Have you ever heard that Billy Currington song "People Are Crazy?" No! Well, for your reference.
The part of the song that I want to draw your attention to is the line which states, "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy." Now while I can't speak to the taste of beer I will say I'd have to agree with Mr. Currington on his other two opinions, especially the people are crazy part.
I don't mean this in a negative everybody-is-a-psycho kind of way, but rather just that people often behave in ways that leave me scratching my head. I often experience this feeling in my professional life when working with clients.
People often tell me one thing, but do another and all though the social scientist in me tries to explain this behavior in terms of behaviorism, social controls, and personality development I can't help but say to myself at times "people are crazy."
Majority of the people I work with have goals that can be summed up into one simple category and that is looking better. For every one of them this involves gaining muscle and losing fat although the one we place emphasis on may differ for each individual.
As a side note in my opinion most people aren't actually chasing a better looking body they are chasing self acceptance, confidence, and overall more enjoyment from life, but that is a topic for another blog post.
However losing fat and gaining muscle aren't the easiest things to do. I am not saying they are complicated or unobtainable I am just saying that they require effort, determination, consistency, and persistence all of which are traits that are hard to practice along let alone simultaneously. These tasks are made all the more difficult when your eating habits, sleep habits, and exercise habits don't currently yield a high quality of health.
All this meaning said it means that to look better it is going to require quite a bit out of someone. They are going to have to practice new eating habits. They are going to have to turn off the tv an hour earlier. They are going to have to learn how to cook and prepare meals. They are going to have to learn to manage their schedule to make time to exercise. And the list could go on and on and on as well as grow in complexity.
In spite of this people still hire me and tell me they are willing to do what it takes to look better. They tell me they are prepared to do these things and can't wait to accomplish their goals.
But as soon as it comes time to start practicing new habits and changing old ones a wall of excuses appears. We end up getting no where. No goals are accomplished and everyone involved is left feeling frustrated and disappointed.
I believe this happens for one reason: Looking better and being in shape isn't really all that important to them.
I guess it isn't really that it isn't important, but that it isn't as important as other things in their life. In fact it is usually these other important things that are used as excuses for why the whole getting in better shape never happens. But instead of looking at these other important things as excuses or things we can blame our failure on why not just be honest and own the fact that we made a choice to prioritize something else over preparing food for the week or hitting the gym after work. Maybe it comes from fear of judgement.
I am not saying this in a negative or derogatory tone. I say it as a simple statement of fact and truth. One might think that looking better is what they want. But the truth is they just like the romanticized idea of it in their head. In reality as a priority looking better sits low on their priority list behind being a good mom or dad, reading, going out with friends, or watching Star Trek reruns.
I don't mean that any of these priorities are bad or mixed up. It isn't my job to judge others or what they value. That job belongs to no man or woman.
However it is part of my job to help people recognize whether or not they are willing to make their goal a priority over other things in their life and then depending on their answer set realistic goals based on that.
I mean I personally have priorities that sit above being in great health, but they are very few because in my opinion being in good health allows me to perform better in all areas of my life. I am honest with myself about these priorities and because of this I don't have unrealistic expectations for my appearance or performance that I will never live up to and continually make me feel unworthy unless I reorganize my priorities and give my training and nutrition more effort and attention.
I guess what I want to challenge you to do is to ask yourself whether being in shape is really what you want and where does it fall on your list of priorities. Be completely honest because there is no right or wrong answer there is only YOUR answer. Once this is established you can begin creating realistic expectations freeing yourself of the guilt you feel about not living up to unrealistic ones.
And don't get me wrong I am a realist. I know our priorities are fluid. They change from month to month, year to year, and from one life event to another. Different times in life will allow or require you to focus more on somethings than others, but as long as you are honest and up front with yourself about where you stand at the moment you protect yourself from crushed by feelings of shame, unworthiness, and self loathing.
Happy moving and heavy lifting
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training