Throughout my years of being a personal trainer I’ve witnessed a lot of common themes. I’m grateful for all of them, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the indifferent. However, regardless of the circumstance I learned a very valuable lesson. The fitness world is full of snake oil salesmen that spit lies and misinformation in very large quantities. Unfortunately, most of these lies come with a little bit of truth and it can be challenging to know the difference. My message to all of you is to first and foremost, decide what you want first and foremost from you fitness routine.
There are always going to be external sources telling us what to do. They can be complete strangers or in some cases family and friends. What I want to be clear about is that the majority of people aren’t intending to be a burden when they give you advice, they’re legitimately trying to help. However, we all need to understand one important principle, what works for my friend, family member, or anyone else more often than not may not give me the same results. That’s why I want to teach all of you the importance of making your own decisions when it comes to your fitness and health.
First, we need to understand not only where this comes from but why we do this. We do this to ourselves, and it’s because we want to put the responsibility on someone else instead of taking it on ourselves. It’s hard and uncomfortable, and most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it. I’ll make it simple for you, the brain is the driver of all human movement and emotion, what we don’t often realize is that it doesn’t like anything that’s uncomfortable. The brain’s most important job is survival, and if anything threatens that survival it will avoid it at all costs. If the movement or emotion feels uncomfortable we will avoid it at all costs, most of us do what feels good or what comes natural, not the other way around. I’m here to tell you that you should practice what feels uncomfortable or unnatural to you whether that is a feeling or emotion. Let me give you a real life example that will make all of this more clear for you.
This brings to mind one of my clients, who was an ideal client to work with actually. I had her on a good training plan of resistance and interval training when she was working with me; and, outside of working with me she would do things like walking, biking, and rollerblading. When she stuck to the plan she would lose body fat and hit her health milestones. However, she kept listening to the external sources that I previously mentioned, and because she wasn’t getting the long term results she was working for in the short term this would cause her to get mentally frustrated and to continuously get off track with the routine. All in all, if she would’ve stayed focused on the fundamentals that I was teaching her, filtered the external noise she was getting from mostly friends and family, and focused on what she wanted, we would be having a different discussion right now.
In summary, before you start a journey of any kind, but especially a fitness journey I truly believe you should make note of what you want to accomplish throughout your journey. As I stated earlier, it’s going to be awkward and uncomfortable, however, it’s the foundation that will set you up for consistent long-term success. I’ll leave you with this, we’re all taught from a very young age to not be selfish; however, with our health and well-being we need to be, because nobody else is going to do the work or take responsibility for us, and that includes all the people in your life that give you advice on what’s working for them.