How To Overcome Fitness Excuses and Pitfalls

Fitness and well-being seems to be a big deal. If it wasn’t this site wouldn’t exist and females wouldn’t be spewing the words Kale and Quinoa like they invented said vegetable and grain. Now before half the world’s gender start spamming the comments and unfollow button I also use those words. If you don’t believe me just check the @bossykitchen account. Plot twist! I write her posts! *Gasp* and you thought my wife was funny.

Ok so with cross fit, protein shakes and eye-sore leggings spreading like the plague, why do many aspiring fitness enthusiasts fall off the proverbial bandwagon? I’ll split these into three categories (Time, Money, Patience) and attempt to tackle them with honesty and applicable solutions. So to all the newbies this is finally your chance to chant Qunioa through to 2015.

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Ezio doesn’t like it when people tell him they don’t have time to workout

“I don’t have the TIME to workout”

The Problem: Life is all about priorities; just ask these new years revolutionists who are currently hogging the gym floor like it was a black Friday sale (great now I can’t use this metaphor for a future post).Towards New Years Eve we tend to reflect on the fleeting year as if a new line will be crossed on midnight. One of the most common thoughts are ‘Man, I really need to get into better shape’, unless your Ryan Gosling, then you seriously need to eat a Cheese Cake Ryan. If you can feel this strongly about your fitness on New Years Eve then you can work on doing so during the year. I understand life is very demanding (family, work, children who need a diaper change and bosses who need a diaper), but if you keep telling me your busy like the president of an ant farm, then I’ve got 22 CEOS that right here get their workouts before 6AM.

Quick fix: Look at your day as 23 hours long. I am sure you can get your sleep, work and other commitments done within those 23 hours. Cement that 24th hour for your workout and your golden.

The solution: The solution here is applying more time management skills to your routine. Do your best to sleep the same time everyday so you can iron out your daily schedule without erratic changes due to oversleeping or sleep deprivation. Find classes that work with your work timings (either first thing in the morning or after office hours). Instead of ramping up the calories by going out with friends why not make fitness a social activity by teaming up with a partner at a gym or meeting new friends at a fitness class. Working in teams or meeting like minded fitness enthusiasts keeps you committed and more willing to etch these workouts into your schedule.

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A friend admitting to Ezio regarding his lack of Florians to join the local gymnasium

“I can’t AFFORD to workout”

The Problem: One of  the most common responses I get is that eating healthy is too expensive and that it puts them off. I believe the issue here is that its often very easy to fall into gimmicks and diet myths that may lead you towards products or training sessions that might seem too costly. I must admit it is certainly scary to walk by the segregated ORGANIC section at the local supermarket. Some of those prices are so high that I’m expecting that aisle to be paved with gold soon enough.

The Reader’s perceived solution

Reader: oh great, he is probably going to say something cheese like ‘if you don’t make time for health you will be forced to pay with sickness’

Nervebullet: No not really *double plot twist** (Nervebullet is the M Night Shyamalan of fitness!)

Reader: Hey I’m the reader you can poke fun of yourself but not me!

Nervebullet: I’m sorry here is a picture of some uncooked Quinoa to make up for it.

The Solution: Now I do have quite a few points to cover with this issue however I want to also tie in the matter of perception again but at a different angle. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, since I’m actually quite upset that the guard killed mine in Assassins Creed Brotherhood so no joking about horses. I must point out that I find it ironic that it’s easy for many to claim that eating healthy is expensive however they are more then willing then to shell out a premium for fizzy drinks at any restaurant and do so on a regular basis.

  • If gym membership is too expensive, or too far or maybe you don’t enjoy the gym environment look into working out at home with a dvd. These have developed over the years so you no longer have to worry about staring at Richard Simmons in spandex if that’s not your thing. I’ve tried a variety over the years and my personal favorite is P90X. There won’t be a trainer to check on your form however Tony Horton really breaks down each maneuver to leave no room for mistakes as long as you concentrate and he even has modifications for those with injuries. One of his team members has a prosthetic leg so no excuses! Also the great thing with these workouts is that you don’t need to have expensive equipment for your home gym. Just a few dumbbells, a pull up bar that you can put up on your door or resistance bands, yoga mats and a towel to wipe your sweat. I will be covering the various products currently available in the market at a later post so hang tight! The beauty of these workouts is that they can last from 25 minutes to an hour depending on which product you go with and that time includes stretching and warm up. Some of these are great especially for people that have demanding jobs that require you to travel.
  • The healthy foods section probably requires a dissertation to cover so for now I’ll give you simple tips and will continue to tackle this with upcoming posts. Many of these so called healthy foods are expensive due to importing costs and advertising, and most are deceiving with the exact amount of nutrients that they include, amongst other marketing traps. To keep both you and your wallet healthy I strongly encourage a visit to your local farmers market. The price difference in comparison to store brought may shock you! Once I discovered the vegetable jackpot I hardly spend any money on fresh produce at the supermarket anymore.

