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    All or Nothing

    4.21Bay Times pp1-40v2_Page_34_Image_0003 4.21Bay Times pp1-40v2_Page_34_Image_0004A small exercise step is the heart of Inside Out Fitness. Over time you will string together more and more small steps and find yourself to be someone who is exercising regularly with ease.

    Physical benefits include increasing strength, which is the first building block of reducing pain, increasing stamina and improving mobility. Imagine all of the things in your life that would get better if you felt strong, energized and mobile. Exercising appropriately also helps you to sleep better, lifts your mood, decreases stress and tension, and often improves your work, home and sex life! Some studies conducted in the last 5 years have surprisingly shown that exercise does not contribute much to weight loss, so you might be able to take that off the benefits list…phew. All of the above is sure to increase your general well being.

    The emotional benefits of exercising with ease include a confidence boost that comes from doing something you know makes you feel better. When you exercise with ease, you are certain that you are on the right track for you. You know that because you feel relaxed about your fitness level. Can you even imagine? You have decided to find your own way, and you are doing exactly that. Being successful with Inside Out Fitness (doing what I said I would do about exercise consistently and without struggle) is a moment-to-moment thing. You become present right here and now in your body, and just take the next small step. Imagine feeling happy and relaxed about your body.

    The opposite of Inside Out Fitness is the all or nothing approach. All or nothing is what happens to most people when they try to improve their fitness level. Traditional fitness programing is based on pushing for “the all,” even though it mostly does not work. It has probably happened to you along the way. You feel like you have to follow some exercise prescription and that prescription is simply too much for you right now. You feel like you “have to,” and at the same time you don’t have the time or energy to do it. Or maybe your body hurts and you cannot imagine how you can get past that. So all or nothing often ends up being nothing.

    If you do actually get started with the “all,” it is often not sustainable. You run into something and lose your momentum and then you are stuck back at “nothing.” It is really hard to get started again in most cases. People often get sidelined by injury when jumping into a fitness program with the “all or nothing” mindset. All or nothing usually leads to driven behavior (all at any cost), or being stuck and frustrated (nothing).

    A strong case therefore exists for starting with small steps. Small steps are the heart of Inside Out Fitness and the antidote to “all or nothing.” Small steps string together, so you can exercise with ease and get the benefits of doing so. Most of us have been trained to believe the all or nothing approach is what is needed, and so when you begin with small steps, you might have some negative self-talk. I suggest you just say to yourself, “Thanks for sharing, but I’m trying something new.” Then take your step.

    A small step with a lot of bang for your buck is a “get up.” That is right; you just get up and down from your chair a few times. If your knees hurt when you get up from a chair, then this is not the right exercise for you at present. In the next column I will talk about getting past knee pain. Here is to standing strong and moving forward.

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Find out more at