What is it?
It’s different for everyone, but we all have it. It’s the stuff that makes you smile to yourself at the thought of something. It’s the same feeling that has you counting down the days to the weekend, or looking forward to a holiday. You can’t wait for that time to come around because it is FUN. You feel joy, freedom, comfort, excitement…happiness at the very thought of it.
These moments we look forward to, are times we love to experience RIGHT NOW in our everyday lives.They can be big, small or somewhere in between. Our long-term goals, career aspirations, hopes and dreams for our families are all still there, and we continue to work towards them; but what we look forward to in the now, is breaking through the monotony, and the world’s expectations of us to do something for ourselves that we really enjoy.
You might want to catch up with friends, travel, experience new things, read a good book; whatever it is to you, it’s about leaving the worries of the ‘schedule’ and ‘chores’ behind for a release that makes you happy.
This good feeling is the very ingredient that can mean the difference between lasting success or perceived failure in fitness. A relatively small shift in gears is all it takes.
Re-thinking how we approach fitness
Re-thinking fitness may not come easily to those in the industry. When you’ve been trained to train, you train to train hard. Trainers strive for results, to reach goals, to make people FIT. That is the ‘standard’ measure of one’s success as a trainer – the visual, measurable ‘results’ they can help their clients achieve. It’s about hard work and pushing limits.
On the flip side, a customer nervously stepping into the gym realm, perhaps after quite some time (or for the first time ever), is looking to the industry as their guide. They need help from the experts to find their feet, their happy place at the gym.
In today’s world, our customers are empowered. More than ever before fitness is accessible to everyday people at home. Fitness is free via apps or YouTube; and then there’s the endless offerings of late night infomercial equipment promising to transform TWO lives for the price of one. If this sounds familiar by the way, you’re certainly not alone; and you haven’t failed at these attempts of finding your fitness niche – it has failed you. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t the right fit.
What about all those new year’s resolutions of years gone by? That anxious excited feeling that THIS time you’re going to transform yourself. You’ll join the gym and have the determination, unwavering resolve and will power to succeed. You can visualise yourself trotting to the gym in your activewear, showing off those before and after pics and being a role model, an inspiration.
Lovely in theory; but these approaches rarely stick and work long-term (despite what the infomercials tell us). Why?
Aspiring to be a past or future ‘self.’ Is that sustainable?
The danger of working towards a goal or a ‘future self’ in fitness, is that you’re working to become an image of something you’re currently not. This is a goal outside of yourself right now. Quite often this desire is borne of negative feelings that your current self is not sufficient. Fitness with this mindset can quickly lead to feelings of ‘sacrifice’ and ‘hard work’ trying to reach this ‘better’ vision of yourself, and get away from this sub-standard version that you are now.
This is a tough way to set yourself up in fitness. If you’re struggling with motivation in fitness it can rapidly become a chore, boring, unsustainable…NOT fun. Entering into fitness feeling this way makes it very easy to feel down on yourself when the results aren’t sprinting in.
Sometimes we aim to revert back to a pre-version of our now-selves. Have you ever wanted to achieve a pre-children… pre-corporate desk job…pre-40’s, pre-marriage image? The possible problem with a desire to get ‘back to’ a certain weight, dress size, or perceived age, is that you’re moving forward while looking backwards. It is a benchmark…a goal; but hardly a healthy sustainable motivator. What happens to your morale when the finish line seems to keep moving away from you no matter how hard you run towards it? The finish line should only ever be behind you if you’ve crossed it.
So what does true success in fitness look like?
We can show you all the testimonials in the world; but the best demonstrations of what this concept really means…are the stories with the history, the emotion, feeling and experiences. The past, present and future of natural motivation and enjoyment in fitness.
One of our colleagues in her 30’s has shared a great example. This is her own words on how she discovered a truly happy home in fitness in a very unlikely place – the golf course.
I am quite (well very) small; but have always been in relatively good shape having been very sporty in my youth. After my first baby, I didn’t push my body too hard, got back to a reasonable Mum-tum shape I was happy with. My second beautiful bub I didn’t carry so well. After he was born I was told my abdominal wall had separated, and there was nothing I could do to correct it – aside from surgery. Major surgery. Typical conventional fitness to tighten the abdominal area would not work and would aggravate the problem. I can only describe this as feeling like a bizarre type of hernia where your gut ‘pokes’ through a weakened abdominal area, creating an untreatable pregnant-like bulge.
Although the appearance side of it was a little upsetting, I could wear it like a badge of honour until it was affecting my lower back. I was in pain, my overall core strength was poor and contributing to a loss of balance and light-headed unsure ‘dizzy’ feeling. That was horrible for me. I was completely off-kilter. Too shaky to ride a bike and could barely pick up my baby. Even walking up and down steps I felt wonky.
At the time we were living in a very small town having moved to see my father through end of life. I was still very much grieving and reeling over what we’d been through. I looked fine on the outside. On the inside I felt a shadow of my former self. I wasn’t up to mingling, and making friends wasn’t easy.
The local golf course, which Dad had been instrumental in restoring, reminded me of him. There are beautiful rolling hills, abundant wildlife and a stunning lake named after him. It was one of my favourite places to visit for quiet reflection, to just sit and look at the lake. The golfer’s all looked free, I wished I had played with Dad when he was alive. I was NEVER in a million years going to approach the golfers and ask if I could join, or be taught. They were very serious and quite snooty about the game.
Fast forward a year or two and we got to know our lovely neighbours who played golf regularly. They were relatively new to the game and literally played just for fun (avoiding snobby golf club competition days). Sunday they had the course to themselves! And so it began… We LOVE our Sunday golf games as a family, we even invested in a hilarious 6 seat (limo) golf buggy. Our merry band of badly golfing ‘hillbillies’ is growing every day with people who just want to hang out with good people and enjoy themselves while doing something good for their bods. Sunday mornings are now filled with fun, laughter, encouragement, joy and wellness.
The enjoyment is infectious – many serious players now play on Sundays and regularly borrow our stretch-buggy. I actually begin to feel sad or unwell if I miss too many games. I never would have thought such a frustrating game at which I am actually really terrible at playing could make me so happy. But hey, I’ll take it!
How do we each discover this unique natural motivation and enjoyment?
We’re really only scratching the surface of what this looks like and how to go about making enjoyment…proper unrivalled fulfillment in fitness the norm. Not fulfilling weight loss goals or personal bests; but happiness and wellness. Our promise to our customers is around feeling good. The trick is to keep trying, keep looking for the fitness activities that you really enjoy, and use them as tools to heal feelings of stress, fear, loss, struggle, unhappiness.
When the end goal of weight loss, muscle gain, improved physique, or optimal health is the prize; but NOT the purpose, you have every chance of getting there. The fun thing is you’ll be less concerned about your goals throughout the journey, you’ll be too busy feeling good and enjoying yourself.