February already! Although, January was fast and slow all at the same time for me! I’m so blessed to have such a busy clientele at Fitness Inc. and I continue to learn so much from each and every one of them. I often think to myself how I wish I would have come into this profession many years ago… However, one path leads to another and what matters is I am where I am meant to be in this moment. I am on a continuing path of learning through working with so many different people. Each and every person has taught me through experience and has challenged me to learn a lot about myself!
We are one month in to our 2015 Body Challenge! My clients have lost a total of 98.5 pounds and 142 inches in four weeks! Isn’t that incredible? I’m so excited to see where we are all at by the end of April. They have all come so far, but it hasn’t been without many challenges and we all know there are more to come.
My own challenge has been learning how to approach each client individually and learning what will help them be most successful. I used to watch Biggest Loser for years and I still watch Extreme Weight Loss with Chris and Heidi Powell. I always got so freakin’ annoyed at the emotional parts – all the crying and feeling sorry for yourself, wha wha wha…
But then… I found myself WITH these people and I could SEE the emotion in them as soon as I sat down with them to chat. I knew that I would have to slowly gain their trust so that they would know that their time with me was their time and completely confidential. It didn’t take long for each of them to open up to me. I’ve shared lots of laughs, tears, hugs, conversations, frustrations and celebration.
After one short month, I was trying to think of the top few reasons that hold people back from success. I’ve come up with what I think are the six biggest factors:
Knowledge: My mistake was assuming that everyone is as obsessed with fitness and nutrition as I am! Every book I download, every article I read, every book I buy – fitness and nutrition. How presumptuous to think that everyone else also pays subscriptions to weekly fitness and nutrition research articles, stays up reading fitness blogs late and night, etc. etc. etc. Apparently not everybody wants to spend their free time that way. So my job is to give as much knowledge as I can to each and every one of them – as it pertains to THEIR life! Its my job to find out what my clients know, or do not know – and help them understand the what and why’s! When I relate it to their life their interest grows and they devour it and use it!
Fear: There are many fears involved when embarking on any new journey – especially one involving bettering ones health and fitness. Again, so many assumptions were made on my part! One of my clients actually shared this on her first blog here. Basically, I trotted her into the centre of the gym floor on her first session with me and started instructing her to move in all sorts of weird and new
ways that she had never done before. For not ONE second, did it ever enter my mind, that she might be feeling a little nervous about being in the middle of a bunch of iron-pumping regulars! I realized that what I did to her was no different than pushing someone off of a cliff who is afraid of heights! This was a huge learning experience for me. People have fear – a lot of it. They have insecurities and don’t want to be judged. Anything new can be intimidating and we can feel very vulnerable. My job is to help you get over that fear – but as I learned – maybe with a not-so-all or nothing approach!
The second part to fear is a little more difficult to explain. I will call it a fear of feeling “uncomfortable”. I think this applies to anyone who has been fairly sedentary for a long amount of time or someone who perhaps starting back again. Perhaps, maybe this is just who this kind of person is! Once, again, I can’t assume that everyone likes to push their bodies to the limit each and every workout. However, there are people out there, who literally HATE the feeling of sweat. Of course, safe and appropriate activity applies first and foremost but if you aren’t willing to feel even a wee bit uncomfortable your body just won’t be challenged and you won’t see improvement. I have to help clients realize that their mind is holding them back more than their body and that they have the power over that. This is something that takes time for sure. I’ve seen my Challenge clients overcome some incredible fear in these first four weeks. Its absolutely incredible and I get so excited and the best reward of all is after they’ve finished a workout that they told me they didn’t think they could finish. They are beaming from ear to ear and so happy with THEMSELVES – I can’t even describe how proud they make me!
Obstacles: This one is forever and applies to all of us – trainers and fitness experts included! There are some things you can’t predict. One Challenger got sick her very first week and felt as though she was a week behind. Another pulled a muscle doing a sport she loves and was worried to tears about a setback. The thing that I am trying to teach is that life is FULL of obstacles. We get sick, injured, work keeps us late, a trip is planned – the list goes on. There will always be obstacles. What we need to learn is how to work around them. You can’t just use it as an excuse to quit – there is always a way to adapt and continue. As their trainer and coach, at first, I brainstorm with them on ways to help them get their workouts in or to just encourage them to rest and not fret. After a while, I simply ask them to give me ideas for ways in which they can adapt to whatever the situation is. My hope is that each of them learns that they have the power to adapt and overcome obstacles all on their own.
Planning: This one relates to obstacles as well. Fitness and nutrition take planning. I’m not a huge fan of food prep and I’m certainly not a master at it. But I definitely have an arsenal of tools that I’ve learned to use so that I can get through my days successfully. This is something that takes some practice. Buying good foods that fit with whatever your day brings. For myself, I find that sometimes I’m training clients back to back with maybe a class thrown in the middle and although I add a time buffer to each of my appointments – sometimes things happen and I often don’t have time to sit to eat a meal at all! So I prepare a lot of foods that I can grab super quick and that will keep me going for the entire day. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work and what I need to buy at the store each week so that I have everything on hand.
In terms of exercise – again – I have to build that into my schedule! One client asked me if I ever got a chance to exercise! Sometimes I will even split my workouts in half – but I have the benefit of being at the gym all day – it might not be optimal but I make sure it gets done and that its efficient and effective. One of my clients is busy planning her wedding! However, she had one week when she didn’t make it to the gym because she was trying to accomplish a bunch of to-do’s. I explained to her the importance of making time for HERSELF. One thing I can say without a stitch of doubt is that from here on in, things just get more complicated women are the worst for putting themselves last and feeling a whole lot of guilt for making time for themselves. I’ve taught my clients that in order to maintain fitness it has to be something that can fit into their lives. Can they picture themselves with this routine a year from now? If not, we need to change it and make it work. You don’t need to spend hours at any activity to be fit – it just needs to be those two things – effective and efficient. If need be – you have to physically put it into your calendar just like any other appointment. Its your health and its just as important as that doctors appointment.
Honesty: I need my clients to be honest with me and with themselves. I’ve learned in a fairly short period of time what works and what doesn’t work. I also know through my own experience that you have to be honest with yourself. Are you ready to be committed and dedicated to bettering your health and fitness? If you put in the work – and its definitely work – you’ll be successful. If you don’t, then you won’t get results. There is always exceptions of course, perhaps a medical issue – I wrote an entire post on that here.
Patience: This is perhaps the biggest one of all. People are always looking for a quick fix or an easier way. For long term success, people need to stop looking at weight-loss and fitness as a short term fix or a diet. If you are ready to commit and be dedicated, then it becomes your life forever. It shouldn’t be a form of punishment seen as a means to an end. You need to develop new habits that fit with your lifestyle and that are going to be something you can maintain from this point forward. There is no end date. As soon as you say to yourself, “well, I only have to stick to this diet for a few months and then I will be free”, you are on a diet and not a journey – you can’t maintain a diet – but you can continue to practice, make small changes, learn what works and what doesn’t work for you when you make it a journey.
With things so busy at the start of this amazing 2015 I haven’t made posting a big enough priority. So once again, this has been a pretty long post. I am grateful for all of you who take the time to read them and who give me your continued support. I will end off by saying once again – thank-you universe for the BEST job ever!