Success is a varied measure. Everyone has different ideals, different beliefs and different perceptions. In turn this creates an infinite number of outcomes and objectives. However when it comes to fitness, many people share a common goal: a healthy, trim and toned body, capable of strength, flexibility and endurance. Some are able to make changes much faster than others. In fact, while some make great progress within a few months, some struggle to make any changes at all. Why is that? THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES We all our fantastic story tellers. Our minds will make up literally anything to get us out of doing things we are fearful of. We will go to great lengths to convince ourselves to stay within our comfort zones, safe and sound but unfulfilled and discontented.
There are two layers to ourselves and our fear of exercise. The first operates during the moment of training itself. It is the part of you that would rather remain static, the part of you that likes comfort, the part of you that dislikes change. It will have the instant reflex to make up a story as to why you should stop training: that you are too old, too weak, too inexperienced, that you are going to hurt yourself. You tell yourself that you have already done enough, that you will feel much happier when you stop, that you need a rest. Sound familiar?
The second layer operates in the moments outside of exercise: during rest periods or throughout your normal life. It has the reflex to make up a story as to why you should not engage in exercise in the first place: that you have done enough, that a rest day will make no difference. You convince yourself that you will be happier if you do not engage in exercise at all, that you will train tomorrow instead, that you should rest. Again, sound familiar?
For many people, these stories become their truth. They give in to their fears, and stop themselves mid-set or mid-workout, they stay at home or favor another activity, they reach for the chocolate bar. By doing so, they will never reach their true potential. They will always have a subconscious feeling that they are not doing their best, an inner voice that will bring themselves down.
SHORT TERM PLEASURE v LONG TERM FULFILMENT Instead, be an observer of yourself throughout the day. Understand what stories you make up to avoid getting out of your comfort zone. Learn what fears or negative emotions trigger them. And teach yourself to overcome them. How?
When you are faced with a choice to make, ask yourself whether it will bring you short-term fulfillment or long-term fulfillment. Let’s say for example you have planned to go to the gym after work. The end of the day comes, you are feeling tired, and an inner voice tells you that you could always go the next day instead, that you could always spend a night in watching TV and relaxing. Stop and think: which choice will bring you happiness in the long run? The TV night-in may bring some short-term release and joy, but following through with your exercise plan will bring much bigger rewards in the long-term.
Another example could be during a training session itself. Let’s say that you are getting tired, that you are in the middle of your 2nd set of press ups, when an inner voice tells you that you it is too hard, that you must stop, you will feel better if you stop. Stop again and think: which choice brings you long-term fulfillment? Stopping the set may make you feel better there and then, but pushing through and doing a few extra reps will bring you far more satisfaction.
Apply this process to any choice you are faced, in your training, eating, but also in your job, career, relationships. Focussing on the long-term outcome will bring far greater fulfillment than only living your life through short-term pleasures.
YOUR EATING HABITS: THE KEY TO SUCCESS Another way that people sabotage their results is through their eating habits. I see many people that train everyday, with the right exercises and at the right intensity, however their bodies never seem to change. Why? Most likely because their diet and lifestyle are not supporting their training.
Indeed, depending on a persons body type, diet could account for 60 to 80% of any bodily change. In fact, an American study followed two groups of people, both training with a Personal Trainer five times a week. One group kept their old eating habits, whereas the other ate a clean diet. After three months of training, the group that made no changes to their eating habits had hardly lost any body fat at all. And thats with training five times a week with a Personal Trainer !
Good food will support your body in many ways. Once you feed yourself the right nutrients, you will automatically function better. A clean diet will for example increase your energy levels and speed up your ability to recover. A diet high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will help you stay healthy and fight off any infections. The two biggest components of your body are water and protein. A correct intake of both of these will support your system to function efficiently, leading to clearer skin, increased energy, and decreased body fat.
A clean diet is a sign of respect and love for yourself. It will bring you long-term fulfillment and happiness in new ways, as well as helping you achieve the results you want.
THE WAY YOU TRAIN IS THE WAY YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE There are many ways that we can sabotage our own success, in the gym but also in our everyday lives. Learning how your mind works is key to achieving the results you desire. Start today to fully understand what you want, and prepare yourself to overcome any obstacles that come your way.
How we do anything is how we do everything. The way you train for example is the way you live the rest of your life. If you favor short term pleasures over exercise then it is likely that you dislike putting yourself out of your comfort zone in your everyday life as well.
Your body can always do more than what your mind thinks. And you can always go further in life than what you actually believe. Learn to break down your own mental barriers in order to create the body and the life that you truly want. What are you waiting for?
Love & Health
My fellow Personal Trainer, Chris Manning, has just released a fantastic ebook on eating clean to achieve your goals. Check it out here