“That’s it. This time, enough is enough. I’m tired of being tired all the time. I’m tired of feeling out of shape. I want to lose my stomach and I want slimmer arms. I want to have energy again”. Does this internal monologue sound familiar to you? Throughout my personal training career, I’ve encountered many women (and men) who all desired the same goals. They wanted to feel strong and look better.
Why is this so hard to achieve, especially today? Why do obesity rates consistently climb every year if we're more knowledgeable than ever? Why are companies that manufacture body wraps, detox tea, and waist trainers still in business?
There is one reason and one reason only - people (still) believe there is a quick fix to a healthy and fit body. We’re accustomed to the fact that if we want something, money can buy it. We want to purchase an item from Amazon? same day delivery is available. We want to turn off our house lights when we’re not home? with a click of a button, we can make that happen. Life is easy nowadays, way easier than it was merely 20 years ago. We can get anything we want and fast, but up to a point.
Health cannot be manufactured or bought; a fit body cannot be bought; muscles cannot be bought. And since becoming healthy, fit, and building lean tissue(muscle mass) take time, people go to extremes when trying to embark on a ‘get in shape journey’. Extremes is all we know to get into a destination FAST because we are accustomed to getting what we want with a blink of an eye. However, when it comes to lifestyle modifications, we must have patience. When we’re trying to gain muscle and shape up, we must be patient. Whatever your goal may be, reaching it, is going to take planning, hard work, and sweat. No one accidently loses a bunch of weight or gains loads of muscle. All things worth having take time and effort. Remember that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.
I always tell my clients that consistency in training is key. You simply cannot start training and give up after 3 months of not seeing the results you want. We are all very different. Health history, injuries, body structure, genetics, stress, sleep, diet, mental health – I can go on but you get the idea—all play a role on how your body responds to training. Since we all start from different baselines and don’t have the same circumstances, we cannot expect to progress in a similar manner. I’ve worked with so many people that only after 6 months in the strength training trenches had the ‘aha moment’ where things clicked. They realized strength training is an ongoing endeavor. And once they experienced the positive changes associated with it , they were hooked.
But what is the secret to consistency? Is it motivation only or maybe it's something else? First, you need to find your 'why'. Each and every one of us has a different 'why'. If you find your deepest, most sincere reason as to why you're training, you will be more likely to stick with it. I suggest you to write your 'why' on a piece of paper and put it in a place where it can be seen on a daily basis (purse, mirror, fridge etc). Making your 'why' tangible and visible will serve as a reminder to you of your commitment.
Second, I believe that motivation comes and goes. God knows I do not always want to go to the gym, and there have been times where I walked in, trained for 10 mins, and walked right out. However, I still kept at it. I still kept on going week after week, year after year. If I were to rely on my motivation or mood to train, I’d never train regularly. You see, consistency comes from work ethic. Just like you work so you can support yourself and your family, you go to the gym so you can be healthy and fit; your paycheck is your vitality. Do you skip work because you just don’t ‘feel like it’? No, you don’t. And you shouldn't look at training any differently. We’re all familiar with Joel, the 60-year-old-out-of-shape person at the gym who makes sure to let everyone know that 'back in the day he was fit and muscular' but then he stopped training. Do not be like Joel. Simply put, if you don’t use it, you will lose it. If you don’t strength train, your muscle mass will decline, and you will be more prone to injuries and reduced quality of life.
The point is to start training and keep on going. With a properly designed strength training program and time, you will reap the benefits and get to your goals. It won't be easy and it won't take a month or two, but it will be totally worth it.