Whole9 guest post by Coach Rut, who has over a quarter century of fitness coaching experience and holds academic degrees in biology and physical education, and Master’s degrees in exercise physiology and sports biomechanics.
I recently received the following comment from a blog post.
[I’m] just feeling overwhelmed on where to begin after a decade of nothingness. 100# from my target weight and need simple direction.. uuggghhh..too many choices. I believe it is my thinking too much.
The majority of my career I’ve spent working with this exact personality. The ones who are striving to become more fit but just can’t wrap their arms around the parts and the process.
Today I hope to furnish some of the important understandings, realities and tools of becoming more fit by way of practicing fitness more than talking about it. My only stipulation is you promise not to quit. Which brings me to step one.
#1 You’re Not Always Going To Feel Like it
For whatever reason, some believe that they will have a wind blow magic powder up their shorts each morning at 0500 and their Nikes will float onto their feet while the Starbucks mug awaits in their toasty warm chariot for the ride to the gym. WRONG! It’s gonna be cold, it’s going to take willpower, and you’ll need to overcome the resistance to be a wimp.
Does anything positive happen from constantly seeking comfort or immediate gratification? Oh you’ll have the initial buzz of starting something new, but soon enough the paint color of the gym will become old hat. Embrace the suck. They don’t call it a WORKout for nothing.
You need to behave your way into a habit. That means get up no matter what. You might have heard “fake it til you make it.” That phrase holds true for all of us all the time but a lot in the early stages of becoming a regular exerciser.
You need to understand how habits work and that old you (the unfit couch potato) will never go away because the brain likes the lazy. Writer Charles Duhigg and his book, The Power of Habit, will assist with this understanding. Buy it and read it twice. Your habits make you.
#2 Pay A Professional To Guide You
If you are a repeat start/stop exerciser it’s clear that buying Men’s Health at the grocery store and or listening to your Ironman neighbor “Glen” talking over the fence isn’t working. It’s time you hired a real fitness professional.
You need a ‘trainer’ with a multitude of skills, education and experience. Here’s what I suggest:
- 5 + years of experience in the industry. (Most ‘trainers’ don’t last 5 years in this business)
- Undergraduate / Graduate Degrees in Exercise Science / Exercise Physiology
- Stability (Moving gym to gym is a troubling sign)
- Charges you a professional rate.
You and the trainer should have a paid for audition. Ask them the hard questions. Find out what you are going to be doing each session and why. Find out if there is any nutritional consultation and what their experience is working in that role. Find out what metrics they will use to gauge your progress.
Find out how busy they are. I’ve observed that the best trainers have little room (if any) for new clients and they charge significantly more than the inexperienced hacks.
If you hire the correct person they will not become your friend ( initially). They will hold you to a specific set of rules and expectations and if you fail to meet these they will fire themselves. I can tell you that I could have a nice retirement nest egg based on the number of people I’ve let go. No really nice.
#3 Set Realistic Targets Using a Proven Method.
This whole topic of goals needs to be done very specifically. The majority of people pop off about their goal of ‘losing weight’ or ‘getting stronger’. This is where the specifics come into play.
This goal setting approach has served well for over two decades. If used and interacted with on a daily basis you stand a very good chance of becoming better than you are today.
#4 Slow and Steady
It’s best to see this change from the 20,000 foot view and long term lasting change. Unfortunately, we live in a have-it-now society. You can fight this if you like, but the fact remains that the true measure of your success is well down the road. Yo-yo-ing up and down on the scale and starting and stopping is more stressful than just being you. Find a way to have a worthy but consistent approach to your pursuit of fitness.
You don’t need to run a marathon, paddle the Atlantic or make it to the CrossFit games. What you need is a consistent approach and the help of a quality professional.
Michael Rutherford (a.k.a. Coach Rut) has over a quarter century of fitness coaching experience including working with competitors from the ranks of international, Olympic, collegiate, high school, middle school and elementary school aged athletes. Coach Rut also has worked in hospital wellness environments and rehabilitation clinics. All of these experiences have allowed him to bridge the gap between the needs of the competitor and those of the man, woman and child seeking enhanced personal health and fitness. Coach Rut’s Boot Camp Fitness program is the area’s largest and most established group exercise program and his training services have assisted thousands of Kansas City residents over the last two decades. Coach holds academic degrees in biology and physical education, and Master’s degrees in exercise physiology and sports biomechanics. He is a certified Club Coach by the United States Weightlifting Association and is a CrossFit level III certified coach.
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