Faith and Discipline Always

Oct 4 07:51 2011 Mark Clemens Print This Article

When it comes to fitness, things do not often go as expected.

It's easy to have faith in yourself and discipline when you're a winner,Guest Posting when you're number one.What you have got to have is faith and discipline when you're not a winner. Vince Lombardi

When it comes to fitness, initially few of us feel we are winners. It is only after we have come in a belt notch or dropped a dress size that all of our efforts make sense. Prior to that point we feel that nothing is working and that this may have some very great significance.

Without success there is always the temptation to give up. That is what can make even a beloved coach like Vince Lombardi seem cruel. He would have us hang in there and keep trying when everything makes quitting seem best for us. That is because he knew rookies would constantly go through discouragement. And, because he had coached numerous teams who have turned into champions, he knew that quitting over that was never in anyone's best interests.

We all want to win and whatever we do. Fitness is just one aspect of life in which we all want to be victorious. In one sense, it is no different than learning another language. That is something which most of us did back in high school. We all know what we went through. We remember that it took time, persistence, discipline, going forward, taking two steps backward and then trying again. But then too, as if by magic, overnight we were able to speak in a different tongue. All of us can relate to that from our early years. So, where is the problem when it comes to fitness?

With fitness there are some distinct peculiarities. These we have inherited from the media, from our friends, relatives and sometimes even from our doctors. One is that we are too old to start. That is not just the case for those in their nineties but in many cases for those who are in their forties. Starting now is supposedly just too hard on a system which has been at rest for all our lives. Two is the belief that results should happen overnight. We are all prone to this type of thinking because of the times we live in. Everything is speed-driven. We expect instantaneous results on our computers;we pay for immediate gratification it in the fast food places; we refuse to  write letters when email is so much quicker; we demand from our doctors the pill which is sure to be the quick cure.  Three is that getting fit is painful. If we have been sedentary for a long period, we will find motion unpleasant. Granted, it may feel wonderful the first day, but the rest of the week is needed for recovery. It may even give us a minor injury. Any or all of these may provide grown up reasons for quitting instead of hanging in there--something we know we should do.

That is why we need to hear encouraging words from Papa Vince (as his teams called him.) We need a good parent to remind us that when things are not going right, when we are not yet the champions, we always need to maintain our discipline and faith in ourselves--a faith which says we can do it. Of course, having a real coach like Lombardi would make this easier. But he is dead, so we have to rely on others.

That is why some of us have personal trainers. The only problem is that few of these people have Lombardi's wisdom. Very few know what it is like to feel the defeat of working day after a day only to get nowhere. Too many have come from families where exercise, diet and supplementation were as regular as the brushing of their teeth. Consequently, they have always been fit. In one respect that is good because they know what works; but in another sense it is bad. It may be that the only discouragement they have ever experienced is that  plateaus never seem to go away fast enough. In other words, they have have never experienced  the profound despair of wanting to be in good shape, while deeply believing that this is not part of their destiny. Because of the alleged impossibility of circumventing a genetic predisposition, too many of us nowadays fall into this category.

Fitness is never about genetic predisposition. It is not about physically born winners or losers. It is about doing the best we can with the body and body-chemistry we have been given. Granted, some of us may have an easier time than others because of what may be part of our chemical make-up. But easier is hardly the assurance of victory at fitness or anything else for that matter. Nor is the opposite -- next to impossible-- because of supposed bad genes.

When it comes to fitness, what  really matters are instances of those who never should have risen above their limitations, but did. One such individual is the late Jack Lalanne. In his words, he started off  as a sugar addict. Only the most convoluted of us would ever say that he became an outstanding athlete because of a genetic predisposition which enabled him to overcome it. Rather most of us would say that by sheer determination, he became exceptional in spite of his condition

Fitness is about stories like that and about the blood, sweat and tears of effort over time. In other words it is about results which come neither with ease nor over night. Nevertheless, they do come if only we stay at it. That is what makes Lombardi's words so important. "Having faith in yourself and discipline is easy when you are winning"-- when we are the biggest losers at the office, for example. Then it is easy to say no to the snacks and yes to working out. But it is tough when we are cutting calories, never missing our workouts and always taking our supplements only to find that we still look the same in the mirror. That type of experience today may make us wonder about our genetic composition, which is the modern day equivalent of losing faith in our selves. It is the same thing as saying that perhaps we cannot win because of us--because of the body chemistry we were born with.

Lombardi would possibly feel a little sorry for us if we confessed something like this to him. But that compassion would instantaneously turn into "You're going to be late for practice if you don't get moving." That is what a great coach does and says; and it is what we have to hear whenever we lose faith in ourselves. We should know that we have simply to hang in there, go the distance, do the drills,  stay on the diet and keep taking the supplements. That is what it takes. And, those are things we all can do, even though we may not feel like we can.

For further thought on the need for faith and discipline order my e-book "Think and Grow Fit."

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

  Article "tagged" as:

About Article Author

Mark Clemens
Mark Clemens

Obese 49 years ago; state champion power lifter 1978; in better shape today at 63 than when on swim team in high school (subscribe for weekly fitness updates)

Author of "Think and Grow Fit" the no hype guide to getting fit and staying that way forever  (6.00 ebook or 15.95 softcover from publisher I_Universe, Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

YouTube - mcfitnessguru19

View More Articles