Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creating a Fitness Routine Part 4 - A Series of Adjustments

I can still hear my defensive coach from high school.  I can see him out of the corner of my eye, pacing around the team and insisting that "life is a series of adjustments."  Very few - I mean very few - phrases have stuck with me over the years.  But Coach Lecher ("lek-er") had a phrase that I'll never forget.  He used it in such a brilliant context - defensive football.

In the game of football, the defense can game plan and strategize all they want.  But often the defensive unit will succeed based on their ability to adjust to what the offense is doing and find a way to stop it - make and adjustment.  "Life is a series of adjustments."

In part 1 of this series we talked about recognizing previous failures at exercise and using this as a learning tool for moving towards a successful plan.  In part 2 we talked about SMART goals.  Part 3 had to do with keeping detailed records of your fitness routine.

Today I'd like to encourage you to listen to Coach Lecher with me - "life is a series of adjustments."  You've undoubtedly had weeks where you didn't get all your workouts in.  You've had workouts where you couldn't workout as long as you had hoped.  One day of lifting was you vs. the weights, and the weights won.  This happens all the time in exercise. You're good, but if you're so good that you never have setbacks, what are you really accomplishing?  (You need more challenge.)

Life happens - and we need to adjust.  I'm learning this right now with our adjustment to life with a kid, and soon two kids.  My time gets pulled in new directions in this stage of life.  I'm also a personal trainer - I hear the excuses all the time.  (I think I heard the worst one this week, but I better keep it to myself in case he's reading.)  We all have a list of things that take up time and then other lists of things that seem to just pop up and take even more of our time.

So when things get in the way of your workouts, or a workout beats you up pretty good one day, what's your response?  Will you be passive and allow the set-back to just happen?  Will you promise yourself it will never happen again?  Will you play the blame game?  Will you chalk it up to bad luck?  Or will you process the set-back, regroup, and find a way to move towards your SMART goal?  Tim Sanders wrote about this last week.

Engage with your workouts.  Engage with your goals.  Engage with all the details of your life and then come up with a game plan.  When you get knocked around a bit, try to hear the words of my defensive coach, "Life is a series of adjustments."  Big or small - make that adjustment and take another step towards your goals.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I feel extremely compelled to write this morning.  Productivity has been heavy on my mind this week, and it was reinforced this morning during my run.  I'm only giving myself 10 minutes for this, though.

My blog is currently in the middle of a series entitled "Creating a Fitness Routine." If you haven't read about our process check out the three posts here:
I have to admit that staying productive can be tough for me.  Most days at work we're very busy with the tree work, training, and keeping things up and running efficiently.  But when I sit at the office in front of a computer there are so many things reaching out for my attention:  Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, email (personal, business), and that doesn't even include news sites so I can know what's going on in the world. 

How is a man supposed to concentrate when everything is so readily available?

This isn't new information, but maybe just a reminder.  Or maybe it's just me processing this on my blog.  What it comes down to is prioritizing.  For me the question is not "What do I do first?"  The better question is "What do I not do?" 

  • I don't need to have email open all day.  I can check it 3-4 times rather than always having it in real-time.
  • I don't need to have Twitter open all day.  Checking for 5 minutes twice per day is plenty.
  • My Google Reader will keep those items stored and unread, also for the end of the day or even better the weekend.  

I know this post may not make sense to my readers, so sorry for the little rant here.  If I were giving this more than 10 minutes I'd explain more of what I'm doing (specifically) to stay productive. 

For now, I'll just tell you that saying no to email and Twitter is a good thing (albeit very difficult).  My Moleskine notebook is my best friend.  And I'll live today with my favorite line from one of my favorite books, Four Pillars of a Man's Heart:
"Organize and lead.  I say it again, organize and lead."

Any successful leader must first be able to lead himself.