Three Basics To Overcome Fitness Obstacles

If you’re such as me, the journey to be in shape and control weight feels amazing. And, as if the trip to be fit isn’t hard enough, there are often other restrictions to overcome: health issues, time management, mustering up courage or energy. Even if you’ve been practising for a long time, there’s always new barriers to be crushed. So, how to put all of this into perspective?

According to Tom Turner, executive liaison for the Spina Bifida Association that’s exactly it: Perspective. And also, according to him, there’s no mountain too high to climb. Tom would know. Paralyzed from the waist down since birth he’s now thirty-five and trains about three times a week.

So in my search for the last word on overcoming barriers in fitness, Tom sat down with me and together we came up with three basics that will help break-down fears and threats when striving to attain fitness purposes.

Principle #1 Move Into The Fear.

Train your mind to believe no mountain is too high or any goal is impossible to accomplish. It's all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on. In this principle, aim to recognise your worries, acknowledge them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that makes you upset? Have you let yourself get out of shape and are scared you’ll never get back? Do you have damage that’s caused you to be afraid of your body? If you can visualise creatively, then you can put your concerns in check. See yourself as you’d like to be. Remember: your body loves you and has the potential to heal itself to completeness.

Principle #2 Trust Your Inspiration.

It is important when overcoming barriers and learning to break through obstacles that you begin to listen to the still small voice of your body. In most cases, we all require the comfort of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do. However, our highest truth lies within us. This is not to say that the good opinion of others is not relevant, but ultimately the decision making comes from within.

When facing an obstacle, look to how you feel. What are your senses telling you? Often it is simply your instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your awareness. “I wasn’t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way,” Tom tells me. In fact, he says he had to change his perspective about it merely. He says he first had to learn about what his limitations were then, create a boundary for himself. “We all have boundaries,” he tells me. "Regardless if someone can walk or not, obstacles are as unique as people themselves. Therefore, it’s first best to know your boundaries."

Next, Tom tells me he intends to meet those limitations.  “I first reach as high as I can within the confines of what I can do. Whether it be more sets, reps or greater strength, I allow myself as much time as necessary to fulfil my small goals. It always surprises me, with small steps, how quickly I can reach a great goal.”

Principle #3 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

If we move into the fear and meet it eye to eye what if fear meets us there? “So,” I asked Tom: “Are you ever afraid? “After 19 surgeries in my life, I’ve come to terms with fear,” he says. “It comes down to our most primal fear; fear of death. Once you realise that death is all part of the divine plan, it’s liberating; you can let it go and, instead, choose how to live. So instead of being afraid of death, I decided to choose how to live."

So what’s the takeaway message? Talking to Tom, I remembered the poem by Dylan Thomas who said: “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It seems relevant here. The bottom line: Staying afraid often keeps us from surely living. Tom reminds me that a positive attitude is essential, "Life is all about attitude." He also says he could let fear hit him down, yet he doesn’t. “I wouldn’t want to miss being part of tomorrow,” he concludes. That said, what fears are getting in your way? Make today the right time to face them.
image by msfitnesschallenge

In conclusion: Life Beyond The Boundaries.

When you’ve faced your concerns and pushed your limits to the edges, what then? I wanted to know. Tom smiles. “Find a new hill to climb,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s what makes life fun. I know I have plans. I know that there will be times that I’ll need to stay in bed and relax while my braces are getting tuned up.