Getting to the finish line


I was talking to a client today, and we got into a discussion about basketball players. She was telling me how she thought they must be in such incredible shape to do perform well while dead tired. Having been on my high school basketball team, I was able to offer some information.

You have to be in great shape to play basketball so that sprinting up and down the court doesn’t actually mean much to you. It’s more about executing the skills to win the game. In other words, the very base level that is expected of you as a basketball player, is to constantly be in peak physical shape. You never want to be in a situation where you have to admit to a coach or a teammate that you’re just too tired, especially if you miss an important shot.

The client then went on to tell a story about how she got into shape for hiking trips. Lots of climbing through mountains was involved. She described it as she had done all this work to get to the peak of a mountain, look around, and it was over with. At that point, I realized that she had missed the whole point.

I told you that to tell you this. Our destination in life is far less important than the journey. I don’t want to get all mushy on you here, but often in endurance sports, the journey is all there is.

Let me explain. The average person who has never won a marathon – yet has a background in jogging – can safely get in shape for a marathon in about six months. If your only goal is to finish with a respectable time (say, four hours), you’d have to put in several hundred miles and tons of training time. This is no easy feat when you consider work and family time.

After all of that, crossing the finish line will happen in less than one second.

I told you all of that to tell you this. In my practice as a fitness trainer, I’ve often had extremely overweight people ask me how long it would take them to lose weight.

I’ve never answered that question. And in almost every case, people who ask that question end up failing. Even if they lose 100 to 150 pounds, ultimately they put it back on.

By asking that question, you’ve set yourself up for failure. If I as an ultra cyclist think about the end of the race, I’m already defeated.There is so much work to be done in between starting and actually finishing a race.

That’s why I like Weight Watchers. It’s not an end result. Life is what happens while you’re waiting for life to begin. Weight Watchers is all about making life changes. The program takes it one day at a time, one week at a time, and so on. The goal is not the end, it’s just another beginning.

Just like with the marathon, it’s all about the journey, not about the destination.