Working in the fitness industry is interesting. You get to see so many fads come and go, and sometimes come and go again. You meet all sorts of people from all different walks of life. This is one of my favorite parts. Another thing that happens a lot is you get asked questions. So many questions.

 

“What foods should I not eat?”
“Do I work out enough?”
“Do I work out too much?”
“How do I gain muscle mass?”
“How do I lose body fat?”
“What is better, cardio or strength training?”
“Where did you get those sneakers from?”

Lots of questions, all the time. In fact, so often that I find myself answering them without even thinking twice about the answer. It is just second nature to me at this point.

“Whole foods.”
“Processed foods.”
“Probably not.”
“Probably not.”
“Focus on your macros.”
“Focus on your macros.”
“Neither is better. Do both.”
“The Outlet Mall. I had a coupon.”

See? Easy stuff. Recently, though I had someone ask me a question that made me stop and think. What is the hardest part of being “fit”? This really stumped me. All of it is hard. It is hard to pick carrots for your lunch when Oreos sound (and taste) so much better. It is hard to go to the gym when the couch looks so cozy and Netflix won’t just watch itself. It is hard to meal prep all day on a Sunday… again, Netflix. It is hard to drink all the water (and pee) all the time. All the sweating is hard too. And the mom guilt.

So why do it? Don’t worry, I have an answer for you but I am pretty sure you won’t like it.

Think of your life as a savings account. When you make a cash deposit into your bank account you are investing in your future. Sure you can buy new pair of shoes or go get your nails done. That would fun now. It would be easy too. By taking that cash and making that bank deposit, you are doing “Future You” a big favor. And if you keep making deposits as you go, Future You is going be living the high life. Sacrifice now to reap the benefits later. In this scenario you are you and your bank account is your health. Tiny sacrifices you make on a day-to-day basis will lead to huge dividends for Future You. Start working out regularly now to keep your core muscles strong. Having a strong core has been linked to better balance and less chance of back issues as you age. Consistently making smart food choices can prevent a number of serious ailments like heart disease and diabetes. Drinking plenty of water has been proven to reduce the likelihood of headaches and even prevent muscles cramps and sprains.

Now there is nothing saying you can’t “buy the shoes” every now and again and enjoy the journey. Sometimes there is cake that needs to be eaten during a Netflix marathon. I certainly am not going to judge you and you should not feel guilty about it either. But just like you would do with your next paycheck… you have go back to making your deposits. You cannot just stop and buy all the shoes. Even worse. You cannot make a withdrawl and deplete your savings account for all the shoes. It is going to be REALLY difficult to get over the guilt of doing that and then jump back on the savings bandwagon. See what I am saying here?

To me the hardest part of being healthy is starting. Once you make that first deposit of a workout or a healthy meal plan for the week… you begin to feel better about yourself. That happens instantly. You do it again and then you add in another workout and the ball gets rolling. You begin to see Future You differently than you did previously. So if starting is the worst part of the fitness life, actually seeing your life changing little-by-little is the best part of it.

Stephanie is the Group Fitness and Facility Coordinator at APEX Health & Wellness. When she isn’t in the gym she can be found biking, hiking, kayaking and climbing random mountains with her adventurous husband and two sons.