As a child, the neighborhood kids and I would play baseball, football, tag, king of the hill and a hundred other activities that kept us moving. Not once did we think of these activities as anything but fun. It didn’t occur to us that riding bikes to the beach was exercise. We didn’t plan out our days around fitness programs, we simply played and stayed fit because of it, whether we knew it or not. Our mindset regarding fitness was doing things we enjoyed and that is a powerful tool we can harness as adults.

When you think about fitness, what comes to mind? If you have a negative mindset you may envision the physical and mental discomfort you experience while doing an infinite set of burpees. If you have a positive mindset, you might look forward to getting your sweat on with friends and basking in the comradery, euphoria and sense of accomplishment you feel after. The positive mindset in this case is enjoying the journey. I personally enjoy a game I call “Beat Last Week’s Workout.” I do this by keeping a training log so I can always see what I’m trying to beat whether it’s by weight or by repetitions.

So… why is a mindset important to your fitness journey? Obviously, if you view exercise as a dreaded chore, you are less likely to perform it and are more likely to be inconsistent or even give up entirely. It’s important to understand that most of what we do in the fitness realm is by choice. For example, if I were trying to lose bodyfat, binge-watching a series on Netflix while consuming ice cream is clearly not in sync with my goal. I have made a choice. What I am saying is, “This activity is more important to me than my fitness goals.” We need to accept responsibility for our actions or inactions and take control of our lives in order to find success.

Changing your mindset is not necessarily an easy thing to do. You have to be proactive and realize it’s a process without much instant gratification. A big piece of the fitness journey is seeking out activities that you enjoy whether it’s a class, a sport, a hike and making them a consistent habit. If you are playing like a child, you’ll have that golden mindset!

(Article written by Jay Grove, Medical Fitness Specialist)