I don’t care what exercise program, diet or Oprah certified media hyped fitness super guru you follow in attempting to get to your health and fitness goals – the ultimate determining factor to your success is YOU and what habits you bring to the table. To illustrate this important factor to your fitness success, I am going to share with you the three most common fitness trainee types I have witnessed over the years, their habits and the results they usually get from their efforts. I am brutally honest with my observations so this may hit home with a lot of folks, reinforce your already good habits or even get you chuckling a bit.
The assumption for this illustration will be that all three of the following fitness participants will be taking the same fitness program with the same instructor in the same facility/location at the same available times. While I assigned whimsical names to each trainee, they can all represent any gender so don’t think I’m playing favorites!
Here are the most common types of fitness trainees I see: ( I trust you understand these are fictitious names)
Trainee #1 Angie Everywhere
As her name implies, Angie is scattered all over the place – physically and mentally. While momentarily in love with participating in a fitness program, Angie’s actions, habits and behaviors betray her getting any meaningful or lasting results.
Angie likes to constantly chase variety in her attempt to get fit – never sticking with any fitness program to realistically experience any good results.
To talk to Angie, she is the “busiest person on the planet” not having the time or desire to learn the basics of a fitness program in order to position herself for lasting success. Her time is more important than anybody else’s, of course, yet she is a master at wasting everybody else’s time in her proximity- sucking you into her counterproductive nonsense.
Angie has the very common, yet useless and unmarketable skill of constantly being in a flurry of activity projecting the illusion of “getting stuff done”, yet miraculously accomplishes less than nothing.
Angie has no defined fitness goals set for herself and never thinks in specifics – only “pie in the sky” generalities substituting “hope” for a successful plan. She places little value on mapping out a plan for her own success and well-being or thinking past today. Sorry Angie, “hoping” is great, but it is not a viable plan to get you the results you say you want. There is a difference.
Angie is convinced that there is some fantasy exercise program, diet or mystical instructor who will wave a wand bestowing instant health and fitness upon her out there somewhere without her having to put in any meaningful effort to get results. That’s a ton of wasted and misdirected energy that could be channeled to actual pursuits that produce results. Angie might have better luck finding Elvis, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster than finding that fantasy exercise program she has conjured in her head. Oh, and see if you can find the Jersey Devil for me also, Angie!
Angie makes little attempt to understand or care to know why she is performing a particular exercise or following a particular program. What the instructor says usually goes in one ear and out the other. All she cares about is that she’s doing something different – constantly looking for and forever chasing the fitness fantasy unicorn and instant results that eternally seem to elude her……
Angie is a big fan and advocate of quick fix health/fitness solutions often mesmerized and attracted to hype marketing promising everything and delivering nothing. Angie will get frustrated and agitated when someone suggests that achieving realistic and lasting results is directly tied to meaningful effort channeled in a realistic and legitimate health and fitness program. Sorry Angie, As Mr. Scott told Captain Kirk – “I can’t change the laws of physics.”
Angie is not consistent with showing up for her exercise program or often shows up exceedingly late halfway through class. That is if the instructor has no integrity or respect for other participants in the program and lets her in – willingly entertaining her nonsense and disrespect for others.
When Angie does show up for class or instruction, she puts in a sub average effort at best and is disengaged from the program which is evident to all in attendance.
Angie always seems to be distracted with SOMETHING, puts no tangible concentration into the instruction she receives and ignores simple suggestions and correctives the instructor tries to teach her.
Angie follows a poor diet falsely believing and living the myth that it’s possible to “out exercise a bad diet” and get your desired fitness results.
Angie does little or no moving around such as walking/hiking during the week outside of her inconsistent appearances in the exercise program she participates in.
Angie gets little sleep and seems constantly stressed and in a tizzy most of the time.
Angie Everywhere is either too lazy or too unmotivated to challenge herself with her exercises in order to perform at that minimum metabolic level to experience results.
Angie will always let everyone know that she “knows more than the instructor” and will serenade everybody with tales of how best to get fit referencing every Hollywood type fitness phony to back up her fantasyland claims. She will argue this to the death even though her own methods resulted in her being a health and fitness train wreck while the instructor has actually achieved a high level of fitness success for their clientele/themselves via their program and demonstrated methodologies.
Angie attributes anybody who has actually achieved their desired fitness results as just being “lucky” and having “great genetics” in order to rationalize not putting in the necessary effort and commitment to succeed to get to your desired goals.
Angie is afflicted with chronic “I Can’t” syndrome. The symptoms manifest themselves into self defeating and whiny verbal statements that go something like this. I can’t follow these basic dietary guidelines. I can’t do this movement. I can’t do that exercise. I can’t make it to class on time. I can’t get to bed at a decent time. I can’t understand why I’m getting no results. I can’t keep junk food out of the house. I can’t get out of my chair and move around during the week. I can’t eat vegetables. And on and on and on….. You get the picture – this is a terrible self inflicted disease that will de-rail progress in any worthwhile endeavor every time!
Angie will tell you she is a “special case” and parrot back unsubstantiated reasons that led to her being so out of shape or why she has never been able to reach her fitness goals. Her reasons are all self diagnosed without the benefit of a medical professional ever having a consultation with her. Angie will tell you that her thyroid is out of whack, her metabolism went on strike, she’s the busiest woman in show business, “normal” exercise doesn’t work on her, she can’t overcome her genetics, she is “held hostage” by her family who won’t let her eat healthy, she has “super rare” hormones and chemicals that magnify fat, she was bitten by a radioactive tree sloth and on and on….
