by Bret Smith CPT, B. A., B.S. | Move Strong Studio
The title of this article does not reveal all that is needed for lasting success in a fitness program but “The Three C’s” do offer the structure for what will make lasting progress a reality.
Everyone has a different yard stick as to how successful a fitness program is measured. Some may just want to feel more energetic; others may want to perform at a higher level of success at a chosen activity or sport. Still others want to have a significant change in how their bodies look and feel. No matter what the intended outcome, there are constants that create a framework for success and without the support of this framework there is little doubt that the struggle to succeed will eventually give way to unfulfilled expectations, disappointment and diminished morale.
One of the first things I work with my clients on is finding their conviction. This is the first “C,” and without it to propel them forward – it is literally an exercise in futility. There has to be the “umph” or drive to get them to see the need and then apply the purpose. “Why are you here?” is one of the first questions I ask and invariably the answers fall into categories like “feeling out of shape,” “have a big event coming up,” or “I know I should, but just have not found what works for me.” Invariably, the first answer is a reason having little to do with their selves. Probing further, gaining their trust and re-phrasing the question, their responses then peel away at the hard outer shell and get closer to the core reasons. The reason for this is that most people do not like to admit they may have an issue with how fit or not fit they are. It is a “chink in the armor” so to speak and it is very personal. Once we draw down the reasons and allow for a personal conviction to surface we then have the first part of the structure we can build on. Finding the true story behind their need is the first key component to being able to realize success.
Next I would like to address the second of the 3 C’s– that being commitment. There is so much more to commitment then just saying “I am going to do this!” As we all know words have a lot of meaning but have little to do with the actual practice. So I first ask my clients on a scale of 1-10 how committed they are to achieving the goals we have discussed in our initial conversation outlining what they want to see as a result of undertaking a new health and fitness program? If the answer is anywhere below a 9 we are dealing with a significant hurdle and have to narrow down and overcome obstacles creating the indecision. There may be questions regarding finances, spousal approval or time considerations for example, which all may be very valid concerns. The important consideration for the client now becomes an outside rather than internal factor. If these outside factors have a stronger voice in the internal dialogue then most likely the client will not fully commit the needs of success of the program. However, recommending a simpler course of action where I coach them to maximize their commitment to routine rather than personal training sessions is often a good place to start. I may recommend a check in program just to see that they meet basic weekly exercise and activity needs. The most important aspect is to find a level of commitment in the range of a 9-10 scale and start there. Committing to what the client feels is almost too easy and sticking to it is the key to overcoming the obstacles of resisting progress.
Lastly, the next successful key is consistency. Being able to create a system that allows very little wiggle room when it comes to how and when they train is all too important. The more line that is offered the more line will be taken; and to promote inconsistency as an acceptable method of training that will do nothing but encourage non-adherence. As fitness professionals one of the tenants of our service is to not only give the client what they want but to see to it they get what they need. Setting up a regular training schedule is most important, to not only see results, but create the mental training associated with overcoming complacency. For most this is the toughest obstacle early on in a training program. Clients are thrown into an entirely new routine and the gremlins of status quo start to rankle and raddle wanting to stay in the comfort zone. I am honest when I tell my clients that training is not going to be comfortable, especially early on, but the edge I want my clients to cultivate is that as long as they master showing up on time and entering the door the training takes care of itself.
Success at anything is a challenge and working toward achieving success is littered with traps and self-doubt. To overcome these challenges we all can use a little support, coaching and encouragement. Remember this: “The mastery on one thing is the mastery of everything.” Seek the change you want and put all your efforts into seeing become a reality!
Move stronger… Live longer!!