Fitness, Intuitive Training and The Art of Not Doing

An alternative approach for those people who know they should be doing something, or more, but just can’t seem to get going or keep going.

The answer to sustainable improved fitness usually lies mainly in the mind and not the body. The body being an extension of the mind. Let me offer you a couple of examples from a program I run called The Art of Not Doing ©

The first is that “less is more”. Fitness begins in the mind, in our mental attitude towards ourselves, to physical activity, to how we reward ourselves. If, for example you feel that exercise is a necessary evil and something you should do, but the reality is that you find it hard and unrewarding and really would prefer to sit back after work and unwind with a glass of wine at the end of the day, then signing up at the gym is unlikely to be the right thing at this time. Only when your mind actually believes that there is a greater reward, or benefit in heading for the gym than opening up your favoured Riesling will you find yourself making that choice without struggle.

Good visualisation techniques will help to instil the right positive associations of reward in your mind so that the pay-offs of doing your fitness regime are perceived mentally as greater than the pay-offs of your current behaviour. That may sound like psycho jargon, but its really just common sense and a little self awareness that is required.

In the same way, if your workouts are gruelling slogs where you are doing battle with a reluctant body and gritting your teeth longing for the end of the session, then this too is not going to be sustainable in either short or long term. One way to combat this is to use the mind again and do the work mentally before you strap on your running shoes or head for the health club. I encourage Intuitive Training… that simply means do what you really feel like doing… (No not lying down in front of your wide-screen with a DVD and a six-pack of frosties.) I mean let’s say that you have decided that raising your heart rate to 60-70% of its maximum for a sustained 20 minutes 3-4 times a week is the level you will be happy with. Then…. Be creative and think of all the ways you might do that. What is the most fun way you could do that? OK I sense some of you may have become a little too creative…. What I mean is that if you have a gym program but you don’t feel like going, then maybe today is a day for the bike, go for a fast walk, or just take a couple of your favourite exercises and only do those….leave the rest…its really not that important… what is important is regularity and a positive mental association with yourself and your fitness lifestyle. Slow and steady wins the race.

Now here’s a twist for dealing with those tough days … and this really works……… when you are doing Intuitive Training do only 70% of the time you normally allocate to your fitness. You will be surprised at how your body reacts to being told that it has to stop early….and wait till next time……. Suddenly the mind which was so reluctant to get started is now saying… hang on I’m enjoying this… cant I do a little more. By leaving before your body is tired, you store up the desire to get going with your next session. It’s like leaving the meal table while still a little bit hungry…… you can’t wait for the next meal!

Fitness as a way of life is about self knowledge and self awareness. No one is more of an expert on you than you! By all means tap the skills and knowledge of the fitness and health professionals…. But when it comes to looking after you….. Take responsibility…. Take control.

The Art of Not Doing © is a lifestyle approach that helps you get more of what you want with less effort.