Quick Fix: Go for a walk. I know it sounds simple and may seem unintuitive but if you do this six times a week you end the year having walked 9630 minutes. Now other then proving that I still have some math skills intact from high school *minimizes calculator app*, small steps like these will take you a long way, even if you end up just walking around your neighborhood. My awesome mother, whom I gain my inspiration and determination from has insane knee issues but still manages to go for a morning walk even though its indoors so regardless of the weather she is still committed. Little workout is better then none.

My horse before he was killed by the guard. I should have stuck with Barbie Horseriding...
My horse before he was killed by the Borgia guard. I should have stuck with Barbie Horseriding…

“OK so I put down the time and the money, Where is my six pack?!”

The Problem:

  • Your lack of patience
  • Your perception of a healthy body
  • Your understanding towards your dietary requirements and metabolism.

The Solution:

  • Putting on that blubber didn’t happen over night so don’t go feeling up your stomach for abs after one sit up (cc:Rthompson94) and one brown sandwich. When friends with personal fitness goals approach me, many surprise me at how little time they are giving their bodies to change ‘I want to lose 10 kilos by X date’. Their X date happens to be their wedding. And their wedding happens to be next month. You need to give your body time to adapt to the changes both at the gym and on the dinner table. Imagine if you stuck with this since January 1st 2013, how different would you be today?
  • If you commit to your workouts for long enough you begin to realize that it is not just the physical aspects that change. Endorphins and dopamine start whizzing around your body and you didn’t even have to resort to drugs*. Your energy levels spike up, you are more productive at work and you are more attentive in preventing guards from killing your virtual horse.      One of my inspirations is Rick Wyckoff, who runs the instagram account @can_rick . Rick battled extreme overweight issues and although he currently has loose skin, he openly describes the mental and emotional benefits after eliminating the excess weight and acknowledges that his current condition will always triumph what he once was. 

*Nervebullet discourages the use of drugs. Unless said drug is made of Qunioa*

**Nervebullet regains the following of the females that unfollowed him previously for mocking their love for Qunioa

  • Have you ever starved yourself only to eventually binge and gain the weight you lost and then some? Or have you decided to jump on the gluten free fad, only to overeat gluten free substitutes that are high in calorie,sodium and fat? These actions hold your metabolism at gunpoint due to the extremities of either choice. This does not just apply to fitness newbies. There are many bodybuilders (especially those that enter competitions) who destroy their metabolic rate by insanely decreasing their calorie intake and end up suffering in the long run. If you have a variety of fitness accounts on your social feed you will see many former ‘clean eaters’ who struggle with unexpected weight gain during the off season due to a stint in their metabolic rate. Spend more time understanding nutrition and don’t rely on fads or quick fixes on your way to a healthier you. The ideal diet would be the one, which we don’t end up feeling that we are on a diet.

The recurring theme through all of these pitfalls seems to be a matter of perception, and if tackled with more persistence and equipped with greater knowledge of how nutrition affects your body you can raise your fitness and health levels to new heights. It’s a shame that some may never get to see how much their body is truly capable of accomplishing. Learn to enjoy the process, as it is a very telling and humbling journey, one that solidifies the test of the human spirit. Being healthy, fit and happy requires you to remind yourself of your capabilities by accepting yourself as you grow and forgiving yourself when you fall short, and that this lifestyle is not reserved solely for athletes.

Do you have your own fitness pitfalls that you would like to share? If so comment box below, or tweet me on @nervebullet and I will do my best to push you through it! 🙂

Behind the Baseline

There are moments once captured by your mind, engulf your thoughts repeatedly. Vivid images creep up on me whilst I’m training in the gym or driving on the road. Championship point; a cross-court forehand smacked right into the net. The forehand belonged to me, and the match was now his.Taciturn in sound the soft thud as the net absorbs the vital yellow fuzz has now determined my fate, forever echoing in my memory.

You leave the court sore and disappointed, questioning why you put yourself through such agony. I awake the next day sore in places I’ve never felt pain before, I decide to shake the regret that has sunk its claws deep into my back still trying to hang on. The gear is on and I’m at the courts before 6 am practicing my serves getting ready for the next battle. How did I get here and why am I so hungry to win one? Did it really just take an Olympic match featuring James Blake and a read through his autobiography and miraculous comeback? Now it’s a life of break points, heart palpitations, cracked pavements, higher seeds, left-handers and floodlights. Ahhh That’s life within a 36×78 feet box.

Back in high school I studied hard to attain the best grades possible, however when it came to P.E. I was well below the mark. It wasn’t easy moving my 42’ waist around any field without feeling like my lungs were going to eject every organ out of my chest. Losing weight wasn’t easy, so why would winning a championship be? I based my life around training. My sleep, food and fitness schedule was all set up to get me in the best possible shape to reach another final, and this time come out swinging. All this never stopped the visions of the final point from haunting me. Years later I’ve reached finals and lost but none stung me like the first one. I was never really able to forgive myself until I reached the JCs Final in 2012.

