The 6 C’s: A Pyramid Approach to Fitness and Change

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Staying fit and healthy is a commitment. For you, and your pet. Fitness and health is achieved not by going to the gym for the 2 weeks after New Years, nor by an occasional bout of exercise every few weeks or months. Attaining fitness, and all of the wonderful benefits that come with it, require a change in the way we think about exercise and the way we incorporate it into our daily routines.

Having exercised and been involved in the fitness community for the better part of 3 decades, I have drawn some inferences from observing people who have been fit for many years.   There are some common themes that present across my ‘sample set’ of people and I have come up with a concept, named the 6 C’s Pyramid, which encapsulates my observations.  The 6 C’s Pyramid can help you and your pet get and remain fit and lead to positive change.


Introducing the 6 C’s Pyramid Approach to Fitness and Change

The 6 C’s Pyramid depicts the relationship between behavior fundamentals that lead to regular exercise which in turn lead to the ultimate goal of any fitness program: positive change.  The picture below shows the hierarchy of each of the 6 C’s. 6 C's Pyramid


The 6 C’s In Brief

Bottom Level

The first level of the pyramid is the key to building a fitness lifestyle.  These factors are the foundation that leads to lifestyle changes.Depositphotos_13983899_xs

  1. Convenience: Make your workouts convenient so that it is ‘easy’ to get them done each day. Convenience helps to eliminate a common excuse: “I don’t have time to workout”.  Driving 30 minutes to the gym is not convenient.  Putting on sneakers and doing hill repeats in your neighborhood is.
  2. Cross Train: Mixing up your workouts makes them more interesting, reduces injury risk, and keeps your body challenged.  In the context of the pyramid, cross training means adding different activities (e.g. running, weight training, yoga) as well as adding different workout protocols (e.g. speed work, timed weight training complexes ala Cross Fit).  Mix it up for a better balanced and an ever improving body.
  3. Common Sense: Use common sense when planning workouts for you and your dog.  If a specific exercise doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!  Even if everyone else does it or tells you how great it is.  If your dog has a specific orthopedic issue, adjust their program accordingly. Do you (or your dog) “like” certain exercises?  If so, common sense dictates that you utilize these as the foundations for your exercise program because if you enjoy your workouts you are more likely to persist with them.


Middle Level

Adhering to the ideas in Level 1 of the pyramid leads to the success factors in Level 2, consistency and capability, both of which lead to improved fitness and health.

  1. Consistency:  As mentioned in the introduction, consistent exercise is the key to becoming fit. Those who make exercise a regular part of their daily routine are those that become and remain fit.  What does it mean to be consistent?  That depends on the individual human and dog.  For some people, it means exercising every single day, injury or illness allowing.  For other people, it may mean squeezing in 3-4 workouts per week.  Use common sense to determine what works best.  For most dogs, daily exercise is preferred, even if it means fitting in shorter or lower intensity exercises (e.g. walks) in when you are short on time.   That said, if you are pressed for time, one way to build fitness is to do shorter but higher intensity workouts, which will burn a lot of calories per minute.  This is a proven technique to get the most fitness benefits out of the time you spend devoted to exercise.
  2. Capability:  More often than not, the better we are at something, the more we enjoy it and the more we will do it.  The same is true for exercise.  As you and your dog become more consistent with your routines, you will both become more fit and skilled with the different exercises that you do.  As you see improvement in your capability, your enjoyment will increase and you will start to look forward to exercising.  Yes, over time, this will happen, trust me!   At this point, you are very likely to be ‘hooked’ on fitness and will have decided to make fitness a priority in your regular schedule, and will now be able to start realizing the benefits.


Top Level

With exercise consistency and capability comes the overall objective of any exercise program, the top part of the pyramid: Change: Change in the way you and your dog look, feel, and approach life in general.  What kind of change is possible through regular exercise?  Take a look at some of the changes that you and your dog will undergo over time:

  • Reduced body fatsitup_sm
  • Increased endurance
  • Increased strength
  • Elevated mood
  • Elevated self esteem
  • Reduced incidence of many diseases


That is a pretty impressive list of benefits.  Sounds a lot like what Ponce De Leon was looking for all of those years ago when he was searching for the fountain of youth.  What are you waiting for?  Start with the Level 1 behaviors and make adjustments to your routine to accordingly.   I’ll see you at the “fountain” in a few months. Watch our video on the 6 C’s  here:



Don’t forget to join us on Saturday for the PetsMove Mutt-A-Thon!

Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

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  1. Very good points. Like Steve’s petsmove t-shirt. Will be joining in on Saturday. See you then!
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Custom Shirts At Allied ShirtsMy Profile

  2. Common sense, huh? Is it still common sense if it’s not common? 😉
    Jana Rade recently posted…Veterinarians Answer: If You Could Be Granted One Wish, What Would You Wish For?My Profile

  3. Hi Y’all!

    No need for New Years resolutions here! I’m so full of energy that my Humans are forced to follow my example! Why if they don’t want to take their exercise, I’ll just sit there, stare and bark at them ’til they do!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Follow Up and Fun with Fitness Friday!My Profile

  4. Nice way of presenting a new attitude towards working out! Looking forward to catching up on all the info on the PetsMove Muttathon….
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Scooter & Kate’s Excellent Adventure – A Photo EssayMy Profile

  5. Great tips. Now if you could just make our weather improve. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Follow-up Friday 1-3-14My Profile

  6. We are having a two day heat wave 15-20 degrees above zero for a change, so our paws will be out moving without freezing for sure! See you at the Mutt a Thon!
    emma recently posted…We Got A DoubleWide | GBGV | FitDog FridayMy Profile

    • Get the suntan lotion out – wow 15 degrees… Glad at least warmed up enough for you to join the Mutt-a-Thon! Hope you can send in a video of you and your sisters Emma!
      mkob recently posted…The 6 C’s: A Pyramid Approach to Fitness and ChangeMy Profile

  7. Great post! I love nothing more than a “convenient” workout! I’d much rather walk in the neighborhood/do weights at home then go to the stinky gym. Great advice for folks!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Resolving To Move My Mutt and A Fun Follow-UpMy Profile

  8. I am big on always making sure my girls are exercised and walked but even still one of my resolutions are to get out for more walks with them… When it was just Mika we were out walking alllllllll the time, since the pup tho I’ll admit it has slowed down, and needs to get back where it was for both of them! Great post!
    ((Husky hugz))
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…PPPMy Profile

  9. Getting into a routine has always been a challenge for me. I used to go big and then go home…never to return 🙂 Making small but sustainable changes has been my goal but even that has had it’s challenges. I feel like I am at a place where I have made some successful, small changes and stuck with them though. It feels good.
    Jessica recently posted…Is Your Dog an Adventurer? There’s a Twitter Chat for ThatMy Profile

    • It takes time to build a habit and to get to the point where you FEEL the difference. Once you get there, it becomes a little easier because you want to keep feeling it – at least that’s how it works for me.
      mkob recently posted…The 6 C’s: A Pyramid Approach to Fitness and ChangeMy Profile

  10. That is a really great way to break it down so it makes sense and works. I need to get past the “consistency” thing, that’s always been my biggest challenge. That’s only one step from the top though, so we’re almost there!
    Jan K recently posted…Follow-Up/FitDog Friday – 2014My Profile

    • The idea is to use the lower levels to attain the higher ones. So make sure you make workouts Convenient, make sure to Cross train, and use Common sense. Then you WILL become more Consistent and well on your way to Change.
      steve recently posted…The 6 C’s: A Pyramid Approach to Fitness and ChangeMy Profile

  11. This is a very cool pyramid. I used to give cross-training tips to clients and students all the time but people get so focused on a specific goal like to build muscle or to lose weight that they think they can only accomplish it by lifting weights or doing cardio. But with just a simple make exercise a habit goal, your pyramid makes anything possible! Love it!

    • Thanks. I have observed, over the many years that I have been involved with fitness, that sometimes keeping it simple and conceptual can help folks see the “forest through the trees’ (as the saying somewhat goes).
      steve recently posted…Sepia Saturday 1-4-14My Profile

  12. Great tips! It’s interesting that the same tips that apply to senior dogs also apply to humans as we get older. I’ve had to adjust my workout and try new things as I’ve gotten older, and sometimes that can be the hardest part!
    Diane recently posted…New Year Fit Dog ResolutionsMy Profile

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