Let’s talk about lies. Two lies, specifically. There are the lies that people in the fitness industry tell you, and there are the lies that you tell yourself. The first lie is told by an incalculable and overwhelming majority of people in the fitness industry, for no other reason than they are trying to make money. Now there isn’t anything inherently wrong with making money. We all have to do it. The problem is when you make money in an unethical way. So why would people try to make money by lying, when they could make money telling the truth? That’s where the second lie comes in. You see, you’ve been lying to yourself that you work hard. You’ve been lying to yourself that you don’t have time, or you don’t have the money, or you’re too stressed about work, or family, or whatever. And because you’ve told yourself that lie over and over again, now you believe it to be true, and because you believe it to be true you no longer can be sold on the idea of actual hard work and effort. After all, how can you take on more hard work when you already believe you work hard? Of course this is not true of everyone, but unfortunately it is true of a lot of people, and in business, it’s better to market to larger demographics than smaller ones, since the potential to make money is greater. That leaves people with the only option of marketing a product or service that makes achieving your goals seem easy, and that is a straight up lie.
Getting stronger, getting leaner, or accomplishing anything fitness related doesn’t have to be unpleasant, but it does require hard work. It does require effort. If people simply accepted this fact, you would see the fitness industry shrink by 50% or more likely over night. That’s because there wouldn’t be any market for these niche fitness programs, or these unproven supplements, or these inexperienced or uneducated trainers and coaches. No one would be looking for that “one weird trick” or the next new fitness class, or new diet pill. People who have seen success in fitness and athletics have done so before the bootcamps, and the crossfits, and the zumbas, and the herbalifes and the beach bodies ever existed. There are a LOT of ways to make physical progress, but all of those ways are rooted in basic principals of training and nutrition (which I won’t get into here, because I already write about those things a lot in other blog articles). Whatever latest fitness trend is sweeping the area around you likely exploits one single element of training science, which is sure to fail you eventually, because its not as easy as doing one thing right, but rather, doing a lot of things right.
Stop Lying to Yourself
The most dangerous part about lying to yourself is the mental abuse you’ll put yourself through by doing it. Failure murders motivation. If you’ve convinced yourself you’re working harder than you really have been, then when it comes time to measure progress, and you’ve fallen well short of your goals, or worse, made no change at all, how can you convince yourself to keep moving forward? You begin to question if there is even a point in trying, and once that happens, the odds are very likely that you’ll quit soon after. We don’t want you to quit. Deep down inside, you don’t want to quit either. You have goals, and those goals won’t disappear just because you’ve failed to reach them. The easiest way to stop lying to yourself is to do a budget review. There are several different budgets to check, but we’ll start with the two biggest ones: Time and money.
“I don’t have the time” is the most common reason we hear as to why someone can’t exercise or eat properly. There are 168 hours in the week. We should be sleeping 56 of those. Most of us are also working at least 40 of those hours. That puts us at 96 hours. Meaning we have 72 hours or 3 full days with which we can do whatever we’d like. According to the Neilson Ratings, adults watch more than 33 hours of television a week on average. Even still, we have 39 hours remaining after that. That’s more than a day and a half! What about social media? According to a poll in 2014, people spend an average of 41 minute a day on facebook alone. Other social media sites like tumblr, instagram and twitter also clocked in at various chunks of time which could easily add up to a couple of hours if you use all of the major social media platforms, so it comes to no surprise that more recent data shows that 3.2 hours is now the average time spent on social media. That doesn’t even include other online time (surfing, shopping, gaming, etc…)
There are a host of other unproductive activities that people spend their time on. Do an honest time budget with yourself. Maybe you’re not willing to give up some of those things, or even cut back on them, and that’s okay. It’s up to you to decide what’s important to you, but you must absolutely realize that to make change in your body and in your health takes hard work, time and effort. If you want those changes to occur, then find the time.
When it comes to making a budget for a quality gym membership, or following a solid nutritional plan you’ll find that a lot of the things that are sucking up your time, are also sucking up your money. I personally know quite a few people who have let go of their cable or satellite TV subscriptions to open up their budgets for a gym membership. That might seem crazy to you, but it’s not. Your body is yours, and it’s the only one you’ve got. What are you really missing if you don’t watch TV? I know personally I’ve never regretted NOT getting hooked on a TV series, but I’ve definitely regretted just about every single time I’ve skipped the gym, or went on a nutritional binge. I definitely don’t regret not developing a cigarette or coffee habit, from a health and financial stand point. Being a new business owner has forced me to keep a watchful eye on my own finances, and it was very easy to see how much money I was wasting on eating out, which of course also had a negative impact on my own health and fitness. Hopefully now you are starting to see how this whole fitness thing isn’t about one element, but many elements combined.
