getting in shapeWe’re not quite three weeks into the new year. And believe it or not, the majority of men and women who started the year saying they were going to “get healthy, “get fit” or “lose weight” have already given up.

When Lee and I owned a small advertising agency in the 1980’s, one of our clients was an upscale health club. They had 5000 members. If all those people showed up at the same time to workout, the building would not have been able to hold them. In January, the place would be packed for the first two weeks. By March 1st, there were more members in the upstairs juice bar looking for dates than in the weight lifting rooms. The gym owners loved it. There was less wear and tear on the machines. And everyone kept paying their monthly fees. That’s because these people think that they’ll be back…you just wait and see…just as soon as their calendar opens up. Uh-huh.

Three in four goal-setters quit exercising long before they achieve any results. That doesn’t have to be you. Even if you’re reading this post while you’re kicking back in a recliner, choking on a bonbon and sucking down a cold one, take heart. Tomorrow is another day.

The biggest stumbling blocks for the overweight, out-of-shape crowd are enthusiasm and pain. They’re very gung-ho in the beginning. Sure, they’ve heard the expression, “No pain, no gain.” But they don’t believe it will happen to them. And that’s a problem.

A buddy of mine from California was a perfect example of that. Kevin always enjoyed a beer or two (or twelve) on a regular basis. As regular as clockwork. And it showed. By the time he was in his early thirties, his beer gut was the size of an overinflated beach ball. Kevin was also a well-rounded guy in the traditional sense. Budweiser wasn’t his only devotion. Kevin was a Marlboro man.

One day he woke up with a hangover worse than usual and decided right then and there to head over to the new gym and sign up for a year’s membership. This was his moment. He knew the results where going to be incredible because he had a plan.

“Here’s what I’m going to do,” he confided in me. “I’m going down to the gym every day. And I’m going to do bench presses. Lots of them.” Kevin paused for effect, took a drag and patted his gut. “I’m going to make my chest bigger than my belly. It’ll look awesome. I’m going to be massive.”

At the time, I was a 25 year old nitwit but even I knew that his plan was insane. I didn’t ask any questions. I just lied through my teeth. “Sounds good,” I said as he handed me another beer.

The next time I visited him, I asked how he was doing at the gym. Now, it’s important to give friends credit where credit is due. Kevin was more determined to improve his health than I thought. He had returned to the gym a second time before calling it quits.

“That place damn near killed me,” he said as he sucked down a tall boy. “I ain’t never going back there.”

And even though he wasn’t going to set foot in that gym again, Kevin wasn’t about to cancel his membership. “They’ll charge me an early termination fee. You think I’m going to put up with that? They must think I’m stupid.”

Getting In Shape, What Could Be Easier?
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