How Do I Become Fast / Fit / Healthy?
“You’re looking well and sporty!”
Do you get that much? People asking how you stay fit?
If they do, damned right. Congrats. High fives all round. You deserve it. We’ve been consistent, haven’t we?
And if you’re the one who’s been asking, I hope these guidelines will help you get to the point where you are getting these compliments.
Oh, and did I mention? No matter what your age.
Fitness and health should be intertwined. They’re not always, unfortunately. Some elite athletes take substances that make them go faster but end their lives at 30. Worth it? Not in my book.
Maybe, like me, you’ve been lucky in many ways.
Health and fitness seem to have been drawn to us and we to them.
Maybe with you it also started with schools athletics and cycling to school at age 15. Later, you found yourself having conversations with people that prompted you to dabble in swimming, triathlon, mountain biking, paddling and other crazy outdoor pursuits.
Ha! ‘Dabble‘ is a huge understatement in most cases, wouldn’t you agree? Addictive, addictive, that’s what these escapes are.
How many times have you found yourself way out of your league, at the back of a huge cycling bunch moving at 50km/h or paddling your ski in angry waters around some fearsome deepwater rock face, far, far from safety and solid ground?
These pursuits become addictions and if we’re not careful, obsessions, that take us places we would not normally go.
Nevermind. You survived. You’re still mostly intact. A few scars maybe. A broken bone or two? Your sanity (mostly) intact. And memories to savour for the rest of your days. (Just don’t forget to let the kids and grandkids know about them, when adventure was real adventure).
But enough of the pinnacle stuff. That’s the top of the iceberg, mountaintop experience that we don’t get to enjoy every day.
No, fitness demands we observe a few long-term, no-matter-what fundamentals. They’re all important. It’s a good thing to keep honing them every day. Including holidays. Hey, those are just five minutes… although you’ll want to go longer anyway. It’s that good.
Top tips to stay fit all-year round
Have a favourite spouse
Have one mainstay activity that you really love.
It’s easy to keep at this because you’re usually good at it.
It makes you feel good every time you are submersed in it.
But remember, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Real life reason: witness a Comrades runner approaching the finish in Pietermaritzburg, about to complete his 30th consecutive finish. Bent over in pain. Misses the cutoff by seconds. Why? He’s been a non-stop runner, who did no other sports to balance muscles or develop upper body strength.
No. Avoid this ‘specialisation’. Even Olympic athletes do supplementary activities.
Don’t Be Obsessively Faithful
So: mix your favourite with 2-3 seasonal sidelines.
If you run, swim, bike, do weights.
If you bike, swim, walk, hike, do weights.
If you swim, run, bike, walk, hike, do weights.
You need it.
Otherwise your body and your mind eventually atrophy.
The Spice of Life!
Have a fall-back activity for mental rest esp at year-end and holidays
Have one activity you can do anywhere, anytime (hey, home gym counts, running counts if there’s a treadmill nearby no matter what the weather outside is doing). If prisoners can maintain their training regime, you can do so much more with your far greater freedom.
If you believe you absorb the qualities of the food you eat, ‘you are what you eat’ is an adage you’ll nod vigorously to.
So why do we sometimes eat the crap we do?
No. Enough already. This year is your year.
You should resolve to only eat foods that make you feel great during and after. If any of the food groups make you feel ill/guilty/fat, cut them out.
It’s a beautiful exercise in minimalism.
Trust me, you’ll love your new food life.
You can feel the power of good food.
Know this: you will go through times your fitness won’t feel like it’s going well.
Relax. The Olympic stadium wasn’t built in one day.
When you’re doing very well, reward yourself with healthy prizes like buying more healthy food, planning a trip to a place you’ve never been and where you and yours can be more active.
Fitness and health perpetuates. The more you do, the more you get.
Associate with people who love the same. People who don’t get fitness will be negative about it. They will discourage you from pursuing your goals. They may even block your efforts in subtle ways. Move on.
On the flipside, find experience. Ask people who have been doing it longer than you. They will be glad to share their knowledge. Thank them. Share with them what you’ve learned.
When you’re not doing so well, reward yourself anyway.
Remember, your success is inevitable.
You will be fit.
You will get faster.
It will take discipline.
There will be discomfort. Change is pain. Change is joy.
Be prepared for this all.
The end result is so worth it.
What you need to find out is how these people got fit. How they got fit.
Then do it.
By the way, did I mention that you ARE looking good!?