The Secret to Getting in Shape? You can’t

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“I need to get in shape.”  Good. I’ve got the secret for you.  Stop trying. You can’t “get in shape.” Because you don’t care about getting in shape.  To help you care, you don’t need an answer, but rather a question – or three.

  • What does “get in shape” look like and feel like to you?
  • How will better fitness enhance your ability to fully participate in your own life?
  • Related…how will fitness help you express your values?

If you haven’t answered these questions for yourself, go ahead.  I’ll wait.

The answers will help reveal a result that is meaningful and fueled by a sense of purpose.

If you’re struggling to identify out your values, flip things around.  Think about some painful experiences (emotional ones – not your knee injury). We hurt where we care.  What would you have to not care about for that pain to disappear? The answer is something you value.

Nobody Wants to Be “Employed” When They Grow Up

Ask any kid you know what they want to be when they grow up.  You will hear some of the usual responses. A response you won’t hear is “I want to be employed,” or “I want to have a job.” And it’s just like that with fitness.

If your aim is too general and you seek to “get in shape,” your mind will have a hard time turning that into any real, meaningful result because it is too vague and unconnected to your values.

Multi-Sensory Goals Are Real and Relevant

If all you want to do is “get in shape,” you probably won’t. If you have a clear picture of what fitness looks and feels like for you (and smells like, tastes like, and sounds like), you probably will.

In case you think I just lost my mind in that last sentence…it turns out research is showing that the more we make something we want a multi-sensory experience, the more relevant it is and the more likely we are to go after it.

The real secret? (1) Get those deep answers to what fitness means to you.  (2) Keep showing up.

You have to keep showing up.  You have to consistently keep at it.  Several moderate workouts will be better than one killer workout a week.  Your body builds itself from your habits.    

And 4 days off will beat 3 days on. 

Here’s the “secret” of getting in shape:

  1. Be specific with what brings the notion of fitness to life for you…find out what makes you care enough about fitness to want it.
  2. Keep showing up.

Whatever and whoever puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart – fitness makes the smile bigger and the song louder.  It’s up to you to answer the questions to make the connection between your values and fitness.

2 Responses to "The Secret to Getting in Shape? You can’t"
  1. Caitlin Fregelette says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m going to ask these three questions to my high school PE students.

  2. Linda Slater says:

    Great article for helping coaches dig deeper to find the why behind the why.

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