Stop Believing Their Lies
Many trainers get by on selling themselves. They take the “I’m in shape, so I can get you in shape” approach. While I think there is a small bit of merit to being able to “walk the walk” I always like to ask people how many touch down passes Bill Belichick threw last year. The answer, obviously, is none. The point is, it’s not a coach’s job to be in great shape, or to be a great football player. The job of a coach is to guide the client or athlete toward their goals. The biggest lie in all of fitness is that anyone knows what they’re doing with complete certainty. Of course we are dealing with science, and science is, by nature, absolute, but you cannot forget about all the variables involved in making physical change. Someone’s weight, their height, their age, their gender, their body composition (fat to muscle ratio), their genetics, their sleep habits, their stress levels, their vitamin and mineral levels (or often deficiencies), their sex life, their job, their medications, even their choices of hygene and body products, or their pets, can have an impact on their health and fitness. While someone may have found what works for them, that in no way qualifies them to find what works for you. While the guy down the street just passed his weekend certification course to go along with his six pack abs, he has only himself to draw experience from. A coach that has been in the game a long time has likely tried a lot of things on themselves, but also on a lot of clients as well.
Many times people don’t even know why something that they did worked. When they plateau, they don’t know why that happened either. But that doesn’t stop them from trying to sell you whatever product they are pushing or program they are running. What’s worse is the people who take ilicit performance enhancing drugs, and then try to sell you on a product. Remember that failure murders motivation? Well progress breeds it, and it’s really easy to make progress when you’re on drugs. Trust me when I say, more people take drugs for fitness than you could ever imagine. There are steroids for building muscle, HGH and peptides for recovery, and drugs like clenbuterol, T3, and DNP for burning fat. I promise the one thing you’re missing is not that new Barre class down the street, or the power yoga program at your local gym. It’s a combination of proper planning, dedication, hard work, and fueling your body the right way.
There is no Good or Bad
“I can’t believe I’m not losing weight, I’ve been eating so good.” That’s a phrase we hear all the time at Arkitect. And I’d put money on the fact that a lot of coaches hear the same thing or something similar at their facilities. But there is no good or bad in fitness. There is only good enough or not good enough, and if you’re not making progress, what you’re doing is simply not good enough. A perfect example is when people talk about their nutritional binge over the weekend and follow it up with “it could have been worse.” Your body doesn’t give a sh*t. If your body needed the calories, carbs, fats, etc… then it will use them. If your body doesn’t need them, guess what, it’s getting stored as fat. Your body doesn’t have a conversation with itself where it says “you know you just dumped 800 calories from pizza in here, but it could have been 1,100 calories from doughnuts, so I’m going to do you a solid, and NOT store this as fat.”
The very same thing applies to exercise. Why can I put two people on the exact same training program, and one person will add 10lbs to their max deadlift and the other person 35lbs on their max deadlift? Because no two people are the same, and all the variables I’ve already mentioned will effect the outcome. That’s why it’s futile to compare yourself to someone else. It doesn’t matter if there is someone you know that can eat to the point of near illness and not gain weight. You are not that person. All you can do is try to control all the variables of fitness in a positive way and in a consistent manner. If you make progress, great. If not, find the problem and fix it, and the only way to do that is to have a plan and stick to it. If you’re bouncing around with different training techniques, or different diets, you’ll never truly know what is going to work for you and what isn’t’. If you aren’t documenting what you’re doing, it makes it really easy to convince yourself that you’re working hard, even when you’re not. Imagine wanting to take a road trip to California from New England, and instead of mapping out a route, you just started driving, with no idea if you’re heading north, south, east or west. Then after driving aimlessly for weeks, you complained that you’ve been driving so much, and haven’t gotten to where you want to go.
Smarter Not Harder
In the last few years “high intensity” training programs have become all the rage. The idea is to basically beat your body into submission. If you work hard enough you’ll get there, no matter what, right? Wrong. We’e talked a lot about the hard work required to achieve your goals, but hard work is only one piece of the puzzle, and extra hard work doesn’t make up for the gap if you’re lacking in the other areas like eating right, and having a smart plan. When we say hard work, we mean consistency, we mean taking the time to do the little things, like
- Shutting the TV/computer off 30-60 minutes before bed to make sure you get better quality sleep
- Tracking your food to make sure you’re eating enough of the right macronutrients
- Waking up 15 minutes earlier to make sure you have time for breakfast
- Taking 10-15 minutes a day to release tight muscles
- Writing down what you did in the gym to make sure that you can do just a little bit more next time
If you’re not seeing progress, what you’re doing is not good enough. But you have the ability. It’s going to take hard work. It’s going to take patience, and perhaps above all else, it’s going to take consistency, but you can do it. We have worked hard at Arkitect to remove as many road blocks and obstacles for our clients as possible, but it’s up to YOU to walk through our doors. We can’t help you, if you aren’t willing to help yourself.