The only person you can’t lie to is yourself.
You can lie convincingly enough to anyone and everyone else about things going on in your life, you can tell them;
“I eat well”
“I’m working out hard”
“I don’t usually eat this”
“I only drink on weekends”
And they won’t know they difference.
Some people spend so much energy trying to convince and justify mistruths their actions that they never take responsibility for them. If you’re able to distance yourself from the responsibility of your actions, you are able to blame other people or things for the outcomes because you have no ownership of the what you are actually doing.
We have all met people who said they were going to ‘get in shape’, but because of this reason or that reason it was just ‘impossible’ for them to be able to do it.
Now I get that everybody lives busy lives in today’s day and age, but it’s still amusing to see that you can always find extra hours in the day to do more work or watch that TV show. People who lack the funds to invest into their health even though they money spend money on things that will bring only momentary satisfaction (*cough* multiple days of brunch).
Why? The lie isn’t that getting in shape and getting your health in order is ‘impossible’, it’s people are terrified of getting uncomfortable. People don’t like getting uncomfortable because it shows them up in the most brutally honest way. It’s a chance for people to learn how to understand themselves and how they honestly react in tough situations.
Getting your health in order isn’t just about the physical actions taken. It’s a journey of self-discovery through your mental strength too. This can be more comforting than the physical side of the journey as you learn what you are made of.
You may have this persona of a tough guy but find you break a lot earlier under physical stress than you thought, or alternatively you may think that you can’t do this or there’s no way you could lift that and find out that you are more than capable of completing tasks that at face value scared you.
You can take peace of mind in all of this by acknowledging that the same ups and downs that you encounter are the same ones that everyone else in the gym or classes are experiencing or have experienced. We are all in it together, there are no shortcuts, only hard work.
So stop lying to yourself and join in with all the other people getting uncomfortable to healthier and happier life.
The magic of exercise is that it can make a shitty day disappear.
We all know that life is forever changing. From the weather, to the mood your kids woke up in, to working through a rough patch with your partner etc, you don’t know what each and every day will throw at you. Each day brings with it a new combination of good and bad.
The beauty of weights is a 20kg will always be a 20kg plate, the beauty of kilometres is that 1km is always 1000m. It doesn’t matter if its Monday 5am, Thursday 5pm or Sunday they will always be the same.
Have you ever been on a run and spent the run having a conversation in your head about a particular issue only to finish and feel at ease with yourself because you worked through it? Or gone for a run and been able to switch off completely and just enjoy the world around you?
Have you ever put a heavy barbell on your back and been able to move it without having all your focus on getting it down and back up? Gone into the gym pissed off and angry, moved some heavy weight around and left calm and relaxed?
We could talk about the science behind how exercise makes you feel better, but I won’t. The magic of exercise turning shitty days into good days comes from the simplicity of it channelling your focus for the 15, 30, 45, 60+mins you are moving.
Channelling your focus through your movement allows your mind to switch off from the outside world and deal with the issues you are facing without distraction.
Taking time away from a shitty moment to do exercise will not only help you physically, but mentally. It can change your whole outlook for the day by allowing you to step away from a situation and revaluate it. Achieve some clarity with a clear head without the distractions of the noise of the outside world.
All it takes is a change in your state by simply getting your body moving and building up a sweat. The magic of exercise comes to life in its ability to take your mind and body from a negative state to a positive one, giving you space to change your outlook for the whole day!
“I’m not an athlete anymore, I’m too old for that”
Just because you aren’t an athlete anymore doesn’t mean you can’t get still get the same sense of achievement from physical activity that you did in your “Glory days”.
When you played a sport the sense of achievement came from having goals when you played. Usually they came in the form of short term goals – win the quarter, beat your opponent, win the game etc – and long term goals like winning the championship.
That euphoric feeling of accomplishing those goals through the preseason, training and game-day gave you a sense of purpose for being active.
When most people stop playing sports for whatever reason that maybe work, kids etc they usually think they will never recapture those moments and feelings of pure joy of accomplishing those goals that are set within their chosen sport.
