When it comes to health, fitness, appearance, strength, endurance or any other aspect of exercise it seems like everyone is an expert with no shortage of opinions. Some right, most wrong. Its all too common for the mediocre athlete who most likely surfers from fits and starts to cast judgment on those who have achieved the body they only dream of. We all do it. That moment when we see or read about someone who has unreal strength, flexibility, definition, skill etc. and that little voice bounces from one excuse or another as to why they have it and we don’t. “They’re paid to be fit”, “they just have good genetics”, “He/she looks ripped but I bet they’re not strong”. The list goes on. 5% of the time that may be true, but time and time again I’m reminded of the level of work that goes into transforming oneself physically and Ive noticed a few things over the years that almost everyone who’s reached that level have in common.
- They view exercise as something they “get” to do rather than something they “have” to. Is it just coincidence that some of the most in-shape people I’ve ever seen just love working out? Was it the love of movement that got them there, or the results that kept them going? Its a chicken or egg question but when you adopt the mindset that movement is fun and expressing yourself physically is your equivalent to a monk meditating then you may find yourself prioritizing the gym a little more. If you consider what the average american does after they’ve clocked out of work (Netflix and chill?) then its no wonder why so many of us see the gym as a necessary evil rather than a welcomed retreat. This distinction alone is what separates the high physical achievers from the New Years resolutioners yo-yoing throughout the years and always seeming to be getting geared up for their next big run at a getting healthy. If you view an hour at the gym as some how taking away from your life then I would challenge you to examine how much time is spent on non nurturing behavior. For example, binge watching TV, drinking too much alcohol, social media addiction, pointless internet surfing etc. The reality is that like begets like, and the more productive you are in one area of life the more productive you are in all areas. Ask yourself this: Am I where I want to be? If so, great! If not, could you link that back to inconsistency? Chances are yes. So lets make a commitment that is realistic. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can go from 2 workouts a month to 20, but what about 8? Next month 10, then 12. You get the idea. Make it achievable and prove to yourself that you can keep your word. Look for the good in exercise, not the bad. Inject the world with your positive energy and make friends with the gym. Look at the coaches and members as your crew aboard the same ship. Any issues you might have are only as big as you make them and sharing an experience with a room full of like minded individuals can be powerful, if you let it.
- They plan ahead. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Don’t let your week just happen to you. Think about everything that might come your way. Its amazing how stress suddenly ceases to rule your life when you’ve anticipated a potential roadblock. For example, you know that it take 45 minutes to commute in the evenings because of traffic so that means you must leave at 5:15 pm in order to make the 6 pm class but you’re STARVING! Luckily, you spent your Sunday preparing for the week and have your favorite protein bar or trail mix in the car waiting for you so that by the time you get to class you’re fueled and ready to go. You can imaging how miserable you’d be if you didn’t anticipate your calorie needs and found yourself feeling fatigued. I’d bet in that moment not going to class seems like a reasonable option and is why I can’t stress enough the importance of preparing yourself for success. Simply bringing water and healthy snacks with you on a daily basis can mean the difference between feeling like working out or feeling like skipping yet another one. Spend the time necessary to make yourself invincible to life’s inevitable surprises and you will find yourself without a good reason to skip a workout.
- They keep an open mind. Its humbling whenever an elite member comes to me asking for help on something that in my mind they are actually better at than me. The moment you think you got it all figured out is the moment you stop learning. The endless pursuit of knowledge if the defining factor between the great and the average and the only road to mastery is through voluntary self effort. To be great you must drop preconceived notions about what is bad for your back, what is too much training, too little training, right supplements, wrong supplements etc. Ask, experience and learn for yourself. Obviously I am bias to CrossFit because to me it is the most encompassing full body training program that I’ve come across. However, I’ll be the first to tell you it is not the end all be all. Even Rich Froning, 4 time CrossFit Games champion plays roller hockey and flag football on a regular basis. Don’t be so stuck in your ways that you can’t let yourself try new experiences or ask for help on something. The best athletes in the world have coaches. Not because they can’t train them selves, but because they know two heads are better than one and by simply having a discussion with someone can unlock the next level of their development. Just yesterday we took the SRX staff and members rock climbing. It turned out that 3 of our coaches and one of our members were actually really good and were able to teach the rest of us some basic techniques that showed us immediate improvement. For some members this meant skipping their regularly scheduled workout for something a little more un orthodox but it demonstrated to them how their CrossFit training transferred directly to rock climbing and how rock climbing can help their regular fitness routing. Take any opportunity to learn a new skill. Only after you try it will you see how it applies to areas of your life you otherwise would never have considered.
Bottom line; keep it fun, plan ahead and stay open minded. Once you get your head straight everything else falls into place. Remember, time is going by wether you workout or not. In 10 years there’s nothing you can do about being older, but who you’ll be when that time comes is totally up to you.