Conventional thinking has a way of overshadowing supported science and sound advice. For example, if you want to lose pounds of body fat and reveal defined muscles underneath a layer of smooth, tan skin this summer, then undoubtedly you need to eat less and work out more.
Every work out should leave you feeling beaten down, covered in sweat, and gasping for any oxygen you can find in the stale air that can surround you at the end of a workout.
Your diet should be rigid and focused. Perfect corners and strong sides make for a stronger square – square meals of square foods on square plates that are scheduled to the minute in the squares of your daily planner.
It almost makes perfect sense. It sounds like the perfect plan to finally capture that body you’ve been chasing.
Except it doesn’t.
All too often we approach our health with the same extremist thinking that we desperately avoid in other avenues of our lives. Extreme religion, extreme politics, and extreme behaviors are all filed away under the tab “You shouldn’t do that” in our minds.
Yet, when it comes to our bodies, more specifically our health and wellness, we can’t help but resort to extreme measures in our efforts to look the way we want. Fad diets and exercise infomercials exist to prey on the insecurities and irrational behaviors that arise when someone isn’t happy with their current physique.
In our logical minds – we are mostly smart enough to realize that these measures aren’t the answer to our prayers. With logic we know that no miracle pill, juice-cleanse, or workout class can replace years of bad eating, drinking, and exercising habits.
Yet, our emotional side won’t let us see these things. Our emotional brain will dumb us down and prepare us to believe that anything, that thing, a small thing, or all things under a brand label are exactly what we’ve been missing. It is this time, with this magic potion, prescription, or promise that we will overcome.
How can we know that it takes 8 years or more to become a doctor, but assume it’ll take 8 days to look like a fitness model?
Do we not equally appreciate time in pursuits of the physical versus those of the mind?
Do we not care for the resilience and dedication needed to master our bodies in comparison to that is necessary to upgrade our minds?
The fact is that it takes incredible patience, diligence, and a commitment to something greater than today’s pleasures to achieve a physique worth complimenting and criticizing. Much like a college degree or a professional certification – you don’t just wake up, flip a switch, and have instant results.
Results in fitness require 3 things in order to occur –
A Blank Canvas
It can be hard to forget about the past and let go of things that were. It can be even harder to do so when you are looking fondly upon the past as though it were a significantly better time than the one you are currently in. This is often presented in the fitness world in statements such as, “I wish I still looked like I did….” or “Oh man, I used to…”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with reflecting upon your past or searching in it for clues about your current situation. However, in order to progress into the future successfully you need to be willing to be present in the here and now.
Heal old wounds and bury the problems of yesterday in your efforts to embrace a healthier, happier, and more successful tomorrow.
A Resilient Mind
Events in life rarely go according to plan. Some of the greatest moments in life are a result of unpredictable occurrences. So too, are some of the worst.
Understanding that there is a natural ebb and flow to life is critical to navigating the highs and lows of a fitness journey. There will be some weeks in which the weight falls off and it is as though your body is always changing before your eyes. Then there will be times in which you feel as though you are doing everything right and giving it your all and yet, no changes.
Resiliency is critical is these moments. It is imperative to be able to stand up against the forces of positive and negative events and remain confident in your place regardless of the changing horizon.
During a storm the sky can appear daunting, yet still astonishing (if it is on the horizon), violent and intimidating (if it is upon you), or beautiful and renewed (if it has passed).
Your outlook depends heavily upon where you are at in relation to the storm.
There is no constant more permanent than time. It will come and go at a rate that has been defined since before we even became cognizant of its existence. Our perception of it, like the aforementioned storm, is dictated by where we are standing as it passes.
In fitness there is no variable more frustrating than time. Yet, there is also no variable that is more linked to success.
Fat will begin to burn from its storage locations on your body – with time.
Muscles will begin to strengthen, grow, and adapt to the rigors of exercise – with time.
Healthy habits and mindsets will replace old ones – with time.
It can be incredibly tempting to jump at every new product, program, or potion that comes out onto the fitness marketplace. An 8 billion dollar plus business is built on the frailty of the human spirit when faced with its own shortcomings.
In order to achieve your fitness results, evacuate the machine, and take control of your life you need to become more than what you have previously been. You must start with a fresh canvas, so that new layers of paint can be applied. You must remain resilient in the body and in the mind. Lastly, realize that time waits for no one, but rewards those willing to wait on it.
Your success is not in a bottle or magazine. It is in you already. You just have to dig for it.
Kevin Mullins can be found at the Equinox Sports Club DC where he is a Tier 3+ coach and group exercise instructor of his own class - Superhuman. He is a two time Men's Health Next Top trainer Finalist, one of Women's Health Magazines 10 sexiest trainers in America, and has been featured by the Washington Post and WUSA9 in the local market. You can read more about him and his methods on his website.