I see the subtext. I see between the lines in emails, and I catch that underlying tone in conversations.
I know some people reading this are setting goals and being super consistent with your workouts and nutrition. You’re basically pros and don’t need help from anyone at this point (the coaches at BEST are happy to cheer you on though, and you serve as a great inspiration to others).
Not that anyone has ARRIVED, because outside of having fitness be a regular part of your life, there is not really a destination in this game.
There are also some people reading this that may feel like they are still on their way to making fitness a consistent behavior. They may feel like they are climbing out of a valley or have recently found themselves in one.
Today’s message is for everyone, but especially for those that are “in the valley” and feeling trapped.
As I reflect on conversations and my own experience, I see two sides of the equation that is part of this constantly moving destination of habitual exercise and nutrition choices.
The first side is the physical habit. We get into a habit of kinesthetically (moving the body and feeling the body move) learning and becoming routine about coming to the gym and doing the programs. It’s almost as if our body goes into auto-pilot and WE DON’T EVEN NEED TO THINK ABOUT COMING TO THE GYM ANYMORE…IT JUST HAPPENS.
The other – less considered – side of being consistent on this journey is the mental habit. This is a chicken or the egg situation, or maybe it is synergistic…who knows? Is it the automation of the kinesthetics that drives the mental habit to always be prepared and expectant of working out?
Or is it the mental preparation and the expectation of working out that drives the body??
I don’t know.
What I do know is that when you take too long off from the gym, and you “get too busy” to stay in touch with your goals and aspirations for fitness, then the mental habit switches from being INVOLVED to what we can call “Degrees of Slippage”.
Your mental drive to be involved moves from, “Oh, I am busy, and I will go to the later session today” to “…maybe I’ll go tomorrow…” to “…awww, I missed last week…i’ll try to get back on track next week…” to “well, I messed up this program, maybe I’ll restart this month…”
You get where this is going… it can be a tremendous back slide, and so hopeless feeling .
My encouragement to anyone who feels this is:
- CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE – Sometimes doing something different for a little while will reset your mental degrees of slippage and you will climb your way back into being INVOLVED in your health again. I personally did this by joining a Jiu Jitzu gym. I needed to get out of the weight room and try something different.
- GET COMPETITIVE – Try getting involved in something that is going to let you know where you stand. Some people may be adverse to this kind of thing, but I will tell you what, knowing where you are is eye opening! With the proper coaching, and culture around you, you will feel encouraged to move onward! This could be fitness levels, a belt system, or something else. You could even make up your own levels, challenge yourself, and start leveling up! This is one reason why video games are so enticing to people! They get the mental satisfaction and more frequent gratification of getting better at something!
- SWITCH FROM PASSIVE MODE TO AGGRESSIVE MODE – When you have gotten into the habit of being mentally UNINVOLVED your brain is going to hate every KINESTHETIC action you take to gain control of exercise and nutrition related things. So, be ready to rumble with your brain. Willpower your way through the discomfort and the perception of how busy you are. It’s not going to give up without a fight, so just embrace that mental and physical battle (with yourself obviously).
Here are a few levels you can test yourself with:
Level 1 – 30 bodyweight squats in a row without stopping, and 15 wall pushups without stopping
Level 2 – 45 bodyweight squats in a row without stopping, and 15 pushups from the couch (or a couple chairs – 1 for each hand) without stopping
Level 3 – 60 bodyweight squats in a row without stopping, and 20 pushups from the ground without stopping
Your goal is to do one set of squats and pushups. This won’t take long. You are really NOT too busy to do this.
Doing this task is PURELY the mental side of the equation.
So most likely, you are not too busy, you have just slipped into being uninvolved.
Today, break the mental pattern of being uninvolved, and start rumbling with that brain of yours until you find yourself moving automatically!