The Four Agreements – Fitness Edition
Agreement #1: I will honor my body through physical challenges (because my life depends on it).
Wether you believe in god, science, or whatever. To experience life inside a human body is an absolute miracle of space and time; and it’s the ultimate privilege of the physical universe.
I’ve been lucky in terms of recognizing the value of physical fitness. In my younger years, I worked a few jobs that were very physically demanding. As a golf caddie, I was required to hike 4+ hilly miles in the heat of summer with 50+ lbs on my shoulders. As a bicycle deliver boy, I needed to pedal faster than the rest of the fleet in order to get more deliveries and pay my rent. As a US Airman, I was repeatedly tested physically to ensure my readiness for war.
Being fit granted me opportunity. Opportunity granted me purpose.
Agreement #2: I will honor my body with quality food.
Every food thing I swallow is a message to my gut about my own self worth. I prefer to send love letters.
This agreement did not come easy for me. They say “America Runs on Dunkin.” And for many years, this was a literal truth for me. Actually, it was even worse. Two of my other early adulthood jobs were with PepsiCo and an awesome Philly bar/restaurant, Bourbon Blue. Both were great jobs; but the amount of liquid calories I consumed during those years could have fed a small army. I didn’t understand why at the time; but I was sick. My energy sucked and my cognition was worse. I was in a constant state of brain fog. I was gaining weight, I was unhappy and I was clueless. Even as I began to take care of my fitness with running and calisthenics, I still continued to justify pizza and Philly cheesesteaks on a regular basis. Too bad… I could’ve been a contender.
Hint: Eat an animal based Paleo diet.
Agreement #3: Just show up.
This one is THE MOST IMPORTANT. If you could pick only one goal, you should strive for perfect attendance. Seriously, goals are SOO important. But goals are just wishes if you don’t show up. And showing up IS THE HARDEST PART.
Agreeing to JUST SHOW UP takes the anxiety off the work. When you are lying in bed thinking about getting up for that early morning workout and your body says “NO WAY” (which it ALWAYS will), then your only chance of success is to have correct thinking. Correct thinking IS NOT thinking about all of the work you have to do in and out of the gym that day. That is a recipe for failure. Correct thinking is simple.
Correct thinking is 1) “Just put your feet on the ground”, and 2) “JUST SHOW UP.”
I have never met anyone who showed up and didn’t actually do what they were capable of. Once you are there, the work takes care of itself. You just have to show up. Give yourself that gold star for attendance. With enough consistency, you will achieve all of your wildest fitness goals.
Agreement #4: Be kind to yourself.
Refer back to agreements 1-3. Honor your physical temple. Don’t trash it or put it in harms way for no good reason. Eat foods that serve you. Ask yourself not, “What do I feel like eating?” Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?” Don’t pressure yourself to perform to a certain standard every single day. JUST SHOW UP. You will improve if you just show up.
Before long you will be leaps and bounds beyond all of your peers. People are generally short sighted. They get excited about something new, and quit long before there is time to see a true return on their investment. Stick with it. Love yourself. Love the process. Remember to have fun. Remember that fresh air and sunlight are performance enhancing drugs. Remember that laughter really is the best medicine. Remember that stress + recovery = adaptation. You want to be better? Remember to relax; take a hot bath; take a dip in the pool; get a massage; sleep in on Sunday. Do what you have to do. Find balance.
You are on the path. Stay the course.