Why 2017 Will Be the Best Year for Fitness Yet

By Alexander VanHouten, Master Trainer & Life Time Education Specialist

2016 was a rough year.

We lost some beloved celebrities, the Middle East plunged further into conflict, the European union has begun to fracture, our national debt ballooned, and after a bitter election cycle the willingness to reach across the aisle to get things done is severely broken at best. Oh, and if you care about this sort of thing, the Gilmore Girls long-awaited new series did nothing but leave EVERYONE hanging and angry.

Not that there weren’t ANY wins, but the world is in flux. You felt it. It was kind of ridiculous on all counts.

Oh, and your fitness goals. Well. Not even close to what you were looking for, huh?

I mean, you can look back at the year and find a few moral wins, can’t you? Some progress worth highlighting is there. Your attitude is better, you learned some hard-earned lessons and dang-it, you haven’t given up yet!

I have some encouraging news for you. It’s not over.

Sure, you still have a lot of work to do, but isn’t that what life is about?

Get busy living, or get busy picking out where you’re going to push up daisies.

Whatever your post-mortem desires may be, you’re not there yet. So its time to put those buzzing frontal lobes to good use and look ahead to 2017.

Last year around this time, I covered what you need to make some legit goals for the new year. Check that out if you need some help resetting your focus.

In this article, let’s look at why 2017 is just the year you’ve been looking for to make health and fitness changes in your life that are going to stick!

2017 is the Year of Endless Well-Meaning Energy

Remember how I mentioned that 2016 felt tumultuous at best?

The Syrian immigration crisis, rising cost of living, stagnating wages, and political turmoil that marked the last several hundred days feels overwhelming and awful.

AND it’s never been more in your face. Facebook newsfeeds and mainstream media blast every scrap of negative information. Couple the happenings with the 24/7 access to hearing about how things aren’t going so well, and the angst is tangible.

You can literally feel the anxious energy rising within you to do something. Do ANYTHING to make a difference and set your mind at ease that you’ve done your part to influence our crazy world.

It’s not just you. All human beings are subject to the “availability heuristic.” This means a little bad news can make us feel as if the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket and that there is nothing we can do about it![i]

Some let that energy spill over into angry comments on social media. Others find themselves snapping at family and coworkers or yelling at the TV at yet another ridiculous headline or happening.

Let me ask you a question? Does pouring all of that negative energy into your work, family, and social media world make you feel any better?

I know it doesn’t help me. And it’s not helping any of my clients who are struggling with it.

Can I make a suggestion?

Make 2017 the year of boundless energy by pouring that would-be negativity (anger, anxiety, frustration, angst) into your workouts.

The weights don’t judge and they don’t argue.

It’s there for you to bring your rage and forge it into something productive so that you can approach the problems in your world with a healthy body and a clear mind.

Focus your stubborn grit on perfecting your form, breathing properly, going beast mode, or trying something new.

Or as Howard Thurman put it, instead of focusing on what the world needs, focus on what makes you come alive.

“What the world needs is more people who’ve come alive.”

Who knows, maybe all those you wish to influence will follow your self-actualized lead.

2017 is the Year of ‘True Health’ Consciousness

Never have we ever cared so much about True Health as a nation.

“What’s ‘True Health?’” Glad you asked.

True Health is the idea that one’s “healthiness “is the proper functioning of the human body, free of disease and pain without dependence on long-term pharmaceuticals to get there.  As far as I can tell, this idea exists in several arenas, but hasn’t been defined as a concept outside of terms like “holistic health” or “functional medicine.” These are disciplines that are much more focused on the process of getting to “true health” rather than defining what that end-goal actually looks like.

Another way you may define it is living without experiencing health problems, and without paying an arm and a leg for it.

One thing’s for certain though, something needs to change about how we define ‘health’ and how we actually achieve it.

Health care costs are at a record high[ii], and yet our life expectancy dropped this year for the first time in decades[iii].

Do you know what that means? We are spending more money than ever and getting fewer results. “Health” is a failing concept as it stands, and we are feeling it as a nation.

Since it’s becoming a mainstream idea that you cannot trust our health care system to make us healthy, more people are taking control of their health, defining it for themselves, and doing something about it.

What does that mean for you?

2017 is the year that when you make your health goals public, your support system will be ripe to help you and make changes for themselves.

When you suggest a home-cooked meal at someone’s house and a glass of red wine over going out for happy hour, more of your buddies will be on board. When you bring healthy snacks to the office instead of doughnuts, less people will grumble. When you challenge your family to a “steps challenge,” more will participate.

Spurned by rising costs and an increasingly fed-up attitude, 2017 is the year when more than ever before, people will notice your health improvements and want to jump on your bandwagon.

Get on it! AND expect others to join you!

2017 is the year for Truth-Seeking

After a spotlight shown on misinformation in other realms of media, we are primed to be keen on all of the other hooey out there.

Does that supplement REALLY help you? Is that REALLY the best way to do cardio? What makes this protein bar different from a candy bar?

