The other day, I wrote one of my daily emails to my clients, and I opened up a lot about some aspects of my journey that I’d previously been kind of afraid to share. It was just the beginning, because after a lot of introspection and also many conversations with clients and friends, I realized that fitness is not just about eating healthy and training hard.
The truth is that I knew this for a long time, but perhaps some of that time, it was subconscious. As a fitness professional, it’s kind of my job to instill those behaviors (good nutrition and consistent training) in people.
Why Do We Get Off Track?
I won’t go as far as to say that we shouldn’t worry about those two things or give you license to just throw it all out the window, but what I will say is that we have to dig deeper into why eating healthy and training hard don’t “stick” for a lot of people.
I’m not a psychologist or a therapist—I’ll put that out there right now. I am just speaking from personal experience and the experiences that I’ve had with hundreds of clients in my gym and hundreds of other women that I’ve worked with online.
The people that say that’s the only thing you need to get results are eating right and training fall into one of the following categories:
1. They either have never struggled (I doubt it).
2. They are afraid to say there’s more to the equation that could be impacting choices and commitment.
Today, I’m not here to talk about what the “more” is, because mental struggles and roadblocks vary from person to person. What I do want to talk about is the biggest thing that helped me be more successful with my fitness, which had little to do with training harder and eating more strictly.
What Helped Me To Improve My Fitness
This one thing that has helped me is having a present focus. I scoffed at this notion for years. Stay present? That’s woo-woo garbage.
I need to put my head down and crush it. Crush it in the gym, in my relationships with people and in building my business.
Guess what happens when you “crush it” for too long? You burn out and you miss out.
People used to joke that I “never looked up.”
I was on a mission every second of every day. I didn’t stop and appreciate where I was at in the moment, and this held true in the gym (this is why I want to talk about it with you today, because I know you’ve been there too).
It’s sometimes a subconscious thing, but do we ever think we’re good enough? We can always look better, work harder, lift heavier weight.
What about the results we’ve seen in a particular exercise since we started doing it? What about how much better we feel?
Those are the important things. Gaining a present focus is not easy. I’ve been officially working on it for seven months, and it’s a tough journey. However, I see a huge difference in my life (training and also in my emotional and personal experiences).
Benefits Of A Present Focus
Why is it so important to stay present?
Again, if I’m speaking from a personal perspective, it allows you to actually experience life. It sounded crazy to me even a year ago, but one of my mentors told me that I should try to be present no matter what I was doing, even when I was washing dishes.
I didn’t take that to heart at all, until recently. You may be thinking the same thing, isn’t something like washing dishes supposed to a mindless task?
I would agree but my argument now is, “Why daydream through it?” Why push through every experience of your life simply waiting to get to the next?
I relate this back to training. If you are simply “getting through” the session, there’s no point. You’re not engaged, you’re not feeling the true experience of the session and appreciating all of the work you put in.
It sounds like a simple answer, but it just makes life more enjoyable. It allows you to reflect on your progress, and I believe it helped me to set better goals. I wasn’t just picking goals for the sake of picking them. Instead, I was able to reflect on what I really wanted to work on in the gym, what would make me feel better, stronger or more athletic and not just “how much more fat can I lose.”
Simple Steps For A Stronger, Happier Mindset
I wanted to share some simple daily steps that I have incorporated into my life over the last several months. Give some of these a try and be patient with yourself. It’s just like training your body—it won’t change overnight.
1. I write in a gratitude journal every night. I write a few things I’m grateful for, a few people I appreciate, some cool things that happened that day, and a couple of opportunities that I’m excited about for tomorrow.
2. I meditate. Even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes. I use an app called HeadSpace, but you can get lots of different ones right on your iPhone. Being absolutely present with no distractions is really, really hard, but it’s so worth it. Just like you train your body, you need to train your brain.
3. I don’t worry about exercise and eating right. This may sound crazy, but let me explain. I do train hard and I do eat healthy, but I do it because I want to and it makes me feel good, not for a specific outcome. This has actually allowed me to relax and oddly enough, I’m in better shape than I was those 7 months ago when I was struggling through it with my only goal to be “better.”
4. I figured out what my “more” is. Remember I said there’s more than diet and exercise? Once you figure out what your more is, you can really have some clarity. This is different for everyone, so dig deep and ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing. Wanting to lose 10 pounds is a great goal, but why? How will you feel better, live better if you achieve it? Really spend some time with this.
I know this was a little off the radar, but I wanted to share with you some of the breakthroughs that I’ve had and I hope they can help you as well. Remember that we are all a work in progress, and don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Start slowly and give yourself small wins every single day.