The Three Keys To Overcoming Fitness Challenges

The struggle to get in shape and keep the weight off is daunting, especially if you’re like me. Fitness goals are challenging enough without having to deal with difficulties like health, time management, lack of confidence, or lack of energy. There are always new limits to be conquered in the gym, even if you’ve been going there for a while. How, therefore, should we put this into context?
Just that, says Spina Bifida Association’s executive liaison Tom Turner: a shift in perspective. As an additional bonus, he claims that there is no peak too lofty to conquer. The only person who would know is Tom. His spinal cord was severed at birth, leaving him paralysed from the waist down. He is now 35 years old and trains about three times per week. As a matter of fact, he tells me he absolutely needs physical activity in his life.
So, I sat down with Tom to get the last word on breaking through fitness hurdles, and we came up with these three fundamental concepts to assist people overcome their inhibitions and achieve their fitness objectives. (If he is able to maintain a regular workout routine, shouldn’t it inspire others to do the same?)
The Number One Rule: Take a Step Into Your Fears.
Tom advises me to “train your mind to believe that no mountain is too high or any objective is too difficult to reach.” It’s all about facing your anxieties head on and dealing with them squarely. The goal of this guideline is to help you identify and confront your anxieties so that you can ultimately overcome them. You might want to reflect on what it is that makes you feel uneasy. Are you worried about getting back into shape after a long period of inactivity? Does your fear of your body stem from a past injury? If you have the ability to imagine positive outcomes, you can control your anxiety. Envision yourself in your ideal form. Keep in mind that your body is capable of flawless healing because it loves you. Only listen with faith.
The question is: “What is your body telling you?”
The second tenet is to believe in your gut.
Understanding how to listen to the quiet guidance of your body is crucial when learning to push past limitations and into new realms of possibility. Most of the time, it’s reassuring to have someone lay down the law and tell you what you can and can’t do. But the ultimate truth is something we must discover for ourselves. While the approval of others certainly matters, the final say must rest within each individual.
Consider how you feel when confronting a difficult situation. What do your gut feelings suggest? Quite often, it’s nothing more than following your gut that’ll shift your perspective and bring you to a higher level of awareness. Tom says to me, “I wasn’t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way.” According to him, he simply needed to shift his outlook on the situation. He states that he had to identify his limitations before setting limits for himself. He reassures me, “We all have boundaries.” It doesn’t matter if someone is able to walk or not; challenges are as individual as they are. In other words, it’s important to establish your limits initially.
Tom then explains that his ultimate goal is to reach that level of excellence. I start by aiming as high as I can within my current capabilities. I give myself as much time as I need to reach each mini-goal, whether it’s an increase in the number of sets, the number of reps, or the duration of my workouts. Each time I take baby steps toward a large objective, I’m amazed at how quickly I can get there.
Third, Do not go gently into that good night.
So, what should we make of apprehension? I was curious. What if we face our fears head-on by stepping into them? So, I finally asked Tom, “Are you ever scared?” “ He explains, “I’ve had 19 operations, so I’ve learned to deal with my fear.” Ultimately, it all boils down to a dread of dying. Realizing that your own death is part of a larger divine plan frees you to focus on making the most of your life in the here and now. I stopped worrying about dying and started deciding how to live my life.
What, then, should we remember? The more I talk to Tom, the more I think of Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It fits very well with the context. The takeaway message is that it is difficult to fully live when we are constantly worried about the future. Tom often encourages me to keep a good mental attitude, telling me, “Life is all about attitude.” Furthermore, he admits that he has the ability to give in to his fears, but he chooses not to. He finally comes to a conclusion: “I wouldn’t want to miss being a part of tomorrow.” So, what exactly are you afraid of? The moment to face them is now.
Last but not least, Life Outside the Box.
What happens once you’ve conquered your fears and reached your limits? I was curious. With a grin on his face, Tom speaks. Find another peak to conquer, he advises. This is what makes living worthwhile. Yes, there are factors that I need to think about. As the time comes for my braces to be adjusted, I anticipate that there will be days when I need to stay in bed and rest. When I have time alone with my thoughts, that’s when I decide on my goals.
Author’s Note: Tom is my brother, so naturally he is my inspiration in my quest to push the limits of what is possible. Sadly, the media is often our go-to for this information, but it can be misleading. Just look about you—you’ll see that “genuine” individuals are making a difference all across the world. Study their mistakes. Pick a person whose qualities and principles you respect and admire. Strive for the stars, conquer the world! Set your goals in motion and take pleasure in the positive changes that will follow.