Fitness Investing

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do 300 sit-ups one night, and have a six pack the next day?  Or say you have a date Friday, do like 75 pushups and have better Pecs than Fabio?

Everyone wants a better looking physique, to be in better shape, or just to feel healthier overall.  (Hell, maybe you just want to squeeze your ass into your old favorite jeans.)  Whatever your reason, the process of getting in shape, or even THINKING about getting in shape is more dreadful than sitting through the three Twilight films.

A Million Sucky Shortcuts

You try Diet A.  It works for a couple days, and next thing you know you’re tonsils deep in a KFC Double Down Sandwich.

You join Gym B with all the good intentions of a Boy Scout, only to realize 6 months later you’re paying the lease of a gym you never attend.

You hear Expert C talk about this super new program/diet that does wonders.  You’re sold – You whip out your credit card, hit rock bottom, and buy a god damn Shakeweight.

The Problem

The problem really isn’t in selecting the right option.  (God knows the Shakeweight changed someone’s life somewhere.)  The real problem is we’ve all been preconditioned to think ‘working out’ is something you need to do on a strict, timely and repetitive basis.  Over and over.  In a miserable fashion, for an undetermined length of years.  It’s like prison.  Deciding to get in shape and ‘work out’ immediately infests your schedule with an ‘every other day’ mandatory appointment.  It bumps your life around and if you start missing these ‘mandatory’ appointments, you feel guilty, you start to doubt yourself, and next thing you know you’re paying the rent for a gym you don’t attend anymore and you’re in worse shape than when you started.

Moreover, let’s be honest.  Working out f!$%ing sucks!  Even the mere thought of ‘working out’ makes most shudder.  Running is F’in AWFUL.  Lifting weights is boring, and all the gorgeously in shape jerks at the gym give you the stink eye when you walk in.  Now why would you subject yourself to that behavior when your bed is so comfy?  (Yes I know you can get a good Cardio workout in bed, but not going there… yet…)

Exercise Your Thoughts

First, realize nothing you do will really have the effect you want in less than 24 hours.  It’s not going to be a quick goal realization.  It’s going to take time to reach your fitness goal, lots of increments of time.  And therein lies the key to changing your thoughts about ‘working out.’

Realize your muscles don’t own a watch.

To get in shape, you can just work out when you want to, when you can.  Your body / muscles don’t care if they receive regular attention, so long as they are getting some attention.    You need to make working out work for you, and if you’ve had trouble in the past finding time to exercise, developing a schedule for this go-around probably will be another horrible waste of time.  If it hasn’t ever worked, planning another schedule will not trick yourself into getting fit.  It’s an insult to your actual schedule.  In fact, I read that every time you schedule a workout, Jesus whacks a kitten with a Shakeweight.  Stop it, Kittens hate it.

Fitness Investing

What images pop into your head when you think about ‘working out?’

Now, think of the word ‘investing.’  It’s a much more pleasant thought than ‘working out’ right?  ‘Investing’ instantly cues something in your brain, letting you know it’s a process that will come to fruition over time and not be instantaneous.  So what if you start ‘investing’ in your health goals, via exercise?  Maybe this week you can do several ‘investments,’ whereas next week you can only ‘invest’ one night.  Maybe you could do a huge investment this day, but only a minimal investment tomorrow.  Maybe you want to take a few days off from ‘investing,’ all the while knowing your overall ‘investment’ will go down during my slack time.  Eventually, after ‘investing’ enough, you’ll start to see some positive result amongst your ‘portfolio.’ Moreover, the more you invest, the more your investments will work for you, as your metabolism and healthy habits begin to increase.  You’ll notice investing becoming easier, more efficient to your lifestyle, and you’ll begin to find plenty of excuses to invest more often.

Your 401K… Run / Walk…

Found yourself with some downtime?  Do some investments, whatever your max reps are, you’ll usually be done in 5 minutes.  (Sans running.)  Home from work with nothing to do?  Invest some pushups.  Boring lineup on TV for the next 30 minutes?  You can easily bang out a mile or two if you do a quick run.  Slow day at work?  Crank out some air squats in your cube.  Annoying commercial?  Go do some pull-ups.  Beautiful day out?  Go for a bike ride or a hike.

As you start finding times to invest, you’ll begin to form a habit of investing.  Before you know it, your strewn together 5-15 minute investments will start equaling a couple hours a week.  Dozens of hours a month.  All without using that horrid ‘W’ word.

Side note – Befriending Running

If you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to do some cardio, like running.  Personally, I hated running.  However, as much as I absolutely hated it, I quickly realized I could usually be done running faster than how long I would spend bitching about actually having to go running.  Instead of sitting there, thinking about how awful it was to have to go on a run, if I got the urge to invest with some running, I’d throw on my running shoes, and out the door I’d go.  In under 5 minutes, I’d be conquering the 2.25 mile loop near my house.

Best of all, when I first started, it’d take me 30-40 minutes to complete my run.  I’m able to do that same run in just under 20 minutes now.  (Interestingly, my best run came after an evening of drinking PBR and eating Cheeseburgers…  Did my 2.25 mile run in about 18 minutes…  Might need to research that further, feel free to attempt yourselves…)

Encouraging Results

I’ve changed my fitness activities to ‘investing,’ and it’s changed my life.  I’ve also passed this approach onto several friends, and it seems to be keeping them active, happy and healthier.  We’re all easily keeping this ‘routine,’ if you can call it that, much longer than any exercise intent we’ve had in the past.  It’s working, its fun and its easy.  (And it doesn’t look like you’re giving the invisible man a handjob – damn Shakeweight…)

Honestly, I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in since I was 18.  And I barely feel like I work out.  I’ve gone from a size 35 to 31, and now I’m needing to actually invest financially in a new belt.  J

Off to do some air squats…
–D