It’s 7am and I am running up the stairs at the beach. It’s the beginning of the week during a late September “Indian summer” and already 85 degrees. Hot, gusty winds, called Santa Anas, are blowing in from the desert. As sweat pours down my face from my forehead, I quickly wipe it off before it stings my eyes. In front of me I hear my panting client sneak the words out, “Wow, look at this! Aren’t we lucky?” He’s looking at the Pacific Ocean and the distant peninsula called Dana Point. On a clear day like this in San Diego, you can see the detailed outline of the mountainside 45 miles away. Yes, we are very lucky.
Does this scene of the blue ocean and clear horizon make it “easier” to work out first thing in the morning? This view has no doubt been an incentive numerous times to get me out of bed earlier than I prefer. But for me, waking up to work out isn’t dependent on the location. Even during my college years in Chico, California where it is 105 degrees and sunny or pelting rain, with a few blissful weeks in the Fall and Spring, I would ride my mountain bike, run in Bidwell Park, or go hiking in the local mountains, most days of the week. I adapted to my environment to suit my priority of working out and being healthy. The location didn’t change my commitment, only the type of movement I performed.
As I started to think about exercise and health on this hot, windy morning I realized that this is my lifestyle. This is the life I have created. At that moment I realized that movement is one of my top priorities. So I wrote it in the sand, “Priorities,” to talk about it with my client. He agreed, and reminded me that "the habit is more important than the intensity”, a statement that has become a mantra for us both. And he told me that his success with health, fitness, and life is dependent on his daily habit of working out, something that he too has made one of his top priorities. I can relate.
The reason I have devoted my life to helping people get fit is because I have experienced the joy that an active lifestyle brings to all of the other aspects of life. That one hour of concentrated movement at 7am fills me with the motivation to live a healthy life for the other 23 hours of the day. It spills over into the decisions I make with nutrition, sleep, meditation, and in the ways I connect with other people. This daily ritual of movement actually happens because it is a habit that I have made a priority. What you value is how you’ll make your decisions and ultimately how you’ll live your life. Of course I would have loved to sit in a coffee shop that morning sipping an iced latte while I worked. That coffee-shop scenario almost always sounds better to me than making myself sweat in the heat, but it is the feeling of being done, the experience of having accomplished something, and the resolve it gives me to live a healthy life (for myself and others), which makes it worth it every time.
Questions to ask yourself:
1. What am I doing right now to live the life I want? How is that working out for me?
2. Is health a priority to me? Why?
3. What can I do today to be a little bit better?
Sending Health and Love,