Author: Scott Smith
I caught myself affirming a new client’s desire to not just change her body, but also her lifestyle. Which is great news to hear for a trainer. I have had countless consults with prospective clients who either don’t understand or choose to ignore the reality that legit, sustainable, lasting results require a change in behaviors that need to be consistent (through discipline and moderation) throughout a life time. So of course it is refreshing to know that I am going to be working with someone who acknowledges the incredible and consistent work required to make changes.
As my client was recovering from an intense set of leg presses, we chatted briefly about how her new diet plan was coming along. Here is where she blew my mind while revealing to me how she finally “got it.”
“I have to consciously think about and plan what I eat, every single day Scott. I understand now that THAT’S what the lifestyle is. An active daily awareness of what I need to do to be happy and healthier. It never becomes automatic or easy.”
And she was so right. It’s not like you wake up one day and just love eating spinach all the time (although you may learn to tolerate it!). It’s not as if doing heavy back squats becomes particularly enjoyable (although you may learn to appreciate the challenge!). It’s not as if after putting in the work, on one magical day you are able to roll out of bed at 5am with a smile on your face because it’s time to run in 40 degree weather and finally know in your heart that you have arrived … you have a new lifestyle!
I have hope that we are moving past the “magic bullet” mindset and are realizing the sacrifices it takes to balance the limited resources we have (time, money, energy, relationships); and to allocate those resources accordingly to the upkeep of the one vessel that allows us to do everything else. But sometimes when I hear the phrase “lifestyle” thrown out I get this feeling … like deja vu.
I’m sure it looks a little different for everyone but this “lifestyle” probably includes a heightened focus on consuming nutritious foods in moderation, drinking more water, reducing drug abuse, getting more quality sleep, and of course exercising regularly in a way that strengthens our heart, lungs, and muscles all while including the needed recovery time to heal, grow, and prevent injury. Now rinse and repeat. Every day. For the rest of your life.
The reality is this… You are going to fail. Probably multiple times. You will not always be at a place in your life where you are on point with your diet or exercise to the level you or others expect you to be. But it’s all good. Failing and trying again, failing and trying again, failing and trying again IS what the REAL lifestyle is. The key here is TRY AGAIN. Being willing to take two steps forward right after getting knocked back one. When you stop trying is when you know you are off it.
The rinse and repeat scenario above is certainly not what appeals to me and when isolated and boxed up as “lifestyle” is not a choice most people will actively make. There is something else that drives this whole thing. And this brings me to my closing point: that this intangible thing we call a “lifestyle” is really just the manifestation of the identity we choose to assume…
Someone who has the personal honor to never give up on themselves.