They say that the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.  This is never so true as it is with exercise.  No matter where you want to go or what you want to acheive, the first thing that you have to do is get started.  This, coincidentally is also generally the hardest step for people to take.  The thing with exercise is that once you get going, and rolling, you build some momentum.  Acheive a goal or two and really get into it.  But if you never start, then you are stuck.  The biggest thing that gets in the potential exerciser’s way is their imagination.  We worked with a client this week who has not worked out with a trainer in 5 years.  So, understandably, the workout is going to be pretty simple and basic.  No need to cripple those who are willing, but just not capable, right?  But no.  She wants to work “outside the box, like they do on Biggest Loser.”  Simple push ups are hard for this person, and she wants to do burpees and tow trainers by cables?  C’mon.  Bottom line is not to let your apspirations get in the way of your progress.  I guess the point of the story is that this is not all that uncommon.  The general population will go to the gym with all of these big dreams and goals.  And an abnormally short time-frame.  Then, when they don’t work out as planned, they get frustrated and quit.  End of story.  The easiest way to get yourself moving is to set a goal (or two or three).  Just make sure that they are going to help your progress, not hinder it.  A good guideline is to set what we, in the industry, call SMART Goals.

S – Specific.  the worst goal is a vague goal.  How are you going to know when you get there?  Be as specific as possible.

M – Measurable.  If you cannot measure your progress, then you have nothing to compare your success to down the road.

A – Attainable.  Just make sure your goal is within your capabilities.

R – Realistic.  This is one that many struggle with.  I want to lose 20lbs is a legitimate goal.  I want to lose 20lbs by July 4th is not.  Realistic goals (in regards to weight) deal in 1-2 pounds per week (not per day).  Now that may not seem like much, but if you do the math that could be 6-10lbs per month and over 50 lbs per year.  Now those are results you can live with!  Anything above and beyond that is a lot of water and lean tissue mass, neither of which you are looking to deprive your body of.

T – Timely.  Don’t be afraid to set a time limit.  It is imperative to success.

Now once you set a goal, the next step is getting there.  Focus on the process.  There will be things here and there that are out of your control.  Don’t let them get you down.  You will have setbacks.  It’s OK.  Weight loss and exercise are an up and down process, just like anything else.  Jobs, family, life.  They are not all peaches and sunshine, right?  It’s a process.  But the best thing you can do is MOVE!  Even if it’s just a walk today, it’s better than sitting with the Edy’s and a spoon feeling sorry for yourself.  If you lack the motivation and accountiblility (which most do), workout with a friend.  Misery loves company, right?  My suffering isn’t so bad if you’re suffering with me.  If all else fails, hire a trainer.  Even if it’s just for a little while or just for a kickstart.  I just happen to know a few.  The bottom line is to get going, America.  We are fatter than ever before and it’s not getting any better.  And even worse, it’s spreading to the next generation of fat Americans.  It’s our job to not only be accountable to ourselves, but those that look up to us, as well.  Be an example of effort and progress.  Your body and somebody else just might thank you for it.