Once we determine that these remarkable athletes are not like us, we breathe a sigh of relief. The comparisons stop and our own fitness goals resurface. We accept the fact that our best physical efforts are probably their worst, nevertheless, they are still worthy. After all, we're grownups with real responsibility and have far less time to devote to ourselves. The point is, our gold-medal standards may look different than an Olympian's, but it's still imperative to have them.
Focusing on a plan
Determining your expectations and creating a plan of action is the first and most important step to achieve the benefits and rewards you desire. You're in charge. So, when you are setting the bar in terms of your health and fitness goals, set it high. Make them doable, but don't waste time with activity that is easily conquered. It will be different for everyone. For example, while an Olympic gymnast may strive for a perfect score, you may simply want to perform push-ups perfectly. A diver may want to enter the water without making a splash, but you may set a goal to splash in the water four times a week.
No doubt about it, goals are essential if you plan to improve the way you look and feel, but the biggest mistake is to compare someone else's goals to yours. Be clear about what you want out of each physical workout and go after it with regularity. Continue to raise your own bar so that you always feel the challenge; without it, all progress stops.
The Olympics Creed, which should be adopted by Olympians as well as mere mortals, says it best:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
Take part and fight well.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.