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The FIRST Thing You Need To Do Before Tackling a Fitness Challenge

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

A few years ago, I was sitting around the lunch table with a few of my coworkers, which was a rarity in and of itself. My job as a Probation Officer consisted of one meeting after another, leading me to get pretty exhausted which human interaction. I looked at my lunches as a time to recharge, stuff my face, and zone out for a short while. This day, however, we were having a pot luck. So, I begrudgingly stopped at the grocery store on the way into work (because Lord knows I was not going to be making an actual dish) and made my way into the break room at noon.

I had developed a reputation as a “healthy eater” within the office, which might as well been another term for, “Spawn of Satan”. I wasn’t sure why people hated that at first, but I’m guessing it had to do with the microwaved cauliflower that invaded everyone’s nose holes. Because of the label, the inevitable jokes started in, ranging anywhere from, “Dylan, is this allowed on your diet?” to, “Dylan, please don’t eat all of the food before everyone has gotten theirs”. The latter was said with slightly more concern, for whatever reason.

Somewhere around my fifth taco, the conversation shifted into health and fitness. You know when your dog hears you open a bag of chips and his ears perk up? Then he comes running over, begging you to let him in on some of that action? That’s me when I hear someone mention the gym. As were going back and forth on the topic, one coworker piped up with a question that would change the way I view health and strength:

“What are you training for, anyway?”

Now, this seems like a simple question. I could have rattled off 20 benefits of someone getting physical activity. I know that science has proven the benefits again and again for the population. But, I couldn’t answer it for myself. I could not give a straight answer to that person as to why I, Dylan Wesley Odinson Carter, woke up at 4 AM every single day, put on a shirt that was too tight, and threw heavy objects around. I was extremely dedicated. Why couldn’t I answer that?

As it turns out, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION that you need to ask yourself, think about, and answer. Not a generic answer. Really think about that question. Spend some time with it. Meditate, if that’s your thing. Once you have answered that, now we can move on to the next steps. I’ll elaborate more on this in another blog post, but there will be a time when you just don’t want to stick to this goal anymore. You’ll doubt that there is a point and you’ll really consider throwing in the towel. Those are the moments when you need to have your WHY figured out.

The reason you pursue a happier, healthier life will look a little bit different for everyone, and it can be anything you want it to be. To some, it will be so they can run around with their kids. To others, it will be so they can impress the ladies at the beach. Still yet others will want to just stop having so much back pain when they sit all day. All of those are great! It’s YOUR reason, and no one else’s. Be proud of it! Write that reason down in a planner, on your mirror, or wherever else you feel that you’ll see it daily.

My reason is this:

Pursuing strength exposes me to extreme highs and humbling lows. It demands consistency and will only accept my absolute best. If I treat my relationships with God, my wife, my family, and my career with this same attitude, I can’t lose. I will fail, yes, but I will never lose.

So, you have my reason. What’s yours?

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