Alice asks the Cheshire Cat: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” replies the Cat.
“I don’t much care where…” says Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the Cat interjects.
“... so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice adds.
“Oh, you're sure to do that, if you only walk long enough,” the Cat deduces.
If you don’t know where you need to go, simply going might be fine enough. The needed path though might differ from the wanted one. In this blog post, we’d like to get you to start thinking about considering what is needed in your fitness path, not just what is wanted.
Our first disclaimer: when it comes to being active, moving is better than not. If you’re getting those 10,000 steps in, you’re doing well. That might just be what is needed! Are you parking a little farther away from the store’s entrance, encouraging yourself to walk more? Are you getting some lunges in between Zoom meetings? Kudos to you; you’ve chosen a path, Alice. You’re on your way.
Here’s a tip: measure your waist. You might need to lose weight, but don’t become dependent on what your scale tells you. Shrinking the circumference of your waist is a great indicator of improved health. You have a first data point to inform the next path you should take.
Our next tip: Assess where you are. Knowing where you are will help inform where you need to go. Measure your waist. Know your current step count. Time how long it takes you to run a kilometre. You can follow the latest fitness app, or get on the latest fad diet - and they will help - but they might not be what is needed. Build a picture of what your health is today, so you know tomorrow what path to take. Assessment gives you a clear map for which Cheshire Cat path you ought to take.
Another tip: when you’ve learned where you need to go, get on the path like an athlete. “Workout” like you’re training. We have a tendency to think, “If I’m not sore tomorrow, it doesn’t count.” That might work in the short-term, but it tends to lead to burnout. An athlete is in it for the long game and typically many games! It might be useful to think of not “working out” per se - unless you need to work something out (e.g., stress)! Rather, train like an athlete. Have easy days. Have hard days. Have way more of the former than the latter. And aim at something.
Do today what you could again do tomorrow. Enjoy the pursuit of excellence.
And finally: Here’s a tip that suits just about every person living in modern times (read: sits too much). Strengthen your posterior: your glutes, your backside, those muscles between your shoulder blades. This is likely one of your needed goals. The muscles that run the back half of you turn off when you’re sitting (which is logical as a chair is meant to support you so your bones and muscles don’t have to). But the consequence is not having the strength and mobility that correlate with a long and healthy life. If you haven't chosen the long and healthy path, the Cheshire Cat might say, “Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
To put a Christmas bow on this, in summary:
Follow a path that is informed by assessing where you are and what you need to do.
Train like an athlete: seek mastery.
Strengthen what is weak (likely your backside).
And most importantly, given the month in which you’re reading this, Merry Christmas! May your holiday season be full of love, laughter, and active days with friends, family, and neighbours.
Steven & Marisol