But you can get these same feelings of accomplishment in a fitness setting also. Setting goals for your fitness and accomplishing them, mastering new movements, running faster, lifting more weight than you have before. These can all give you the same euphoric sense of achievement that you had on the sporting field.
Eating Vs Scoffing
As I sit down to eat my meal I catch myself instantly grabbing my phone to check social media. It’s at this point I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a client no more than a week ago about his eating habits on the road (he travels lots for work). Are you eating your food or Scoffing it down distracted?
We discussed the vast difference in the whole eating experience when eating distracted. It became very apparent the repercussions of ‘scoffing your food down’ whilst driving, working or distracted on social media made the food not only less palatable but less enjoyable as a whole. This can lead to feeling hungry when you’re not and craving sugary snacks.
Food is so accessible now that we barely pay it any mind when we are in a rush. Although we are more fussy than ever with the wide-range of food options available to us, we limit our ability to enjoy the experience of eating when no attention is being paid to the process.
Without paying attention to our food, it becomes less entertaining. Distraction takes away from the nuance of flavour, texture, smell and taste. There is enjoyment to be had in the different combinations of food, the order you eat it and the different things that you have on your plate. To begin to have a better, more positive and enjoyable relationship with food, it helps to take your time when you are eating it.
Now I have the pallet of a five-year-old and judge meals on a scale of yummy or not yummy and couldn’t tell you what spice has been put in any meal. It’s either yummy or not. But as I decided to put my phone down for five minutes to eat my meal without distraction, my experience of what was a very basic food (chicken, garden salad, rice) became a lot more enjoyable. I paired the foods on my fork better so wasn’t left with a huge plate of salad at the end with no chicken or rice to eat it with this left me feeling a lot more satisfied. Because I wasn’t distracted whilst eating felt more relaxed because my brain was able to switch off from everything else for the duration of the meal.
This was the very same experience my client had when he decided to pull over on the side of the road to eat, compared to ‘scoffing’ his food whilst driving. The impact of this very simple change in the way we eat our food leaves us feeling a lot happier, sated and fuller, avoiding the need for sugary snacks.
Try it for yourself. Eat your food away from the TV, computer, mobile phone and take 10-30 minutes to relax and enjoy your food. Don’t just scoff it down so distracted that you don’t even realise you have even eaten.
“You have ages to live!’”
I regularly hear people saying things like “I can’t start now I’m too old”, “once you hit 30,40,50 etc its all downhill so there’s no point.”
I’m here to tell you that these statements are just not true! If you are going to live till you’re 82, which is the current life expectancy, then at 30 years old you literally have more years to live than you have been alive! If you are 40 then you’re not quite ½ way through life, and if you’re 50-60 you still have 20+ years to live!
If you have ‘old age pains’, your back hurts, knees hurt or whatever else, you could literally spend 5 years working on improving that one aspect of your health and wellbeing and still have double digit years left to work on other aspects of your fitness!
You don’t have to stop going to the gym because you are of a certain age. In fact there are huge benefits to exercising throughout your whole life;
• Exercising helps increase your metabolism, helping fight the natural slowing of your metabolism as you age
• Increased muscle mass, to stay stronger, burn more calories and protect against injury and debilitation.
• Improved immune and digestive function.
• Better blood pressure and bone density.
• Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers.
• Regular exercise enhances mobility, flexibility and balance.
• Improved posture.
• Exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of some chronic conditions such as arthritis.
• Improves sleep quality.
• Boost your mood with the release of hormones that make you feel better every time you train.
• Improved self-confidence – look good, feel good.
• Helps improve brain function.
With so many benefits to staying active, not only your body but also for your mind, don’t lose another day get active today!
Self-Discipline is Self-Love. This statement is so true when it comes to our lives, especially in fitness. I had never thought about it like this before, but the idea that self-discipline is a way of showing yourself that you love yourself is a brilliant concept.
We often associate the word discipline with negative connotations. Lacking discipline is seen as failing and people who are disciplined are given an elevated and often seemingly unattainable status.
Looking at discipline from the angle of self-love changes the whole perception of the word. Rather than being a punishment based, hard slog to be disciplined, it becomes an avenue to express your own care and love for your situation.
