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Step Into the Rage
Why Beginner's Fail Part 1
Author: Jim Gray
Publish Date: 3/17/2009 12:00:00 AM

It's been a long time interest of mine why previous attempts to get into shape have almost always succeeded and a few have failed. There seems to be a myriad of reasons for failure when trying to get into shape or losing weight. Some of these reasons can range from lack of time, personal injury, lack of money, lack of know-how. Its seems, a great deal of the time, the hardest thing for people, including myself, is motivation. In this article I'll touch on a few of the other reasons and then focus on motivation. The aim of this article is to help those of you wanting to make this transition- move forward toward your goals if there is an obstacle in the way.

"Lack of time" is more of an excuse than a viable reason for not working toward your fitness goals. Most people I talk to say they have no time to dedicate to their workout goals. I tell them that some of my best workouts can range from 20 minutes to 4 hours- its all about what you want to do and how best you use your time. Then they fire back with "I have kids, club and company events- ect." and I counter with- "Kids can workout with you, and which is more important- club events or fitness, and how much time do you spend all year round dedicated to your business functions?" then they start to see my point; they're making excuses. Maybe they want to work toward their fitness goals but the thought of the work deters them and they begin to make "convenient" excuses. If you or someone you know is one of those people who think they don't have time then I ask yourself if you have correctly managed your time? Finding a gym near your home or work, bringing you kids with you, and just making time when you have it can all make a huge difference. Fitness goals aren't always about getting a washboard stomach as much as its about improving our health.

"Lack of money" is often boasted by many people as their reason for not exercising. Sometimes this includes gas to get to the gym let alone the gym membership. some memberships can be very costly and if you live in an area where gyms can charge ridiculous amounts of money then you are stuck paying or not being a member. One thing to weigh in this situation is "how important are my fitness goals?". This will help you decide if you want to try to pay the membership or pass on it. Sometimes making adjustments such as skimping on that morning cup from the coffee shop can be enough to pay the membership each month. Before you make this decision, however, one should ask themselves "how important is it that I get a gym membership?". This is the most important thing to factor when money is an issue for considering gym membership. If you live in a warm climate then running outside and body weight exercises are a great way to get in shape or lose weight. If you live in the Midwest United States then you might experience 5 months of cold weather. Having a membership for only those cold months is not a bad idea and reduces the yearly cost considerably. The individual having to make this decision just has to make a decision on how important their goals are and make a plan that revolves around their budget.

"Personal injury" is probably one I hear mostly from older men. Sometimes this is simple that they feel they are too old to workout. I've seen 70 year old men do Judo, a sport where you throw your opponent to the mat, and I have done mixed martial arts with a 46 year old man before. The toughest thing to get around is a serious injury or illness. These can bring one's determination to a halt whether the injury occurred during exercise or before. These injuries often eliminate many traditional exercises such as running, or heavy weight lifting. There are alternatives. Bikes can help those with spinal injuries get sufficient cardio, upper body exercise can replace lower body if a knee injury exists; using good judgment and careful planning can be the determining factor of whether or not one can reach their goals if such an injury is present. The most important thing is the desire to move forward and knowledge of what to do to get there.

"Lack of know-how" and "I don't know how to start" are very poor excuses. I started training when I was 8 on and off until I was 15 where training became regular for me. I knew nothing and although my father had been an amateur bodybuilder of some sort in his youth he didn't offer much advice on how to get started or what to do. I started my sophomore year at 6 foot 325lbs and by time I was a senior I was 6 foot 1inch 189lbs. In two years I had lost roughly 136lbs without anyone to help me. First thing I did was look out on the internet (which was new back then) and see what I could find. Then one day while I was looking at remote controlled car magazines I noticed a "shredded" dude on the cover of a muscle magazine. I figured I wanted to look like that or at least have the same body fat percentage. Every few months I would buy a new muscle magazine and read it front to back over and over again soaking in all the advice it had. Some of the articles where about bodybuilding, some where about fitness, and some where for beginners wanting to lose weight. The most important thing to realize here is that I hunted down what I knew I wanted to do and obsessed over the information I needed to achieve my goals. I organized my thoughts, wrote notes, began a journal (which I quickly abandoned). It seemed I had the motivation to achieve my goals and even though I didn't know how to move forward I made the logical move to learn what I didn't know. Some might say- "but I don't want to know every little thing to achieve my goals I just want them the easy way- oh, and I want them over night". The information is here for you in this an many of my other articles, publications, and resources. You don't have to hunt and search for everything anymore. The internet has grown since I first used it and although you can't trust every source you can trust a few of them. If the you or someone you know really has an aversion to learning then I would suggest a great personal trainer who will live with the reader and watch every calorie the reader takes in and every rep the reader makes when working out. This approach is unrealistic- if one wants to achieve then they have to work and be motivated.

Which brings this article to "motivation". Motivation is defined by Webster's Dictionary as, "the set of reasons that determines one to engage in a particular behavior". Take a moment out to note: reason, determines, and behavior, because they are the three most important aspects of motivation.

The reason is "why" one wants- it is often the outcome. My motivation is to be as athletic as I can be- which is the result as well. If I don't know what I want then you won't have the "goal" in my motivation.

Determines- not to be confused with determination, is the resulting actions that must be taken to achieve the previous, my reason/goal. If I want to be an athlete then I have to workout- if I want to be the best athlete I can be, then I have to push myself to my athletic limits. As one can easily see there is a distinction between the "determines" of just being an athlete and being the best athlete I can be. This is very important when evaluating what actions you must take to achieve your goal.

Behavior is important to understand as well. Behavior is defined as "the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment". In this case behavior takes on many roles. Behavior has a very broad role in that it encompasses one's reaction to adversity, their reaction to emotions, and much more. In this case, behavior is what is being determined because of my particular goals. Your behavior is going to be the chariot that delivers you to your goals. So in essence it is the most important thing to alter if one has problems with their motivation. Knowing what one wants is typically easy but having the mindset and the mentality to reach them is harder. Sometimes slow and deliberate changes are best, such as eliminating chocolate from you diet, then junk food a few weeks later. Sometimes motivation is that something one needs to get out of bed each morning.

So it seems the hardest thing for people to do is get over their excuses and get to work on their fitness goals. One of the keys to the foundation of working toward your goal is going to be understanding and organizing your motivation. Understanding what your motivation is and how to use it is important if you're an individual who doesn't have an outstanding self-motivating personality. Fitness is hard work and goes beyond dieting. It requires you to make time to do work, sweat, and be sore or tired. You should take pride in the sweat, pain, and work you put into exercising.

I yelled out "For Sparta! For glory!" as I squeezed out my last three pullups. The rep, immediately before that, felt like the last one but I knew with a little motivation I could do a few more- and I did. If you don't know the movie reference above then don't worry about it- in fact, put it out of your head. Sometimes we, as humans, associate a symbol with our ideas. Sometimes reminding ourselves of this symbol is enough to spark inspiration and drive one's motivation. Whatever symbol you find use it to your advantage and keep it close to you as you motivate yourself; think about it and in certain circumstances, give it life with a "war cry". When I wake-up in the morning and don't want to go to the gym I ask myself "What would my fictional icon, Leunitus do?" Then the answer comes "Get up and get to work."

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