Fuel the Fire: 4 Ways to Mess Up Your Progress
Like politics and religion, health and fitness can be dangerous convo territory. Ask one question, and you'll find yourself with twenty different answers, each once claiming to be Truth.
The result? Enter paralysis by analysis, that feeling of thinking so hard about what’s “right” or “wrong” that you simply freeze and do nothing out of fear of doing it "wrong."
Well, stand up and be healed! Let's get you back on your feet.
To make health and fitness a sustainable lifestyle, your mindset's gotta be onboard for the ride. Here are four quick hits to remember as you get going:
1. There is no “right or wrong” when it comes to how to get fit.
Of course, there are laws of science and math with which we can’t argue (ie eat less calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight) and some techniques and form that you want to make sure are technically accurate, but when it comes to topics such as workout splits, days per week of exercise and which exercises to do, don’t worry about what other people are doing. You can learn from them and you can borrow ideas, but don’t get caught in the trap of feeling overwhelmed, scared or confused if someone’s workout plan is different than yours. There is no right or wrong to this. Find what works best for you and be consistent.
2. This isn’t about perfection.
Ever have one of those days where you’ve been so good about your eating…until you walked into the break room and saw pizza? After fighting your willpower, you cave and have a slice. Five minutes later, you’re back for three more, telling yourself it doesn’t matter anymore because you already “broke your diet”? That’s an all in/all out mindset and it's the #1 barrier in most people's success.
This isn't about eating 100% healthy 100% of the time. It’s about what you do consistently.
The same is true of the gym. A missed workout doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a week off of the gym. Just as you will not get fat from one unhealthy meal, you will not lose your muscle from one missed day at the gym. Life happens. Simply remind yourself why a healthy lifestyle is a priority for you and get right back on.
3. Comparison is the death of progress.
This is your journey. This is your life. This is your health. If the person next to you is in better shape than you, awesome. They’ve probably been at it longer. Maybe they have some words of encouragement or advice to offer. If you’re struggling to lift a weight that someone near you is lifting with ease, fantastic. It shows you what’s possible and where you’re headed. This is a process…and one that can’t be rushed. Where you currently are isn’t nearly as important as where you’re going. In the wise words of pop culture: Do you, boo boo.
4. Check your ego.
The gym is mostly filled with people who fall into one of two categories: serious lifters and those who are just getting going or prefer to dablle here and there.
Here’s the reality: the pro lifters in the gym are there because they’re working toward their goals. They have PRs (personal records) to hit and weights that could literally crush them to focus on. Both of those take up their attention. People in the gym who are just getting going on their fitness journey are most likely feeling just as self-conscious as you are about “if they’re doing it right.”
The bottom line is this: While it’s common to feel self-conscious in the beginning, understand that everyone in the gym is there for one reason: to push themselves to become healthier, stronger, more fulfilled human beings.
Focus on why you're on this journey, celebrate your commitment, and, in time, the gym will become comfortable for you.