It is rare for me to make a blanket statement when describing my clients. Although many share similar goals, all of them come from different walks of life and encounter unique challenges. However, one thing that I can say every single one of my clients has struggled with is consistency.
It seems that everyone has a story to share about a time when they “were doing awesome,” or “felt amazing.” For every positive memory there is the corresponding down-swing that played out that they are less fond of recounting. I see it as my task as a coach to help my clients appreciate the power of carefully positioning their relationship with their fitness program so that it remains enjoyable and thus they stick with it.
Have you ever considered visualizing physical fitness and clean eating/dieting as a hobby? For many the answer is no. The funny thing is that people are far more likely to participate in something that they enjoy versus something that they don’t. Specialized hobbies such as weight training, running, and nutrition, for example, require a lot of work, but as with many hobbies you will become more and more proficient with time.
When a client begins my program I often explain to them that, like most hobbies, they won’t be great from the start. I explain that like any discipline they will get better with practice and learn to appreciate each and every meal/snack and workout more and more as they have time to discover their potential. Before long my clients are able to see that their relationship with clean eating and working out has moved from something that they “have to do” to something that they are “happy to do.”
Work, on the other hand, is often dull and rarely becomes more enjoyable as you get better at it. Work is something that we often try to avoid. It doesn’t take much to find a rational distraction that we can use to get away from it. Examples of excuses that I hear all of the time include: “I don’t have the time,” or “I can’t work out at night, that’s the only time that I have to see my husband,” or “work was hard today, I will go to the gym tomorrow.”
I don’t mean to sound negative here, but I can’t express just how many times I have seen a potential client fail to realize how much they are missing out on by skipping workouts and eating poorly. As I mentioned before hobbies are enjoyable. People don’t search for excuses to rationalize getting out of a fishing trip, a shopping spree at the crafts store, or going to a Pats game. Yes, skipping your workouts and failing to plan and/or prepare meals for the week may free up several hours, but at what cost?
Workouts and clean eating reduce stress and boost virtually every aspect of your being from your health to your attitude; they are hobbies that act as life-enhancers. By making a seemingly subtle mental adjustment from “I have to exercise and eat right,” to “I am going to make a hobby out of exercising and eating right,” you may notice yourself making less excuses and possibly, just possibly, start to enjoy them as your favorite and most essential hobbies.
Coach Chris McHugh is the fitness coach and manager at Get In Shape For Women in Westwood. Please send questions, suggestions, or topic ideas to ChrismcHugh@getinshapeforwomen.com.