A time for reflection.

With 2011 behind us I thought it was time to reflect on the past 12+ months of training with an eye on the coming 12 months as we step it up another gear to attain even higher levels of fitness and competitive experience.

I’ve been running in competitions since early 2010 but training started long before then in January 2009 when I posted a run alone a 1km undulating course where I live at 4.28 minutes and showed a severe lack of any conditioning and where I was starting from anaerobically. This very same run has been duplicated on numerous occasions reaching an all time personal best of just under 3.30 which was posted in November of 2011.

If we look at my 10km racing times over the last 14 months we have seen a reduction there at over three and a half minutes. You can see what can be achieved if people don’t expect everything to happen in the blink of an eye as seems to be what is reverberated within the exercise industry on a regular basis with its many “get fit for” whatever time of year it happens to be leading up to. Add that to an online and technology industry that bases itself around everything being either within 140 characters of written words or as fast as humanly possible. You have a huge section of the western worlds population which want everything yesterday and so the same is with their exercise regimes.

As the saying goes “Rome was not built within a day” so how can people expect to change their bodies within a month to reflect what they see looking back at them from a magazine, DVD or computer monitor?

Unfortunately they do and this is all down to, in my opinion, their mental, environmental and social conditioning. Now I don’t want to sound like a dinosaur harping on about a time long gone that was some sort of Nirvana when everything was much more simplewith only pen and paper to write with and all vegetables were seasonal and gyms were nothing more than a couple of barbells and a bench. That would be plain stupid. If everything stayed the same life would become extremely stagnant and boring and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write these blog posts for people all around the world to stumble upon and read.

No what I’m hoping to convey is the need for patience. The exercise industry like any other retail industry needs to keep you coming back for more and in doing so it has to constantly be in the public eye. Regular readers of the forum and the blogs will know that I don’t write half as much as I could or some would say should. Yet for me I find nothing worse than signing into to my email account to find it rammed full with daily emails from fitness companies and sites I visit to see what’s happening within this vastly oversubscribed and overly complicated industry.

Its just not needed and only adds to the confusion that is already out there when it comes to picking and sticking to an exercise regime that is best suited to your own daily lifestyle and family commitments. You don’t need yet another W.O.D ( workout of the day) you don’t need yet another Youtube video showing a plethora of exercises. They will only add to the confusion and distraction of your goals ahead.

You are an intelligent individual. If you need to know anything new you will go out and look it up either via the internet or the bookstore. What you don’t need is to be bombarded with a never ending stream of industry promoting rhetoric.

Do yourself a favour this year with your new years resolutions and training goals. Embrace technology, sit down and watch the television with the whole family each evening like we used to. Have the odd day(s) off the training and eating plan when you can enjoy the moment and think about the guilt later. And most importantly step away from the exercise industry and companies. If they are as good as they say they are then they’ll still be there when you need them not them needing you and encroaching into your day life with emails full of links to WOD and Youtube videos.

We all complain about the amount of advertisements that are on television and in magazines so make a stand in 2012 to not let the exercise industry come into your life every single day. As a line from a song from the 80′s says “the public wants what the public get”  lets spend 2012 changing that so that we only get what we want not what others tell us what we want. And just like me you will spend the next 12 months reaching your goals not the goals put on you by someone else.

Steven A Barlow, Co founder www.spartan-warriors.co.uk and founder of Spartan Runners “because we don’t just run” © 2011



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