There are few things in life more important than our health. It can enable us or limit us, buoy us or sink us and remains one of the only areas where we are afforded near complete control. We may have no say in what happens to us each day at work or at school, or how the people in our lives will treat us. But we can control how we treat ourselves — what we put into our bodies, how we allow ourselves to grow and how we push ourselves to reach our potential.
Achieving this fulfilment is no easy process, and is found not through temporary fixes, but through a higher understanding of the importance of health and the philosophy of fitness.
With this in mind, the Gauntlet reached out to some of the University of Calgary’s most committed fitness enthusiasts in an effort to understand the principles and philosophies that they have adopted to keep them driven and progressing each day.
Will Young, a member of the University of Calgary Dinos’ volleyball team and owner of start-up personal training company Young Fitness, stressed the importance of being accountable, being knowledgeable and enjoying the fitness experience.
“Compete with yourself every day,” said Young. “Too many people get distracted with what other people are doing at the gym. Worry about you. The body’s ability to adapt from your last workout is amazing. Beat yourself every day by increasing reps, sets or weight or by decreasing rest time.”
Young’s second key to success is accountability. “Set goals. By having clearly defined goals, you not only hold yourself accountable to your health and fitness, but you will be able to measure whether or not you are accomplishing them,” said Young. “If you’re not getting the results, you’re doing something wrong.”
Young believes that making fitness enjoyable is also essential for your psyche.
“Look forward to the social aspect of the gym,” said Young. “Train with a friend, meet new people and try new things.”
Enjoying the experience lies in the details as well. “Keep your music fresh,” said Young. “Pick the right environment for you. Just as some people are better at studying in the library and some are better studying at home, the same can be said for the gym. Find your domain.”
Young’s training philosophy is grounded in not only training hard, but training smart and thinking long-term.
“It’s easier to get creative and keep your workouts interesting when you arm yourself with the knowledge of simple exercise implementation,” said Young. “Think long-term and commit to it for life. Do it once, and don’t make a habit of yo-yoing. Maintaining results is a lot easier than fighting for them every few months.”
Third-year law and society student Eric Licis is a former rugby standout who found significant improvement in his physical and mental health through a rigorous dedication to nutrition and training. He explained the importance of being conscious and appreciative of your continual progression.
“Know where you are, and know where you were,” said Licis. “It’s a constant push, and while it was hard to get motivated initially, once I did it snowballed towards the mentality I hold now.”
“The simple and routine act of waking up in the morning motivates me to keep going with my diet and exercise,” Licis continued. “The overall quality of life that I now am privileged to feel is definitely aided by what I eat and how active I try to be.”
Elaine Cagulada, a third-year English and education student and former cardio instructor at GoodLife Fitness, explained how her fitness philosophies keep her motivated and always appreciative of the opportunity to seek better health.
“Appreciate that there is nothing like it,” Cagulada. “There is nothing that can give me the same type of satisfaction, joy and mental challenge that exercise has to offer. I have yet to find a better way to release negative energy from within me than through fitness.”
Cagulada believes that fitness is the end, not the means.
“Learning to love the process of fitness only asks that you are 100 per cent invested in the moment and zero per cent concerned about the pants size you want to fit or the people you wish to impress,” said Cagulada. “Fitness requires patience, integrity and self-discipline. Every minute that you put into nurturing your body is another opportunity to savour, enjoy and rejoice in your personal journey towards wellness.”