In Part 1 of this post I discussed the foundation of the pyramid, Head/Heart, and Nutrition. This post will discuss the next three parts of the pyramid, Running, Fitness, and Goal Achievement. Before I go on, let me be clear, most people, including myself do not wait to be done with one level before moving on to the next, you are normally working in multiple levels at the same time, BUT, for your journey to be a sustainable one, it has been my experience that significant progress needs to be made in those first two areas. Head/Heart and Nutrition. Let’s see why.
The third level of the pyramid is running, and for good measure, throw in any cross training you do as well. When your head and nutrition isn’t right, these activities feel like chores and any progress that you make will most likely be slow. Imagine, if all you did was to start running without changing your mentality or nutrition. If you don’t believe that things can change and you’re showing up for your workouts after drinking past midnight with minimal sleep, and some junk food in your belly because you got the munchies, how do you think you’ll feel during your run? How do you think your body will recover without rest and good nutrition?
Yes, this is better than not running, but is it sustainable? How much will your fitness improve, and how fast? Will your runs ever get easier? If your progress is painstakingly slow and you don’t see any short-term results or perceive that things are getting better, you’ll probably quit.
The most important thing in regard to improving your fitness and having things start to feel easier, is consistency. To see results, you have to run three to five times a week consistently. And the best way to be consistent is to give your body the right fuel and rest it needs for workouts and recoveries.
Once you are running consistently and fueling properly, you will start to see and feel the gains in…
Your body’s ability to move and expend less energy or to move faster with the same amount of energy is how I’ll define fitness for the intents of this post. It’s a much bigger subject than that, but let’s keep this short and to the point. By progressing through the pyramid, your body will adapt to the workload and fuel that you are providing, and this will result in weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, better endurance and speed, and in many cases, like mine, lower cholesterol. I have also witnessed people with type two diabetes come off of their medications. (Disclaimer, I am not a physician, I am relaying information based on personal observations. Always consult a physician.)
Those are many of the physiological benefits, so how do they show up in a practical way? You don’t lose your breath when you walk up the stairs, you can run/walk further without feeling as lethargic, you can run faster, you feel better and feeling better means you will be more productive. My experience has been that not only have I been more productive in my workouts, but I have been more productive all around because I simply have more energy.
Finally, many of the people that I have profiled have battled depression and anxiety, and every single one thus far has told me that running is the best anti-depressant they have come across. Again, I am not a physician, but if you do some research on this, you will see that there is a lot of support that running and being fit helps with our mental fitness as well.
You’ve progressed through the pyramid, you have your head straight, you’ve improved your nutrition, you are running consistently, and you have felt and seen a noticeable improvement in your fitness. Awesome job! So now what? Well, if you have done all of these things, you are probably in a position where many of your goals are now attainable or at least within reach! Want to lose weight? I guarantee if you are doing all of these things, your body will transform. Want to run a half marathon? This will definitely put you on the path. Trying to run a sub 25 minute 5k? You can now attack those speed workouts and take a legitimate shot at it.
Look, I know these are just words, but this is EXACTLY the process that I used, and many of the people who have accomplished similar goals have used to do it. Three years ago, I was 330 pounds, drinking alcohol, eating crap food, and struggling to get out of bed every day. Today I get up hours before work to run nine miles to start my day and I’ll run a marathon for training on the weekend. Your goals don’t need to be that, what’s the right word? CRAZY! But just getting healthier, feeling better, and moving everyday will work miracles. Trust me. You can do this and if you want help, contact me. That’s what I’m here for.
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