The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

2010 Year in Review

2010 Year In Review
A lot of learning in 2010

I don’t even know where to start with this post for a 2010 Review – there’s so much I learned, so much that I realized I didn’t know, despite being in the business for 6+ years and training hundreds of clients.

The bottom line is that over the past 6+ years, I’ve been in doubt about staying in the fitness field.  I never fully committed to staying in the field and as such I never fully allowed myself to do the things that I should have been doing all along to be the trainer that I should have been.  Despite not being fully committed, I would still have said that I was better than 80% of the trainers out there.  That’s not saying much since most trainers leave the fitness field within their first year.

With that said, this year started by opening up an email to a “fitness product.”  Since I still wanted to write The Psychology Of Fitness, I thought it would be good to see what other people had wrote.  That small e-book, that didn’t teach me a god-damn thing started a cascade of purchases that opened my mind to a lot of diverse aspects within the fitness field.  Over this year, I spent about a third of my income on informational products, ranging from books, programs, certifications, DVD’s and audio programs.

I wish I could say that by purchasing all of these things, I have everything figured out when it comes to fitness, but that isn’t the case.  What it has done though is allowed me to realize that although I have a lot to actually put to use and learn, I have learned a ton.  My grasp on different modalities of fitness, their true function, how to get people to incorporate them, the psychological aspects of fitness, supplements, hormones, nutritional strategies and the science and actual application of everything has exponentially increased.

With that said, all of that is really a mute point, when it comes to the things that I actually learned about myself.  For years, I wanted to stop “wasting money” and for the first time in years, I’m actually spending my money wisely.  For the first time in a long-time, I actually enjoy working out again.

I have changed a load of self-limiting beliefs and I figured out what I want my next step in the fitness field to actually be.

If this trend continues, I should be well on my way to becoming one of the top 2% of trainers in the country.  I have a lot more learning to do, but learning is easy when you know what you want out of the learning and what purpose it’s serving (something I didn’t have previously).

So with that said, I’ll try and explain some of the things that I learned or at least had a reminder that it was important.

1 – Exercising should be fun.  And what is fun?  It’s matching your skill level, with goals and expectations with the actual exercising.

2 – I actually have to sell people on fitness.  I was always against this, because I felt people should “want to do it.”  What I’ve realized is that people want to make changes to their life, but they need to believe that both, a) I can help get them there, and b) They may need a push and a vote of confidence that they can do it, when they start to doubt themselves.

3 – The “Vital Behaviors” for fitness, and hence The “Psychological Aspects” of fitness, can be broken down into three areas:

A – How people “identify” with exercise – What this means is that most people that don’t exercise see exercise as something that takes away from their lives.  It “takes” time.  It “takes” will-power.  It “takes” discipline and energy.  It doesn’t add to their lives.  In other words, it “takes” from their lives and is something that they don’t enjoy because of what it “takes.”

Compare this with people that exercise, and you see the complete opposite.  For people that exercise, it’s something that adds to their lives.  It “gives” them energy.  It “shows” them what they’re made of.  It “gives” them discipline.  In other words, for those that exercise, exercise “adds” to their lives.  It “adds” to every aspect of their life and helps to act as a scaffolding for “who they are.”

If someone is able to change how they “identify” with fitness – instead of seeing it as something that takes away from their life, but instead adds to it, they are at a much better place to change their relationship with it.  With that change in relationship, they are more apt to “find time” to work out.  They are more likely to find reasons to exercise as opposed to finding excuses not to.

B – Managing Expectations and having an Intact Game-plan – Increasing Competence, Autonomy and Learned Helplessness.  For those that don’t exercise, they don’t feel very comfortable working out.  They feel that they “have to” in order to lose weight and because most people have tried and failed at working out/losing weight they feel an acute sense of Learned Helplessness.  They don’t feel that they are capable of actually making, seeing and keeping the changes that they want to see from working out.  Statistics say that 98% of people that try a self-directed weight loss program fail.  That’s just a sad number.

Most people won’t or don’t have a plan that actually works for them.  They try to accomplish everything all at once and without a long-term game-plan they fail to recognize the steps they need to make in order to make the changes they are making into lifestyle changes. This lack of a long-term game plan skews what they expect (and really more than anything, blindly hope) to accomplish from their weight loss/fitness/diet ventures.

