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The 12 Rules of Fitness

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When I was on the radio last week with Greg Williams, we had a great time talking about the close relationship between good personal philosophy and good political philosophy.

Some of you asked, so here they are….the 12 Rules of Fitness, as I see them.  Let me know what you think:

The 12 Rules of Fitness

Easy to understand but not always easy to do, the 12 Rules of Fitness are all you need to know to be successful in fitness.  You may think these are common sense and you’d be right, which makes them all the more important. 

1. Don’t blame other people for your problems.

We all do this.  It’s easy to do.  Don’t do it.  One of the hallmarks of a narcissistic culture is a refusal to accept personal responsibility for your life.  Sometimes other people are hard to deal with. Don’t allow the world around you to control how you respond to life’s ups and downs.  If you want to achieve a goal, stop pointing the finger at other people for why you can’t.

2.  Don’t make excuses.

You’re not too tired, too old, too fat, too slow, to stressed out, too dumb, too ugly, too poor, too lethargic, too sick, or too young.  Do it.

3. Learn skills.

If your back hurts, learn proper form, good stretches, and good therapeutic movements.  Learn ways to work around problems because they will always be there.

4. Don’t covet another person’s body or fitness.

Life isn’t fair.  Some of us are tall, short, ugly, pretty, fast, slow, average, or uncoordinated.  Some of us aren’t.  Accept the hand you were dealt and do the absolute best you can with it.

5. Commit to the process. 

Make a plan and stick with it every day.  Take it 1 meal, 1 rep, 1 breathe, 1 work out and 1 day at a time.  Get better little by little.

6. Get on a team.

Human beings are social creatures.  We do better when we have someone to lean on or to push us.  Find friends, coaches, or trainers who want you to do your best and have your best interests in mind.    They should be willing to push you and tell you the truth.

7. Seek the truth.

Modern life is structured to be as easy as possible.  It is now an act of treason to tell someone the truth, for fear of being labeled a “bully”.  When it comes to achieving a goal, feedback is an absolute necessity.  Seek out the truth.  Find out what you need to do, and do it.

8.  Don’t buy into the myths.

Our culture is full of myths.  They sell, which is why they’re everywhere.  Marketers, media pundits, and politicians find out what people believe and then “sell” accordingly.  The problem with myths is that they confuse us into thinking there are shortcuts in life.  There are no shortcuts.  Train hard and don’t give up. Ever.  That’s all you need to know.

9. Do the right thing and obey the Golden Rule.

Set limits and boundaries about what is appropriate for yourself and others. Be a team player.  Help other people achieve their goals.  Don’t be loud, rude, or smell bad.  Once you find some success, help and encourage other people.  This will make your experience better and more fulfilling.

10. Find your territory.

Exercise is a powerful drug for your mind.  Like a wild bear, or a wolf on the hunt, you need to establish a territory for your mind and spirit, where you can do your work.  Maybe it’s a weight room, a road for running, a game, or a sport.  Whatever it is, find it, commit to it and don’t give up.  It’s just between you two, you and the lesser you.  America has very few outlets for non-market sources of identity, which is a very unhealthy way of life.  The myths of debt, materialism, and consumerism marginalize non-market activities like religion, civic participation, sport participation, spontaneous gatherings and play, fitness, and gardening.  Find a non-market related territory which builds you up and revitalizes you.

11.  Pay attention to details.

Are my shoes causing hip pain?  Am I allergic to a certain type of food, a certain exercise, or a certain person?  Am I eating without thinking about what I’m eating or without enjoyment?  Am I not resting enough? How is my form?  What can I do to mix it up and make things more fun?  What can I learn?

12.  Learn something new.

If you want to age gracefully, constantly challenge your mind and body to work together to learn something new.  Examples: martial arts, yoga, complex weight training exercises, new types of running workouts, or new sports, hobbies, or games.  When we learn something new, we create new pathways, re-routing the brain’s circuitry around inflammation and trauma.   

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