This past week was a super exciting one for me, as most of my 2015 Body Challenge finished their 14 week challenge. We celebrated with a dinner out and everyone shared their experiences. It was one of the proudest days of my life!
At the outset of the “challenge” I told each of my participants – especially those new to fitness, that in the fitness world, it takes six months to a full year to form their “new normal” lifestyle changes of adopting a regular fitness schedule and exercise. There are no 21 day habit formations, at least in my opinion. It takes a lot of hard work, practice and dedication to stay on track. Once this happens for those months on a consistent basis, then people will see that they indeed have a “new normal” and they will be much less likely to revert back to old habits.
This is where the help of a trainer comes in. Most people find that they need someone to hold them accountable, someone to keep them motivated. That is what is so great about having a “challenge” that lasted 3 and a half months! It helped keep people on track for those weeks. And while some of my clients feel like they can go it on their own now – others have decided to stay on with me once a week to once every two weeks – so I can continue to keep them accountable.
I also had the privilege of speaking on the local radio station this week (thanks to Jo and Jeff at The Drive 102.9 – for PARTICIPATING in the challenge and for having me on air to speak!). I was asked what I got out of the “challenge” as a trainer and my response was this (although I’m going to elaborate more here):
“As a trainer, I learned mostly about the emotional side of the journey of weight loss and gaining health. I did have clients who did not need to lose weight but needed to gain muscle and get fit – improve their cardiovascular function and muscular endurance. But the experience for both situations was the same, the majority of these people have very low self-esteem and no belief in themselves – AND… very limited knowledge of fitness and nutrition.”
For these people, all it took was for someone (and I am so honoured to have had the “job” of doing this) – to believe in them and to teach them.
Admittedly, there were definitely times when I felt emotional myself. Wanting all of my clients to succeed – and being hit with many obstacles and wondering if I was doing my very best to help them and keep them motivated. There were tears – I spent times in the office with tears, I received late night text messages with tears and frustrations… sometimes just not knowing what to say. Thank goodness for me that I could turn to other fitness professionals for advice on certain situations.
All of my challenge clients lost at least 10 pounds during the 12 weeks. Three clients really stood out from the rest with their weight-loss however. One losing 20.5% body-weight (67.5 pounds), one losing 20.14% body-weight (43 pounds) and one losing 17.3% (36.5 pounds)!!!
While I feel that EVERY SINGLE one of my challenge clients were successful, when things wrapped up and the results came in, some of the clients were left feeling sad and “down” asking what could they have done or where did they go wrong…
At this point – I stopped to remind them of all of their successes. As humans, we often forget to look back at all of the little things such as – when I eat out now – am I making better choices? Am I prepping my food each week? Am I keeping a food log? Am I able to pack my groceries in without getting winded? Am I able to play with my kid and grand-kids without running out of energy? YES, YES, YES!!! They are all now CONSCIOUS of their choices – to me that is HUGE. I always reiterate to each of them – that this takes practice! Learning how to ski or play golf or a new language or any activity cannot possibly be perfect right away – so why should your exercise and nutrition by 100% spot on without a whole lot of practice? Of course, this isn’t an excuse to keep falling off the wagon – but its a way of re-framing your mind from that “all-or-nothing” attitude that so many people fall back on -especially with diet.
Now, I will say that there IS a big difference with what my three “most” successful clients did in their approach. First, they took all of my advice. If something wasn’t working – we quickly tried something else – every single suggestion was followed with no resistance at all. Second, they kept every single appointment – we call this “compliance”. I only had three clients who finished the challenge “on schedule”. Yes, life happens, injuries happen, etc. etc. But these people always found a work around. One even broke her thumb and it didn’t hold her back for even one second – we found other ways to grip things – other exercises and workouts… it was not a reason to quit. Of course, I also had one with a severe injury – but even she was able to keep a tight diet and was able to maintain her loss for SEVEN full weeks until we could get her moving again!! The last – and MOST important thing was finding self-motivation. This is the hardest part. Without this, your trainer can only get you so far. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink!
I take this quote from a friend and fellow trainer (who teaches at Fitness Inc.):
“Self Motivation” The power it has over us to move us forward into greater self discovery and growth or to simply hold us still in fear.
Ultimately every goal is set with intention, excitement, determination and motivation. Inevitably when the path to that goal becomes hard, because it will, the excitement will get lost, the motivation, drive and determination will be somewhere in the air seemingly impossible to reach. Ultimately it lies upon ourselves, our own powerful belief that we can do what we have set out to do. Our own will and drive. As although we may have a wealth of support surrounding us, this does us no good when it comes to the grit and work that it takes to accomplish our goal. It is us alone with our “whispers” that are there to teach us IF we choose to listen. Lessons that can be forever empowering! ~ Lisa Neukomm – Personal Trainer
As I said on the radio and what I will say now – is that all of these clients gave WAY too much credit to their trainers – and perhaps the ones who felt that they were not successful – relied too much on their trainers. The number one piece of feedback we received about what was the “best” thing about the challenge always came back as “my trainer”… and while this makes my heart gush and swells my head to no-end, it also makes me a bit sad… why? Because again… all of these amazing people are still not giving THEMSELVES enough credit!!! I can give you all the suggestions, nutrition advice, workout plans, motivation, etc. – but it is THEY who have to put in all the hard work!!! To that – they deserve the most credit – THEY followed it – THEY worked for it – THEY deserve the praise!
I’ve had a lot of inquiries since we posted the results on our Fitness Inc. FB page as well as my own Facebook Page. New clients are signing up wanting to get the amazing results that they’ve seen with the 20 people that worked so hard these past 14 weeks. I am so honoured to take on new clients and begin new journeys with each of them – however, I now know that when I sit down with them for their initial consultations – I will be telling them exactly what it took for those people to be successful. I will be there every step of the way – but only they themselves can do the work. If they are ready for that – then nothing will stop them!