It’s actually an overdue piece I have wanted to write for my 3 year mark since I started regular exercise, about 2 months overdue. But I am glad I am jogging it down right now. And this is one of the many life rules I have learned from my gym work, ‘It’s better late than never.’ For most of us, it’s never too late to pick up a hobby or make changes to our life. I was once that person who believed it’s only natural to gain additional weight after giving births. But after months of consistent exercise and diet, I see the changes in myself. And I see the same happening in other people as well. Not only have I changed my body shape, also my strength has improved a lot. I was once the person who complained about women cannot do pull-ups, and naturally have a heavier lower body and weaker upper body. I even took effort to look for theoretical articles to support my argument. And, only after the coach kept pushing and consistent exercises, oh god I proved myself wrong by being able to do over 10 strict pull-ups in a row. Also, as I aged, I have never imagined I can gain back the energy level as my teen age. Not to mention better. And then I did it at the age of 34 and better every day. Since then I have gained confidence that if I can do the once my belief of ‘impossible’, with a strong will, laser focus and discipline, I can make other life changes as well.
Lesson number 2, how we live our life is determined by ‘priorities’, or in other words, it’s determined by the choices we made every single day. It is so easy to say, ‘I don’t have time for exercise’, or ‘I don’t have the time and energy to develop a new hobby’ etc. But after all, it is all about ‘how badly we want it’. We in this world all have the same 24 hours every day. It is what we choose to do that makes the difference. Work and kids sometimes can be unpredictably hectic. But most of the time, it follows a routine, and we can prioritize what we like to do around it. For me, staying healthy and active is on the top of my list. No matter how busy the schedule can be, I will try my best to carve out time for exercises. If it’s down to I have to get up early at 5am, I will do it. If I can only squeeze in 20 minutes of free time, I will do a short HIIT session. If I cannot find my alone time for gym/running, I will do some burpees while kids were doing their homework, or I will run around the playground perimeter while kids are playing. Excuses are just excuses. If we can find time to browse internet, or idly looking at our phone screens, we can find time to exercise. It is just a personal preference.
Lesson number 3, changes don’t happen overnight. They only happen gradually. Sudden changes don’t stay. We need to have patience to see the changes, or to let a new habit kick in. So for exercise, we cannot amp up our exercise volume too quickly, otherwise, we will pay a price by either being too fatigue to keep going, or worse, having an injury. For diet, we cannot rush to see the 5 lb difference in 1 week by taking cleansing juices, cause those weight loss (usually water loss anyway) don’t stay. Most of time, it came back, or even worse, brought back more weight after coming back to a normal diet. If such magic exists, everyone in this world will not worry about weight problems. And, in order to see real changes, hard work is a must. For example, in order to change career, we need to invest hundreds of hours of study, if not in thousands, in the new field, talking to people, finding opportunities, establishing contacts, etc. In order to gain master knowledge in any field, 10,000 hours (theory from book ‘Outlier’ authored by Malcom Gladwell) of deliberate practice is needed. And no matter how much passion is there, the process is guaranteed not 100% fun. Patience, a lot of it, is needed for the change to happen.
Lesson number 4, consistency matters. It’s easy to say, but sometimes, it’s so easy to let it slip. Sometimes, letting something slip does not matter that much, and we can probably get by for a lot of life chores. But gym work is different. Diet too. If you miss gym sessions for a week or two, your body will know it. Your strength level will know it. And your energy level will know. All of a sudden, the weight you can lift drops, the arms and legs and abs become soft, and the training volumes drops. For runners, the pace drops, and the distance once considered a bliss now becomes a nightmare. The realization of the reality sucks, but it’s the truth of life. Our body is being so honest with us, and we better make it up for the missed session before it’s too late.
So, life is hard after all, and we only get to live it once. Here are the rules I now live by and try to make the most out of it. I am enjoying the ride so far, and hope you do the same.