Many people -- myself included -- have experienced the powerful spiritual principles behind the 12-step programs and witnessed dramatic changes as these universal laws began working in their lives. The same truths can also be applied in the realm of physical fitness with great success. It's what I've coined "12 Step Training."
It takes clearheaded honesty to look at yourself in the mirror and admit that you do (or don't) like what you see. Objective assessment of one's physical limitations and strengths is the cornerstone of an effective fitness program.
Hope and Faith
To achieve a healthier lifestyle, you must believe that you're capable of making this change for the better; you must have hope and faith that you can do it.
It seems counterintuitive to equate "surrender" with "success" when it comes to fitness, but think of it as "surrendering to win" -- by giving up your old ways and beliefs, you join a new, winning team and will get a healthier, happier body.
Especially for newcomers, joining a gym or stepping onto the pavement for the first time can be a daunting experience. It takes "balls" to start the journey to a healthier lifestyle, but the results are well worth it.
When you say you'll meet your running partner for a morning jog or your trainer for a session, it's important that you follow through on your commitment. You'll also build self-confidence by honoring the promises you make to yourself.
Willingness and Humility
None of us know it all, and when it comes to fitness and health, an attitude of teachability and humility about "what we know we don't know" takes us much farther than hardheadedness or arrogance.
We don't exist in a vaccuum, and the local gym is a microcosm of the larger community. While workout time isn't "social hour," I always take a little time to get to know my fellow gym goers, or smile at the people on my jogging path. Spread a little love.
Discipline is the practice of "suiting up and showing up" -- even when you don't feel like it. Take time to prepare for your training, with the goal to make it a practice. Plan your workouts. Choose inspiring music. Investigate new routes. Be creative in your discipline, and practice to be a master!
I often imagine the weight room floor as my dojo -- the weights as sensei. Many people experience a natural high from the endorphins they get while running or cycling. Whatever your physical activity, be open to the creative energy that flows around, through, and inside you.
After you've made progress on your physical path, it's time to pay it forward. Help someone adjust their spin bike just right or stop to fix a flat tire for a cyclist on the road. Spot a weightlifter or offer some advice to a newcomer. Giving back not only feels good, it reinforces what you already know.
Sam Page is a certified fitness trainer with locations in Hollywood, Glendale and on Sunset Boulevard and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323.785.2300.