Although haunted by my past, I realized through experience on the court that it wasn’t just physical stamina and shot making that leads you to the big win. You need to flex your mental muscle, something that doesn’t grow with the number of push-ups, but by envisioning a way forward, moving past the sinking feeling of regret, doubt and fear. Tennis is not a team sport. Your coach is not on the sideline giving you advice during the match. You are left alone in the middle of the court with nothing but a racket and heart in your hand as a hundred eyes feast on your every move; your every breathe and heartbeat almost audible as you go for a serve.

Today I look on Blake’s story through a different lens. I am now a champion who is trying to overcome injury and surgery while still motivating others to develop a healthy and active lifestyle. Some doctors have questioned my ability to return to the sport that has once breathed new life into me. Chondromalacia, I’ll give you a game and even a set, but this match is far from over.

Tennis = Flying
Tennis = Flying

Start Here

We have all been there, that first day in Ramadan where we are set on making it a beneficial month and convinced that this time around you will finally lose weight, that is until you are 12 hours down and Mommy dearest shows up with dripping machboos*1 and sugar loaded Vimto, all of a sudden all your plans go to hell. Does this version of your new moon resolution sound about right?

*1Machboos: Extreme portion of oil*2 on a dish enhanced with spoons of rice specifically designed to induce the phenomenon known as Balloon Belly.

*2size proportionate to create a swimming pool, that is if you like swimming in corn oil. I’m sure there is a new concept for tanning lotion in there somewhere.

This article will outline simple tips for starting out your weight loss process on the right track while helping you avoid the common pitfalls faced during this challenge.

Your tools

  • Dedication:

Getting in shape can’t be just a whim after seeing a shirtless dude run around in one of your favorite TV shows. You need to evaluate your reasons for getting yourself into this. The first thing I ask anybody is why they are doing this, and I make sure that they are aware of it, because this may be the only factor that will keep you going so make it a good one.

  • Good Support Team:

You are changing the very fabric of your being, or at least the blubber surrounding your beautiful aura. Therefore you need to get your closest friends involved so they can cheer you on to the finish line. So go on call your gardener and tell him your plans. If you don’t have a garden then go talk to the dude at the cold store I’m sure he will be more than happy to stop selling you Coke and Twix.

  • Do Your homework!:

Some of the diets I’ve heard of really make me laugh as they are nothing but torture and yield zero results. Someone (I won’t tell them its you Aunty) once actually told me that their breakfast was a bunch of dates and a cup of coffee. Excellent, you’ve gained absolutely nothing by doing this. You might as well have dressed up in pink fuzz and plastered ‘energizer’ on you on your way to work, but it’s a shame you will only be that way for about 10 minutes. Some of these myths are absolutely ridiculous!

Mistakes

  • Peer-pressure:

There is no way you will get effective results if you keep listening to your peers who insist that you should have ‘just one bite’ of something they are trying. That’s why the good support team highlighted above is required. These little cheats add up, and alter your insulin levels, metabolism and everything you’ve ever worked on. Working out to pig out on junk simply doesn’t work. This is a new you, and those around you need to understand that and accept your seriousness in adapting this new lifestyle.

  • Giving up too quickly:

You are going to be doing things you normally haven’t done before, so of course your body is going to rebel at first. Excuse me if the healthy sandwich you just had didn’t trim your waistline but your going to have to do this more than once if you want to see changes. It irks me when people tell me “Jee Mo, I tried going to the gym in the morning once before work but I just can’t do it”. Results don’t happen overnight folks, so you need to be aware of this and once you start, charge forward and ignore the signals that are telling you that this isn’t for you.

  • Setting the Bar too high:

 Easy there tiger. Just because the ‘steroid man’ sitting on the bench beside you is benching the weight of your bosses ego doesn’t mean that its okay for you to lift that much just yet (or ever, depending on your goals). This links to the crazy diets I mentioned above. Starving yourself is counter intuitive and only induced your body to go into catabolic state (bad for your muscles, metabolism and ends up dumping all your efforts in the trash can. Progression is key if you want to keep the weight off safely and forever (wedding vows much?)

Final thought:

Sometimes your gardener just isn’t around to cheer you through the last set. This is when you need to say “Hey (say your name here minus the explicative) get off your butt and do this!”. It is a human instinct to desire self-improvement*3, and two things usually happen when we want to make a change in our lives. We start with the highly inspired feeling when the resolution is first made, however when pressed against the wall, we begin to look nervously at the future and begin to doubt if we can actually attain our goals. It is at this moment that you need to be self-motivated as ever and keep moving forward. This is a journey where you need to distinguish the difference between excuses and results because you can’t have both.

*3grown men living in their mother’s basement*4 playing warcraft do not apply to this rule

*4 do we even have basements in Bahrain?

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