Although sprinting does help from time to time, getting fit is a marathon and not a sprint.
The level of expectation
As a personal trainer, one of the main things I come up against is the level of expectation. New clients ask after a matter of weeks why they haven’t lost a certain number of pounds, or why they can’t suddenly complete 10 push ups in a row when they couldn’t do more than two a week or so earlier.
It’s a level of expectation which is driven by two factors – a culture which expects everything NOW, and fitness articles/magazines that claim that this new workout/diet/fad will give you ‘a six pack in six weeks’.
Getting fit is a long process
Real fitness doesn’t come in six weeks. Or eight. Or even twelve. Getting fit is a long process of consistent work and self-improvement. It might not be as attractive as the idea of a six week program to get your perfect ‘beach body’, but it’s the truth of it.
Two of the first things I try to establish with new clients are their level of commitment, and the realism of their goals. Ideally, I would recommend having two main goals. One long term goal (to reach and maintain a certain weight, body fat percentage or body shape for example) and one short term goal which will help start that journey.
By keeping the long term goal in mind, but focusing on the short term improvement, you can keep yourself properly motivated.
You’re hitting small targets every few weeks, while getting closer to your ideal level of fitness.
To use the marathon analogy, thinking about the full 26.2 miles can be quite daunting. But if you focus on one mile at a time, one kilometer at a time – even one step at a time – you’re constantly getting further from the start line, and closer to the end game.
And, if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, it’s not important how quickly you reach your finish line – it’s just important to get there.