Conquering that negative voice and getting fit

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2015 Get Fit Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 21. This week, IB checks in with John Ganahl, general manager for Air-Lec Industries LLC, who is competing in the individual challenge.

If you’re reading this blog for examples of days at the gym, sweat expended, and weight lost, you may come away disappointed. My hope in writing this will be to admit that I start … I fail. I start again … I fail again. There are always reasons. Good reasons. But the rationalization of failure is one of the most insidious prospectors, mining the bedrock of my self-esteem. I will speak only for myself, though many of you may hear your own voice in my words.


The descriptive “challenge” in the title of this event at one moment sounds competitive, but I feel no competition between me and my fellow participants. But, since the start, I have been fighting the challenge of motivational entropy. I, like tens of thousands of others, have tried/wished to lose weight for some time. My hyper-motivated friends will tell me one of my first mistakes is to “try or wish.” I must commit, they remark off-handedly. These are good and caring friends, but “Just do it” was never an effective motivator for me. The question is, what is or what will be?

How often?

How often have I had a doughnut, a cookie, two candy bars, only to chastise myself and “commit” to not do that again?

How often have I laid out my workout clothes the night before, only to return to the comforting warmth of my bed?

TOMORROW! MONDAY! THE FIRST OF THE MONTH! How often do the artificial standards of beginning fall to the reality of inaction in the end?

How often? Always — so far. And that’s my shining beacon of hope. I do not give up. But as I age, my intervals of inaction are easier to rationalize than when I was a younger.


Aging. The biggest rationalization. I KNOW of the studies touting the multitude of exercise-related benefits even as I age. ESPECIALLY as I age. And yes, there are potential issues of joint problems and being aware that my heart may not be healthy enough for strenuous exercise … blah blah blah. By and large, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. But see if these thoughts are also part of your rationalization regime:

  • This is who I am. If a stranger doesn’t like the way I look, that’s their problem.
  • I’m 62+. I’m entitled to not work so hard at this point in my life.
  • If my tight pants bother me, I should go buy bigger pants!

If it were only that easy. Because it isn’t that easy, is it? Every little rationalization serves not to reinvigorate me, but focus attention on “not being good enough.” My personal and perpetuating motto.



Not good enough

Well, this subject is well-worn, understood and misunderstood, and downright soul killing. I am one of “those,” where through whatever influential mechanisms I was exposed to growing up, the result is I am never satisfied with who I am. I have gotten better with age, meaning it bothers me for shorter durations of time and lesser degrees of intensity, but no matter what I weigh, I am not satisfied with the image I see in the mirror. No matter what I contribute, I downplay my own accomplishments and readily recognize others for them. So, why is this important? Because, “not good enough” shapes my being more than commitment to being better. For me to succeed in losing weight — and more importantly getting healthier — I must quit listening to that learned-long-ago voice that erodes my self-esteem.

The voice

Referred to earlier, how do I forcibly quit listening to the negative voice in my consciousness? And make no mistake, though I sound like a badly damaged human being, I am a good person, helpful and kind; the failures I am sharing here are internal to me and rarely shared in a manner such as this. RARELY! But even today, as I got up and dressed for my fourth workout in a row (Woo-hoo!), I sat quietly, with my gear on, listening to the little voice saying, “Go back to bed for a half hour. It looks like it might sprinkle. Don’t injure yourself by going four days in a row. Blah, blah, blah.” But, I prevailed. I prevailed over the little voice and felt better when done.

Where are the endorphins?

I used to run … a LOT! I managed to finish three marathons, so you can imagine I trained by running a lot. I’m not sure I ever felt the endorphin “high” some runners talk about. It was never arduous or painful per se, but the effort was more mechanics for me than heart. And maybe that’s the “high.” The ability to run seemingly effortlessly. Truly, the joy and amazement came from seeing a whole new world from my feet rather than from my car. And I was always amazed how FAR 20+ miles is. I mean, it would literally take me all over the city. Few people understand even how far ONE mile is when you are in bi-pedal mode. But for now, I am running/jogging/walking/sweating through a mere three miles, still enjoying details on houses and in yards I have “seen” but never noticed through my windshield.

Instant gratification, delayed!

When does it start? When does it stop? When should weight loss occur after a commitment to consistent exertion has begun? Should I weigh myself every day? Much has been written and pontificated about our instant gratification society…and how delaying that gratification can be hugely beneficial, especially in children. But I’m not a child, at least not chronologically. I want that scale to leap off the floor and pat me on the back, TODAY! Okay, I guess I can wait until tomorrow but don’t tease me again. And when does it stop? The small aches and pains that accompany the return to mobilization? I suspect, at my age, the pains are there whether or not I am exercising. Now I just have a more valid reason for them. Shut up and take another step!

Weight training

Yes. I am fully aware that I will see faster progress if I incorporate some level of weight training into my routine. (Forgive me, but a smile crossed my face at the suggestion of “routine”!) I am taking it slowly right now. Meaning, any weight training will be a gradual adoption. I am no longer a member of a fitness facility, but I do know there are many documented ways to use my own body weight to get that effect. (There’s that smile again at the thought of using my own body weight, such as it currently is.) You won’t find me curling milk bottles or large cans of tomatoes. But I will get down and do some pushups or step ups on a bench to count as weight training.


I am like Lot’s wife. A pillar of salt. First, I like salt, and second, I am about as flexible as a pillar of it. Oh, I can SEE my toes, but TOUCH them? If I cheat. I have heard conflicting accounts of stretching before running or after running, that it’s beneficial or harmful. I’m unconvinced on any of these four counts. But maybe that’s just another of the “little voice’s” messages I have adopted. I walk before I run each time, and I stretch my hamstrings and Achilles after. I can’t tell you if any of it makes any difference one iota.


My wife just bought one of these “sticks.” You rub/roll it over your muscles, presumably to purge acidophilus from them. (Yeah. I know that’s not quite right but I have the right idea.) And Jamie at Harbor Fitness (God bless her soul) had me roll on a large tube for the same effect. Ya know? It hurts! Is that supposed to be GOOD for you? Geesh, no wonder getting in shape is hard. It’s so darn painful! But what do the Marines say? “Pain is weakness leaving the body”? Yeah. That kind of crap doesn’t work on me anymore! Maybe it never did. “Just do it.”  (There’s that smile again.)

Mirror, mirror on the wall …

… You are a liar after all. Have you ever noticed that you look better in some mirrors than others? I have and I’ll tell you, the one I am most disappointed with is the one in my bathroom. Now, the one at work is much more pleasing to my eye. But, if you think about it, the mirror is a lie. NO ONE perceives you like you see yourself in the mirror. The image is reversed, of course, so you are NEVER seeing yourself the way others see you. (Makes me want to part my hair on the other side.) I had the brilliant idea once to produce mirrors that are distorted to make people appear 15 pounds lighter. I know I’d feel better every morning!

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference.

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