When people seek out a personal trainer, in some way they have a vision of a better life because they will look amazing. They will be able to do amazing things with their body, attract a partner, and have people pay positive attention to them or achieve something athletic that they potentially couldn’t do before. What is really most important behind results when it comes to physical fitness is the reason that you are doing it in the first place.
Probably 80% of the time (more for some trainers) the first reason we get hired is that people want to “lose weight” or “get toned”, which is a complicated way of saying “I want to wear smaller clothes and look better naked in the mirror or to my partner.” The hard truth is that to achieve the type of body you see in movies and on magazine covers it takes an incredible amount of time and dedication unless you have high levels of resources. The reason celebrities and athletes look the way they do is because it is their job to do so, and they also have trainers every day, coaches and healthy food available to them on call and in any form that they desire. Brad Pitt’s personal trainer who got him in shape for the movie Troy worked with him two hours a day – every day – and he also has a personal chef cooking him meals all the time. Naturally he is going to get results. But the average person I sit down with doesn’t have that type of resources.
The average person who has a gym membership wants to lose 20 pounds and become more attractive to their partner, or possibly attract a new partner (reproduction). Another common reason is that they have received a bad scare medically and have decided to not have the high potential of dying (survival). Third is that they want to get over an ailment that is limiting their mobility and quality of life (usefulness in society). Fourth is pure narcissism where they just want to look great naked, but this often goes into not feeling good about who they are for some reason, often due to a previous partner, or bad parental guidance or trauma. These reasons are all part of our genetic makeup and goes back to primal days, but I’m not going to digress into that here because it would be another ten pages of writing. There are other reasons, but this likely comprises about 95% of the reasons that a client hires myself or any other trainer. I’m removing any athletes from that equation because often they have different motivation. Normally their training patterns have been put in place since they were young and have had years to develop.
So if you have hired a trainer previously, gone through the motions and not gotten any results, or gotten results but then slipped back into your old patterns and then destroyed them (and please don’t blame your trainer for that) then there is usually one main reason that you aren’t seeing any results, and that simple reason is:
You don’t really, really, really, really want to.
There is a video online by an amazing man called ET the Hip Hop Preacher where he lectures to a group of high school students about success (you can YouTube it if you like). The point of the talk is essentially that within all of us, there is stuff we would rather do than be successful – like sleep, hang out with our friends, or waste time doing various things. When you remove all of that and have 100% focus on what you really, really, really want then it will happen. When you are really, really focused on something you forget to eat. You forget to go to the bathroom. You forget about anything because the only thing you can think about is achieving what you want at that moment. Fitness and health is never really enough of a priority for most people. It is often 3rd or 4th on the list, or even lower depending on how many other demands you have in your life. Athletes have a different perspective – they are getting paid (or are hoping to get paid) to perform. Therefore it is much higher on the priority scale. They will miss work rather than miss a workout. They will get up early and sacrifice some time with their family in order to work out. They will forgo a night out of partying in order to be ready for a practice or an event. The average gym goer will rarely do this, and that is why they don’t achieve the same result.
Tony Robbins has a saying that you need to turn your “should” in anything you say into a “must”. “I should go to the gym today” sounds a lot different than “I must go to the gym today.” A must implies that unless something of incredibly high priority comes up, there is absolutely nothing that is going to stop you from doing it. Think about it for a moment, and think about all those times when you said to yourself “I have to do x” – that is the thing that always gets done. Change your brain and you can change everything.
If you want results physically, you have to get uncomfortable. You have to change your previous patterns, you have to change how you eat, sleep, spend time socially, interact with some people that you may care about and several other ways so that applying time and effort towards your physical fitness and healthy eating regimen becomes more of a priority than a few other things on your list that are always an excuse for not going to the gym or eating that unhealthy thing that is getting in the way of whatever reason you have for changing the way you are currently. You have to be sore and tired. You have to eat things that sometimes don’t taste great or don’t trigger that rush of pleasure. And if you don’t choose to do this, then you simply can’t expect anything beyond what the effort you are putting into it is going to give you. The great thing is, you can also apply this strategy to many other things in your life. Work, family, even taking up a new hobby or skill can all be prioritized so that you can truly be excellent at them – if you make the choice to revamp the order in which you make things important to you.
Here’s an example from the movie Fight Club: Ask yourself this – if someone held a gun to your head and told you that if you didn’t do something you were going to die, would you change things? Think about that the next time you make a decision.