Key words: Choice, decisions, individuality, support.
Everyday life presents us with an abundance of choice, each dressed and tailored in its own manner tactfully seducing us in. Though we are fortunate that we live in an economy that allows access to so many options when making our decisions, the sheer scale of selection can also add a pressure to make the right one, and when that decision holds financial and personal ramifications, that pressure increases. Personally I lose the ability to read when looking at a restaurant menu or forget I have ever had a drink when trying to decide what to order at a bar. When the options are plenty, the fear of getting it wrong or making a poor choice can often cause hasty decisions (why did I choose the F*****g lobster!!)
In my pursuit to help clarify how to make the right decision when it comes to the most important thing in your life; your health and well-being, here is another analogy.
Imagine if you were led to the forefront of a vast beautiful forest and asked to pick out a tree. This tall imposing green wall is built up of thousands of trees, each similar yet unique in its own way and you stare flabbergasted at the variety of choice available and realize you know nothing about trees.
The choice is simply daunting, maybe even slightly intimidating and in your haste and unwillingness to appear stupid you rush in without true consideration of what’s on offer and scuttle over somewhat overwhelmed, to the easiest and most convenient tree available. When questioned why you choose this particular wood, you simply reply that most people seemed to like it and after all it was the most convenient. Not because it had better attributes than the other trees available? Not because it was better suited to you personally?
With more time and study you could have found a tree that suited you to perfection. But time, being a true valuable commodity simply could not be spared and so you settled for something not quite right for you. It does not take long for you to become unhappy with your choice and soon you depart deflated and disillusioned by the whole thing. With a defeatist attitude you walk away from this forest with nothing but bad memories and the same unfit body that brought you here.
I hope you can relate to this decision making analogy, and haven’t just read a crazy tree lover blabber about trees individuality. This array of choice and associated pressure is how I imagine some people experience when faced with the multitude of options that life presents and more specifically when addressing fitness. How many people have joined a gym fuelled by good intentions only to arrive, stare at the various machines, give them a half hearted go and then leave wondering what the hell they just did for an hour and never to return.
This scale of choice is accentuated by well-funded marketing campaigns which do well to confuse the majority about what’s right for them. What gym should I join? What nutrition plan do I follow? What fitness plan do I do (what is a fitness plan?!) and what bloody supplements should I take? The majority will go straight to the cheapest, most obvious and convenient (planet fitness). Some will venture to more recently adored trees because others seem to like it and ‘Yano, it seems ok’ (spinning, zumba). The more daring endeavor to travel out to some new popular tree that a few kids swear by and try this with little understanding of what it actually is (crossfit). In no way I am saying that these choices are bad ones, only that they may not be suited for you or your individual goals. In the fitness world there is no one size fits all or umbrella prescription that suits everybody.
Before making any decision about what is right for you, your body and your goals you must take time to evaluate your options and your own personal situation.
Given a second chance to choose what is right for you, would you seek guidance by a professional? Who would help you take a step back and study all that is on offer? Do you invest time and money helping you make a very important decision? After all what is more important than your health and happiness, two things that will not only affect you but everyone around you. With less haste into these decisions you will see greater speed at achieving your results.
What’s undeniably beautiful about us, like the trees, is that we are individuals. Although we share common attributes, we are undoubtedly unique and special (just like your mother told you) and so what works for your friends may not always work for you and what works for the greased up model on infomercials guzzling shakes, and strapping himself to anything and everything that sells, may also not work for you, no matter how convincing they sound or how many before and after pictures they flash before your eyes. This comes down to a number of variables:
-Time, accessibility, knowledge, even genetics (this is not an excuse, it’s a variable, genetics should never stop you achieving your goals).
All of these variables are simply numbers in our equation, not answers to our failures, or excuses for our personal stagnation. “I don’t have enough time”, “I don’t know what I am doing”, “I cannot get to a gym and my family has always been fat so its pointless, I am doomed to a life of sloth like energy levels and will never know what my toes look like”
If you are one of the many who cannot decide which tree is right for you then it makes sense to ask an expert………..the personal trainer (not a lumber jack). It is their job and responsibility to know every attribute of each choice and most importantly how compatible they are with you and what you want. They should be able to give you in depth detail on each and every available option and which one will best help you achieve your goals. A personal trainer should always look at what personally suits you, not them. If they do not, they are not an expert nor someone who cares, move on.
As a trainer I individualize my approach to each client and ensure they are on a program that is specific to their needs and level. This is achieved through non-intrusive measurements, a few questionnaires and most importantly nice bit of chin wagging where I actually listen and take into account you. If I cannot help, then I will point you in the right direction and wish you all the best with your goals.
Although it is your job to achieve your goals, we are there to assist you on your journey. We can all get to the same destination, but we may have to use different roads and vehicles to get there. We will help you figure out your route, and guide you along the way.
Patrick Jennings is a trainer @ the Coliseum and @the Work out Garage. He also works as local soccer coach. His passion is helping people achieve functional fitness, a sense of well-being and helping children set the foundation for healthy growth.
For a free consultation or training session please contact Patrick with the address below and he will be happy to arrange a time to talk with you.