by Jeff Roux B.P.E.; CSCS; TSCC
There is a mantra that we use at TWIST that says, “A Leader of ONE, a leader of many; if you can’t lead ONE, you can’t lead any,”
Taking care of yourself, being accountable for your health and wellness, and setting yourself up for success is infectious. People recognize it, people respect it and people react to it. It sets the tone for other people and suddenly they want to follow your example. This is how a movement begins.
This Leader of ONE concept always hits home with me personally and motivates me directly as an active adult, as a team leader, as a parent and as a role model. As we get older, get busier, have kids and distractions begin to overlap in our lives, we have to continually remind ourselves to keep our own health and performance at top of mind and be accountable for every move we make, every bite we take and every choice we make (hey, I think there is a parody Police song in there somewhere).
Winter is here, this is the time to make plans, not excuses.
NOW is the time to set yourself up for success, to do better, to adapt to schedule changes, to make good decisions at dinner parties and holiday events and most importantly, to continue to take care of yourself and be a Leader of ONE with your daily actions. NOW is the time to get better.
The good news is there are tons of great ways to do it. The bad news is there is also lots of confusion, mixed marketing messages, bad information and nefarious quick fixes, designed to take advantage of your desire to improve your health, fitness and performance.
Find YOUR WHY?
We are inundated with information on how to eat and how to train, and yet in North America we are less healthy than ever. This can be confusing, discouraging, and depressing. People often focus on what they are doing (strength training, cardio, yoga etc.), where they are doing it (what club, facility etc.) and how they are doing it (yoga or group fitness classes, running groups, personal training, etc.) often, without first truly understanding why they are doing it.
Embarking on or re-setting your health and fitness journey is not easy – that’s why they call it a WORKOUT. It should also be fun, rewarding and inspirational to keep you moving forward and to see what happens next. Motivation for the wrong reasons in anything we do may lead to short term success but ultimately, is unsustainable. For a health and fitness plan to be successful, it has to be intrinsically inspired and create a fundamental change in your lifestyle approach, in your daily actions and interactions and become part of your regular routine. In order to determine what truly motivates and inspires you, you need to find your why. Everyone has one.
“Your WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you. Knowing your WHY gives you a filter to make choices that will help you find greater fulfillment in all that you do.” – Simon Sinek –
What is your health and fitness why? Why do you do (or not do) what you do? Is it about health, performance, how you feel, how you look? Is it about achieving a specific goal, overcoming a new hurdle or being a better role model for your kids? What is holding you back from achieving optimal health?
Your why has to be powerful enough to motivate you to get started. It has to be resilient enough to help you keep pushing through difficulty and failure. It must be forgiving enough to understand that failure helps you learn and surviving failure is how you break through to not caring what other people think, because you are not doing it for them.
“It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” Robert (Rocky) Balboa –
Once you have established your why you can begin to plan out the how you are going to reach your goals and who you might need to help along the way. Finding the right fitness facility can be a bit like looking for a needle in a stack full of needles. The world of marketing is built upon telling people the things they want to hear but when it comes to delivering on the promise of the services they provide, the curtains do not always match the drapes. It is easy to say the right things but it is more difficult to actually accomplish them. There is no shortage of people, places, and programs hoping to take your money and promise to help you reach your goals, but usually there are only a few that will truly match your why.
Culture is King
I will let you in on a little secret; it is not the equipment, paint colours, the technology, the Dyson hand dryers, 4K televisions screens or the fresh pressed juice bar that helps you reach your goals; it is the culture and philosophy of the people inside the walls who drive the energy, atmosphere and environment inside to help you match your why.
From service focused Performance + Wellness Centres like TWIST to specialized martial arts, boxing clubs and spinning studios. From Crossfit boxes to Yoga studios, and from Globo-gyms to Community Centres, there is truly something for everyone. In most cases, the vibe attracts the tribe and the tribe is often motivated by the same why. These are your people, find them, mingle, multiply, and maximize your goals. When you find your why, you are home.
The true strength in any service business is the people you interact with every day. The knowledge, experience, energy and enthusiasm of any business should let you leave informed, inspired and energized. Are the coaches, trainers and nutrition team educated and certified? Do they give energy and leave you wanting more? Do they offer something unique? Are the current customers happy to be there every day and getting the results they are looking for?
We are all looking for the most efficient, effective ways to improve our health, fitness and performance, in our sports and activities and in our day to day lives.
Here are a few secrets of success for 2018:
Get Moving & Keep Moving: We all spend too much time sitting. When you get to the gym, the last thing you need is another seat. Get on your feet, move in different directions, move like an athlete, learn to move better and keep moving. Don’t sit still for too long no matter where you are. Your joints and muscles need to keep the blood flowing and your heart and lungs will love the extra attention as well. Walk to the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get yourself a stability ball or standing desk instead of a chair to keep the blood flowing and CORE active. You don’t necessarily have to be working out all the time to stay healthy; just keep moving. Author’s Note: Lifting the glass and/or fork up and down do NOT count!
LIFT Stuff: Getting stronger is simple; pick up something heavy. Put it back down. Repeat. Increased strength is about more than just shredded pecs at the beach. Strength training improves bone health, cardiovascular health, minimizes injury risk and allows you to keep moving (see above). If we don’t use it, we lose it and muscular strength decreases quickly when muscles are not being used. The great news is it also comes back quickly once we get back to work. So, get back to work!
Eat Real Food: No one expects you to be perfect but everyone can do better. Keep it simple. Eat real food, avoid processed food, minimize or eliminate sugar and avoid excessive anything. Be careful of what you read on the internet; no diet is perfect for everyone. For a true look into your specific nutritional needs, find a holistic nutritionist who can determine what you need to find your optimal health.
Chillax: Working hard is overrated, working smart gets results. Recovery and adaptation come when we are not working. Relaxation, mindfulness, mobility, rest and sleep help us re-boot, re-charge and re-focus to take on the next difficult tasks. We can always use a little more of that. Ahhhhh, I feel better already.
Get Out and Play: There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing. Unless you are made of sugar, a little rain or snow won’t hurt you. Go for a hike or a trail run. Get on your bike or give snowshoeing or cross-country skiing a try. Fresh air, a little sunshine and vitamin D does wonders for the body and the soul.
Quality NOT Quantity: You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get fit. Time is at a premium but an efficient workout that focuses on functional strength and stability for the entire body does not have to be a 2 hour torture session; even if you only have 30 mins that is 30 mins better spent moving than sitting (see above).
Set Audacious Goals: A greater achievement can often be made by failing big. Sometimes you must aim high enough that failure is almost certain to know what you can truly accomplish. Setting a goal to walk around the block creates an easy win but rarely leads to completing a 10K run. Setting a goal to run a marathon, Obstacle Race or triathlon, may result in failure but almost always achieves many 10K runs. Take aim a little higher; even failed goals can net bigger accomplishments than smaller targets.
Have Fun: This is the most important thing of all. No matter what else is going on, make a point of enjoying the journey. Don’t get caught up in the stress, cold and short days of the winter season. Hire a trainer to help motivate your workouts. Plan group activities with your friends and family so you can be together and stay active all at the same time.
As you look to get (re)started on your fitness journey for 2018, Be a Leader of ONE. Lead by example. Find a place that you feel comfortable, a place you want to be and a place that fits your why. Take care of you; the rest will follow.