Are You a Toe-Dipper or a Jumper?

December 12, 2012

Do you often have an all-or-nothing approach to fitness?  Does this keep you moving forward and backward – never really making any real and lasting progress.  It could be that you’re not following your own instincts about how best to try new challenges.

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We can't all be the first ones to jump in the deep end

We are all familiar with many of the popular motivational slogans such “Just Do It.” And a frequently aired commercial during this past summer’s Olympic Games spread a terrible message under the guise of an inspirational one.  It talked of athletes who “never take an off day,” and who “haven’t watched a TV show in five years.” 

Does any of this make working hard to achieve something great or getting in shape seem like a big bag of fun to anyone? 

Know Thyself to Become Someone Else

All the rah-rah nonsense just leaves regular people feeling discouraged, like they don’t have what it takes, and like it’s all too much work.

Some people like to test the waters of the pool by dipping their toe in first.  Others – like the personalities often portrayed in popular media messages – climb to the top of the cliff and dive right into the water without a second thought. 

If you’re a toe-dipper type of person (and the majority of us are), this may leave you feeling a bit left out, uncool, and perhaps a little dorky.  It shouldn’t be that way.  You have to go at your own pace to change in life.  In essence, yes you have to get outside your comfort zone, etc.  But you shouldn’t get so far outside of that you get completely freaked out.  While getting uncomfortable, it’s comforting to know that comfort isn’t too far away. 

And if that’s your personality type, that is fine.  You do not have to change.  You probably like to take things slowly.  The trick, when it comes to fitness, is to adopt change at a pace that is fast enough to make progress but slow enough to not freak you out.

We all would be a lot better off if we stopped expecting professional athlete level of performance and adherence to our training programs.  Be a little kinder to yourself.  Anything you do in life is full of ups and downs and fitness is no different. 

Be cautious, but not complacent.  Make tomorrow a little better than today.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Fitness is just that basic.  Do things a little bit better than you did before. 

Instead of going “all out” the next time you get re-started on fitness, dip your toe in that pool instead of jumping in.  See what the water is like.  Prepare yourself and get in the pool at your own pace.


Jonathan Ross — fitness expert for Discovery Fit & Health and creator of Aion Fitness — was voted Exercise TV's "Top Trainer" and named in Men's Journal magazine's list of Top 100 Trainers in America. His personal experiences with obesity — "800 pounds of parents" — directly inspired his fitness career. His ability to bring fitness to those who need it the most has made him a two-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award-Winner (ACE and IDEA). His book, Abs Revealed, is filled with cutting-edge exercises in a modern, intelligent approach to abdominal training. His leadership and fresh perspectives on fitness earn him praise as a frequent go-to source of credible fitness information.

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