“Start with your WHY.”
August 25, 2017
We have all seen them, gym fail memes. I think it would be safe to say that everybody who goes to the gym would be embarrassed to see themselves on a gym fail viral video. When we come across these videos on our social media feed, we get a laugh out of them and think “how dumb, they have no idea what they are doing!” Or “what is that supposed to be working out?!”. As I walk through the gym though, I see so many people that wouldn’t be able to tell me what that workout is supposed to be working, or why they are doing what they are doing, and yet the workouts don’t look silly enough to make viral online videos. With my clients, one of the questions I ask in an initial assessment is “what is your typical workout routine”, and then follow it up with “WHY?”. What would you answer about your current exercise routine? I would wager that if you were to walk up to anyone in the gym in the middle of their exercise, and ask them why they are doing what they are doing, 75% of people would not have a good answer to that question, but would instead answer something like “I saw this workout on Instagram and thought it looked cool” or “it is really hard and makes my heart beat out of my chest” or “my boyfriend told me to”. I know these answers sound silly but I have heard them all before. The single most heard complaint that we get from clients as to why they aren’t consistent with their workouts is people think they don’t have enough time, or they aren’t getting results so they stop working out all together. I want to cover a few things that years of personal training have taught me to make your gym time effective and meaningful.
Do no harm:
The very first thing we need to understand is that just because a workout is difficult or near impossible, does not necessarily mean that it is a good exercise (we can also say here that just because you saw someone doing it on Facebook or Instagram, does not validate it is a good exercise.). If we end up hurting ourselves working out, then what is the point? Exercise is supposed to make our quality of life better, right? Many people have a fear of working out because they feel that to get a good workout they need to push themselves to near death. This could not be more false. Rhabdomyolysis ( a condition that occurs from overexertion in exercise causing kidney failure, severe muscle pain, and in many cases death) is often times seen in people who jump into exercises without properly conditioning their body properly. Seek to be healthy not to kill yourself! When beginning any exercise program, start into it easy and work your way up over time. Also be sure to stay hydrated, eat properly, and check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to start an exercise program. When you have been cleared by your doctor, incorporate exercises that will improve strength, and flexibility, and prevent future injury.
Set a goal:
Imagine starting a journey without a chosen destination. It really wouldn’t matter which way we go, right? Without a destination, we would just end up wandering aimlessly. Here, it would be silly if the person taking the journey was upset with where they ended up. Yet, so many people in the gym start going and working out with no idea of what they really want. There is the classic, “I just want to be fit” goal, but does anyone know what that really means? If you don’t have a specific fitness goal to work towards then it is not fair to yourself to be upset when you don’t get results. So every exercise program needs to start with a destination that we are working towards. It then becomes easy to put together a workout program incorporating movements and exercises accompanied with the proper duration, reps, sets, and intensity to get you there. Many people mistakenly set a goal to have more endurance at a chosen task, but then train like a powerlifter. Know where you are going and THEN make a plan to get there. I have found it extremely helpful to set SMART goals. The SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and with a Time to accomplish it by.
Make it a lifestyle:
I know how cliché this sounds, you usually hear it come out of the mouth of the power pump instructor who just kicked your butt and looks like they are hyped up on caffeine every second of their life, “fitness isn’t something you do, it’s a lifestyle”. This is so true! I can tell you one of the key signs that someone is going to give up on their fitness program by the third week after they start, it is when they start their first session by saying something to this effect “I just want results and fast!”. If you fall in love with the process, the results will come. If you pay attention to the extra energy that you feel, the greater self-control you gain, and the mental alertness that you have during the day as a result of being consistent about your workouts, you will be far happier. The person who thinks that 1 week in the gym is going to fix a lifetime of poor eating habits, low activity levels, and mental laziness is going to be sorely disappointed. I have found an equation to life that goes: Expectation-observation=frustration. If we expect one week in the gym with a personal trainer to “fix us” we will be frustrated because our expectations have not been met. We can fix this by expecting, over time, that we will feel better. By doing so, we will be able to stay motivated and reach our goal! Fall in love with the process and the results will come. Seek progress, not perfection!
Whether you are a gym nut, just starting into the gym, or a yo-yo gym goer. Incorporating these three things into your fitness journey will help! And if you feel intimidated and still need guidance in the gym, we at Level 212 Fitness are always here to help you reach that better you!