When I started working as a trainer in the mid-90s (a.k.a. the mood ring and leg warmer era), I was a mere child of 36.
Armed with my first personal training certification, portable bench and fitness tubing, I was on a quest to get the world in shape.
Like all naive new fitness trainers, I was counting on several things:
Cue the laugh track.
Clearly, I lived in a mystical, unicorn filled world.
In reality: NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Yes, you would think when people pay good money for a trainer, they’d actually listen to the trainer.
Surprisingly, money is not a major motivator. Just ask all the people who sign up for gym January 2, go twice and then stop.
This brings me to three of the most common beliefs I hear from clients that keep them stuck… and the real deal truth to get unstuck so you can make progress…
FIT MYTH #1:Motivation can be found by having someone yell at you, reward you, or otherwise coerce you into doing something when you don’t want to do it.
REALITY CHECK: Motivation can’t happen without your consent or, more accurately, your own doing. Nothing outside of you can give you motivation. It must be an inside job. Plus, commitment must come before motivation, not the other way around.
Going through the motions of working out because you’ve signed up for a class or session can only go so far. At some point your internal cues must kick in in order to keep going or you’ll eventually give in to that inner voice that has been nagging you to stay in bed every morning when your alarm goes off.
Maybe it will happen as an “ah ha” moment, or simply a gradual process of realizing you’ve got to make the decision to DO IT, but in the end it’s all up to you.
FIT MYTH #2: If you find a program that works, at the end you can get on with life as it was before
REALITY CHECK: Once you make a change for the better, be it working out consistently, eating clean, cutting calories, etc., the minute you resume your old habits you will resume your old body as well.
In short, you can’t get there from here and then go back there. It’s like driving from New York to California in the winter and expecting to go back to New York and keep the warm weather with you when you arrive home. Still ice and snow unless you make a permanent move.
This is not all bad news, however. Because if you make these changes slowly and in a healthy way, your old ways will now feel yucky.
Case in point. I used to drink liters of diet soda back in the 80s. Then I made a decision to stop and I did. It took a little back-and-forth before the change became permanent, but now a sip of the stuff is enough to make me toss the entire can in the trash.
Once you wean yourself off junk food — it may take a couple weeks — the cravings go away. You’ll lose your cravings.
FIT MYTH #3: If it doesn’t work within a week or two, it’s time to give up.
REALITY CHECK: Getting and staying fit is a lifelong process, not a one-stop shop situation. Starting and stopping is one of the biggest mistakes I hear from impatient women who say they’ve “tried everything.”
Trying something for a week or two, checking the scale and/or mirror for signs of progress, and then giving up will never get you where you want to go.
It’s the equivalent of planting a seed and digging it up every day to check it’s progress. I’m no gardener, but that seems counterproductive.
Get started, stick with it, challenge yourself and get help along the way if you’re not seeing results about a month or so. Give yourself at least three months with any new program before making any decision to change. Otherwise you’re stopping before you’ve really given yourself a decent chance.
You can’t do a little of this and that and expect results.
Be honest. Do you see yourself in any of these three tips? No judging, just hoping if you do that you decide to try a new approach. I believe in you!
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Got questions or comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (preferably) leave a note in the comments section and I’ll be sure to get back to you!
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.