So much sensationalized opinion in the world today has made us numb to the hype. What we really want is the no-holds-barred truth.

We are wise to the gimmicks. (Shake weights don’t make six packs).

We are doubtful of big claims. (We see the fine print: “Results not typical.”)

And we are looking at the world with eyes that see the world through a different lens.

“Sure some people swear by it, but what works best FOR ME?”

2017 is the year to become a skeptical practitioner of science in your own right.

Form a hypothesis (this fish oil is good for me and I expect to lose 2 lbs. of water in the next 2 weeks if I take it consistently). Perform the experiment (put it next to my toothbrush so I don’t forget!). Measure the results (did you lose weight?). Draw conclusions (buying bulk fish oil for cheap may not be the way to go). And move forward in pursuit of the truth.

Just be sure to look for confounding variables in your journey! Fish oil can’t help you lose water weight if you’re packing in holiday desserts at the time of your experiment!

2017 is the year for Social Fitness

Whether you’re an active, passive or refusing participant, social media is here to stay.

Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. I’m told the list goes on, but I’m not hip enough to list more than this.

The advent of social media has infiltrated every aspect of the post-industrialized world to the point that many rate their phones in the “need” category instead of the “want” category of household expenses.[iv]

Whatever your disposition on the morphing of Maslow’s hierarchy to include social media in its lower tiers, it is a force in our world that can either be for your benefit or detriment.

Think of your audience of likers and commenters as your own personal echo chamber for motivation to continue positive changes.

Pick one thing that you commit to and announce it to your 1,000 or so online fans. Then follow through with an action plan.

Are you going to eat healthy? Post your dinner every night. Are you going to hit the gym daily? Post a pic of the sunrise from the parking lot every time. Are you committed to thinking differently? Post something you’re thankful for every morning.

The list is infinite.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a call to do more bicep-flexing poses in the gym mirror with 27 hashtags. You who are already at that level aren’t going to get worse or stop any time soon…I’m calling on the less savvy crowd to reap the benefits of having this access.

2017 is the year to be exposed to the more realistic messages from the average fitness enthusiast and less from the unrealistic aspirations of the vain Instagram model wannabes.

Commit to an action and leverage all of the positive energy that comes flowing in because of it!

2017 is the year for Technology to Positively Impact Fitness

Let’s face it. Technology has done more to harm fitness than to help it.

You know the story. Instead of going outside, kids of all ages are vegging in front of a TV screen shooting baddies from all over the world. Parents are moving less and sitting more since computers dominate the workforce as the primary tool of productivity over conventional tools.

But things are changing.

Augmented reality games like Pokemon Go got hundreds of thousands of kids (and adults) to get more steps than ever in search of rare Pokemon.[v]

Apps like MindBody, SworkIt, and MyFitnessPal are revolutionizing the fitness world by making your smart device your primary motivational tool for awareness, instruction, tracking, and planning.[vi]

And last but not least the gaming world is innovating the next generation of immersion with Virtual Reality and all I have to say is get ready for some in-shape kids. Companies like “Omniforce” are experimenting with new technology to transport gamers into a fitness-inducing gaming environment like no other. Words don’t really do it justice, just check out this promo vid to get your head wrapped around the idea. (http://www.virtuix.com/#mpf-popup@//www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2kZrywOCAk|371|54878c29ae39c)

2017 is the year for technology to promote fitness, not impede it.

Ready or Not

Every year, on December 31, one more turn around the sun is complete and another one starts. You have no control over that.

However you do have control over how you are going to approach this new year. Let’s put 2016 behind us and look forward to our place in a bright 2017.

I hope you’ll be health conscious, use your energy productively, use technology and social media to your advantage, and experimentally seek the truth about what really works for you.

The world is changing, and there’s never been a better time to change with it!

Here’s to a happy, healthy, purposeful, and gracious new year!

 

[i] Ali Venosa. Keeping up with the News can Cause Depression and Anxiety. Sept 26, 2015. http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/keeping-news-can-cause-depression-and-anxiety-heres-how-recover-354548

[ii] Dan Munro. Jan 4, 2015. U.S. Healthcare Spending On Track To Hit $10,000 Per Person This Year. Available online < http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2015/01/04/u-s-healthcare-spending-on-track-to-hit-10000-per-person-this-year/#363fc89b294c>

[iii] Rob Stien. Life Expectancy In U.S. Drops For First Time In Decades, Report Finds. Dec 8, 2016. Available online < http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/12/08/504667607/life-expectancy-in-u-s-drops-for-first-time-in-decades-report-finds

[iv] http://socredit.com/ask-the-collector/the-new-maslow-hierarchy-entitlement-of-cell-phones-and-tv/

[v] Kyle Peveto. Can Pokemon Go Encourage Exercise?. The Advocate. July 25, 2016. Available online < http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/entertainment_life/health_fitness/article_d42038ea-4ab0-11e6-b13b-0fa25ab27352.html>

[vi] Hunter Hewitt. 16 Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2016. http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/16-best-health-and-fitness-apps-of-2016

The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.