Fitness events take focus off weight-loss frustration


What do you think is the No. 1 reason people begin an exercise program? You guessed it—to lose weight.

That is a legitimate goal, but it’s important that your fitness routine addresses more than weight issues. Weight loss can be an emotional roller coaster, and many people aren’t willing to stay on a plan for the long haul.

We need to shift our focus and have a greater purpose to our workouts for long-term success. One of the best approaches is to train for a fitness event. It could be anything from running your first half marathon to taking up cross-country skiing. As long as it’s an activity you find enjoyable and is within the realm of physical fitness, you are on the right track.

Changing to a fitness-first approach makes the process of getting into shape a positive one. The scale can have you jumping for joy one day and crying the next, but the exhilaration of crossing the finish line at Camel’s Back Duathlon or conquering Robie Creek is something that will stay with you forever.

Besides, more often than not, the pounds will come off as a result of your training. So in addition to creating good memories and getting into fabulous shape, you become lean and mean in the process.

Here are three tips to getting started on your fitness quest:

1. YOU ARE ALWAYS READY: Does this sound like you? “I need to get into better shape before I can do that.” Quite the contrary! At any given fitness event, there will be a range of participants with various fitness levels. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate.

So set the goal. You will get ready in the training process. Where do you want to take your training after that? Well, as they say, the sky’s the limit.

2. CHOOSE AN EVENT: This may seem obvious, but too often this simple step continually gets put off. Until you make the commitment and actually sign up, it’s only an idea. After you register, you will have an official training deadline. You will be less likely to skip workouts because you’ll want to do your best for the big event.

3. RECRUIT YOUR FRIENDS: Why do it alone when you can have buddies be a part of the process? There is added accountability and a tendency to strive for better results when you have the positive support of your friends. Plus, people create a special bond when they sweat together, and you will just have more fun!

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Monster Personal Training & Athletic Conditioning in Meridian, has more than 15 years’ experience in the fitness industry and is a Fitness Columnist for the Idaho Statesman. Contact him at or