“It’s a contest without suffering….to me, of course, it’s about life.”- Lance Armstrong comments on the gruelling demands of competitive cycling after his fourth Tour de France victory in 2002.
With the start of the Tour of Georgia last week and the approach of the Tour de France in July, I find myself checking in to see how Lance Armstrong is doing these days. Sometimes I do that when I need a little motivation.
Of course, you’ll recall that all seven of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France victories followed a cancer diagnosis in 1996. This wasn’t just any cancer, but an extremely aggressive testicular carcinoma that quickly metastasized to his lungs and brain.
Most people would have collapsed, but based on Armstrong’s attitude to life, his response was entirely predictable.
After absorbing the terror of a certain death sentence, he assaulted his assailant with the same courage and determination he displays on grueling inclines in the French Alps. It is in the mountains where he usually leaves his competitors in the dust.
Armstrong’s motto is “knowledge is power and attitude is everything”. The rest is history.
As someone who helps people lose weight and improve their fitness by changing their habits and behaviours, I’d like to take a closer look at the topic of attitude.
After all, attitude is what determines whether you pull yourself off the couch and out the door for a refreshing walk or spend the afternoon watching TV.
Whether it’s improving your life or saving your life, to a very large extent, attitude is what determines where you end up.
If you want a good example of how attitude can overcome a real downer of an experience, consider Kelly Luckett of Decatur, Georgia. She ran 26.2 miles last year, the third female amputee to compete in the Boston Marathon. That’s 26.2 miles folks…in six hours, twenty minutes and two seconds.
Ms. Luckett had a choice to either give in to her disability or live life to the fullest. She chose not only to live, but to strive for excellence, and the result was remarkable.
With the list of things I have to do today, I have a pretty good reason to stay stuck on my desk until dinner, but I think I just motivated myself to pull up anchor and take my Protestant body for a run.
It’s all about life!
Tips to boost your attitude:
Most of us understand the reasons for our poor physical condition and response to weight loss. We read volumes about diet and exercise, but our attitude keeps us from doing what needs to be done.
One way to develop a strong positive attitude, even if you don’t feel that way, is to act like you do. To this end, planning actions and anticipating failures in advance is essential.
1. Schedule workouts into your calendar. Making an important appointment with yourself in writing carries more weight than just the vague intention to do something. Schedule yourself for first thing in the morning, because research shows that people who exercise before the start of the workday are most likely to stick with it.
2. A little something is better than nothing. No matter how short you are on time or how blah you feel, commit to just five or ten minutes. Every little bit helps and almost always, once you get going, the energy picks up and you have a great workout.
3. Be flexible. A change of plans is not an excuse to do nothing. If you usually exercise in the gym, and you’re out of town, go for a jog. If you forgot your running shoes, go for a brisk walk. Honor your commitment to your exercise schedule.
4. When possible, Join your spouse or a workout partner. It’s much less easy to manage if someone else is depending on you.
5. Check out Lance’s autobiography Lance, it’s not about the bike. My Journey Back to Life. Last time I looked, you could get a used copy for fifty cents on http://www.Amazon.com . If this book doesn’t motivate you, nothing will!
“Be Strong… Be Lean”