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Exercising With What You Have - The Lunch Hour Athlete

Training Log For: 11/18/09

Injuries, icing, how to recover faster. Click Here.

Posted by Matthew

I'll admit it. I'm guilty. I have been bamboozled and led astray by the cunning and deceitful marketing tactics of the fitness industry. In fact, it seems to be the norm for companies to over promise and falsely promote their goods. We've all seen the commercials and read the ads, "take this pill to SHED the pounds" or "buy this spring with handles for $19.99 for six pack abs in 2 minutes a day". But wait! There's more! Honestly, if a company shows an average looking guy in a before picture then shows the same guy six weeks later ripped from head to toe, I feel a tinge of hope, a compulsive lack of good judgment. If that guy can do it so can I! I only have to buy that product and use it for 6-8 weeks!

So I shell out the $50 on some powder that tastes like strawberry flavored poison. I mix it with some cold water and shotgun it trying to avoid any contact with my tongue. This routine lasts for about 3 weeks until I either see no immediate results or become distracted by a newer, more improved ad - I mean product. So what does all this have to do with running? This week I was running in an old pair of shorts that had the drawstring ripped out in the washer. A combination of weight loss and worn out elastic caused the shorts to be too large to stay on my hips. The problem was, I didn't realize the shorts were too big until I had started running. Since I was at work, I didn't have another pair of shorts so I faced the decision between ending my run or making do with the shorts. I kept running. I don't know if you have ever tried to run with one hand holding your shorts up, but it's not easy. About 1 mile into the run I saw some loose, rusted wire hanging on the fence and like every other perfectly sane person I thought "A BELT". So I bunched up a portion of my shorts and transformed the rusted wire into a tetanus laced safety pin .

My shorts stayed on by themselves and luckily the wire resisted the urge to abide by Murphy's Law and impale my hip. The whole incidence got me thinking. If I can make my shorts fit with a piece of rusted wire, why do I still feel the constant need to spend my hard earned money on a laundry list of fitness "necessities"? I mean seriously, apart from a good pair of shoes and nutritious food, what does a runner really need? Not much else. Of course there are accessories that can aid your training, like a good heart rate monitor, an mp3 player and maybe some good socks. None of these things guarantee success, motivation or commitment. The truth is, we are constantly programmed to think that when stripped down to just our bodies we are inadequate. We need to have all these accessories and top of the line equipment. I will admit, if you are Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning you probably do need the best equipment. However I am not earning millions each year I continue to run or lift weights. If you are not a professional there is a lot you don't need. Ignore the advertisements, recondition your mind.

I now have a new rule, whether I am running, playing soccer, swimming or lifting weights, I will not buy expensive products until I have proven to myself that I am committed and will maintain motivation. I use these luxury accessories as rewards for my dedication, not prerequisites to my success. So far it is working. Now that I don't rely on external sources to fuel my success, I have maintained my longest streak of exercising... ever, AND spent the least amount of money on my fitness. Now it's time to reward myself with something cool, like a waterproof mp3 player case for when I swim, or a fancy heart rate monitor.