Let’s dive into each of the 3 Pillars of Fitness Success!
Less than an hour ago, the factory bell rang to signal a shift change. After starting at 6 o’clock in the morning, 8 ½ hours on the job was finished, but work was not. Fast forward an hour. The factory workers are pouring sweat, showing exhaustion, and glancing at the clock. As I look around, nearly every person has a knee brace, a shoulder injury, or some other reason that would be more than enough to slow down. Understanding the magnitude of the grind they’ve put in today and the physical challenges they may be facing, I ask if they’d like to get done early. Their reply is simple: “We’re here. Let’s finish our workout.”
The respect I have for this group is enormous. As a fitness professional, my job is to motivate people to work hard and be physically active in a class or training session under whatever circumstance. With this group, however, it’s different. They are in my class because they want to work hard. They don’t need motivation from me, just guidance. For me, this group represents 3 things which I like to think of as the pillars of fitness success : motivation, perseverance, and knowledge.
The first thing I evaluate is the person’s motivation
My #1 rule: I cannot be more motivated for my client’s success than he or she is.
I have learned that being motivated for yourself is the only way to achieve and maintain fitness success. Some people may be thinking, “You’re a trainer; isn’t it your job to motivate people?” That statement is absolutely correct, but there are different aspects of motivation. My job is to motivate my client during the session; my client’s fitness success is dependent upon whether he or she is has the drive to do everything it takes when we are not in a session. My enthusiasm alone can only take a person so far. Motivation from outside factors may carry a person for a while, but eventually it will not be enough to sustain. You have to be motivated because you want to make a change, not because anyone else is telling you it needs to be made.
“But Dan, everyone has days that they wake up with no motivation!”
This is absolutely correct and this is my second pillar for fitness success: perseverance.
Maybe this is showing up to the gym when you don’t feel like it because you know the workout is important and you trust your motivation will return afterwards. Maybe its pushing through discomfort or finding a way to still exercise through an injury (safely, of course). Whatever it may mean for you, perseverance is that determination deep within you which is uncovered when motivation is waning. Everyone has this ability to be determined; some people may just have to dig deeper than others to find it.
I cannot tell you how many people I talk to are held back in the gym because they don’t know what they should be doing.
This is where my last pillar of success, knowledge, comes into play.
Unlike perseverance, knowledge of proper exercise form or programming is not something everyone just inherently has and must uncover. Maybe you do, and that’s fantastic! But for those that do not, I stress the importance of proper research, taking a fitness class, or working with a trainer. If you have motivation and perseverance, I urge you not to allow a lack of information to hold you back because you already have the two hardest steps out of the way!
When I teach to the factory workers, I am proud to see these pillars of success in action. The motivation they have drove them to sign-up for my class. The perseverance they show pushes them through the hardest exercise I might give them. As for knowledge? I can tell you from personally instructing this group for nearly 2 years, they are learning.
Maybe they didn’t know what to do to start out, but they have come so far in knowing different exercises and asking why things work and don’t work because they reached out. The best part of watching this group succeed is the comment they make when leaving for the day: “I’ll see you tomorrow.”