Let’s talk fitness goals.

My last blog post, Is Your Comfort Zone Hindering Your Fitness Goals?, discussed expanding your comfort zone to help optimize your fitness. Making little steps to re-frame your thoughts on fitness isn’t easy at first, but in time becomes easier and easier.

But what happens if you can’t quite muster the courage, energy or desire to do that? I think about Richard.

I met Richard about three and a half years ago. He started as a massage client and later added personal training sessions to his repertoire. I was a pretty new massage therapist at that time. During most massage appointments, people just laid there and said very little. Not Richard.

He immediately began asking me questions and relating stories about his life. This went on for 60 minutes and afterwards he booked a 90 minute massage for the following week.

Every week, for YEARS I gave him a massage. We became friends — He was like a Dad to me (don’t tell him that).

He gave advice and told of stories of the “good ol’ days” when he lived on a farm in Minnesota. He told me of his days as a teenager when he water skied, worked on the farm and was — as most of us felt— invincible. He spoke of his house in Massachusetts and how he loved to make things in his workshop. How he would plow the snow off of the driveway in the winter and use a chain saw to take down trees during the summer. He was a very active person his entire life.

Until he wasn’t.

Although he was always plagued by what a lot of massage therapists call “the most rigid muscles they’ve ever worked on,” his issue was getting worse. A lot worse.

He started to shuffle when he walked, endured tremendous back pain and dealt with his ever-stiffening muscles. All too soon going to the workshop to do his projects was a chore in and of itself. The things he loved to do were becoming impossible. Heck, even walking was beginning to be a hardship.

What does Richard have to do with a fitness comfort zone?

Well I, like many fitness professionals, love working out. The pressure of “looking the part” keeps a lot of us accountable even when we aren’t quite feeling it. In my blog post “I Struggle Too” I wrote about the trouble I sometimes have to stay motivated and on track. I end the post by saying that the only difference between me and you is that I have developed some habits to keep me on the right track — If I fall off, these habits get me right back on.

And that is where Richard comes into play.

On the days that I am finding every excuse in the book to not workout because I’m too tired, too busy, not feeling it, want to work on a blog post, want to hangout on Facebook, my thoughts turn to Richard.

Here I am, this completely able-bodied 40-year-old with very few medical issues, and I’m spending so much energy coming up with excuses not to move. A privilege that Richard no longer has.

I mentally whine that I don’t want to run a mile — Really Anne? Don’t you think Richard would give anything to have a body that can do that again? Don’t you think he would love to feel the rush of the wind as he runs on the beach or the burning of his muscles as he completes the last reps of a demanding exercise? I think so.

We all have a Richard. Someone who is unable to do the very thing that we are working so hard NOT to do. I’m not saying it always works, but by reframing my thoughts about exercise or movement, to think of it as a privilege instead of punishment, gives me a little extra kick in the pants to get moving.

Honestly, we really don’t know when that privilege will be taken away — and in one way or another, it WILL be taken away.

But until then I’m going to make the most of what I have so I can live a long and healthy life.

One Comment

  • Great! This reminds me of my Grandpa Roberts and going to the creek. He LOVED it down there, but as he got older, just getting there made it nearly impossible, and like Richard, he longed for being able to race down the hill like back in the day. Thanks for your inspirational post. Tomorrow, I’m going to get up early and go for a run in honor of Grandpa Roberts…because you’re right, we never know when suddenly we wrong have what we do, so we need to take advantage of every day as a privilege.

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