Fitness Adaptability – Embrace Change To Reach Your Goals


At 5AM every morning, Ray gets up and starts packing his food for the day. He leaves his home at 5:30 and heads to the gym. After an intense workout, its back home for a shower and breakfast, then it is off to work with his cooler full of food. When work is over it is back home for a balanced dinner and time with his wife and kids. On Sunday, Ray spends a few hours cooking enough food for the coming week. Ray is working 40 to 50 hours a week at a high paced and demanding job. He also coaches little league baseball in the summer. Yet despite all this he still gets in six healthy meals a day that coincide with his physique goals and rarely misses a scheduled workout.

Ray has put on over twenty pounds of muscle and his body fat has dropped into the single digits. His friend and business partner says he’d like to be built like Ray but he doesn’t have great genetics like Ray does.

Sandra considers herself a fulltime mom to her three kids, but she also works several hours a day at a clothing store. Her day begins at 5:30 AM with a fast walk around her neighborhood, or a ride on an old stationary bike she keeps in the garage for when it is raining. At 6:00, she wakes the kids and helps get them off to school. After dropping the kids off, she returns home and gets dressed for work. She wants to be there for her kids when they get home from school, so she goes to the gym for a brief weight workout on her lunch break. In the afternoon she is back on mom duty, fixing meals, doing laundry, and helping with homework. When her husband gets home from work he takes over with the kids while she attends a night class. She gets home from class in time to tuck the kids into bed and spend some time with her husband before going to sleep. The next day she starts all over again.

Sandra has lost twenty-five pounds in the last six months, and has only missed a workout if one of the kids is sick. Her sister says she could get back into shape to if she “had all the spare time Sandra does.”

The Marines have a saying for people like Ray and Sandra. They call it “Displaying Adaptability”. Unfortunately, not many people display adaptability these days, especially when it comes to transforming their bodies. More often, people make excuses. “I need to lose weight but I can’t find the time to exercise.” “Nutrition is important, but I can’t be bothered with counting calories.”

If you don’t have time to exercise, then display adaptability by getting up thirty minutes earlier, or exercising on your lunch hour. If you can’t find the time to fit in five or six nutritious meals each day, then display adaptability by prioritizing them into your schedule, or setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to eat. If you don’t cook, then use a food delivery service, take advantage of all the nutrition bars and shakes on the market, or contact your local restaurant and ask them to prepare meals for you in advance that you can pick up and take home for the rest of the week.

Isn’t it about time we stop making excuses and lying to ourselves. Lets face the fact that nothing worth achieving in life is ever simple or easy, and that if we are going to change our bodies and our lives, we are going to have to adapt our lives to reach our goals?

What could you do to display adaptability? Take a moment to think about the areas of your life where you are not achieving all that you desire. Whether it is your fitness, your career, or your family, think about how you could adapt the way you are living to improve the result. Make the necessary adaptations in your life, then wait and watch for the changes that you desire become reality. When we stop trying to change the world around us and begin adapting to it, we put in motion a synergy with our environment that ultimately requires less energy and produces less stress.

Here is one final note on displaying adaptability. A young kid, when his parents forbade him to go to the gym adapted by building his own exercise equipment, training in the freezing basement of his house and doing pull-ups on tree limbs when it was warm enough. That kid’s name was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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About Author

Dr. Bret Emery

Dr. Bret Emery entered the field of Behavioral Medicine with an athletic background and a specialty in physical conditioning. Beginning his cycling career at the age of 14, he went on to live at the Olympic Training Center and represent the United States in international races across America and Europe. See my profile page for more information!

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