4 Lessons Learned from my Morning Workout

A typical day for me starts at 5:30 a.m. I wake up, brush my teeth, iron my work clothes (when I don't iron them the night before), and then head to the gym. 

I started working out consistently during my second year of seminary after returning from a summer internship when I had my first opportunity of working out with a personal trainer.

While I was there, I had my first taste of working out early in the morning in a group training setting. I learned that I am most motivated to push through an intense workout when I can see others persevering.

When I think back to those group training classes in 2011, I remember how eager I was to get through the hour. I constantly watched the clock to see when the hour would end. At the end of the session, I remember my sense of excitement being cut short by the trainer's high-five encouragement that was followed by the somewhat daunting phrase, "see you next session."

I have tried almost every workout/training option out there including, yoga, cycling, body pump, boot camp and one-on-one training.

I follow a lot of "fitness experts" on Instagram. I have purchased all of the popular the workout programs, fitness magazines, supplements, fitness DVD programs, and even fitness equipment.

I'm currently back to working out with a trainer (in Chicago) and workout at least 4 days a week with him on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On Tuesday and Wednesdays, I do cardio and abs in the gym. 

During the past four years of training, I have learned a lot about myself as it relates to chasing personal goals and producing new habits.

I believe that the lessons I learned from working out can also be applied to other plans that you are currently working on. Maybe you can find what I have learned some of the lessons applicable to your own life if you are interested in managing your finances, growing a relationship, pursuing a career or degree, or trying to develop a stronger faith.

Consistency is key.

Some mornings are harder than others to wake up and get going. I despise Mondays (blah!).  It's not like I get a full night's sleep every night (and I can blame my obsession with Netflix and Hulu). However, I learned that skipping a day is not an option. When you miss a workout or two after starting to get into a rhythm it is very hard to get back into a steady routine. I am not saying that it is impossible, it can just be disappointing if you aren't used to getting over that initial hump. When you start to maintain a steady workout pattern, then you will develop a new habit that sticks. 

Make a goal.

Creating a checkpoint that is achievable and reasonable will motivate you to pursue when a workout seems too difficult. I have a mental image of how I would like to look by my 30th birthday. It's not vain, just a personal benchmark.  Last year, I had a goal to have a 6-pack and confidently take my shirt off on the beach. This past summer I took my shirt off while on vacation in Miami, but there wasn't a "visible" six pack (LOL). Visualizing a goal will help you stay focused and have a tangible outcome to strive towards. They may not all actualize at once, but when you see results that is a reason to celebrate. 

Focus on form.

It can be easy to try to fake the movement in order to speed up the process. However, what I have learned from not following form is that it can lead to injury. In order to prevent self-inflicted harm it's important that you focus on the method and proper execution than trying to breeze through life. This also applies to taking on more weight than you can handle. We have to learn how to manage our lives so that we are saying yes to the intentional things that really matter and what will help us grow. 

Recruit the right resources.

Who do you have on your team that will guide you towards reaching your goal? I hired a personal trainer who I hold as a valuable member of my team. He pushes me to lift harder and to maintain endurance.

You may consider finding someone else to be your coach through your goals. A guide can also be a teacher, pastor or mentor. The bottom line is that you shouldn't try to achieve your goals on your own. Find someone to hold you accountable and will push you to succeed with tough love. If it's possible, ask for help and include them as a part of your special advisory board. We can all use someone to give us the feedback we need in order to improve. 

My trainer (Werkout Legend) and I (Instagram: @werkoutlegend)

My trainer (Werkout Legend) and I (Instagram: @werkoutlegend)

Have Fun!

Although I hate getting up early in the mornings, I enjoy the pain. It sounds weird, I know. But I know that the end results are worth it. Pain is a part of the growing process.

My suggestion is that you enjoy the process and love every moment, even when you're ready to quit. 

I am working hard to develop a new life system as I approach 2016. This includes letting go of control and giving myself more grace when I am not as consistent with new habits. I have to remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint.

What new habits have you learned from pursuing a goal that can be applied to your vision for your life in 2016? Comment below and share.