What is Your Delicate Arch?

Can a picture provide motivation for your health and fitness? Can you learn something from an experience which will inspire you to overcome obstacles that have derailed your success in the past? You might already know what the answer will be, but who doesn’t love a compelling story?

Let me tell you about my Delicate Arch experience.

My "Must See" Spot

My family and I had the opportunity to vacation in Moab, Utah. As we do with every vacation, each family member gets to pick out one site that is a “must see”.  Mine was the Delicate Arch.

When the day finally came to visit the arch, we decided to be at the entrance of the park prior to it opening in order to stay ahead of the crowds since it is such a popular destination. There were unexpected delays, but fortunately we were there so early that we were one of the first cars in. As we drove in, the excitement of my family grew in anticipation of what we were about to see.

We parked the car and looked at the map to see where the arch was. In the past, when you usually go to a tourist site, it can be spotted from far away. In order to see the Delicate Arch, we had to embark on a mile-long hike. It was 9 AM and the temperature was already over 90 degrees and rising. We had quick dry shorts and shirts, hiking shoes, plenty of water, and sunglasses.

The Tough Hike

The first obstacle was very tall hill we had to climb. No hands were needed in the climb but it definitely challenged our leg strength and stamina. When we got to the top of the hill, I realized that this wasn’t the last hill to climb. I also noticed something peculiar, a single line of trees going up another rather large hill in the distance in the direction we were headed. As we climbed down the hill, my children began to ask how much longer to go. When we got closer, what I thought was a single line of trees was actually a line of people to see the Delicate Arch as well. My gut told me that this adventure would be much longer than I had anticipated.

As the temperature rose, so did the fatigue climbing up and down the hills for me, and especially for my young children. Some hills were so steep, we needed to grab on to the landscape with our hands. With this hike and its obstacles, I had completely lost all sense of direction. I had even lost all sense of how far we had walked or more importantly, how much farther we had to walk.

Throughout the adventure, there were multiple times when we witnessed someone take an unanticipated break or timeout. We even saw a lot of people give up. It was difficult it was to witness someone quitting right next to me and keep myself motivated, believing what we will witness will be life altering.

My 6 year son asked me to sing him his favorite motivational song that I sing to him whenever he is struggling with something. I’m a little tone-deaf, but the song always lifts his spirits. Sure enough, as I carried on with the song, Henry felt more motivated than ever to continue hike. His determination only grew in spite of the sweltering heat and high elevation.

After working our way through cliff after cliff, we turned the corner and there it was; We turned the corner and saw the Delicate Arch. The smiles on my children’s faces washed away any fatigue or exhaustion. All 3 kids proudly exclaimed, “We did it!!!”

The Feeling of Achievement

After gazing at the arch for a while, it dawned to me how precious this site is. The arch is slowly eroding and eventually crumble into ruins. No one knows when the arch will topple, but I was glad to see it before it did.

The arch was magnificent. When we got there, we were so in awe of it that we just stood around for an hour soaking in the natural beauty. By the time we had to leave, we had an extra spring in our step. My children kept talking about how awesome this adventure was and how proud of themselves they were for accomplishing this trek.

Over the holiday season every year, I have given my clients a gift reflecting a token of appreciation of how thankful I am to be part of their health and fitness journey. I usually just give them an annual subscription to a healthy living magazine so they could get ideas for recipes, but I felt it was time for a change. I wanted to give them something more personal.

When I gave them the picture, they lit up! They all easily found the significance of working towards a goal they may not always have the opportunity to achieve. There are certainly no guarantees in life and the picture can serve as a constant reminder to work towards the things they want most. Giving the picture felt as if I was almost baring my soul to my clients. I was happy to give it to them because it conveyed how meaningful it was to work with them and could supply them with inspiration when they needed it.

When we planned our Utah trip, the Delicate Arch was high on all of our lists. We were shocked to find out that our adventure would take much much more effort to accomplish that we originally thought, but we kept going anyway.

The same can be said about your health and fitness goals. When you start, you are very excited, determined, and motivated to get to your result.  Most of the time, you will find out the goal is much further away than you had anticipated, yet the goal remains the same.  Similar to when we saw the trek to Delicate Arch was 1.5 miles away, not 100 yards.

Make sure you have some support to lend a hand and give you further motivation. When you are on your health and fitness journey, it is imperative to have an unwavering support group who are there for you when you need them.


This picture of the Delicate Arch was taken by me and shared with my clients a gift.

Share Your Success

I could have given myself a bunch of a legitimate reasons to end our hike, but it felt so good to keep on going. When you reach that goal, you feel compelled to tell the world because it’s so special. This is why I decided to share that picture with my clients, and I’m sharing the story you now. The outcome is always elevated by the journey. If the Delicate Arch was 100 yards from where we parked the car, it would have been neat to see but it would have never inspired me the way it did.

The Delicate Arch won’t always be standing. The same can be said for our fitness goals. As we  age, there comes a merciless decline in our athletic ability. Someday, those goals may be unattainable. When that happens, you will have to rely on your memory and pictures about your past accomplishments. If you keep putting certain physical accomplishments off, you may miss that boat. You have an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. You have the ability to press on and look and feel incredible.

You will give yourself many reasons to quit along your fitness journey, but staying the course will help you discover something rare that will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified

Youth/High School Track and Football Coach

Health and Fitness writer for Goals.com

For information on 1on1 Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching, feel free to contact me at szahn@lifetimefitness.com.