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A lot of people romanticize the beginning of their fitness journey. They say “I’ve had enough of being overweight! Starting today I’m gonna change everything and become a new person!”
Then they promptly starve themselves and work themselves to the bone.
Obviously, a few weeks later they give up, making excuses like:
“Eating healthy is so expensive”
“I don’t have the energy for this” and
“You’re stronger than me, I just love [insert food here] too much, lol”.
Sacrifices for Fitness
Don’t fall into the trap – It’s not about the start. Anyone can start. Just like making a multi-million dollar startup, anyone can have an idea. What matters is how you execute and keep going. How you handle the challenges along the way. Let’s face it, it’s just not worth it to some people.
So, what is a fit and healthy lifestyle worth to you? Is it worth your time? Is it worth your money? Is it worth the pain? Is it worth losing friend and alienating people over? Let’s hash it out.
1. Is it worth your Time?
One of the excuses I made for years before starting my fitness journey was that I never had any time to be healthy.
Cooking takes time, and being slow at preparing the ingredients didn’t help. Not to mention exercising. I used to go to the gym and tell my trainer that I needed to be out in an hour. Eventually I couldn’t even find that hour.
But time is a funny thing. I’ve had 24 hours a day for years! I couldn’t even find an hour before but now I work out almost every day and I cook all the meals for the family, long food prep and all.
I even find the time to do other things as well. I meditate, I write these articles, I read, I plan and coordinate my business, I spend quality time with my wife, I take online courses and I watch my favorite shows.
I didn’t use cheat codes, we all have the same number of hours in a day.
What I did was determine the person I wanted to be. I want to help people lose weight and I want to finally have the body of my dreams. Once I figured that out, I mean really figured it out, I affirmed that there is no better time than now and I dedicate myself to this.
Then I started to ask my ideal self a few questions. If I had 24 hours a day and an 11 hour full-time job, what would I need to do to help people AND have the body of my dreams? Eventually, the answers came, and I became more efficient with my time.
Your answers might be different, but I need you to understand that your success in your goals is directly proportional to the amount of time you invest in it.
If you don’t decide that this is worth your time, you won’t stick with it, and nothing will change.
2. Is it worth your Money?
Eating healthy can sometimes seem expensive. I am not going to fight you on that. But I think part of the reason it seems that way is because we are consciously spending a lump sum each week (or each time we shop) on it versus smaller sums each time we buy a meal.
When I was eating out all the time, it seemed like the prices just didn’t compare. But a cheap meal for 2 for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day adds up to about the same or more than getting fresh food at the store regularly.
And so what if the prices are higher? When we talk about if this journey is worth your money, we are looking past the prices to see the value your investment provides.
Fast food may be cheaper, more convenient and may even be tastier (my food would be tastier too if I chocked it full of MSG and salt). But for your investment, your return is obesity, depression, shame and self-doubt, lack of energy and the list could go on. It’s a gift that keeps on taking.
What about the investment into eating healthy, getting a coach or a gym membership? The price might be high, but look at the value you get in return: confidence, peace of mind, energy to run marathons and climb mountains and success in all other areas of your life. How much would you pay for that?
For me it was priceless, how much is it worth to you?
You don’t need to get the most premium health foods possible. It’s okay not to have grass-fed antelope and gently caressed vegetables. In fact, most of the health food recommendations I found aren’t even available to me in Jamaica. Whole Foods you say? Doesn’t exist. Costco bulk chicken breasts? Doesn’t exist.
I made it work. It doesn’t have to be that expensive. Can’t afford the gym? There are tons of resources on body weight exercises. More on this in the future.
3. Is it worth the Pain?
Pain can come in many forms. There’s the physical pain we all know about. That’s the glamorized pain we see on YouTube and in the gym when great men and women are fighting to complete that last transcendent rep. In that moment, they know crossing that threshold puts them in the league of greats, but failing to do so means they didn’t want it bad enough.
That physical pain is something we must wrestle and win against every single day we enter the arena of self-mastery. Every single day.
I’ve been doing it for so long that that glamorized pain is what I look forward to, it’s the signal that you’re making progress. That you are chiseling away at the physique you’ve only dreamed of.
There is another pain that isn’t often spoken about. This pain, with its icy, hard grip and its dark, lifeless eyes has robbed many people of their dreams and their drive.
It’s the numbing pain of regret and doubt. I have felt its cold touch at every major stage of my journey. Even after having 10 years’ worth of knowledge and experience in shaping my body and even after seeing with my own eyes the progress I’ve made, I have doubted the path I am on.
Because of this pain, I have been simultaneously at my most excited and most terrified. What if I embarrass myself by giving everyone advice and I end up getting fat again? This is the pain everyone faces when they boldly step beyond their comfort zone and attempt something great.
Obviously, your journey through life would be easier if you avoided this shadowy and grey enchanted forest of regret and doubt. But if you’re committed to this journey, just like you need to embrace the physical pain, you can’t outrun the dark.
If you’ve decided that you’re not detouring, and you aren’t surrendering in the arena, greatness awaits you on the other side. But don’t start this journey unless you are fully aware and prepared for the dangers that lie ahead.
4. Is it worth Being Alone?
When you start this journey, you need to understand that you’re doing it for yourself. Everyone is going to surround you and cheer for you and lift you up over their heads and let you surf the wave of accomplishment… at the end. That’s because to them, you’ll be an overnight success.
But while you are in the trenches, grinding out on your goals every day, you’re an army of one. Want to write your own chapter in the book “How to lose friends and alienate people”? Embark on a journey of transformation.
It’s not their fault, and it’s not your fault. It’s just human nature. My wife is the most supportive person I know, but even in spite of that, sometimes we get into arguments about my intensity towards fitness. Sometimes quality time suffers, which is a tragedy. I could be upset and think to myself, she just doesn’t care about me, or I could understand that this is just a part of the game when you’re pursuing goals that are deeply personal.
Getting into arguments once in a while with a super supportive partner isn’t the worst of it. Sign me up for that any day. The parts that sting are the friends and family who will turn on you.
“You’ve changed”, “You’re not fun anymore”, “You’re a sellout”, “Why are you so obsessed with this fitness crap”, “C’mon, one night of fun won’t kill you, live a little”, “Why are you so uptight, not eating enough carbs?”… I could go on, but you get the picture. It’s not fair, but again, it’s not their fault.
Your family and friends love the current you. And deep down inside, you know you chose those friends because of where you were in life at the time. But as you start to change, and to take your life and your body seriously, you enter a different phase of your life. A phase not all your friends signed up for.
And we know what we do to things that don’t fit. We try to make them fit. They will either pull you down into the person you used to be, sever ties with you entirely, or support you on your way up.
This is what you are getting yourself into. A daily practice of rolling the dice on your friends and seeing which option they choose for you. Are you ready for the risk that you will grow away from your significant other, your family and/or your friends?
I didn’t write this to scare you away. Just the opposite. I don’t want to only tell you that you can reach your goals, work hard and you’ll get there, without giving you a full picture and preparing you for what actually happens. It’s easy to see the benefits of achieving your goals but you don’t often hear the hard truths.
Tell me in the comments, what is this journey worth to you? Are you willing to make sacrifices for fitness? What is your truth?
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