Recently we’ve decided to do some remodeling around the gym. One of our latest projects is rearranging our “locker room” area, which serves as a place for clients to leave their gym bags during training, their workout programs when they’re not at the gym, and of course a pair of dedicated gym shoes. Naturally things get left there sometimes long after someone is gone. Yes, even at a gym that produces great results for clients and has a tight knit community sometimes people quit. Our attrition rate is much lower than the industry standard, and the most common reasons why people leave are because they are relocating for work or for school. It’s rare that we lose a client to other gyms in Concord. There is a third reason why someone quits though, and that’s because people quit on themselves.
I was reminded of this as we were clearing out the training binders of people who were gone. As it had been a while since we’ve done this there were about 2 dozen. A pile of names of people who all had goals, really important goals. Since we’re a small community you get to know everyone fairly well. I remember just about everyone’s consultation. I remember sitting with many of them as they laid out their frustrations with their bodies. Not necessarily in regards to how they look, but also how they feel. How their back or knee hurts when they squat down to pick something up off the floor. How they can’t enjoy a family vacation because they don’t have the energy to be out and about all day. How their feet are killing them at the end of the day at work.
Now consider the fact that they are divulging this information to basically a complete stranger that they met only 30 minutes ago. If they’re willing to talk about these very personal issues with us, that means that they are probably weighing heavily on their minds. Then think about about all the issues and insecurities they’re not telling us about. What we hear is probably only the tip of the iceberg.
So what happens to these people? Some of them jump in to the program head first, see amazing results, and have their “life changed” (their words, not mine). Others put in an honest effort but don’t fully buy in to what we teach and see mixed results. Some think we’re full of **** and go some where they think is better, and then there are those who maybe train for a week or at best a month, and we never see them again. Cleaning out our locker room, I was standing over a pile of binders of those people, and honestly, it kills me.
In truth, you have to take responsibility for your own outcomes and your own results. At Arkitect we take all of the guess work out of exercise for you. We have unlimited access, 24 hour availability, professional coaches, expertly designed programs, we provide a ton of additional education on training and nutrition, and we have a highly motivated staff of amazing people who spend the majority of their waking hours thinking of how to better help you get results. However none of that matters if you don’t decide for yourself that you will take action and take responsibility.
There are many reasons why someone may be out of shape and/or over weight, but after 15 years as a coach, and 5 years owning my own gym, here are the things that stand out the most to me. All three of these may be you, maybe none of them are you, and maybe some part of one or two of these things describes you. If this does, don’t take offense. This isn’t intended to put you down, but actually to help you realize that there is a whole team of people with an awesome community behind it that’s extending both hands, one to help you up, and the other to hold in the air as we root for you.
Reason #1: You Believe Your Own BS
No one is exempt from this. We’ve all lied to ourselves at one time or another, typically in the form of making excuses. The lies we tell ourselves could be as simple as “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow” even though deep down you know you probably won’t, or as big as “I can’t afford to go to the gym or eat healthy,” yet you spend money on things like a brand new flat screen TV, another streaming service, or an over priced cup of coffee every day.
The most often excuse we hear is “I don’t have time.” Which usually means “I’m not making it a priority.” Whenever I hear this statement, I always think of our client Julie. On top of working a full time job with rotating scheduling (Midwife), and being a mom of 3 young kids (all of which play at least one sport), and who’s husband also works a job with a rotating schedule, and living about 40 minutes from the gym, she is and has been one of our most consistent clients over the last 3-4 years.
Julie’s transformation since I have known her has been incredible. Setting aside the fact that she’s not only drastically changed the shape of her body, I’ve watched her gain new levels of self-esteem, as well as break through many physical barriers she didn’t think possible. She’s stronger, healthier and more confident in herself than when we first met. Surely not only improving her own life, but setting an awesome example for her kids is worth whatever time, effort and money she’s put in to doing so.
Is Julie at the end of her journey? No. Has she accomplished every goal that she initially set out to reach? No. But she is still at it, because she doesn’t believe her own BS. She doesn’t believe the lie that we all tell ourselves to some degree when it gets hard:
“This isn’t working so why bother?”
“Being healthy isn’t that important to me.”
