Last Thursday I received a brutally honest email from a woman who shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons :0) She told me she'd spent $945 on a Concept2 Model D rowing machine so she could finally get fit and lose weight after years of inactivity since her kids had left home - great choice - so far so good.
But... her next sentence said it all. She'd had the machine for four weeks and had as yet to use it!
Four weeks! So why as it still sitting unloved and unused in her basement? Sadly, this is not as unusual as it seems. i would estimate as much as a quarter of all home fitness equipment is barely used, or at best grossly under-used.
In the case of the woman in question, she said the act of choosing, buying and then assembling the rower (Concept2's are pretty easy to put together), seemed to satisfy the initial need to do something about her weight. But of course, apart from the sixty or so calories she expended unpacking and assembling her machine, you don't get any benefit if you don't use it!
Obvious really, but it does highlight a wider issue. If this woman really wanted to get into shape 'after years of inactivity' - why leave it until now? And where does the motivation come from? Plus, after neglecting physical activity for so long, how do you include a rowing workout into your daily routine?
It's easy to say, 'just set aside twenty minutes a day' but if deep down you're reluctant to work up a sweat and get a little uncomfortable, then it's easy to find plenty of reasons to NOT go down to the basement and sit on your bright and shiny torture machine.
Getting Started on a new fitness regime
As obvious as it sounds, it really is about making an effort to make the change to your lifestyle. This involves reminding yourself why you want to make the change and then setting targets (you can download my free guide from this link.) You have to set realistic goals with dates that can be achieved. Keeping a track of your progress helps - and with a Concept2 you can do this easily with the PC-compatible facility.
The hardest part is the first few days. So be strict. Set a time each day to sit on the rower and do even just a light workout. If you've been inactive for long it's vital you don't overdo the first workouts and end up injured so you can't row. But it's also important those first few sessions don't leave you feeling exhausted and reluctant to get back on the rowing machine again. My workout guide has a structured program from complete beginner to elite rower. It also has a chapter on creative ways to use a rower to counter the initial boredom beginners to home exercise experience.
It does get easier to train once you start to see the difference. This might be your clothes feeling looser, the scales showing a few pounds lost, or that you can get up that flight of stairs without getting out of breath. When the benefits start you'll be more motivated to train and achieve those targets you've set. Then once you've passed those, set some more!
So my reply to my honest emailer was that she should make time. Ask herself what would she normally be doing between 7 and 7pm each evening and then be honest with herself. Did she really needed to see her favorite TV show there and then? She could always watch it on catch-up services later. Get into a routine to get the ball rolling - experience the benefits - and then the rest will take care of itself :0)
Roy Palmer is an athletics coach, teacher of The Alexander Technique and a rowing fanatic.