel and look that way.
It's going to take some time before you see satisfactory results.
Remember you are not going to lose any fat or gain any muscle in this
first visit, or even in your fifth visit for that matter. Fitness is a
long-term progression; it's a lifestyle. You must first condition your
brain to link positive emotions to your health fitness experience. You
must first condition your brain to think that exercising is the best,
most fun thing to do in the world. Much better than sitting on the couch
watching the box with your favorite brand chips. This is especially crucial
at the beginning of your fitness program.
You've heard of the saying that 'first impressions last' well nothing
could be closer to the truth when it comes to your health fitness program.
The beginning of your fitness program is the time when your brain makes
up its mind and associates pleasure or pain with this activity. So you
have to prove yourself right. "I told you this was going to be energizing
and fun", you must say to yourself after walking away from the gym.
Some people exercise with the mentality that exercise is boring and an
exhausting stress, and what do you know, it is. They push themselves too
far, too early and inevitably end up quitting exercising soon after. They
believe that exercise must be hard and the harder it is the better. They
reassure this every time they finish a workout; conditioning the exercise
is too hard response. If you ask a marathon runner what he thinks of running
a marathon, without even thinking it he'll tell you he loves it. He really
enjoys what he does and so should you.
In order to have health fitness become a part of your life, you must enjoy
that activity to the fullest. Your early goal at the gym is to have an
immense amount of fun with least discomfort and condition the habit by
positive reinforcement. Your goal should be to condition yourself to go
to the gym regularly and there's no easier way than to do that than by
simply having fun.
At the beginning just getting to the workout should spell success. Whether
you walk for ten minutes or more is a bonus. Some of the things you can
do to have more fun is to listen to your favorite music, read your favorite
magazine while mildly working out. The key word is 'mildly'. Health fitness
should be a long-term lifestyle change. Your body and mind will love you
Remember love what you do. It's your love for health fitness that will
inevitably give you the greatest results, not slavery to it. What do you