There’s a ton of ways to actually change one’s fitness and eating habits.  Some work better than others, but without the ability to actually incorporate them into your life and keep them there, it is almost impossible for people to see the changes they want from their bodies.

C – How to make changes that have the ability to alter their relationships – In other words, how to hold crucial conversations with those they care about in terms of what they want from their body and with the foods they eat.  Some people that try to add fitness/dietary changes to their lives have full support from those around them.  Others don’t.

For those that don’t have the support of those around them, these conversations are hard to have, but more importantly are absolutely vital to have.  Beyond simply having the conversations, it is more important to actually learn the skills to actually combat the small comments that make people falter on the lifestyle changes they are trying to make.  These conversations need to occur to allow the person to be fully integrated or “congruent.”  Without these conversations, it creates a hard environment to stick to their word to themselves.  This simple thing, keeping their word to themselves, is what is of utmost importance.

If people change these three aspects, I believe that almost all of the other factors that I’ve learned about over the past year about exercise adherence will actually keep people exercising and most importantly, wanting it there, more than any other things that people could change.

In other words, finally expect a book from me about The Psychology of Fitness in 2011.

4 – If you change your beliefs and conditionings/associations between what you want to do, but aren’t, you will automatically start that said action, with ease and enjoyment.  I spent the time between mid-May and mid-August unveiling over 400 self-limiting beliefs.  Over the past month, as I have made a lot of progress and growth with things that have held me back, I have unearthed more.  As I’ve changed these beliefs, I have become free to be who I truly want to be, instead of fighting to be that person.

5 – I need to incorporate all aspects of my personality if I am to be content with my career.  I started but realized that most people where I live don’t’ need to see “huge” results, but instead want a way to actually incorporate fitness into their life in a more enjoyable way.  Therefore, expect to be what I do next year.  This is the first project, that I’ve put together that I can see myself getting fully behind.  It actually incorporates ALL aspects of my personality and not simply one aspect of it.

6 – There’s a lot of smart people out there – I probably have 200 websites as “favorites” for websites I’ve saved and used frequently.  Here’s a small collection of where to get good information.

Alan Aragon – If you want to know the science behind the foods you eat, this is the place to go.  His Research Review is the “Sexiest” science publication that you could ever read.  At a price of $10 per month, it is highly worth it.  Download the sample issue and get your knowledge on.

Christian Thibideau – His training techniques and logic, just make so much sense to me.  For the goals that I personally want, his techniques work best for me.  I own all of his books and if you were to read those books alone and you were a guy, you could sound smarter than 90% of the people in most gyms (including the trainers).

Charles Poliquin – Many of the things he advocates is based on both science and personal experience.  He is one of the few people that I know that combine everything in order to come up with the “best and quickest methods” to see the results people are looking for.  Some of the things he says can come off abrasive and controversial, but his results speak for themselves – He’s trained Olympic medalists in TWELVE different sports.

Leigh Peele – I like Leigh Peele, because not only does she come off as someone that you could actually converse with – that has a personality – but she knows her shit. Her Fat Loss Troubleshoot and membership site are definitely smart investments.

Lyle McDonald – His website is the go to guide on the science of almost any fat loss question you can ever have – Seriously.  If you have a question and want to know the science behind it, be prepared to feel stupid, humbled, yet highly enlightened.

Tom Venuto -His insights are the closest to the mainstream, that almost anyone on this list gets to (except maybe Leigh Peele), yet he breaks down the science and full application of that knowledge into easy to understand terms and takeaways.  His Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle book is probably one of the smartest books ever written on the subject of fat loss.

There are so many others, that I could literally be here all day listing everyone I think is worthwhile to read – Some include, Dr. Bryan Walsh, Dr. John Berardi, Eric Cressey, Martin Berkhan, Jamie Hale, James Krieger, amongst MANY others.

7 – I need to start telling more stories and show more of the accomplishments that I help people to achieve.

8 – I have a lot more to learn, but I actually have a plan to learn everything that I feel “deficient” on.

9 – I have to change my marketing/pay structure for attracting new business in Hoboken.

10 – I need to give people more options, while holding them to a higher standard than where they’re currently at.

This post is already longer than I intended it to be, so I will end it here.  Monday, I will be putting up a new post on my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions.

What are some things you learned in 2010?

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