Different vs Better

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I had a client once who always missed 2-3 workouts a month with me.  Since I only trained her twice a week, which amounted to 8-9 times each month, missing a couple of workouts was significant.  In addition to training with me, she was also supposed to do 3 cardio sessions a week on her own.  Most of the time, as you can imagine, this didn’t happen.  She was very busy as are many people but the bottom line was that she really didn’t enjoy or prioritize her fitness pursuits as much as she could have.  Hey, that happens.  The thing that bothered me was that she was always trying to get me to switch up her workout program.  Now I understand how adaptive the body can be and also that we need a new challenge on occasion, so I know the value of change.  In this case however, it wasn’t a new or different program she needed (her current program had plenty of variety) it was simply to do a better job at the one she was supposed to be doing.

She didn’t seem to understand that and I’ve found that many people who struggle reaching their fitness goals are the same way.  They think it’s something new, different, or more exotic they need to be doing to see the results they want when the truth is that they just should be doing a better job at the things they are supposed to be doing in the first place.  My client missing 2-3 workouts each month was killing her chances at making any consistent progress.  Heck, I don’t miss 2-3 workouts in a year!  So I could easily see this but unfortunately, she could not.

When it comes to your own fitness pursuits, you have to take a long, hard look at everything you’re doing and ask yourself, “do I need to make a change or could I just be doing things better?”  A change won’t help you if the execution of the planned task is still off.  The problem or causes of your lack of success will still be there.  You have to self-evaluate first, make sure you are at the top of your game, and then you will know if and when you need to switch things up.

As I leave the gym, I always grade myself on how I did in the workout I just completed. A, B, C, D, B+, A-, C+, etc. Those grades give me an indication, a little personal feedback, as to if what just took place was good enough.  I take into account my effort, energy, strength, compliance with what I should have been doing, pace, mental focus, etc.  Usually, I’m in the B to A- range.  It’s normal to have a few sub par ones as well as a few great ones on occasion.  But if you’re having too many that are not up to standard, it’s time to figure out why.

If you’re not seeing the progress you want, take a step back and look at all the variables.  Are you being consistent? Are you training hard enough?  Are you getting all your meals in?  Are you eating the foods you should be eating?  Are you getting enough rest and sleep?  Are you getting in your cardio sessions?  Are you mentally focused when you train or do you let yourself become distracted? Are you reminding yourself the importance of your goals and keeping your motivation high?  Is there anything you can be doing better?

By trying to do better you will keep yourself challenged, focused, and in position to get the most out of your efforts.  Then, if you see that there are issues beyond your ability to improve, a simple change or modification can reset your whole fitness world.  But the process of evaluating and asking more of yourself when needed must always be there.  It’s amazing how much control you can have when you just pay attention and put in that little extra effort or passion towards the things you wish to achieve.

Photo: Terry Goodlad

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