I’ve been in the fitness industry for twenty years. I’ve seen a lot of successes and I’ve seen a lot of failures.
real [FIT] life’r Katie warming up for squats
I’ve seen people set goals and reach them and I’ve seen people flail about impatiently and end off worse than where they started.
There are key traits that all successful “fit” people possess or cultivate and today I’m going to share them with you.
real [FIT] life’r Jayne grinds through a challenging pull this past October
1. You don’t expect it to be easy
If you want a different kind of life and want to be a different kind of person, that requires you cultivate different habits, and some serious reality checks will be in order. It will never be easy.
We have a running joke at real [FIT] life. When a client performs an exercise and I check in and ask them how it felt, sometimes they say “hard”. That’s when I get that mischievous gleam in my eye and say, “good.”
I started training my fourteen year old son recently and he’s doing a great job. In one of our sessions he was struggling with a new exercise. He stopped and said to me, “This is hard”. My response was, “Of course it’s hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. This is what work feels like.”
Not only will your workouts be hard but so will everything else.
Why? Because change is hard, plain and simple.
First thing you need to do, is embrace that reality.
My son practicing hexdeadlifts
2. You’re willing to reshape your priorities
I always know a client has come over to the “dark side” when they start to rearrange their lifestyle to better accommodate their training sessions. When you’re putting in solid effort to produce visible results, and to improve your fitness levels, lots of late nights out and weekends devoted to drinking really don’t mesh.
Balance is important and it’s necessary to still have a life, but if your social life always take precedence over your new goals, you won’t see results and that will eventually deter you from trying at all.
real [FIT] life’r Jessica modified her training to lower body only, when she incurred an arm injury six months ago and retained most of her strength.
2. You stick with it even when life gets in your way
It’s inevitable. As soon as we decide to make big changes in our life, the universe plots against us. We get injured, or sick, or a family member goes into crisis. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
When this happens, the best thing you can do is surrender to the powers that be a little bit, just to avoid complete melt down mode.
The next thing you need to do is keep showing up when you can. It may not be as much as you originally intended but it’s still better than nothing. This will keep you headed in the right direction until things calm down and you can get back to your schedule as you intended.
It also helps to communicate with your coach or whoever else you’ve brought on board so they can lend a sympathetic ear, help keep your eye on the target, and help you navigate through your rough patch.
If it’s an injury you’re mending, your coach should be able to tailor your workouts around your injury provided you’ve been given medical clearance.
With only two training sessions a week, PJ has added almost 15 pounds of muscle to his lean frame and contiunes to add weight to his key lifts each session.
3. You have a plan, you see it through (and track your progress)
Don’t have a plan? Good luck staying motivated.
Even a poor plan will give you better results than no plan at all, but with so many great training tools available nowadays, why would you even want to wing it?
There are an infinite number of books and training programs available online for really affordable prices. You will be required to select one and read the materials thoroughly. Success is in the details. Make sure you’re executing the program, and it’s content, properly.
Once you start your program, log your sessions. This helps you to ensure you’re gradually increasing the difficulty of the workouts and it also helps you to see that you are making headway. Both add motivation.
In addition, if you commit to a plan, don’t question it. Trust it. Follow it as written and see it through. As a trainer, I find that the exercises my clients like the least are usually the ones that benefit them the most. We all love to practice what we’re already good at but that doesn’t make us better. Learning to grind through the tough stuff builds character, damn good work ethic, and makes you stronger.
Although real [FIT] life’r Carol lives a significant distance away from our studio, she’s made training a priority, attends regularly, and at age 50, is entering her first powerlifting meet this month
4. You are consistent in your efforts
We have participants at real [FIT] life who train only twice a week, yet they see tremendous results from that limited time investment because they train consistently, with few breaks in their attendance.
It does you no good to create a lofty training plan if you cannot stick to it more often than not.
You should look at your new plan as a permanent fixture in your lifestyle. Therefore it should be something you could maintain long term.
Claire has trained with real [FIT] life consistently for almost 6 years now. So far, she can bench 120 pounds and deadlift 253 pounds.
5. You place VALUE in what you’re working to accomplish
I’ve seen many people self sabotage their efforts because, in the end, they did not place true value on their new goal.
When you make it a priority to get in shape, eat healthier, or train for an event, there will be some expenses involved. Some will be monetary. Some will be time investment. You may even lose some people who don’t support the new you.
In order to let things go for your new vision, you have to have a REASON that is bigger than a whim. If you don’t fully believe that you are worthy of this new goal, it will not happen.
Somewhere along the line, you’re going to choose to spend your money on something else. You may decide going out with your friends after work each Thursday is more important than attending a regular training session. You may decide that sleeping in on the weekend just feels better than lifting weights.
Everyone’s “why” is different but the people who get in shape and decide to stay in shape know what their why is and it holds meaning over most every circumstance.
There is a contemplation phase that occurs when we are wanting to make a shift. If you’ve been in that phase and you’re ready to take action, I hope that you’ll seriously consider all of these traits and implementing them.
Jeannine Trimboli, CEO, real [FIT] life
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