Are You Doing the Most Important Exercises?

The most important exercises no one is talking about are for your mind and sustainable results hinge on developing the right mindset.

Let’s be real, staying motivated to consistently take time out of your day and get into the gym is work. Throughout our day we’re bombarded with thousands of decisions in the home and at work. With that “get to the gym” can sometimes takes a backseat in our priorities. Assuming roughly an hour at the gym and 8 hours of sleep – you also have to stay on task for another 15 hours with your nutrition and lifestyle to meet your goals. While I think everyone can benefit from having a social support system, what do we do when the support isn’t available? There will always be times when your friends can’t make it to the gym with you, look over your shoulder when you open the fridge late at night, or be available for a phone call or text when you’re out on the road. Although technology and communication have vastly improved in the past 10 years, there will always be times of pure loneliness. While this may scare you, I challenge you to view this as an opportunity for growth. Whether you’re getting into the hotel late at night – hungry and tired. Or looking at the obnoxiously blinking, 5:00am alarm clock – knowing no one will be at the gym to meet you. There are simple steps that you can take to motivate yourself to eat the packed tuna in your suitcase or roll out of bed while it’s dark and cold. Bringing you one step closer to your goals and good health.

The Most Important Exercises

Everyday there is another blog article or Facebook post explaining which exercise or routine will guarantee the most fat loss and strength gains. While variety and exercise information are important, the fitness industry sometimes doesn’t see the forest for the trees. Who makes more progress, the person that knows50 squat variations or the person that squats 50 times in a workout? The most important exercises no one is talking about are for your mind. The right mindset will get you out of bed or close the fridge door after stressful days when no one is around to help. But like a muscle, the mind can get fatigued and essentially break if stressed too much. While I personally promote and practice occasional tips and strategies to keep the mind fresh, I’m a firm believer that sustainable results hinge on developing the right mindset. Crossfit, cardio, interval work, and traditional strength training can help different people reach different goals. There are no absolutes in fitness, but if the goal is specific enough, there are better methods. Mindset is no different. Sustainable strength gains for your mind come from a few simple exercises.

Self-Talk 101

Regardless of your job or schedule you talk to yourself more than anyone else in the day. But are you saying the right things to help you meet your goals? There are thousands of self-help resources and websites available at our fingertips, but you really only need one of them to start taking action. As with most things in fitness, it’s easy to over complicate our own approach to self-help. Beyond incorporating addition (exercise, vegetables, meditation) rather than restriction (chocolate, bread, alcohol) – telling yourself “I don’t” rather than “I can’t” is much more positive and powerful. Tell yourself you can’t have X food, and you’ve subjected yourself to a variant of mental slavery. Tell yourself you don’t eat X food, and not only are you free, you’re more likely to be successful in making sustainable change and progress. And if you’re ever struggling with why don’t you do something. The answer may be simpler than you think.

An Age-old Question

As a coach, my job is not to actually motivate my clients; my approach is to simply be their guide. In doing so, their motivation is organic and our time together is more enjoyable and productive. While I’m providing positive feedback for effort and hitting milestones, I’m constantly coaching people to be able to make better decisions on their own and understand change is their choice. Let’s face it – no one really likes to be told what to do. In order to be their guide, we must establish a goal. But before starting towards the goal, we must also discover their starting point. With those two questions answered, what are we missing? In an effort to provide levity to our first session together, I sometimes mask the most important question I need answered with a bit of comedy: Why did the chicken cross the road? In relation to goal-setting: What’s your purpose? There is nothing wrong with wanting to run a 5k or look better without your clothes on, but your success hinges on the layers beyond the objective goal. What will accomplishing those goals do for you? Much like planning a road trip, you need to establish your starting point, destination, and whyyou’re going to sit in the car for hours on end (even if the air conditioning breaks down). Without that why, the trip is meaningless, empty, and you end up quitting and turning around before making any progress. If you struggle to answer this powerful question yourself – think about what you would do with your time if you didn’t need to go into the gym. Would you spend more time with your family or spouse? Would you want to achieve more at your job or business? There’s no wrong answer, but it has to be your own.

It’s That Simple

Developing the mindset to want to eat well or get into the gym is as simple as the right self-talk and understanding your purpose. The more time you spend focusing on those two key concepts, the faster you’ll make progress and the better you’ll feel. Tell yourself the right things and if you don’t know why you’re telling yourself something – remind yourself of your purpose. You don’t eat excessive amounts of junk food, you don’t skip workouts, and you don’t sweat the small stuff. But what’s your why?
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