Icy wind howled through the trees as I sheltered from the storm in my car. I had been contemplating a jog around the lake when my interest faded about as fast as the rain falling on my windscreen.

Excuses started to mount; bad sleep last night, still sore from yesterdays workout…..and was that a cold coming on? So I flagged it, and you know what? I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. An extra day off this week might even be good for me.

And as I confirmed my decision, a beginner exerciser trudged through the trees. “Honestly, if I stick to this #!** program for three weeks it will be a damn miracle!!!” Despite being soaked to the bone, she was enthusiastic to chat about how she was trying really hard to lose some weight in time for her daughter’s wedding, but hating every minute of it. I ushered a few encouraging words, but at the back of my mind I knew she would likely fall off the program in a couple of weeks if she didn’t tweak her motivational factors.

For starters, workouts are not meant to be a chore. Nor are they meant as a “quick fix” to erase years of inactivity. Exercise is a way of healthy life, and even if you’ve heard it all before, you may not fully believe the wealth of this statement until you have been exercising for at least six months.

Some fitness buffs have no desire to run up Grouse Mountain, will never turn heads in a swimsuit and are yet to find a sport they can stick to. But they feel great in the morning and can tackle anything their day may bring, with energy in reserve to chop firewood or walk into town. They can take an extra workout off sometimes, because chances are they will accumulate at least thirty minutes of activity in their day anyway – raking leaves, cleaning the house, biking to the store.

Efficient training cycles allow for changing lifestyles and seasons, adding variety to your workouts so you will never feel like letting it go completely. Because once you’re out of shape, it can be extremely difficult on the self-esteem and moral to face the whole process of the “jogging four minutes, walking four minutes” style of training. It’s easier to be blissfully unaware of the other side!

Functional fitness includes balance, postural alignment, free gait, flexibility, core strength, strength through varied movements, balanced nutritional intake, strong aerobic/anaerobic capacities and emotional stability. In translation: you need a training program that works your entire body through complete range of motion, working strong cross-training techniques in an environment that is ever changing. This could include consistent explosive leg power, hamstring stabilization, swimming, yoga, trail jogging, weight training, sprinting on the treadmill. Regular healthy meals and a happy personal life will complete the picture of overall fitness, without feeling too time-consumed with the whole fitness thing.

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