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    Do This First

    combined 5.19_Page_34_Image_0001We’ve covered a lot of Inside Out Fitness information in the last couple of months. This fresh approach all comes down to taking small steps and listening to your body for guidance along the way. Small steps can string together to get you big fitness results. We defined fitness results as having the strength and energy to live the life you want … not losing weight or body shaping. Isn’t that a relief, knowing that your size and shape do not determine your fitness level?!

    I hope that you are beginning to see that looking at exercise the Inside Out Fitness way takes the fear and discomfort out of exercise.

    But you do have to exercise to improve your fitness. What if you’re still feeling stuck or just not doing it?

    Today I’m going to give you my best set up system for being successful at fitness. Remember, we are defining successful fitness as: “Doing what I said I would do about exercise, consistently and without struggle.”

    combined 5.19_Page_34_Image_0002Let’s say you have chosen to start your Inside Out Fitness path with one of the best small steps ever, the Get Up. That’s getting up and down in your chair. You’ve decided you will do 10 Get Ups each morning this week so you can practice “doing what I said I would do about exercise, consistently and without struggle.” You know it’s not about running a marathon; you are simply willing to try a new approach to this thing (exercising) that has had you frustrated.

    You have chosen “what I said I would do”: 10 Get Ups.

    Next, choose the time and place where you will do them. I suggest first thing in the morning when possible. As you begin, consider doing a small step with your morning coffee or tea or breakfast. 10 Get Ups literally takes just a minute. Doing it first thing is very freeing because it’s done and you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. Remember, this is just the first step on the Inside Out Fitness path.

    This is how you create the “consistently” part. Do it first thing and hook it into something you already do regularly, such as while you’re waiting for the water to boil or even in between sips of coffee.

    Now let’s address the “without struggle” aspect of Inside Out Fitness. You’ve chosen an appropriate small step and you’ve decided when/where you will do it. To really lay a new foundation, when it comes to exercise, you need to get your mindset in an empowering place. This may mean also that you need to circumvent some memories of past attempts/failures and make a fresh start.

    My best secret for taking the struggle out of exercising is to anchor a positive mindset before you begin. I have a system for doing just that called AAA. The best thing about using a system is that it is clear and repeatable. I tell my clients that if they follow my instructions, after my 6-month program they will never be stuck or frustrated about exercise for the rest of their lives! Can you imagine that? Well, it comes down to the AAA system. Here’s how it works:

    The first A stands for Alignment. This means you tune your mindset to an empowering mode. You do that tuning by thinking a good feeling thought. The easiest way to accomplish this is to bring to mind someone whom is easy to love. I often think about my dog, so easy to love. I think about how I love seeing his head hanging out the car window when I glance in my side view mirror. I’m smiling as I write this. You will know when you have achieved alignment because your heart will relax for a moment. Then you go to the second A.

    The second A stands for Action. This is where your small step belongs. When you do your small exercise step (10 Get Ups) from a place of feeling good, you are building the foundation for being successful with fitness for the rest of your life. This system is repeatable. Alignment then Action, always in that order.

    The third A stands for Appreciation. This is how I teach my clients to be accountable to themselves. Appreciate every accomplishment, no matter how small. Appreciation tunes you to being easy on yourself. Appreciation from a place of alignment feels really good. Can you see how using AAA regularly would change your experience of exercise? Can you imagine building this new path? It’s especially lovely to do the appreciation with someone who is supporting your efforts.

    Would it be OK with you if this exercise thing turned out to be easier and sweeter than you ever thought possible?

    As always, if you’d like some help with this, or have a question, email

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