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Fit For Life: Life Is a Marathon - Not a Sprint

Sunday, August 07, 2016


A majority of what I consider my job description is to motivate people. It’s not only the technical part of working out effectively, but having the motivation to do it on a regular basis to live a healthier lifestyle, in total.  In other words, to be Fit for Life. Motivation is key to creating new habits that will stay with you for life. 

When I work with my younger clients I try to make them understand that how they eat and train, today, will dictate many variables when they get older, such as body mass index, posture, and energy levels. With my youth athletes I bring home the message about the importance of proper movement patterns, strength, speed, and core stability and why they need to be in condition before the season starts. With my older adults I stress the importance of functional training, and how eating the proper foods will elevate and maintain vitality levels, keeping them fit and pain free forever. When someone I train wants to lose weight I help them through the process by making exercise and nutrition simple, fun, and easy to follow, because consistency and staying on the path to results is key here.  Make it too challenging at first, and they lose motivation. Staying on a steady path to results is most important. 

I adapt the training program because I know about the importance of motivating people to help them achieve their fitness goals.  Finding that balance, and that moment when compliance is something you’re not asking them to do, but they now have assimilated into their own value system of what they “want” to do and are self-motivated to do is key. 


Over the last few weeks I have encountered a couple of people that I had to actually convince NOT to work out. One had just suffered an impact injury to the upper leg and called me to ask for my approval to go for a light bike ride. Are you kidding me? This person limped into the gym to get in a workout, so I did some modifications and we had a good workout around the injury. Most people would miss a week of the gym for such an injury. Well, the person took my advice and didn't bike ride, rested and was back to normal in a couple of days. Another person I know is training for a 1/2 marathon and is running or working out every single day, and I started to offer my advice against doing that, stating that our bodies need a full day of rest and recovery to enhance performance. The statement I received in return was that "I can't miss a workout – “mentally I can't". While I understand that feeling, I also knew that eventually the body breaks down physically and then you are forced to stop, losing more fitness time than if the person had built in ‘a day of rest’ as an integral part of training success. 

A little less motivated.

I have a policy that when someone doesn't ask for my advice or debates known facts, I change the subject because there are people that don't want to hear it. These are the people that will run on a stress fracture, or go to the gym on crutches, or with their arm in a sling. They are over motivated and lots of times this leads to injury. When an active client starts their workout I always ask what they will be doing the next day so I can modify the workout not to over train certain areas. I would rather be a little undertrained than over trained, and if you are working out a couple times a week it is unlikely you will regress. On the other hand, if you overdo it you certainly will. It is truly amazing when you start to look at different exercise habits. Some folks need to be motivated to move, and some need to put on the brakes before you drive your body into a state of exhaustion. Find your happy medium and live healthy fit and pain free. Remember – for most of us it’s the marathon – not the sprint – of life, we want to win.

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. 


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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