Exercise is not a choice.

It’s mid December, night lasts all day, the weather is cold and snowy then windy, warm, and cold again.  I’ve eaten 4 cookies today, two brownies yesterday, two cupcakes the day before, and another cupcake and multiple cookies the day before that.  I have a problem.

Short days, bad weather, and a poor diet is not the recipe for solid training and improved fitness.  Yet, I’m improving.

In two short weeks, nearly everyone will aspire to improve their fitness, lose weight, and look good in the mirror.  Now, after consuming Christmas cookies and attending holiday parties I’d say those goals are easy to attain, (everything is up once you reach bottom), and yet many will instead keep their new found cookie insulation for the duration of 2018 and beyond.  Don’t let this be you.

Earlier today, I tallied up my exercise for the year.  I ran somewhere around 1,300 miles over the course of 10,500 minutes, and just to prove I’m not a one trick pony, I biked another 240 or so miles in over 3,500 minutes.  (I apologize for the estimates, but I only keep track of minutes, so I use division and estimated pace to come up with a mileage estimate.)

To some, these numbers are great, others would deem them pathetic; the total isn’t my point, but rather, how I’ve gotten back on track.  You see, I accomplished those numbers, while doing nothing for the month of October.  The calendar lists two bike rides as my only physical activity for the month.  Everyone deserves an off-season right?

The strategy I used to get back on track, is one in which others can use to meet their goals for the new year.  I simply made daily exercise my default option, meaning everyday I was going to workout, there was no choice.  I don’t choose to go to work each day any more then I choose whether or not to breath, I just made exercise one of life’s essential functions.

It’s really that easy, I no longer have to worry about being tired because it doesn’t matter.  If I don’t get out of bed in the morning, I’ll be out there in the evening; when faced with that choice at 5:30am, the choice is easy.  Weather can’t stop me, it just changes the way I dress.  Its too dark, I wear a headlamp.  I want to see my kids, I go before they get up, or after they go to bed.  Tomorrow is never today’s choice.

Instead of choosing to exercise I have to choose not to, and I’m only allowed this option once per week, even this isn’t really an option, but rather an excuse to be used in emergency’s so as not to label an entire week a failure due to one bad day.  Last week, I didn’t get a workout in on Tuesday, my choice for rest being exhausted for the week, I’ve been out there every day since including single digit wind chill on Wednesday, late Friday evening after an hour plus commute due to snow, and again Saturday before sunrise.  In what was a challenging week weather wise – I missed one of the most comfortable days – weather may be an inconvenience, but its not an excuse.

If you want to achieve your fitness goals in the new year then eliminate exercise as a choice.

Ashley is a health and PE teacher, coach, and athlete.  If you need help reaching your fitness goals contact him and he can help you get back on track.



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