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How To Get In Great Shape

Subtitle: Pete Edwards, Thrive Health Management Ltd.
Excerpt: The behavioural secrets behind building unbreakable and enjoyable fitness habits.

Achieving good physical fitness and the physique that goes along with it is on many a wish list. But few people really manage to weave effective fitness practices into their lives. Poor will power, busy lives, and too many commitments (kids, career, etc) are among the common reasons given. Certainly, the advice to maintain good fitness levels for health and longevity, let alone waistline, seems straight forward to understand but hard to implement. 

But maybe there is a different way of looking at this. Instead of seeing people as lazy, ill-disciplined, and leading hectic lives, we should instead consider that we are in fact not very good at getting people to change their behaviour. Many a personal trainer can get someone who already exercises regularly to train more effectively. But not many programs successfully take beginners, or sedentary people, and turn them into fitness enthusiasts. Luckily, we are starting to uncover a better way.

If you like the idea of being fit and loving exercise, but know that this is not yet who you are, heed this; 

You should be training every single day!

Now, I can hear some protests. “Wait a second. Surely I cannot go from nothing to training every day right away!”. I hear you, stick with me, all will become clear. 

There are three overlapping obstacles hindering you from building a strong fitness practice and getting into great shape. Firstly, you don’t like exercise for its own sake. Secondly, and partly because of this, you experience a great inertia against forcing yourself to exercise, even when you know you “should”. 

Lastly, each and every time you intend to train you have to exert a huge mental effort and mobilisation of will power to do so. The result is that you seldom exercise, or at least nowhere near as much as your “should”. This is cyclic. Lack of intrinsic motivation due to lack of pleasure from exercise leads to a lack of exercise due to inertia. Which leads to a lack of habit and a bigger effort required to engage in fitness. This isn’t very rewarding and lowers intrinsic motivation to do it again, diminishing the chances of habit formation, and increasing future inertia to engaging again.