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Getting Out Of Our Own Way

Personal Training

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One of the very last questions on our client intake forms is the following;

“If we were to sit here in a years time, what would had to have changed for you to be successful in reaching your goal”

The response to this question tends to be hit and miss in terms of reaching the intended purpose. Over time I’ve had wide ranging answers from clients. Some just a few words in length, others detailed paragraphs. 

Whilst the length doesn’t dictate quality, the purpose of asking is based around the capacity to recognise when we, ourselves, may be the immediate barrier to our own success. Whether we understand the steps that may be needed to overcome this.

When we seek the help of a professional in any field, we do so in search of answers. 

I have “X” problem, and I’d like you to solve it for me. 

A few simple examples within the health and fitness field could be;

  • “I want to lose weight and I’ve heard a coach can help me”
  • “I need a programme to follow for my upcoming race”
  • “I want to gain muscle and know that resistance training is an important part”

Common goals, and some we may actually have ourselves. 

But within these goals, how do we go about recognising when we may be the immediate barrier in achieving our outcome?

Can we recognise the divide between what a coach may be able to provide, and how much input needs to be made on our own side? 

Let’s use the first example from above, “I want to lose weight and I’ve heard a coach can help me”. 

In the ideal circumstance, a coach will be able to provide guidance in terms of the realistic nature of the goal, and the immediate steps that would need to be taken.

For example, they may be able to assist in;

  • Understanding the required rate of weight loss over time
  • The amount of caloric deficit needed over time
  • How macronutrients can be altered immediately and over time
  • The role of resistance training in muscle retention
  • The type of programme to implement (Days per week, length, exercise selection etc…)
  • Potential role of food tracking (weighing of food sources, diary or online tool)
  • Potential role for bodyweight tracking (are scales appropriate? Clothing sizes? Photos?)
  • Importance of lifestyle factors such as sleep, daily activity and hydration

But what these factors don’t take into account, are the barriers that we place in front of our ourselves in achieving our goals.

How do our own limiting beliefs, unwillingness to implement change, capacity to move outside of our own comfort zone, ability to overcome procrastination and success in moving beyond a fear of failure, represent barriers we have to all overcome?

Is this goal something that we’ve achieved before? 

Have we already run that Marathon, or been at what we would consider a more ideal body composition? 

Do we have a network of supportive individuals that help us in overcoming our own beliefs outside of just the coach?

Family members? A supportive spouse? An understanding friendship group?

Is the desire there to actually want to change… or are we just paying lip-service to someone? 

Are we able to accept advice from another and implement that advice? 

Can we recognise when mistakes have been made, where effort levels have dropped, and be able to turn the ship back on course? 

Remember it’s easy to jump on social media, proclaim that we’re starting a new journey towards a goal, only for it to fade away inside a few days or weeks (*New Years Resolutions are a prime example…).

Humans are comfort-seeking animals, we like consistency. We’re wired to consume the most amount of calories for the least discernible effort. Evolutionarily that makes complete sense. However evolution didn’t predict the invention of Netflix, Dominos Pizza, Ben and Jerry’s or Double Stuffed Oreos’. 

Within this environment, do we have a flexible enough mindset that enables us to recognise that we may need to endure some discomfort along the way and control immediate impulses and gratification?

To move beyond our comfort zone there has to be a goal that’s finely balanced between being both achievable but still requiring a genuine behaviour shift. 

It has to challenge us.

Some of the least successful client-coach interactions I’ve ever had have been when a clients’ goal has been imposed on them, when it meant nothing to either succeed or fail. 

It has to take you outside what is ordinary for you as an individual. We cannot make comparisons between ourselves and others. The process to achieving my goal may be radically different to yours, even if the outcome is the same.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something, what I cannot accept is not trying” – Michael Jordan

No matter what the goal, there will be barriers in the way. Some self-imposed, others widely outside of our control. But in the face of failure, we have one question to ask ourselves “What do I do now”. 

There is likely  only ever to be one answer when we break it down truthfully…

“We keep going…”

Timescales can be adjusted, programmes changed, pauses can be placed on goals, new coaches can be found, an alternate path can be taken, however we just need to keep moving forward day after day.

When we procrastinate, putting off today what we can do tomorrow, we are robbing ourselves of time. 

Why does it take for a new week to roll around for change to be initiated?

If a goal truly matters, start today. 

Whether it’s getting in contact with a person you know can help, grabbing a piece of paper and writing down what you want to achieve, or simply trying to answer the question we began with in your own head, don’t waste any more time.

So I’ll ask again. 

“If we were to sit here in a years time, what would had to have changed for you to be successful in reaching your goal”

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If you truly want to make a change in your health and fitness, get in contact, tell us your story and see how we can challenge you to reach your goals.

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