I once coached a client who won $10,000 in a body transformation contest. She was thrilled of course and I was extremely happy for her as she’d worked very hard. There was a delay between the time she’d actually done the competition and was declared the winner. By the time she’d worked her way through the various rounds of voting, a couple of months had passed and she had somewhat fallen off of her program. Also included in the prize package was a fitness photo shoot with top industry photographer Terry Goodlad. The shoot was scheduled to be 4 weeks after her announced victory, which would be plenty of time for her to look her best if she kicked it back into gear.
I was more than a little surprised when she messaged me to say how unmotivated she was to train and diet now to get ready for the shoot! We talked on the phone and her mindset had shifted into a “party and enjoy” mode that included more wine than protein shakes. She wanted me to give her a new, “more exciting and fun” program that would kick start her motivation. As much as I enjoy fun, I was more concerned about making sure she got the right results in the time she had, which basically meant back to the previous grind, which should have been more than doable, if not “exciting”. As she teetered on the fence of commitment I encouraged her as best I could.
I was a bit confused after I’d hung up the phone. How can someone who had just achieved such a great victory become so uncommitted when she was just entering the door of success? Here I was training 5 days a week year-round for FREE, and my client who had just been awarded $10 grand and was on the doorstep of doing a major shoot that could secure her place on the fitness modeling map, didn’t seem to care! “Just suck it up, get back on your diet, and kick your training consistency back up for the next three and a half weeks, then go play!” is what I’d told her. “You’re right there, don’t let yourself down now!” My tough love had little effect. She got back to training but couldn’t put down the wine or stop eating off plan.
The workouts could only do so much and she showed up for her shoot looking a lot less than her best. As genius as Terry Goodlad is, there is only so much you can do in a fitness shoot with a model that looks less than ideal. Her promising fitness modeling career faded away before it started. She had the chance to create something that lasted even longer than the money she’d won. Still, she’d earned her victory and that’s great. But I would have loved for her to be able to fully capitalize on it.
The reason I mention this story is that it underlines a certain truth. Fitness can be hard, even when you are doing well. There will be crossroads between what you want to do and what you need to do. There will be bumps and distractions even after you’ve reached the point where you think you’ve made it. There needs to be a balance between enjoying what you’re doing, yet still doing what you need to do to get the results that you want, or the factors that lead you to a certain point won’t take you any further. You can become lost even after you thought you knew the way. Fitness will always be an ongoing journey with both ups and downs. It will have stop and starts, twists and turns, successes and failures. Ultimately, if you stay the course, there will be much more good than bad during your fitness journey. Just remain aware that even when things are going well, you still have to fight to keep yourself motivated and committed to investing in yourself and staying on the path to your dreams.