I love it when I have a break through moment with a student. When she feels a muscle engage correctly or finishes her first half marathon, Awesome! They've set a goal, developed a routine to achieve the goal, and followed through.
On the other hand, when a client wants to achieve a particular goal, but says, "Oh, I know I won't do that."when I suggest x activity to help reach his/her goal. I gotta ask, how are you going to achieve a change if you don't actually make any in your life? As Einstein would say, that's just insane.
In my Tabata Bootcamp classes, after we kick butt in the workout portion of class, we focus on behavioral lifestyle changes to help achieve our longer term goals. Here's one of the exercises I have them do. I ask them on a scale of 1-10 how much do you want to achieve your goal, and then how much are you willing to commit to achieving it. That's always a bit of an eye opener and game changer for some folks.
Signing up for classes, buying the latest diet book, or your doctor telling you to exercise is not going to make change happen. Those are extrinsic things. Sure, those things might help you, encourage you, but essentially they are external sources, coming from the outside, telling you what to do. To achieve change, the commitment/effort/true motivation has to come from the doer. From within you. It needs to be to be intrinsic. This is what's separates success stories from a spare bedroom filled with exercise equipment. You see or feel a benefit from the tasks/efforts you make and want to keep it coming.
So, if I could impart some key words of wisdom to folks trying to create change, here they are:
- don't try to be perfect. As you can see from my blog, I'm not a high-tech blogging wizard. I could spend my life here at the computer making it look amazing, but really, that's not who I am. I'm a damn good trainer and coach. I want to work on that. So if you want to look like a super model or celebrity, good luck with that sister. But if you exercise/eat well regularly so you feel great, sleep well and have energy to chase your kids around, count yourself lucky.
- accept what you can and cannot change. I used to bitch about my bigger than average butt and thighs in high school. Whine, whine whine. I don't like my legs. Until one day my dad said, "Well at least they reach the ground." That has stuck with me and today I'm grateful that my legs are super strong and if I get some admiring glances and I'm cool with that. We are all shaped differently. We can't naturally change our genetically dictated shape, we can only make a bigger or smaller version of it through diet and exercise. And I know some of you are saying, "oh, I'd trade places in a second!" It's that "grass is always greener" thing. Sure, maybe I'd like to have a bigger chest so I could pull off an outfit or something. But I can run without a bra and have worked with women with double mastectomies who make me look like I do have boobs, so I have enough to be thankful for. Find something about your body that makes you happy and work it, baby.
- pick up where you left off. I always say this, and it's probably somewhere on this blog already, but whatever (see point number one). If you forgot to brush your teeth one night you wouldn't wake up and say "ugh! I forgot to brush my teeth. Well, screw it, I blew it and there's no point continuing with my oral hygiene program." Uh, no, you'd pick back up where you left off, by making a beeline to the bathroom sink to brusha-bursha-brusha. Am I right? Same goes for eating healthy and exercising.
- set realistic goals but have great dreams too. Personally I think we are all capable of doing just about anything we set our minds to. We can start businesses, be fluent in a foreign language, hone skills to create arts and crafts master pieces. You know why we can do great things? Because we keep at it and know it frigging takes time! But for some reason when we want to lose weight or "get in shape" we expect it to happen in a matter of days or weeks. Get real. If being thin and healthy was easy the diet and big-pharma industries would be out on the streets pan-handling. (Now, that would be awesome!)
- lastly, know that getting/being healthy is not a destination, but a life time adventure. We can take twists and turns along the road of life and make good choices and bad. Nether of which is going to swing things completely in the other direction. If you skip a workout it's not going to make you fat, just like eating one healthy meal is not going to make you thin.
- oh, wait, I have one more. Have fun, enjoy life, and get some damn sleep. I've said it before, I'm not your typical trainer. I see so many people in this industry who take themselves way too seriously. Kate even mentioned that she's followed some trainer blogs and finds that a lot of them are not really living a very realistic lifestyle and they are obsessed with exercise and/or their diet. Sure, they want to convey a healthy message, but the American doesn't have time to exercise 8 hours a day nor wants to eat raw, vegan or paleo. I'm pretty convinced that constant stress, lack of sleep and never truly enjoying our lives is more harmful to our long term health than a few extra pounds or the occasional visit to Burgerville. Yeah, like I said, I'm not the typical trainer.
I hope that makes sense and inspires you to create the change you want to see in your body and life. (No, I'm not ripping off Gandhi. He didn't even say something similar to that quote you see on the bumperstickers around town.)
Good luck and let me know how it goes!