It is fairly common for people to come in the doors, schedule a consult, talk all about fitness, get started with the gym and then, 6 months later, unload a shit ton of baggage that has nothing at all to do with fitness. In fact, this baggage was likely presumed to be SOLVED by fitness.
“I am overweight, therefore I need fitness”
“I have back pain, therefore I need to get stronger”
And these things are definitely at least partially true, but there is an interesting cycle of events that occur.
WHY would someone get “unfit” to begin with? I’ll leave you free to speculate – there are endless reasons. They are all pretty much correct.
So someone’s life is upsidedown and they conclude, “I gotta hit the gym!”
Which isn’t a bad idea at all. But, 6 months later, no fitness has been gained and we all wonder what’s going on that exercise has produced no results. So we ask some basics questions:
- Are you sleeping?
- How are you eating?
- Are you stressed?
- Do you binge drink?
- Do you smoke?
- How do you manage your time? Do you ACTUALY get to the gym, or just purchase a membership?
- Is your head in the game during class or are you chatting, checking your phone and using distractions to avoid work?
And what is uncovered is that pretty much everything is jacked up and nothing is working correctly. They cannot manage their time. They don’t sleep. They are stressed to the max. They don’t eat/stress eat/over eat/binge eat/something something bad eating.
Fitness won’t course correct for this.
BUT, it WILL uncover this. Now we can start solving problems.
Can’t sleep? Why not? Don’t eat during the day but binge at night…why?
The solutions to these problems vary as much as the problems themselves, but it’s a huge part of what we do. And as we solve for the above, the fitness that ought to come…does. This is because fitness is actually a much higher order activity than people give it credit. Fitness should really ONLY be applied once things are going well enough to SUPPORT fitness. But the catch 22 is that sometimes you don’t know what it is to unfuck until you realize fitness isn’t working.
So here are your fitness order of operations and some ideas on how to achieve them
1 – Sleep – There is no way around it, you need sleep. All organisms need sleep. Evading this fact will lead to your misery. Try this: pick a day (probably a weekend) and go to sleep when you are tired and don’t wake up to an alarm. Try that a couple times. How long did you sleep? That’s probably how much you need. Are you getting that much?
How to get better sleep? The question for the ages! I am no sleep expert, but there are some definite things that impede sleep such as too much caffeine, too much electronic stimulation before bed and lack of a “goodnight routine” that helps prime your body for sleep.
2 – Nutrition – Yep, you also need to eat. We find it is equally likely that people aren’t eating ENOUGH as often as they are eating too much. Get your 2000 cals a day. Eat protein. Avoid simple empty carbs. Avoid too much fat. Don’t drink calories. That is a really basic way to get your intake on track so that it can support exercise, recovery and daily energy.
Don’t create stress around diet, make small changes that are sustainable. Examples include cutting soda intake in half (not going cold turkey), routinely eating breakfast and ensuring that you eat protein with every meal which is satiating and necessary for muscle growth.
3 – Stress – Do you take on too much? Do you feel like the world is on your shoulders? Do you create work just to feel useful and productive? Do you take on OTHER PEOPLE’S burdens? Do you say yes all the time? Do you feel bad saying no?
Got some bad news – if you’re reading this, life will go on with or without you being a martyr for everyone else’s time. We simply aren’t that important.
Scratch things off your to-do list if they’ve been there more than a month. Say no. Value your time. Force people to solve their own problems. Take on less. Focus on nailing the important things in front of you. If it’s not on fire, it can wait.
Life is short. You won’t feel any better on your death bed having scratched off 10,000 menial tasks that are simply killing you anyway.
And there you have it! Why do we feel so qualified to address these topics? Are we some sort of experts? Nope. But we uncover these problems and become allies in solving them for our members. And, in the process, learn quite a bit about what makes people tick, how gym time is best used, what problems it won’t solve and what you need to do to get the most out of your gym experience.
It’s not just fitness, it’s straight up mental health we’re doing over here.