The articles we write here at TrueFN are about what TO do. The things to eat, the things to lift, and all the things to make you look and feel awesome. Today we're taking a different approach. It's Opposite Day! I want to tell you what NOT to do.
If I had to pick the one part of the body that stalls progress the most, it would be the BRAIN. People's ideas about their training - and themselves - are the largest limiters to what they can do.
So let's jump into the cranium of someone who's mindset is holding them back. All of the stories below are things I've heard from actual clients, and in my own head from time to time. Every idea underlies a mindset that is enough to kill progress in the gym. If these ideas were dispelled, there would be no more barriers to goals. I don't expect to change anyone's mind on training in just one article, but hopefully you'll recognize your own thoughts in these stories and work toward avoiding these mental pitfalls:
- Hire a trainer to do it for you
I don't want to think about fitness so I hired a trainer to do it for me. I already have a job, and a family, and at the end of the day I don't want to think anymore. I did some research and found a good trainer so I can turn my brain off. Going into the gym for 1 or 2 hours a week is all you need to make progress, and you don't need to do anything else. Sometimes my trainer tells me to do things I don't want to do, so I just say 'no'. I know my body better than anybody, and I know what I need. They just want to make me tired sometimes so I veto hard exercises. I'm not really excited about showing up to my sessions, so I usually leave my house when I am supposed to be there. Then I need to go to the bathroom, and roll out before training. Sessions really don't need to be an hour, they should just make them 30 minutes. If I'm not making progress, I blame my trainer because it's their job to make me fit, and if I'm not, it's their fault.
- Eat whatever you want
I exercise so I can eat pizza and all the other things I love. I make sure to go to the gym, because I love to eat sweets, and I don't like to feel deprived. I hate when everyone is eating dessert and I can't have any. My parents made me feel bad about food, so I'm not going to live like that anymore. Life is about living, and that means eating things that look good. It's not fair that I eat the same things I did 20 years ago but now my body looks different. It's too hard to think about nutrition, so I'll just exercise and continue eating what I feel like eating. There are plenty of professional athletes who eat poorly, so I can too and still hit my goals.
- Be as stressed as possible
I'm so busy all the time. I have a very demanding job that requires all my time. I have a family with kids who play sports as well, so as soon as I get a moment away from work I'm driving off to practices, and music lessons. The weekends are the worst, and are more stressful than the week sometimes. I go through the day, and sometimes forget to eat. I can't be chewing when I'm on conference calls, and I'm not hungry in the morning. If I'm really stressed and just need some time away from it all, I'll text my trainer and cancel at the last minute. I know I'm paying for the session anyway, but sometimes my body just needs rest. I'm stressed out 24 hours a day and never take time for myself.
- Don't learn anything new
I know what to do, I just have a hard time making myself do it. I need someone to keep me accountable, and make sure I get to the gym. I know what foods are bad for me, and I don't eat them that often. I know exactly how to perform the exercises, and don't need to learn anymore about fitness. I don't want to anyway, that's why I hired a trainer to do it for me. I was in really great shape in high school, so I just have to do those things again to get back in shape. It's just hard because my life is hard, and no one else in the world is busy.
- Try, but not really
Since I hired a trainer, I tell everyone about how hard I work. I usually exaggerate a bit, but I do try during our workouts. Well kind of. My trainer wants me to buy squat shoes, and drink a protein shake afterwards but I'm just not that serious about it. My trainer lives for fitness and I have other things going on in my life. Plus if I don't make progress, I can always justify it to myself because I never really gave it my all.
As you can see, most of these ideas are commonplace in our population, and we probably understand these views for the most part. It's easy to fall into these traps, and each one is enough to get in the way of progress. How we approach fitness, and life, is enough to win the battle before it's even fought.
"The fight is won or lost far away from witness- behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."
So win the fight, and get your mind right.