Stop saying you’ll do it, and do it

Stop saying you’ll do it, and do it

For the past few blog entries, Anthony has talked about various training methodologies that will challenge your body while keeping your workouts fresh, varied, and fun.   Today, I’m going to switch gears and talk about another important aspect of health and fitness, which is the mental side of it.  In particular, I’m going to discuss your motivation for getting (or staying) in shape, and the attitude that should be brought forward when embarking on your fitness journey.

I’m going to start this off by sharing my difficult experience with a colleague at the City of Coquitlam.   As I was obtaining my BCRPA Personal Training certification, I had to deliver several mock sessions with people I knew as part of the course curriculum.  When I was looking for volunteers, my colleague who we’ll call Anne, was quick to raise her hand.  Anne, like many clients, used to be quite active when she was younger.  However, after having kids and raising her family, her health took a backseat to the other obligations she had in life.  Anne suddenly found herself overweight and unhappy with herself. She was motivated to make a positive change.  Or so I thought.

Our mock session together went very well, working muscles that Anne forgot that she had.  I gave her a basic program that she could follow in order to meet her desired goals.  Anne was excited that she had a plan to get back into shape and change her life for the better.  Or so I thought.

As is typical, Anne didn’t stick with her fitness regime.   I would check on her periodically to see how her exercise program was going, and she would hum and haw about how guilty she felt.  Anne knew she had to be better, and pledged to improve her health once and for all.  Or so I thought.

Then, as I started on my venture with Anthony and Engineered Bodies, Anne was again very interested, asking for our training philosophies and training rates, and even asking about frequency of training.  Typically when potential clients ask about rates and how the sessions will fit into their schedule, it’s a fairly clear indicator that they are ready to commit to a better lifestyle.  Or so I thought.

The final straw came recently when Anthony and I put on a free Functional Movement seminar at the Coquitlam RCMP with the intent of educating the regular members and civilian employees of the benefits of the FMS, and how it specifically relates to their jobs.  When I first sent out the detachment-wide e-mail advertising this seminar, Anne was the very first person to respond, eager to hear what we had to say and promising to attend.   Predictably, Anne didn’t show up; as Anthony and I were setting up the presentation, she looked me in the eye and mumbled out an insincere “sorry”, and off she went to lunch.  Are you kidding me!?  Engineered Bodies brought this service directly to Anne, and she still couldn’t find the motivation to merely sit and participate in our presentation for twenty minutes, learning something that could drastically improve her health.   At this point, I resigned chasing Anne around.

This experience highlights the cycle that thousands of individuals go through when trying to adhere to a fitness plan.  “I need to get in better shape and start working out,” or, “I’ve got to put a stop to my bad eating habits,” or, “I need to find a way to come up with the money to join a gym or hire a trainer.”  How familiar does this sound to you?   You know what you need to do, so why aren’t you doing it?  Someone who is truly motivated would find the time to work out, find the willpower to eat healthily, and find a way to get the money for a gym or trainer.

Another colleague of mine, Tony, is truly motivated.  He used to play basketball several times a week and exercised regularly, until his sedentary job caught up to him.   He recently sat at over 220lbs.   However, Tony was intrigued by our recent 4-Hour Body experiment, and I highly recommended he take a look at the book for interests sake; if he didn’t subscribe to the workouts or the advice in the book, it is at least a very intriguing and fun read.  Well, Tony picked up the book the very next day, and started one of the diets in the book shortly afterwards.  Twenty-one days later, he has lost 15 pounds of fat off of nothing but pure desire to make a physical change, and the will power to make wise food choices.  Imagine the results he could see if he made small improvements to his workouts or hired a personal trainer?  THIS is getting it done, and what makes me happy as a personal trainer.  That is, people making the conscious choice to improve, and actually sticking by it and reaping the benefits.   The only difference between Tony and Anne is how badly they want it, and nothing else.

Contrary to popular belief, my job as a personal trainer and my passion as a fitness enthusiast is not to try and motivate potential clients to improve their health and fitness; my job and my passion is to help individuals who are already motivated reach and surpass their goals.  The motivation and drive to make fitness a part of your life must come internally and your desire to make a physical change must burn with the utmost intensity.  Otherwise, the flame will soon die and you will inevitably turn into another Anne.

  • Posted at 19:39h, 29 May Reply

    Mind leads body!

  • Mike Knapp
    Posted at 21:30h, 29 May Reply

    Anne’s situation is not unique. Many people WANT the change, but aren’t actually ready to commit to it. We run into it all the time at the dojo – even with some of those people who show up regularly. They WANT the change, but aren’t committed enough to make it happen. They’re the people who buy the book, read it, preach it, but don’t actually do it.

    I run into it in my consulting roles and mentoring even more. It’s just like being a personal trainer / coach, just with different subject matter.

    So many people want someone to either make them better or a magic pill to reach their goals. Sadly, that doesn’t happen.

  • Kevin Jones
    Posted at 15:43h, 19 June Reply

    Reminds me of myself sometimes – if i just buy the right shoes, a better pair of shorts and a cool watch, i’d run more. If i just bought the right piece of exercise equipment, i’d work out more. if i could just get some more sleep, i’d wake up early to run.

    Fact is, as you say Aaron, if you’re motivated, you’ll do it, regardless of the excuses. As both Samantha and Mike note, mind leads body. you can look externally for motivators (even have a patient person like Aaron or Anthony chase after you) but if you don’t actually DO IT, don’t be upset you never move from where you are. As one of our Sensei’s said recently, “if you wish to go North, it’s not enough to just face North, you must walk North”.

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