So it's January - which means peak season for making shiny new deals with your future self - we're getting fit, going to eat right, going to run every day, crush weights and drink green smoothies until we look like Bruce Banner on a rampage.
And according to my Instagram and Facebook feed there is an entire army of selfie-taking fit-lebrities ready to help me transform into a 2016 Adonis - just try these 'five fat-torching super-moves', grab your nutri-ninja-turbo-blitz-bullet-mixo for a liver-blasting superfood-antioxidant-metabolism-blasting smoothie' and my personal favourite - 'never eat this food again and suddenly have a six pack'
Now don't get me wrong - I'm all for getting your shit in order and becoming a healthier you. What I'm not about is the epic trail of BS that we get told (and worse - we tell ourselves) about how this is all going to happen.
Because the raw truth is this - all the tupperware, membership deals and active-wear in the world won't make a lick of difference if you didn't start work on what matters most. And it's one thing virtually no-one talks about. It's not pretty or sexy and it doesn't look great in a selfie on Instagram but it's the only thing that matters.
Time for some knowledge bombs.
'Fitness' is just a word.
"I'm going to work on my fitness" is a fairytale statement
For the vast majority of us fitness isn't '20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen'
It's 100% in your head.
And if you don't start there - I'll see you next January and we can start all over again.
Tell me why you're here.
You have to have a 'why'.
It doesn't have to be lofty and Everest-size in scale. It can be base and personal - I want to look amazing for my wife/husband/partner. I never again want to be too tired to play with my kids, I want my life back like it used to be.
I'm done with being weak, or slow, or tired, or unhappy. I refuse to accept that I'm a certain age and therefore can't/shouldn't be able to do certain things. I'm tired of missing out because it's beyond me, or I'm scared, or I shouldn't.
I'm here because I want that change so bad I can taste it.
Good - now we are getting somewhere.
Move the Dirt.
This is my favourite part. Now we know why you're here it's time to do the work. It isn't going to dig itself - so grab your shovel and 'move the dirt'.
It's not going to be pretty, it's going to be tough and sweaty and it's going to hurt. You're going to have make sacrifices, commit to doing different things - like stretching and mobility.
And you are going to want to stop, or quit, or yell at your coach, or cry, or do something else, anything else.
And that's when we talk about your 'why'.
This is why we need to get your head straight before you start. Because the 'why' is what will keep you coming back, long after the flakes and perennial resolutioners are long gone. When daylight savings is over and it's dark and cold but you have to get up so you can fit your training in before the rest of your life gets up and going. Trust me - I've been there.
Now we are doing something much more than burning fat and building muscle - we are hardening the soul and forging a mental fortitude that will serve you 24/7 - not just in the gym or on the field.
"...I shall fear no evil..."
I've seen people fold - i've seen it on the sporting field, on mountaineering expeditions, in the workplace, in business, in life. I've buckled and folded myself. And what was missing wasn't stronger quads or a bigger back squat, it wasn't because they missed a spin class or didn't have the right shoes. It's was because we lost the will. The indomitable spirit. As Kipling puts it;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
Does this mean it'll all be roses and butterflies and you'll never fold again? Nope. Life's a battle and sometimes no matter how hard you are the knees will buckle and the spirit will fold. But what you will have is the belief and knowledge that you can stand again.
So don't start a 'fitness journey' because it's January 1st or a new week or month or whatever.
Do it because you know why you're doing it and the time is right for you. I don't care if it's 3pm on a Wednesday - when you're ready get to work. Understand what you want and why you want it - find a coach who understands that and is ready and able to drive you past the roadblocks.
Now get to work.
All the images courtesy of John Baseley. They were taken at CrossFit Warrnambool's annual Southern Ocean Showdown on Jan 3rd/4th.. The athletes pictured are real people, have partners or are parents, they have real jobs and responsibilities. And they are all awesome. Next year you might be there too.