‘Self-Discipline is Self-Love’ means that you’re making decisions based on respect for yourself to express your love in a way that encourages you to make choices that only enhance your life.
In the context of fitness it means that in order to show self-love you are making choices that help improve your health, fitness and well-being. You know its darker outside now and it would be easier to stay in bed and snooze but you to show yourself self-love it’s far better for you to get out of bed and get your workout done. Showing self-love is knowing that having pizza would be delicious but not eating it because you know it will just make you feel like shit in the long term.
Give yourself some love by caring enough to be disciplined in your actions. The long-term benefits outweigh the short-term gratification and you deserve all the love you can generate.
‘I need to get fit before I go to the gym’ - You have to get fit to go to the place that helps get unfit people fit? It’s like saying I need to fix my car before I take it to the mechanics to get it fixed
This comment has a few moving parts to it. Some of us who work in a gym should/can sympathise with elements of the statement, while other interpretations can render it simply confusing and annoying.
I can sympathise with people who say ‘I need to get fit before I go to the gym’ because it shows that deep down this person wants to make a change for the better. They are showing an awareness that getting fit is a great place to start with helping them feel better and improving their self-esteem. People just getting started may feel like they won’t be accepted by people at the gym or that they’ll be judged by the other gym goers, which makes them nervous about going into a new environment. Think about the last time you tried something for the first time. I’m sure it was a little daunting, not being sure what was going to happen or who you were going to meet.
These reasons are why I can see why people are scared to START their fitness journeys. As a trainer I sympathise with these legitimate reasons and as part of my job is to help people transition from uncomfortable to comfortable in the gym environment.
BUT this sentence also annoys me! ‘I need to get fit before I go to the gym’ drives me nuts because it’s also used as an excuse to NEVER! Start their fitness journey. People say this so much they convince themselves that they actually can’t get fit till they get themselves fit and they aren’t fit because they haven’t been able to motivate themselves or know how to actually get fit. It turns the trainer from someone who they thought could help them, to a big scary monster that only want to train people who are already ‘fit’.
When ‘I need to get fit before I go to the gym’ goes from being a genuine concern about the unknown to an excuse to never start, it drives me crazy! And you know when it has turned into an excuse when they have done NOTHING!! To change what they are currently doing and every time you bring up how or where to start, refer trainers/gyms/dieticians, offer support to getting them started and they don’t take any of that on board and continue doing the same thing they always have but continue to say ‘I need to get fit before I go to the gym’
How can we help people that say ‘I need to get fit before I go to the gym’? As a trainer I can say is great trainers don’t care if you’re unfit!!! We are here to help teach you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Trainers are here to help you with your goals not hinder you from achieving them.
If you have any friends or family that are nervous about starting, and want to get a bit fitter before joining a group session, we not only understand, but we encourage it. They can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and they can come in for a one-on-one, to get your confidence up in the gym and then when you are ready, jump into a class and have a blast improving your fitness with the other legends on the lake!
Although I wish this statement could be true and every time you go to the gym or a class it’s the best workout you have ever had it’s just not true.
Realising this is the best way to take the pressure off your workouts.
This doesn’t mean that your workout is pointless and you should just skip it because you don’t feel 100%. I love the saying that doesn’t matter how slow you are moving you are lapping everyone sitting on the couch. Sometimes that’s a great way to look at a workout, I don’t feel great but I’ll get more out of turning up and getting through it than just sitting on the couch.
In my experience the workouts I haven’t wanted to do have turned into my most memorable. Even if it hasn’t been the best numbers wise just getting through it has left me with a bigger feeling of accomplishment than on days where I was 100% ready to go.
Even when you don’t think you are going to have a great workout and you turn up, you can find that being in the environment and getting through those first few exercises, sets, reps you actually find your groove and your attitude changes from being one of negative self-talk to positive.
That mindset change due to turning up and getting it done can change your whole day around!
Just turning up and getting through the workout getting that small win for the day can not only change how you feel physically but help you clear your head and put you in a positive head space.