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Fit for Life: The Cycle of Life

Sunday, July 23, 2017


The cycles we go through as humans…at the first football practice of the season, I made a statement to the team I said, “If you dream it, you will achieve it”. Then I asked if the team agreed with that statement, and I got a bunch of hands in the air, and a few “hell yea’s”. Then I burst their bubble, and said that the statement was a "crock of s---”. That made their faces drop, and I could see the confusion in their eyes.

I then followed up by explaining that for that statement to be true, we had to change some words around. I came back with: “If you dream it, you CAN achieve it, with lots of action, hard work, and discipline”. Because dreaming will net you zero results in life. Yes dreams, visions, and ideas are important, but action is more important, otherwise dreams stay exactly that…dreams that’ll never come true.

This must have hit home, because we had a better practice than I expected. Yes, there were some kids extremely out of shape, but there were a few that looked pretty good for the first day of summer sessions. I was surprised and my expectations were low, because usually on the first day of training camp, at least 6-8 kids head for the fence to throw up. That’s not my intention, and I don’t go into the season trying to beat down these kids in the heat, but sometimes a few heaves can’t be avoided.

Getting fit.

Some of the same kids that left me last season in top shape, come back de-conditioned and back to square one. I don’t get upset or discouraged on the first day, because I have noticed its human nature to go through cycles in life. Not just fitness routines, but life in general. The beginning of football practice, every year, we start over. The kids go through a cycle of power workouts, and strenuous activity for 5 months, then most do nothing until the season starts back up again.

People with their fitness routines do well for a long time then fall off and need to start over.
I see this all the time, and I get a discouraged for them. Someone starts a program, does well and hits their goal, then falls off. When this happens at Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, we call and email them until they come back. Then they come back, sometimes with the weight they lost, and start again.

I hate to see this, because everyone has the potential to stay fit, and it takes a lot of hard work to achieve the original goal in the first place, so I hate to see someone throw away all their effort. With our community and network of support, it helps people stay motivated and encouraged to keep at it, but sometimes that still isn’t enough.

Making money.

Think about how we earn money. Financially, sometimes we make money, then we sometimes crash, and then we must start over. I have done it. I was hustling when I was younger, made a lot of cash, then got greedy, and lost it all. I did it again while I was investing in real estate. I made a lot of money, reinvested it, and the market crashed. So, I started from the bottom - AGAIN! I know from experience that I’m not the only one that this has happened to. I contributed my fall to being greedy, cocky, and feeling invincible. But the truth is that those traits will only net you temporary success, not long term. Nothing is fast and easy!

Substance Abuse.

People dealing with substance abuse have relapses, then must start from square one again. Addiction runs in my family and I have had a lot of exposure to addiction, so I have seen it and dealt with it for over 30 years, first hand. I get that this is a tough battle to win, but not impossible.

Why is it we go through these cycles and what are some ways we can stop doing this to ourselves? The answers go deeper than what I know, or am qualified to analyze, but I can give you my opinion, and what I think would work based on self-experience. With health and fitness, you need to stay focused, and understand the benefits go far beyond what the scale says, or how great you look. Yes, those are good reasons, but your health is far more important than just those benefits. When you work out and eat properly, you feel better physically, and mentally. When you make it part of your routine, you develop positive habits, and habits turn into part of your lifestyle. You have more energy throughout the day, and that relates to more productivity, which will hopefully result in a higher earning potential. The benefits are there, but sometimes the motivation lingers, and there are ways to combat this.

I read a quote that said: "Every workout that you miss, makes the next one easier to miss.” So, it’s probably not a good idea to miss workouts. If you miss one, make it a priority to get back at it ASAP. Exercise is a lifestyle choice, and so is being sedentary. We all have great intentions, and everyone wants to feel great, so develop the right habits. If you are in a tailspin, you need to be extra careful with your eating. Not exercising, and eating like crap equals disaster.

Damage control.

I call it damage control - when you fall off your routine, don’t stress about going backwards, just focus on maintaining until you can get back on track. If you get a flat tire, you fix it. You don’t slash the rest of your tires so they are all flat together. That is complete destruction. I see people do this to themselves. Life happens and they can’t go to the gym regularly, so they give up completely and start eating poorly again and regress. Stay focused, keep your goals in sight, and stay in damage control until you can get back to full strength. Remember that this benefits your health as much as what you see in the mirror.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
As finances go, I will never put all my eggs in one basket ever again. I learn from my mistakes, and vow never to make the same one twice. Yes, I will take some risks, but controlled risks, and in moderation. It is all about the discipline. Even if I get ahead, and have some reserves, I will be much more conservative in the future, and plan better for long term, not just for right now.

Get support.

As far as addiction goes, I know it’s an uphill battle, and it’s both mental and physical, but people win the battle all the time. I have seen many people straighten out their lives and come back from this. The best way to combat this disease, is to seek help and join a network of support. This is a tough fight on your own, so recognize that a problem exists, and understand that you are worth living a happy and productive life. Then try to adopt some positive lifestyle changes (like working out), seek help, and keep fighting.


We are resilient as humans, and human nature is to keep getting up and fighting. It is human instinct to survive and battle for our lives. Those of us that don’t have enough desire, discipline and drive usually are not that successful. As a matter of fact, if you don’t get up and keep fighting every day, you will become a failure, regardless of what it is you are trying to achieve. Being healthy, fit, financially secure, or trying to kick bad habits takes work, and the proper mindset. If you don’t want these things bad enough, or aren’t willing to work for them, it will never happen.

So in conclusion, prepare yourself mentally and physically for this battle called life. You can avoid going through negative cycles with the right mindset, and work ethic. We all have it, some deeper down than others, but it’s there, we just need to tap into it pull it out and do it!

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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