You have probably already heard that Ireland will be the most obese country in Europe by 2030.
We are not wholeheartedly to blame for this, however, it is not completely beyond our control.
For millennia, our bodies, by design, have sought to expend as little energy as possible and remain in a relatively constant or stable state of energy expenditure in an effort to preserve life (also, our ancestors were a LOT more active)
It was established in the mid-1800’s that this stable state (known as homeostasis) is a pre-requisite for good health . However, this ‘stable state’ does not entail a constant state of health; rather as close as is possible to. By definition, homeostasis is a variable – that is to say, no physiological state can be constant (e.g. why our weight, hydration and energy levels fluctuate), and why illness results if the internal environment of the body overshoots in either direction to any significant degree.
So, how is it that we find ourselves on a path to such an ominous future?
Convenience and Comfort, that’s how.
Convenience and Comfort in our daily life, our daily routine, our daily habits. Like I mentioned above, our bodies will literally seek the easiest way out at every opportunity.
As I write this post, just this past Tuesday, my day ran a little longer than anticipated and I found myself standing across from the shop down the road from my house for a solid 2 minutes before practicing willpower and headed for home – the result: I felt so much better after eating healthy and even had the energy to make some protein pancakes for desert afterwards!
Read: Coach Craig's Blog 'Meet Will Power' here
My point here is we all have this internal willpower and it has actually been proven that our own beliefs affect how we perceive how much self-regulation (i.e. willpower) we have .
So, why do we wait?
If we all have this hereditary willpower, how come we don’t use it? Because we are focused on the outcome instead of the process. 90% of the time we focus on "how I am going to lose weight" instead of "how am I going to lose weight".
We also seem to have this innate belief that everything will be done in the magical land of tomorrow; which from the Job et al.’s 2010 article , beliefs as we understand them, are not an inborn, they are learned; and what is learned can be unlearned.
“There will never be a point in your life,
where it is the right time to do a great thing"
– Eric Thomas
OK, I’m ready, what do I have to do to change?
There are two processes here you need to understand.
Cognitive (i.e. your thoughts)
Behavioural (i.e. your actions)
#1 Increasing knowledge:
Every expert was once a beginner, don’t beat yourself up because you don’t know what to do. Consider what being active or inactive means to you.
#2 Being Aware:
Do you understand the risks of inactivity? Not just know of them from the media, but what it actually means for you? We are all individual, so not everyone will benefit the same from the same exercise
#3 Understand the benefits:
You don’t need me to yap on about the benefits of regular exercise, chances are if you are reading this, you already know the benefits and are wondering how to get started
#4 Caring about consequences
Speak to your family and friends to understand how your current activity level might be affecting them. Oftentimes we forget that we are not the only ones who care for our own health and wellbeing, just as we care for the health and wellbeing of our closest friends and family
You don’t have to do the exercise programme that your brother, your sister or your neighbor did. Find what works for you, remember our second point – everyone is individual and will respond differently to different training methodologies
#6 Substituting Alternatives
The first stage of change in the Behavioural process, is to understand there will be barriers. Don't let them stop you, if something doesn't work for you, there is always an alternative.
#7 Enlisting Social Support
Find others who support your behavior, as the famous saying goes “Surround yourself with like-minded people”. Hang out with people who support your new behaviour, and more importantly will keep you on the right track if and when things go wrong.
#8 Making plans
Make sure you have clear and realistic goals, such as, performing your first push up, chin up or muscle up. Then, design action steps to take to get there.
#9 Reward yourself
Make a personal contract with yourself, that when you reach your goal you will reward yourself in a healthy way. For example, purchase new training gear or a weekend away. Enjoy it and then get right back on track.
Once you reach your goal do not assume that is it. Set yourself a new goal and leave yourself small reminders around the place like pictures of your favourite motivational quote by the light switch or mirror; somewhere you will see it everyday. Create your favourite songs to listen to while you train, these things will help you habituate your new behaviour
So, what are you waiting for?
“The clock is ticking…are you becoming the person you want to be?”
 Widmaier, E.P., Raff, H., & Strang, K.T. (2014). Vander's Human Physiology. McGraw-Hill.
 Job, V., Dweck, C. and Walton, G. (2010). Ego Depletion--Is It All in Your Head?: Implicit Theories About Willpower Affect Self-Regulation. Psychological Science, 21(11), pp.1686-1693.
Brian is the Head of Membership and Staff Development at Fitter Faster Stronger. A
holder of a BSc. in Exercise Management from University College Dublin and NCSA recognised Strength and Conditioning Coach, Brian's philosophy is simple; "The Mind is the Limit".
If you would like to learn more about Brian, You can check out his profile here:
Team FFS - Brian
or follow him on Instagram @brianbren