3 ways to reclaim your fitness

by Ryan Wagner

Quick mental exercise for you…

Very quickly, which of the following four words stand out in relation to the question: What are your feelings towards fitness?

  • Fun
  • Boring
  • Obligatory
  • Ugh

There’s no right or wrong answer, in my opinion. But it’s a good question to ask yourself every so often. Everyday we are bombarded with fitness related propaganda. Whether it comes in the form of supermarket check-out magazines or commercials or billboards, you, me, everyone is the target of marketing. Sometimes it comes in the form of expensive running shoes and always in the images of super fit and airbrushed models.

And with the warmer weather approaching I wanted to write a quick post on a rather philosophical subject and try to get you thinking about why you move your body, why it is that you stay in shape. Or, if you’re looking for motivation (and we all are from time to time), I wanted to offer a few tips that have worked for me.

We all get off track sometimes. Either we get too busy or we get discouraged because those six pack abs aren’t coming in by the weekend or maybe some other reason entirely. And yes, I’ve been there myself. Sometimes, for a month at a time if you can believe it.

What is it that really matters?

It’s an odd thing to talk about fitness programs because it’s easy to fall down the slippery slope of “my fitness is better than your fitness” and “you should do what I do because it’s the right answer to the fitness question.” Then, before long, those of us in the fitness business are constantly trying to one-up each other.

Add an inch to your arms in 3 months! 1 month! The seven day program!

Here’s the only question you need to worry about:

Can you do the things you want to do?

Can you run that 5k?

Can you hike with your family on the weekend?

Make it through that impromptu kick ball game?

Bench 2 plates? 3 plates?

If you can answer your own question favorably then I think you’re doing just fine. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. In fact, the rest of this blog post is going to be purely FYI for you. However, if your answer to the big question above was a melancholy “No,” then consider the following discussion a polite nudge in the direction of better health.

Fitness can become a HUGE obligation

– If you let it. Do you feel that in order to lose weight you need to start running again? But whenever you run your knees hurt, you can’t catch your breath and you always finish your workout in a bad mood? Well, something’s not quite right, is it?

Or perhaps you want a bigger chest and so you keep bench pressing every Monday and Wednesday and nothing’s happening. You lift heavy, but the barbell just feels like a brick wall – like the whole process is useless.

Regardless of your goals, if what you’re doing just isn’t working, then take a step back and look at things with fresh eyes.

You can’t keep trying to make a failed system work.

And if you do, then one guaranteed outcome is your own frustration. And that’s a shame because fitness should be fun! You should be able to go to the park and just play around in the green grass or go hiking or spend an hour pumping iron in the gym.

So, if your fitness has become a huge obligation, what can you do? How do you get yourself back on track?

The following are two tips that have worked for me personally. Will they work for you? Maybe. You won’t know until you give them an honest try.

Self Motivate

You won’t believe this, but I put aside time to self motivate. Yup. Even me. There are days when lounging on the couch in a dark, cool basement just feels so nice. You know what I do? I do what millions of bored office workers do every day and loiter around YouTube.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching CT Fletcher videos. There is a subculture of trainers like myself who can recite any number of Fletcher’s quotes,

It’s still your mother-fucking set!

He’s not shy of any number of 4 letter words, but his style of coaching is what pumps me up more than other coach. The man is hardcore and takes no bullshit. I love it. It gets me off the couch.

Make time already!

And how can we ever have time if we never make time?

I admit, it’s a clique, but it’s entirely true. If you want to lose 50 pounds or get that six pack or front squat 350 lbs, you don’t want to hear this, but it’s going to be hard! And just like learning French or a programming language, it’s going to take some time and this demands a schedule change.


Fortunately, you can start small. Scale it.

Begin by putting aside 15 minutes a day to get yourself on the right track to meeting your goal.

Example 1:

Goal: Lose 20 lbs

15 minutes: Peruse the Internet for 3 healthy recipes. Copy the list of ingredients to your smartphone checklist or an old fashioned piece of paper and your’e done. Next time you buy groceries you’ll have a cart full of goodies.

Example 2:

Goal: Add a 1/4 inch to your arms

15 minutes: Add this time to your workout program (swapping out other exercises if necessary) and focus on arms. Focusing on arms can be one of the most bro-centric body parts to work, but the real big guys seem to agree: If you want big arms you need to curl. So throw in the old body building exercises and get serious – hammer curls, barbell curls, concentrated curls. Make it happen.

(Cue CT Fletcher – “I demand you to grow!!”)

Take away

Self-motivating and making time are the two major pieces to the puzzle. All healhy people go through phases where the last thing they want to do is exercise. Sometimes, it’s best to cheat or just take the day off. Other times, it’s important to pump yourself up and get excited.

Lots of small steps turn into big steps.

Hang in there, it’s going to be a great summer.

By Ryan Wagner




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