Grit: The Heart of Your Commitment to Fitness

March 8, 2016

During February, Heart Month, we focused on tips and strategies to take care of our physical heart with the help of heart rate fitness tracking. This blog is going to focus more on our metaphorical heart and strategies to stay committed to our fitness routines – because maintaining a consistent fitness regimen takes a lot of heart.

We’re about 10 weeks out of the start of the New Year.  How are your 2016 fitness goals coming along?  Are you still pursuing your goals with as much passion and fervor as you were at the onset?  If not, take a deep breath – all is not lost.  It is human nature to lose interest in goals and to get distracted.  A way that you can regain your focus is to rely on grit – to get in touch with your inner grittiness.  Yes, grittiness.

Angela Duckworth, a positive psychology researcher from the University of Pennsylvania, popularized the concept of grit through her research and in her TED talk on the topic.  Duckworth defines grit as determination and passion applied toward long-term goals.  Grit involves a steady and focused commitment to goals despite setbacks and shortcomings.  The gritty individual continues to put forth great effort toward goals regardless of the short-term outcomes.

In a 2007 study, Duckworth and her team found that grit predicted success among over 3,000 participants above and beyond IQ and conscientiousness.  The research team concluded that grit is an essential component of achieving challenging goals.

So, how can you apply grit to your fitness goals?  Here are some tips based on three characteristics of grit: courage, commitment, and resilience.

resilience

Courage: The ability to do something that frightens you.

The first step to doing something courageous is getting started, so you’re already doing it!  You’ve got your MYZONE heart rate monitor, you’ve got your goals, you’ve got your game plan, now let’s go!

Is there a particular exercise or workout that you would really like to do, but it frightens you?  One of the best ways to muster up courage is to learn a little more about the thing that frightens you.  If there is a group fitness class you would like to take but haven’t been brave enough to try it, pop into the studio and observe 5-10 minutes of it to see what you think.

Another great way to build courage is with numbers – recruit some friends to join you!  Would you like to participate in an adventure race or compete in your first triathlon?  Recruit a few of your best pals to train with you and enter into the event.  You can create MYZONE Connections with folks who are not even in your geographic location and encourage one another virtually by liking and commenting on each other’s workouts!  You can also set up MYZONE Challenges with your friends to boost your training (see the Maximize Client Engagement with MYZONE Challenges Blog for great tips on setting up a challenge).

courage

Commitment:  The quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity.

Achieving any fitness-related goal requires commitment because physiological changes take time.  We must remain consistent with our fitness routine if we are to see forward progress and sustainable change.  How committed are you to your fitness routine? Do you prioritize your training in your daily/weekly schedule?

A key to commitment is accountability.  One of the great features of the MYZONE system is that it makes movement measurable, so you can track your progress over time.  Using your MYZONE App or your online User Account, you can look back over your week and see how many days you were active and at what intensity.

Better yet, you can ask your friends or your trainer to hold you accountable to your goals by establishing MYZONE Connections with them and inviting them to like and comment on your workouts.

You can also check your MYZONE Status on your account (in the MYZONE App or on your User’s Page online).  Your MYZONE status rewards your commitment and is determined by how consistent you are with your exercise on a monthly basis.  If you earn 1300 MYZONE Effort Points (MEPs) in a month, you meet the minimum requirement for physical activity specified by the World Health Organization and you make progress toward the next MYZONE status level.  You move through the following levels over time: Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Hall of Fame!

In fitness, it takes roughly 6 months of consistent commitment to equate to a lifestyle change (that’s Silver MYZONE Status).  What would you like your lifestyle to look like 6 months from now?  Go get it every day!

Resilience: The ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

During our fitness journey, we are going to experience setbacks. We might hit plateaus or we might sustain an injury.  What’s your plan for addressing common setbacks?

Often times, resilience requires creativity.  If you hit a plateau, you might need to research some new exercises and put together a new fitness or nutrition routine (you could always outsource this task by hiring on a personal trainer or registered dietician).  If you sustain a lower extremity injury, you may need to experiment with some upper body exercises you have not tried before.  Play around with different types of exercise and see which moves enable you to earn the most MEPs and burn the most calories

Your MYZONE Activity Calendar will encourage your resilience as you continue to produce those beautiful colored tiles that demonstrate your courage and commitment despite setbacks!

You’ve got a lot of heart!  Keep channeling your inner grittiness as you pursue your fitness goals!  Want to see how much grit you currently have?  Take this survey.

We want to support you in the pursuit of your fitness goals!  As you post your heart rate fitness tracking progress on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, use the hashtags: #myzone, #myzonemoves, #effortrewarded, and #heartmonth.  Keep moving forward!

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