14 push-ups, 39 squats, 30 ab crunches. Sound big? Not that impressive for most fitness fanatics out there. But that was my “minimum day” average for the last three weeks. And those were the HIGH numbers.
I would read the fitness powerhouse articles about how the chubby awkward guy finally got those jaw-dropping sixteen-pack abs. Or the once overweight mom with the sweet personality who loses 85 lbs by working out four times a week. They would all say that it was a lifestyle change.
But I didn’t really know what that meant until I discovered the change for MY lifestyle and how those changes had to be unpacked, settled and refined for myself.
It would be a minor, seemingly un-victorious adjustment, like, deciding I would finish meals by 7pm at least three night a week. After several weeks, I found that I was scaling back on late-night meals at least 15 days out of the month. That’s a 50% reduction!
The most challenging was getting enough sleep. I was averaging almost six hours, with some nights four hours and others at six hours. That’s counting the midnight interruption to use the bathroom or just the unsettled mind from the thoughts of the day.
But I purposed to rest. Know what? Scaling back on late-might meals meant it was easier to get to sleep. Easier to sleep, less to eat during the day. The cycle just kept getting better and making more sense. My body started thanking me by responding to cues that it was time to go to bed, that it wasn’t the end of the world if I finished my last meal at 5pm, or if I did 5 extra squats that day.
Soon, I felt stronger. I would increase the exercises by one or two repetitions. These low-number averages [14 push-ups, 39 squats, 30 ab crunches] eventually yielded two to three times that weekly total, given the pace of life with skipping a day or doing my version of “extra” on a motivated day.
I let go of the big wow of numbers and just progressed in the meek averages. The Law of Incremental Improvement says that if we do just a little bit every day, the end result is bigger. You might have also heard the wise saying that “inch by inch is a cinch.” All I did was all I could do. Then, that would be enough for the day. I’d try to do just as much or just two more the next day.
RESULT: I lost three pounds in one month. I am down twelve pounds from last year. My clothes fit better. Some of the bloating in my face has gone down. Best of all, the possibility of finally getting my fitness into a manageable and measurable pace is finally at hand. This was the ultimate lifestyle change that I was looking for. It didn’t take a fancy dvd system or throwing myself into hard workouts that I would purposely avoid the following week. Instead, I was able to finally face my fear of not getting it done, one wimp workout at a time.
I hope this encourages you to challenge yourself in a small way, no matter your fitness level. It doesn’t have to get all done today.
But one small adjustment, one more try, one more effort – it will all add up to be a superhero victory for you!