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Fitness Focus: Overcoming Obstacles

Published: Feb 14, 2004 - 12:20 PM

If you?re like me, the quest to be in shape, manage weight and overall well-being, at times, feels overwhelming. And, as if the quest to be fit isn?t hard enough, there?s often other obstacles to overcome: health issues, time management, mustering up courage or energy. Even if you?ve been exercising for a long time, there?s always new barriers to be broken. So, how to put all of this into perspective?
According to Tom Turner, executive liaison for the Spina
Bifida Association that?s exactly it: Perspective. And
also, according to him, there?s no mountain too high to
climb. Tom would know. Paralyzed from the waist down since
birth he?s now 33 and trains about three times a week. In fact,
he tells me, he just couldn?t get along without exercise.

So in my quest for the last word on overcoming barriers in
fitness, Tom sat down with me and together we came up with
3 basic principles that will help break-down fears and
intimidations in reaching fitness goals.

(After all, if he can exercise on a regular basis, shouldn?t
that be encouragement enough for anyone to give it a shot?)

Principle #1 Move into the Fear.

?Train you mind to believe no mountain is too high or any
goal is too difficult to attain,? Tom tells me. Basically,
it?s all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on.

In this principle, aim to recognize your fears, acknowledge
them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that
makes you uncomfortable? Have you let yourself get out of shape
and are afraid you?ll never get back? Do you have an injury
that?s caused you to be afraid of your body?

If you can visualize creatively, then you can put your fears
in check. See your self as you?d like to be. Remember: your
body loves you and has the potential to heal itself to
perfection. Your only job is to trust it and listen.

Q: What is your body saying to you?

Principle #2 Trust Your Intuition.

It is important when overcoming obstacles and learning to
break through barriers that you begin to listen to the still
small voice of your body. In most cases, we all want the comfort
of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do.
However, our highest truth lies within us. This is not to say
that the good opinion of others is not important, but ultimately
the decision making comes from within.

When facing a challenge or an obstacle look to how you feel.
What are your instincts telling you? Often it is simply your
instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your

?I wasn?t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way,? Tom
tells me. In fact, he says he had to merely change his
perspective about it. He says he first had to learn about
what his restrictions were then, create a boundary for himself.
?We all have boundaries,? he tells me. "Regardless if a person
can walk or not, obstacles are as unique as people themselves.
Therefore, it?s first best to know your boundaries."

Next, Tom tells me he aims to meet those boundaries.

?I first reach as high as I can within the confines of what
I am able to do. Whether it be more sets, reps, or greater
endurance, I allow myself as much time as necessary to
accomplish my small goals. It always surprises me, with small
steps, how quickly I can reach a Big goal.?

Principle #3 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

What then, about fear? I wanted to know. If we move into the
fear and meet it eye to eye what if fear meets us there? ?So,?
I asked Tom: ?are you ever afraid?

?After 19 operations in my life, I?ve really come to terms
with fear,? he says. ?It really comes down to our
most primal fear; fear of death. Once you realize that death
is all part of the divine plan, it?s liberating, you can let
it go and, instead, choose how to live. So instead of being
afraid of death I decided to choose how to live."

So what?s the take away message? Talking to Tom, I?m reminded
of the poem by Dylan Thomas who said: ?Do Not Go Gentle into
That Good Night.? It seems appropriate here. The bottom line:
Staying afraid often keeps us from truly living.

Tom reminds me that a positive attitude is key, "Life is all
about attitude." He also says he could let fear beat him down,
yet he doesn?t. ?I wouldn?t want to miss being part of tomorrow,?
he concludes.

That said, what fears are getting in your way? Make today the
right time to face them.

In conclusion: Life Beyond The Boundaries.

When you?ve faced your fears and pushed your boundaries to
the edges, what then? I wanted to know.

Tom smiles. ?Find a new mountain to climb,? he says
matter-of-factly. ?It?s what makes life fun. I know I have
considerations. I know that there will be days that I?ll need
to stay in bed and rest while my braces are getting tuned up.
It?s those times when I am with my thoughts that I decide what
I am going to set my sights on.?

Author?s Note: In my personal quest to live beyond the boundaries
I?ve chosen Tom as my role model (lucky for me, he's my brother).
We so often look to the media for these sources and so often they
are illusory. There are ?real? people everywhere doing great
things...look around you; angels are everywhere! Learn from them.
Choose someone you look up to, admire or of whom you appreciate
their values. Set goals, climb mountains! Set intention in motion
and enjoy the healthy process.

Tom can be reached at vettman@rochester.rr.com

Laura Turner, C.P.T wants to help you build a Brand New Body in 2004.
She is building an Online Fitness Community
at===> www.1brand-new-body.com

Set goals, Lose Weight, Get
Fit and healthy. No more excuses! Start now.

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