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Are You Negotiating Your Way Out Of The Body You Desire?

As a fitness professional I frequently study behavioral psychology as I firmly believe that success or failure with changing one’s shape largely depends on that individual’s thoughts.

After all it’s our thoughts that dictate the numerous small decisions we make on a daily basis and therefore our actions.

The food we eat, how often we exercise, how much alcohol we drink, and other factors are all nothing more than decisions. How we look and feel at any given moment in time is a reflection of the sum of these decisions.

It’s human nature to blame external factors and make excuses when we don’t look or feel the way we want. “If I only didn’t have <fill in the blank> I could exercise more.” The list here is endless and I’ve just about heard them all over the years.

The cold hard reality is no matter how you slice it, these are still decisions. At the end of the day you choose to be fit, lean, toned, healthy, etc, or not.

More after the jump…

I’ve found that one of the biggest reasons people fall short on making the necessary lifestyle changes to see the results they want is because they’re attempting to negotiate too much. This happens not only with themselves but also with others.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a prospective new personal training client sit across from me during a consultation and list out the things they were willing and not willing to do.

It’s as if they’re saying to me, “Shane I want you to help me get fit and lean, but we’ve got to do it under such and such conditions.”

Like I make up the rules for what one needs to do to change their shape. Sometimes the matters are trivial and there’s a work-around to suit their preferences. For example, someone might say they’re not much into running, and I’ll say no problem there are other ways you can get in your cardiovascular work.

Other times there’s not much of a substitute or work-around.

“Hey, I’ll do these workouts and eat the way you want me to, but I’m not willing to give up my three glasses of wine at night.”

Ok, nobody says you have to, but that’s not part of my plan, that’s your plan!

Your results or the lack thereof will rest solely in your hands. I’m not a magician, I’m a fitness coach who merely points people in the right direction based on my knowledge and experience with what works and what doesn’t.

Sometimes I have to be extremely blunt and even turn away a prospective client. This happen not too long away when I met with a woman who wanted me to help her lose twenty pounds, get a flat stomach, and tone up. The only condition was she could only find time to exercise once or twice a week.

This wasn’t the frequency she was willing to come in and meet with a trainer, but rather the frequency she was willing to exercise period!

Really? Again, I’m not a magician.

Of course there was a litany of excuses for why she could only exercise that much, but it didn’t matter. In the end I knew this wouldn’t end very well if I took her on as a client. After all when my programs didn’t “work,” who do you think she’d blame? That’s the last thing I want my name attached to.

I told her I didn’t think my programs would be a good fit for her and thanked her for coming in. She appeared shocked and said “So what are you telling me, you don’t want my business?”

Yes mam, that’s exactly what I’m saying as I can’t help you and I wouldn’t feel right about taking your money for something I couldn’t deliver.

I’ve learned over the years that sometimes it’s better to turn business away when there’s not going to be a win-win for both parties. There simply needs to be realistic expectations and a doable plan for success.

I think we tend to negotiate with ourselves and others when we want something, but we’re not ready to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve it. I’d love to be really good at playing the guitar, but if I only practiced once a week how long do you think it’d take before I got good at it?

There are no real secrets to getting the body you want, being good at playing guitar, you name it. Everything comes down to our actions and what we’re willing to put forth towards that goal. In regards to changing your shape, I think sometimes people have misconceptions about what’s really necessary.

You don’t have to be perfect with your diet all the time or spend hours in the gym each day exercising. I’m a big believer in the 80/20 principal. It’s how I try to live my life and it’s the principal I most frequently preach. Do the right things 80% of the time and then enjoy things in moderation the other 20%.

I’ve long held the practice of looking to eat clean, train hard, and sticking to a routine during the week. Then on the weekends if I want to enjoy a couple of adult beverages or perhaps deviate a little on the diet, I’ll do it. Then again the rules are always the same, for me or for anyone else. When moderation becomes excess, there will be a price to pay.

I think there’s also something to be said about working for and earning the ability to have more flexibility and freedom with your diet. Be wary of telling yourself, “I deserve to have <fill in the blank>.

Do you really? Think this through and make a good decision.

If you’re trying to overcome a sugar addiction and you’ve gone a whole five days without chocolate, is that now cause to reward yourself with some?

Or will that decision have the potential to set you back or spiral into further poor choices with your diet?

This is a highly debated subject amongst experts. I think ultimately it up’s to each individual to decide what’s best. After all you’re either moving in the right direction or you’re not.

We should all be doing a regular self-assessment on our lifestyle habits and daily decisions. Is what I’m doing on a regular basis working for me to provide the quality of life I want or not?

If the answer is no, be honest with yourself and look for what needs to change.

There’s really nothing to negotiate, that is of course unless the answer was yes.

Nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice, hard work, and commitment. In today’s world, there are those who would attempt to make you believe otherwise, but don’t buy it.

I suspect there will always be those who would really like to have a fit body, but they’re not willing to put forth the sacrifices and work to get it. So be it, entire industries based on quick-fixes and false promises have been made to exploit this crowd.

Personally, I’ll chose to work with those who want a fit body and understand what’s required, but they just need some guidance, support, and accountability to get there.

I understand making a change isn’t always easy so be patient with yourself. Keep persisting and don’t get discouraged if you fall off track for a while or struggle getting over some hurdles. That’s going to happen to all of us.

The key is to end the negotiations with yourself and others, and simply keep working on getting a little better each day at the things you know you need to be (or not be) doing.

Every day better. Live in the moment and not in the rearview mirror.

Shane Doll CPT, CSCS is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Shane's Commentary.