Wounded Warrior Project® offers activities, exercises, and classes that help reduce stress, combat depression, and promote an overall healthy and active lifestyle.
There are a million reasons why someone can’t do something. Healthy living is an area where many struggle with making excuses – whether they are civilians or warriors served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
Today is National Get Over It Day (seriously, it’s a real holiday, look it up). What is the “it” you need to get over, you may ask? From my experience as WWP’s Physical Health and Wellness director, I would say it’s the hurdle that stops you from going to the gym, eating right, or following through on your fitness goals.
Is the hurdle an injury you sustained in military service? Social anxiety about going to a potentially crowded local gym? A lack of knowledge when it comes to healthy eating? No problem. We help warriors work through that stuff all the time as part of the Physical Health and Wellness program at WWP.
What we offer is designed to meet warriors wherever they are in their recoveries. The activities, exercises, and classes help reduce stress, combat depression, and promote an overall healthy and active lifestyle. What we do is organized by what our warriors say works – and it’s given me some perspective on shaping fitness goals that I would like to share. Here are five basic tips to help you get over it.
Don’t be Vague
What are your goals for fitness and healthy living? Is it eating less or losing weight? Well, that’s great – but get specific. How much weight do you want to lose? What specific changes are you making to your eating habits? Narrowing your goals allows you to create a plan for achieving them. And that constant sense of accomplishment will only feed your drive to keep going.
At the same time, be realistic with your goals. You want to lose 30 pounds? Awesome. You want to lose 30 pounds in one month? That’s very ambitious and probably impractical. Remember healthy living is a life-long marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t have to be done immediately. For some people, it will take longer, and that is perfectly all right.
Don’t Forget to Rest
Speaking of marathons and sprints, don’t forget to find time to rest. The muscles in the body need time to recuperate, and never taking a day off sets you up for failure. Muscle soreness, a weakened immune system, a decrease in strength and performance, and increased risk of injury can result. Imagine how much better taking off one day for rest is versus taking off six months because you tore something. The same is true for food – don’t be afraid to set aside a “cheat day” for yourself. Whatever form it takes, it should be reasonable – but that slice of pizza or doughnut for your cheat day can help you keep your sanity.
Don’t be Gymtimidated
At this point you may walk into a gym and immediately ask yourself – why am I in this noisy, smelly place, filled with machinery that looks like it belongs in a medieval dungeon? Don’t fear the gym or its equipment. It’s a place of self-improvement. Don’t even worry about the other people in there exercising. Ignore how far they can run or how much they lift. Your fitness goals are not about others; it’s about you. Do the work that you need to do to reach your fitness goals, and remember even Olympian athletes had to start somewhere. The best advice I can give is to leave your ego at the door.
Don’t Give Up
You will get frustrated. You will get impatient. You will get tired of sacrificing sugars and carbs for kales and broccolis. Know that there can be no victory without sacrifice – and healthy living and achieving personal fitness goals requires discipline. There’s no secret sauce for staying committed to this – you either do or you don’t. But the sense of satisfaction you will obtain from setting a challenging goal and meeting it far exceeds short-term happiness from relaxing on the couch or having that extra dessert at dinner. I encourage you to keep pushing and stick with it.
To access more information about WWP’s free health and fitness program offerings, check out the Physical Health and Wellness web page. To learn more about how WWP’s other programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.