Does Fitness Fit Your Life?
By Chad Austin
If someone were to ask you, what are your top priorities in life, what would you say? I did extensive research on this question about 10 years ago, I created an online poll and asked as many people as I could, “What are your top priorities in life?” The top answers I always got, we’re a family and career. Faith was always a popular answer to but by far, family and career were the top two. What really surprised me and taught me something with this poll was what people didn’t say. Basically, nobody said health and fitness.
I’m a personal trainer. So, of course, I was pretty surprised by this. But, after I had some time to think about it, I realized it actually kind of makes sense. Life comes with a lot of unexpected changes. And when changes come in life, we’re really good at adapting to change. When it comes to our family, our career, or our faith, we’re terrible at adapting to change. When it comes to our health and fitness, it becomes the thing we’re going to get to later.
These changes might be good changes, like getting married or having kids, or maybe getting promoted at work. It could be bad changes like getting divorced or getting fired. It could be a really big change like relocating or a change as small as your work schedule changing. When life throws us these curveballs, we’re really quick to adapt when it comes to the most important things in our life. But when it comes to our health, we’ll get to that later.
We can always start working out later or we can always start eating healthy later. We can do all of this later. So, what’s with the sense of urgency? Well, to me, this is important, because I believe that fitness is the vehicle that drives us to becoming the best version of ourselves.
I know that when I’m taking good care of myself, when I’m exercising regularly, when I’m eating healthy, when I’m getting good sleep, and I’m doing all the things that I think are important, I’m a better husband. I’m a better son, I’m a better friend to everyone in my life because I have more energy. I have more confidence, I’m in a better mood, and I’m just better. It overflows into all areas of my life.
When I’m not taking good care of myself, I believe the exact opposite is true. I don’t have enough energy or I have way more stress anxiety in my life. I’m often in a bad mood, which then hurts my relationships. And, I have a hunch I’m the worst version of myself. If fitness is not a part of your life, you will not be able to show up as the best version of yourself.
I’ve been a personal trainer for about 20 years now. Over the last two decades, I have learned and evolved a lot. When I first started, I thought the job of personal a trainer was pretty straightforward. I help people reach their fitness goals… plain and simple. Luckily, I’ve realized my job has a lot more to it than that.
When early on in my career when I first started training clients, I realized right away that people come to a personal trainer fueled by short term motivation. There’s something coming up in their lives that they need fast results for. It might be a wedding, or a reunion, or maybe swimsuit season is coming around the corner. Something really important to them is quickly approaching and they need fast success.
I’m sure you know as well as I do that short-term motivation like this leads to short term results. I want to make a much bigger impact on my clients in that I want to make an impact with my clients long after my time with them is over. I want to help my clients become what I call a “fitness fisherman.”
I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy before that if you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach someone to fish, you feed him for the rest of their life. A fitness fisherman is someone who can keep fitness a priority in their lives. Regardless of what curveballs life throws at them. So they can always show up as the best version of themselves.
At the studio where I train, I am known as the personal trainer who wears motivational t-shirts. I am that guy. Whenever you see me, I normally have a motivational saying on my chest. It might be something like “you are stronger than your excuses” or “excuses don’t burn calories” or “burpees hate you” – something like that. I love these t-shirts. I think I just love the power that they have that I can make someone smile or inspire someone before I even talk to him.
But there is one t-shirt I don’t wear anymore, because I don’t agree with the message anymore. And that shirt said, “If you want results, stop starting over.” I don’t wear it anymore because I feel like it suggests that if you fall off track and your fitness plan that you failed, you’re a failure.
Here’s a little secret from a personal trainer. Everyone falls off track from time to time on their fitness plan. Everyone does. So there’s no reason to beat yourself up or shame yourself for that. Everyone falls off track because no one is immune to life’s obstacles or life’s changes.
When we fall off track, we can easily find ourselves stuck on the inconsistency rollercoaster. It’s where fitness is just a part of our lives in spurts, but it doesn’t really stick. And the reason it doesn’t stick is because we never reassessed how fitness fits in our life. After life change happens that caused us to fall off track, we’re still trying to do what we did in the past. But, our life is different now, so that doesn’t fit. You have to be able to figure out how fitness fits in your life after a life change happens. Understanding how to do that is how you become a fitness fisherman. You simply have to hit the reset button. The fitness reset button is how you keep fitness a priority in your life through life’s ups and downs.
The fitness the fitness reset button is really simple. It just requires you to answer two questions. First one… “How does fitness fit in your life right now?” And the second one… “How much accountability do you need right now to be successful?”
So, we’ll talk about the first one first. How does fitness fit in your life right now? The keywords of this being the last two words “right now”. How does it fit right now, so we’re not picking up where we left off. That would be starting over without changing anything that leads us to the path of inconsistency we’re already on. We’re also not doing something we did in the past. Just because it worked then doesn’t mean it’s going to work. Now your life is different.
We often make that mistake whenever our desire for change is at its peak, and we’re ready to get started with a new plan. We think of the time in our lives when we were in the best shape. Or, maybe when we got the best results. Whatever we did for our workout at that time becomes the bar. Doing anything less than that is not doing enough.
We have to take that way of thinking and throw it out the window. Doing less does not mean that it’s less of a priority. All it means is it fits differently in your life right now. And, that’s okay. What you do for fitness has to fit in your life. If it doesn’t fit, it won’t be there very long, plain and simple.
Every time you hit the reset button, you may answer this question differently. And that’s okay, too. There’s no wrong answer. The only way you answer this question wrong is if you’re not honest with yourself. So how does fitness fit in your life right now?
Here’s the second question in the reset button… “How much accountability do you need to be successful?” There’s a big misconception when it comes to fitness that we have to do it all by ourselves.
We often hear people say that if you missed your workout, or if you skipped your workout, or you are having trouble getting to the gym; it’s because you didn’t want it bad enough. I don’t believe in that statement at all. However, I do believe that the more important something is to you, the more you should set yourself up for success. And that’s where the accountability part comes in. The amount of accountability you need to be successful is the answer.
Motivation, our desire for our workouts, changes a lot over time. You may find yourself at times where you love your workouts. You’re feeling strong, you’re loving the results you get, and you can’t wait for the next workout. When you’re in this kind of workout zone, you don’t need a lot of help from outside sources. you can get a lot of success just by holding yourself accountable.
But, there’s also going to be some times when you’re dreading your workouts. You can’t stand the idea of working out, you hate your workout, and you don’t want to do it. It takes everything in you to get yourself to not skip it. When you’re there, you need to give yourself some more accountability to make sure you’re successful.
Accountability comes in all different shapes and sizes. It could mean getting a trainer. It could mean having a workout buddy. It could mean getting a gym membership to a gym that all your friends go and find a fitness class that fits perfectly in your new schedule. It doesn’t matter what it is. It just matters that it helps you stick to what you planned on doing so that you follow through with your fitness plan. That’s the right answer.
And again, every time you do this it may be different. The only wrong answer is when you’re not being honest with yourself. How does fitness fit in your life? How much accountability you need?
Understand that after a life change, things are different in your life. You have to reset how fitness fits in your life. Understanding how to do that is how you become a fitness fisherman. And that is how you use fitness as a vehicle to keep showing up as the best version of yourself.
Chad Austin helps his clients get off the inconsistency rollercoaster, so they can improve their quality of life with long-term fitness success. Chad is the owner of Priority Fitness in Overland Park, Kansas, and is the bestselling and award-winning author of the book series, Make Fitness A Priority. Chad has been featured on over 50 podcasts. Find out more on his website… HERE.