The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. – William James

by Mark Wolff

It is fascinating how ninety nine percent of the world’s population are so set in their ways and the biggest fear we face in life is actually change. The same is so true when it comes to physical activity. So many people are so resistant to certain types of exercise or methods of training, because they fear the worst, or they know better, they become so stuck in routine it becomes habitual.
A few weeks ago I taught a spinning class at Virgin Active. Right after the class one of the participants approached me and said, “I spin twice a day, 5 days a week, and I am really battling to lose weight”. I asked her if that was her goal (to lose weight), and her response was “well I want to be shapely, fit and lose weight”. Quite an output for a complicated recipe, I thought. It’s like wanting to bake a muffin, chocolate cake and loaf of bread all at once with the incorrect ingredients.

The strange thing is I hear this all the time. A friend of mine once said, the “Mens Health cover model looks amazing and guess what he does a marathon, mountain biking, adventure racing and is a medical doctor and so on”. I guess my point is, what is the cover models main goal, what is your main goal?

You cannot be good at everything, but you can definitely work towards something specific and you will get there a lot quicker. I am a triathlete, which requires three disciplines swimming, cycling and running. One cannot put focus into all three disciplines simultaneously and hope to achieve excellence for all three at once. It just does not work that way.
The same way that a bodybuilder won’t be a great athlete, an athlete will not be a great bodybuilder, because both require very different approaches.
So what steps do you need to take in achieving your ultimate goal? Firstly you need to decide on your goal, and work out how you are going to achieve it. My solid advice to you is to find an expert someone who really understands what’s required to help you achieve your goals and let them guide you to achieving it.
Personal training has grown significantly over the last few years, and it’s proven to be a successful motivator and results achiever for most people. Even as a competitive triathlete, I try to train with the best cyclists, swimmers and runners, in order to learn as much as I can and to be pushed as hard as I can. We all need a mentor or coach.

Secondly, do not be afraid of trying new things. Our bodies work in very complex ways, and the more understanding you have of  it’s mechanics the better you will be able to shape a training program around it. Spinning 5 days a week is not going to result in weight loss, shape and fitness simultaneously ;-).

Finally you need to monitor progress, change, adapt and change again.
A body bodybuilder cannot stick to the same routine for long periods of time, a muscle needs to be hit from all angles to bring out the best shape and growth. A swimmer does not just swim lengths up and down a swimming pool. There is focus on breathing, upper body and lower body strength, speed and endurance. The same goes for a runner and a cyclist.
Set realistic short and long term goals. Choose the correct path to get there.
Get proper professional advice and stick with the program, until you achieve the desired result. Good luck!

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1 comment

Rosie Kendal July 4, 2013 - 4:35 am

Great advice, thanks so much! I really enjoy reading your posts…they are always so practical, useful and informative.


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