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Jack's Journal: Warm-Up (Part 3)

One of the harder things you can do in life is change your way of thinking. I get it, life happens. Events unfold that may or may not be under your control, and as a result, your attitude and behavior changes because of it. Considering there are thousands of events that happen over someone’s lifespan, it is easy to see how someone can become resilient by using the same mechanisms of defense ( e.i., someone can become “set in their ways”). On the flip side of that coin, though, you can see how changing how you react to an event or a series of events can propel you to a “flexible” mindset.

Throughout this series, I have been elaborating on the warm-up, and why it and flexibility in your fitness routine are critical in injury prevention. I want to wrap up the Winter Warm-up series by talking about a flexible mindset and mental preparation for exercise.

We’ve all been there. You know today is a day you promised yourself you’d workout, but you just don’t have the motivation. You’re dreading every step of the process, from changing into workout clothes to heading out the door.

I’ve been there. I used to think of exercise as something I “had to do.” What helped me is to realize that no one was forcing me to do anything; I was choosing to do this and it was all me putting pressure on myself. That is the important part: you are choosing to participate in health and wellness. Also, when you are exercising, who’s health and wellness are you improving? YOUR OWN. So I say own it. Control your workouts, don’t let them control you.

Another method I tried is mixing it up. Don’t be predictable so you can get in your own head, surprise yourself. My first love in exercise was baseball. When that chapter in my life turned, I got hooked on running. Then I added strength training into the mix. From there, plyometric and circuit training. Let me add that I didn’t add these all at once, it took me time to find things that I liked and worked for me. That is my challenge to you: surprise yourself.

One last thing that helped me become mentally flexible and prepared for exercise was focusing on the task at hand. I used to beat myself up about a bad workout or a missed session. I also dreaded the days ahead when I had to make it up. My advice is to focus only on the present. We cannot change the past just by thinking about it, so it does us no good to ruminate on it. Sometimes we want to change the future so badly that we end up badly changing our present. Be in the moment and enjoy the process.

If you’d like help setting and achieving your health and wellness goals, please contact Jack Zahn at to set up an appointment.

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