...which have nothing to do with diet or exercise
So in this one I want to talk honestly and openly about a few things I have realised over the year or so having dealt with a few mental demons myself and having worked with and helped a lot of people with a variety of issues start to enjoy exercise again, get over some of their fears and improve their physical appearance.
So for this one, I am going to start with an admission which has been hard for me to admit to especially as it meant that over the past 12-14 years working as a fitness and exercise coach I have got it wrong, and I mean really fucking wrong. Sorry for swearing but I just wanted you to understand how shitty a job I have been doing and I have been thinking about this a lot for the last 6 months or so and it has taken me until now to write it down.
"So I am really sorry, mainly to all the past clients that I wasn't able to change, I used to think you were wrong but really it was probably my fault. I wasn't really getting it from your point of view and I really couldn't understand why you were unable to follow my advice with regards to exercise and nutrition etc."
That's really where I was going wrong, exercise and nutrition, when I now know that it has absolutely nothing to do with that at all so as promised that is the last I mention it in this article. So I will not be droning on about crappy boring stuff like
❌ Calorie counting
❌ HIIT Training
❌ Cardio V Weight Training
❌ Portion Control
❌Or cutting out certain types of foods
Instead, this is all about you, how we can help you stop the limiting beliefs that keep you from getting to where you want to be.
So here we go...
1. you place too much value the opinion of others
This has been a real break through for me and has taken me from a place where I was mentally struggling to now being in a pretty good place and ready for new challenges.
Social media is a nightmare for this but it has been around way before that. I see it much more training the ladies I train compared to the men, that's not me being sexist, its just what I have experienced over the past few years.
We tend to put way too much value in other people's opinion of us, when really what we should be focusing on how we feel about ourselves. Ladies, you have a tougher job than most guys because it is in-built in you to care for everyone other than yourselves and you worry a lot about what people will think if you put yourself first for a change.
Well! I am now here to tell you this: "Fuck em"! You deserve to be happy with yourself and you deserve to feel good about yourself, even if it does mean saying no to someone every once in a while and doing your own thing because that is what makes you happy.
This is another part of my job I have made a pigs ear of over the years. Instead of helping you do this, I have probably ended up putting you under more pressure by focusing on your weight loss or measurement results instead of helping you improve the way you feel about yourself.
Now I realise that this has to be my main priority and I need to get you focused on you more, by giving you the confidence in yourself to achieve more and do things for you.
I think my favourite ever movie quote epitomises this exactly.
2. You're focusing way too much on losing weight
This is something I am seeing a lot of, especially with the ladies I train at the moment. They are putting undue pressure on themselves by focusing only on what the tape measure or scales say. So here is my advice on this one, focus on how training and being fitter and stronger makes you feel, focus on how good you feel when you hit that deadlift PB or you get a new PB time in your fitness test, focus on being able to do things today that you couldn't do a few weeks or months ago.
"TRY TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE RESULTS RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE GETTING THE PROCESSES RIGHT MEANS THE OTHER STUFF TAKES CARE OF ITSELF".
I am also going to let you into a little secret the fitness industry doesn't really want you to know either, mainly because its not that sexy a notion and it doesn't really drive loads of sales. "It's not your weight that is the biggest indicator of poor health, it is your lack of movement or fitness". So you can absolutely be overweight and healthy as long as you are strong, and you feel good".
The real reason your trainer is not telling you that is because it doesn't get them more social media likes or one of those awesome before and after photos that everyone likes to see.
So as I said earlier, focus on the journey, celebrate every success, lift more, move faster and push yourself onto new boundaries and FFS try to enjoy it because your training and fitness regime should not ever be something that makes you feel worse about yourself than you already do.
3. you start dieting
Fact for you! Nobody ever got ripped in 28 days, nobody ever got a 6 pack doing nothing but an abs routine and hardly anyone has achieved long term weight loss on a diet.
So please stop looking for quick fixes, fast results and schemes that are marketed to get you this much weight loss in this amount of time. I have been guilty of this in the past myself and up until very recently have marketed programs on these promises.
In all honesty, its actually pretty simple to put a meal plan in place and a workout regime together that will get someone dropping a stone per month. The problem lies in that doing this will almost certainly result in short term success but unfortunately these programs are unsustainable and don't really fit in with life. The real kicker though, is that doing these over a long period of time, going from one scheme or quick fix to another gives you a pretty unhealthy relationship to food, makes you yo, yo in weight and usually leads to you getting fatter and more depressed.
So if you really want to make changes to your body shape by losing weight, then do it slowly, take your time and make small changes one by one that will add up to a better and healthier relationship with food and exercise.
So ban the word "DIET", eliminate it from your vocabulary and focus on the small things that you can enjoy and do consistently in order to create long term change.
4. You are too hard on yourself
OK folks, this one is a big one and something I have to talk people out of doing all the time. People on a fitness, weight loss or any other type of journey always give themselves a hard time if they make a mistake. I promise you now that if your goal is to lose weight and get in shape, AT SOME POINT ALONG THE WAY YOU WILL FUCK IT UP!
This could come in the form of a weekend bender followed by a 3am kebab and chips, followed by a whole day of hungover junk food. We have all been there and guess what, those days are probably still not over, it gonna happen again. The important thing in this situation is to not be too hard on yourself and use it as an excuse to give up. The truth is you are not perfect and neither is your coach. No diet or fitness regime should expect you be either. Yes us fitness gurus mess our stuff up sometimes too. So don't let it consume you, instead learn from it and maybe next time, try not to go so crazy with the hungover food perhaps.
Even if you do it all the same again don't worry, its in the past you cannot change it. So focus your thoughts back into the present and the future and getting to yourself back on track.
Listen! It takes 3-4 weeks for a change to start to feel natural part of your routine and around 6 months for that change to become a lifetime habit, so in that time you will make mistakes but don't give up. The important thing is that you give yourself time and be patient with yourself because real change does not happen over night.
5. You don't believe in yourself enough!
I have been a trainer and coach now for around 15 years. Over the past year or so I have learned a lot. I usually pride myself on being a quick learner but this one has take a while to sink in. You can probably tell from reading this that not only has it been written to help you get started stay on course with your fitness and weight loss efforts, it has also been a bit of therapy for me and a way of unburdening myself by admitting past mistakes and hopefully wiping my slate clean and starting again, better than before.
I have finally learnt that my role is not to provide you with weight loss information in the way of diet and exercise and to push you to lose weight, it is really to get you to feel good about yourself, to help you feel supported and ultimately to get you to believe in yourself as much as I believe in you.
So the phrase "I can't" is now banned from the gym or anywhere in my presence. That shit needs to be replace with "I can", "I will" or "I am gonna" and don't let anyone tell you differently.
Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.