Shaping Up: Tackle the impossible with short-term fitness goals

A boot camp is a good way of getting motivated.
A boot camp is a good way of getting motivated.

I’ve just finished reading The Little Bit Things, by Henry Fraser.

It’s a very inspirational book, and definitely worth a read. It will resonate with anyone facing an obstacle, no matter how big or small.

Henry was just 17-years-old when a tragic accident on the beach severed his spinal cord. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he has conquered unimaginable difficulty to embrace life and a new way of living.

Through challenging adversity, he has found the opportunity to grow and inspire others.

The book includes Henry’s thoughts on how to look at the right things and avoid the wrong, and finding progress in whatever you do.

One particular part in the book stuck out to me. It was when Henry was in hospital, just after the accident. He received hundreds of well wishes and cards, which he read over and over again, because it gave him a hunger to get better, and a hope for the future.

One card in particular gave him inspiration.

It was sent from one of his old school friends and included this quote by Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

The thing I love about that quote is that it can be true for any situation in life. Whatever problem you are up against, use this quote to get you started.

With regards to fitness and weight loss, it’s important to have a long-term target. Something to aspire to.

But, you must break your long-term fitness goals down into shorter targets.

If you don’t break down your long-term fitness goals, it can be very daunting and the end result can appear too far away, which can knock you off the rails before you even get started!

For example, if you consider yourself to be unfit, thinking about running a marathon can seem impossible. So, start with what you can do, not what you can’t do.

Start with what’s necessary: To improve your fitness, you need be more active and improve your eating habits to boost your energy levels.

Then do what’s possible: You don’t have to start with 10 mile runs every day. Start with what you’re capable of doing. If that’s a 10-minute walk, twice a week, that’s fine. But the key is progression.

The next week, make sure you walk a little further.

Make it you mission to keep making progress every week.

And suddenly you’re doing the impossible!

If you concentrate on the simple steps and focus on achieving small daily targets, before you know it, you will be doing what you thought was impossible at the start.

If you struggle for motivation on your own, then a good way to get exercise inspiration is to join a group.

Running clubs, gym classes and boot camps are excellent for extra motivation.

I encourage my boot camp members to work at their own pace, to push themselves within their own limits.

There’s no point in comparing yourself to others or putting pressure on yourself.

Concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t do, and in a short space of time you’ll be super fit, achieving what you once thought was impossible

I’m currently taking on more boot camp members, so if you’d like to join us get in touch with me on 07875 548880.

Your trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email or visit