We’re almost done the first week. By now, the shine is probably wearing off a bit. The “fun” factor is probably fading. But that is to be expected. This is especially true if you are just starting out on a fitness challenge. So the reality is that around week one (and even more in week two), you are likely to experience a host of inconveniences, disruptions, sacrifices, and perhaps even some sore muscles. All of these go along with ramping up the level (or the intensity) of our physical activity.

So how should we cope with that? Honestly, it’s enough to make many people quit. As I suggested last year, we need to expect the excitement and enthusiasm to fade a bit and even be replaced by some thoughts of boredom, discouragement or even futility. And that is why you can pick up a sweet deal on exercise equipment at the landfill in January. Sometimes you can still smell the smoke of burning New Year’s resolutions lingering in the air…

People can get into “fitness” with totally the wrong mindset, focusing first on all the benefits and mental selfies of their buff, fit new body. When it hasn’t happened in the first week, disillusionment can set in and, unless you have iron fortitude, you are likely to give up. Not only that, you will probably give up with a really bad taste for “fitness” in your mind. That is an unfortunate misunderstanding: it wasn’t so much the end results we were dreaming about that were unrealistic, but rather their timing. The results don’t happen before the process has taken place.

Change generally occurs in small, incremental steps. When you think about it, the “change” we are talking about, i.e., physical change, simply reflects our body’s adaptations to physical stress. Exercise can be  exactly that kind of physical stress, depending on the level of intensity, but our body experiences it and then adapts to it. We can experience the “adaptation” period as stiff muscles and fatigue. But that is the reality of it. I’m not saying you MUST be stiff and sore (that is often intensity-related), but the adaptation period often feels less than pleasant.

So, we need to get real. We need to have realistic expectations. If you talk with anyone who started out last February and chugged away all through the challenge, I’ll bet they will tell you how the first few weeks were difficult in many ways (that’s the reality). However, I’ll bet they will also tell you that they started experiencing the real progress and positive changes toward the end of the four week challenge. So, to be real about it, don’t expect a euphoric buzz in the first few weeks of this or any fitness challenge. You are adapting to a higher activity level and you have to pay the piper, as it were.

Above all, try to simply experience this experience; keep on working on your fitness goals and remember there are lots of us chugging along with you. Transitioning from week one to week two is where it gets real!

One thought on “Day 6: It Gets Real”
  1. Very True-
    Mac and Casey are still keenly chugging along. Casey was watching the lady gaga halftime show while doing squats!
    What has given me a boost is a well timed break. I took the weekend off from kettlebell swings, so yes I know that today i have a few days of pain in front of me but I also know that if I can get through them I will have another day off in a bit. I also mix up my kettlebell swings. On Friday I did them with a step forward after each swing. It made it pretty interesting as I did my workout up and down my hallway at work instead of in the gym! Created some interesting engagements! Have a great week 2 to everyone!

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