“Next time, I’ll stick with it.”
As soon as you start believing your own BS, quitting on yourself is usually right around the corner.
Reason #2 You’re Not Consistent or Patient
There are 168 hours in a week. Even if you workout 5 days a week (which is a lot), that’s still only about 2.9% of your entire week dedicated to your health and fitness. Sometimes people spend their whole lives building unhealthy habits, then sign up at Arkitect and ask “Do you think I will see results in the first month?”
Patience is necessity in this game.
At the rate of 3%/week dedicated to your fitness, it will take a lot of time to accumulate the results you want, and the only way that will happen is if you are consistently consistent. Imagine you are saving up for a new car, and you’ve budgeted 3% of your paycheck each week to go into a savings fund for a new car. Take how much you make now, and multiply that number by 0.03. How long would it take you to save $15,000? Now how long would it take you if you only put aside 3% every other week.
Fitness works the same way. If you are only going to the gym twice this week, once the week after, three times the week after that, you’ll likely make very little progress. On the flip side, even if you do an effective workout twice a week on a very consistent basis, you can make some incredible progress. We have a saying at Arkitect, which is “One is better than none.” Meaning when it’s Friday afternoon and you’re getting out of work, and you haven’t been to the gym yet this week, that hitting it that afternoon is better than not going at all.
If your goal is weight loss, then you can expect to lose about 1lb/week if you do everything right. That means exercising a minimum of 2-3x/week, eating in a calorie deficit for 7 days in a row, eating 20g or more fiber per day, and walking an average of 10,000 steps per day not including the steps you get during a workout. If you do all of that, you can expect to lose 1lb in a week. Now do the math: If you have 50lbs to lose, this is going to take you a year, assuming you’re perfect every week. You won’t be. No one is perfect 24/7, 365 days a year.
The good news is, you don’t have to be perfect. You only have to consistently try. When I started to reclaim my own health, weighing 315lbs, my long term goal was 220lbs. Have I reached that yet? Nope. But being 250lbs sure is a hell of a lot better than being 315lbs. And anyone who has committed to taking better care of themselves will tell you the same. You may not check off every box, but the things you gain (or lose) along the way will still be worth it.
Reason #3 You Think You Can Out Work Your Eating Habits
Exercise is awesome. It burns calories and builds muscle. It can improve endurance and flexibility. It can raise your confidence and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. But it is only one part of a 3 part equation, which is exercise, sleep, and nutrition. Think of fitness like that Meatloaf Song: “2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad
Exercise alone, while necessary to reach your goals, likely won’t produce the results you are looking for by itself. You may know someone who started an exercise program and lost weight or got into amazing shape. That’s great for them, but they’re not you. Everyone’s circumstances are slightly different. Perhaps their nutrition wasn’t that bad to begin with, and exercise was the final piece to the equation for them. That’s not the situation most people are in however.
And for all the athletes who may be reading this: The same goes for you too. The type of food you eat, and the quantities of which are literally the fuel your body runs on. If you aren’t properly fueling your body, how can you expect it to operate the way that you want it to? You can’t put lawnmower gas in a jet engine and expect it to fly. If you want to soar like an eagle you can’t eat like a buzzard.
Working out can be a lot more fun than “eating right” but fortunately we have so many new tools available to use that can make getting our nutrition right easier than ever. Coach Katie and myself both personally use Avatar Nutrition (you can use coupon code KODDY to get 10% off your subscription). There’s no contract, and they take all of the guess work out of how much to eat. Circling back to point number one: There are very few legitimate excuses not to see results.
The Bitter Truth
I always hesitate to write an article like this. I don’t want to come across as harsh or cold. Over the years I’ve been privileged to witness hundreds of people go through the transformitive process of taking control of their bodies and their health. Being a small part of someone’s success like that is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s why the staff at Arkitect get out of bed in the morning. It’s why we spend hours in the gym coaching, hours reading text books to continue to bring you the best information, hours writing workout programs, and more hours still writing blogs, making videos, and sharing content online. There are a million different jobs that any of us could do. We do this one because we are passionate about helping people. But we need you to be on board too. As long as you don’t quit on yourself, we’ll never quit on you.