The Article That No Client Wants to Read
As a fitness professional, I spend a big chunk of my time with people who want to integrate exercise into their schedules. I have conducted numerous consultations with people stepping into the gym for the first time, I have worked with some personal clients for years, and I have been teaching group fitness class with dozens of people in one room at a time.
Now while that sounds all fun and inspiring, my prancing around gym-to-gym spreading the wonders of fitness to all, it’s not always that glamorous.
I actually spend a lot of my time crushing dreams.
“Crushing dreams? Isn’t your job to help people achieve their goals?”
Why, yes. It is. But it is also my job to help people achieve said “goals” in a healthful way (both mentally and physically), and a big part of that is me busting myths that people present to me on the daily. So these “dreams” I’m referring to may not actually be dreams, but more-so misunderstandings of how the body works and what integrating physical activity into our lives is all about.
We all know that among the good fitness advice out there, there is also a lot of BS. There are some CRAZY health claims backed by “fitness influencers” that appeal to the consumer looking for a quick fix, and there are some perspectives that may or may not promote a healthful mindset or prioritize the important things that you should be getting out of your new active lifestyle.
And I get it. We all have stressful jobs, stressful lives, and the LAST thing we want to do is envision a fitness journey that is going to take a long time and require a lot of effort. We live in a fast-paced world where we can gain information about almost anything in a matter of seconds right in the palm of our hands. That’s why people who market fit teas, fat burners, and (pretty tortuous) “get fit fast” workout programs do so well. It’s because they all guarantee one thing: quick and easy results. They promise us that the express lane will give us champion results.
But unfortunately, that’s not how it works. At all. And I would hate to let someone believe wholeheartedly in a “solution” that dooms them to ultimately fail because it didn’t provide them with the correct information or proper motivation.
So below I have listed some (but not all) “dream-crushing” truths that almost no client wants to hear, but probably HAVE to hear. It is my job as a trainer to help others achieve successful, long-term results, and one of my missions is to get your mind out of the BS bucket.
Progress Takes Time
I WISH that I could tell you that your huge goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 days is going to happen, I WISH that I could guarantee a 50lb increase on your squat in a matter of a month, and I WISH that I could tell you that you’ll nail a pistol squat after trying it 3 times.
But my promising you ANY type of result is both irresponsible and unsafe.
The truth is that your progress is going to take time, and that “TIME” is relative to where YOU are beginning.
It takes time to learn a skill, it takes time to develop a new habit (typically 3 weeks at minimum), it takes time to master a new exercise, and it takes A TON OF TIME for your body to change.
If you try to rush things like this, you risk: injury, possible health risks, frustration, and wanting to give up. The truth is: we want to be moving and grooving throughout our whole life, and we need to be patient with ourselves. There is absolutely NO NEED to rush a damn thing. I know that your goal is to lose 50 pounds for your father’s brother’s wife's cousin’s daughter’s wedding, but let’s first focus on establishing a sustainable plan that you can stick with long-term.
2. There are No Shortcuts or Quick Fixes
This is where I kindly tell you to stop wasting money on fit teas, expensive diet pills, uncomfortable waist-trainers. I know @BeckyFit4Life swore by all these products and claimed to have lost 30 pounds with only apple cider vinegar and no exercise, but it’s just not realistic.
You can’t cheat how the body works. You can’t “trick” the body. You can’t rush things that need ample time.
3. Things That You Hate are Probably What You Need
And this is where I’m NOT going to tell you to stop doing what you love. If you love lifting heavy or going to Zumba twice a week, by all means please keep doing that. But if you absolutely despise an exercise because it’s way more challenging than the rest, then you probably need to do more of them. I like to call these exercises the broccoli of the workout: they suck but are incredibly good for you. Suck at lunges because your balance isn’t the best and your hip flexors are super tight? Don’t just “not do them” because they’re challenging. Do them BECAUSE they’re challenging. Find an appropriate modification, or ask a trainer for help, and do a few more sets for a few more weeks. Only doing what we’re good at is good for our Instagram but not for our growth.
4. It Won’t Always Be Fun or Exciting
And that is just the honest truth. Every workout isn’t going to be the best one you’ve ever had. It’ll get boring. Weight isn’t always going to feel as light as you had expected. You aren’t going to have the urge to go 110% every day. You won’t always be motivated. This is where your discipline will kick in. That is what will keep you training when you’d rather stay home after a bad day at work. That is what’s going to build mental toughness. THAT is what’s going to get you to achieve your goals.
5. You MUST Be Consistent
You could have the best program, the best coach, and the best gym in town. But... if you don’t show up regularly, if you don’t check in with your coach weekly, or if you start skipping workouts, you probably aren’t going to see the results you want, and sometimes that is the hardest pill for people to swallow. For example: let’s say someone wants to train for a marathon, and they committed to a running group that meets three times a week for 6 weeks. If this person consistently goes to every training session up until the race, we can assume that they will be a much better runner and in much better shape than on day one. On the flip side, if this person only trained once a week here, then twice a week there, and skipped two weeks in a row, we can safely assume that they won’t have the best marathon on race day. They may barely make any progress at all! Yes, doing something is better than nothing, but you will get FAR more out of staying consistent with your plan, and you may pick up a few skills along the way.
So… if you just finished reading all of that and immediately thought to yourself “damn, Rachel. This all seems a lot harder than I thought. Why would I want to put myself through all of this?”
WELL, and I could go down a long tangent of listing the benefits of prioritizing your health, I will shorten my response by telling you this: “it is because it is worth it.” If you let yourself face the harsh but realistic facts of training, then it will make it a lot easier to spot BS and keep your mind focused on the main objective: achieving our goals. It may take longer than you want it to, it may not always fun, and you may want to give into that latest diet pill or revert back to what has always felt comfortable, but you will thank yourself down the road for not turning towards an easy way out. Learning how to properly go about your training and how to stay committed when things get tough is a strength that will benefit you both in and out of the gym.