Most of these “afflictions” are oddly similar to what the most recent guest (victim of life) that Oprah or some other Hollywood phony trotted out on their show last week claim they have contracted who irresponsibly give the masses excuses to remain unhealthy and shirk self responsibility. These are all self imposed “distractions” Angie has created so she can avoid the discipline, mental stability and effort needed to make a positive change in her life.
Angie will bellow to the world what fad diets are best, what insane workout programs produce the best results and what “miracle” supplements, powders and potions you should be ingesting, rubbing all over yourself or chanting over to get the best fitness results. Yet, Angie Everywhere is riddled with all kinds of ailments, issues, movement pattern dysfunctions and carries around a lot of unhealthy fat on her frame. But she knows better as she will pompously tell you!
It’s no great surprise that the Angie Everywhere’s of the world don’t last long in any particular fitness program. They just don’t have the ability to be self aware as to the fact that their poor habits, beliefs and behaviors will eternally sabotage their efforts to get fitness results. they will usually rush to failure pouncing into the next fitness program becoming someone else’s problem acting out a continuous pattern of frustration and failure unless they somehow change their ways.
Expected Fitness Results
Little to none or marginal at best. Those who embody the traits of Angie Everywhere are doomed to failure, unfortunately, and tend to be a distraction and burden on anybody foolish enough to either venture into their frenzied world or invite them into their own.
Trainee #2 Johnny Average
Johnny has the discipline and focus to at least stick with a fitness program long enough to experience some type of positive outcome without chasing constant exercise program variety wasting his vital energy in these distractive pursuits.
Johnny Average has put some kind of thought in setting some realistic health and fitness goals for himself. He has even mapped out some specifics and deadlines to achieve his goals.
He makes a meaningful attempt to understand the fitness program he chose to participate in and is usually not swayed by the emotional hype of fad programs big on glitz and celebrity fitness hucksters, but low on substance.
Johnny will make a meaningful attempt to ask his fitness instructor questions and read up on the benefits of doing the exercises and movements in his program. Johnny may not totally understand every detail and exercise concept, but he is satisfied he made the right program choice and resolves to do his best.
Johnny is pretty consistent in showing up for and doing the work in his fitness program and following a healthy eating lifestyle. He figures he is consistent with this 70% of the time.
Johnny gets out and moves around during the week fairly consistent – doing some walking/hiking and even practices some mobility exercises sometimes that the instructor recommended.
Johnny gets a good night’s sleep most of the time during the week and manages and deals with stress relatively well in his life
While Johnny will usually challenge himself and put forth intensity while participating in his fitness program(a good thing), he will sometimes push himself too far lapsing into poor exercise technique as a result of over fatigue and not listening to his body when it screams at him to back off the accelerator. Once excessive fatigue forces your exercise technique to falter, you are now entering the zone where you are more likely to be injury prone. Johnny will sometimes ignore this universal principle and forge ahead through excessive fatigue and pain and will put himself on the sidelines with an unnecessary injury.
While the counterproductive rallying cry of “No Pain, No Gain” sounds cool and looks impressive on a t-shirt or fitness social media meme, actually adopting this ridiculous philosophy and training through pain and excess fatigue will de-rail your fitness progress and usually put you on the frustrated injured reserve sideline.
Expected Fitness Results
Johnny Average will get pretty good results as long as he doesn’t ignore his body’s over fatigue signals and doesn’t forge ahead through any pain. There is a distinct line between challenging your body to make positive fitness adaptations and ignoring the signs to back off the gas peddle a bit to avoid driving it to breakdown and lost fitness progress. Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and giving us feedback – we just need to listen.
Trainee #3 Raquel Results
Raquel has done her homework and due diligence and researched her fitness program understanding its merits and benefits totally “buying in” to the soundness and sustainability of it. She has met with the instructor to discuss any concerns and agreeing on realistic expectations and what is required for success.
Raquel resolves to make the necessary commitment to stick with her chosen program and not be swayed by the counterproductive temptation to divide her precious energies into a constant variety of additional fitness programs at the same time. Raquel understands the wisdom of the proverb ” She Who Is Everywhere Is Nowhere.”
Raquel has set defined and specific fitness and health goals for herself and discussed them with her instructor. They both agree her goals are realistic and can be achieved in the specified timeline as long as Raquel sticks to the plan.
Raquel will not rush blindly into a movement she doesn’t understand or hasn’t yet “earned” her way to performing in a safe and sustainable manner and will ask the instructor to critique her technique if unsure and feels she needs additional feedback.
She is very consistent showing up to her fitness program religiously – rarely missing a session unless some important or urgent life event dictates otherwise.
Raquel eats healthy at least 90% of the time rarely reaching for processed junk foods banishing them from her living environment for the most part.
She doesn’t get distracted by the hype and unsubstantiated claims of hucksters, celebrity tarts and irresponsible fitness phonies peddling pills, supplements and “miracle” herbs or potions making the preposterous claim that their products are a healthy substitute for eating a sane diet based on whole foods Mother Nature designed for us as a species to consume.
Raquel gets an abundance of restful sleep on a consistent basis ensuring her body and mind are poised for optimal metabolic activity as she realizes this promotes an ideal biological situation for getting lean, making strength gains, maximal caloric burn, clarity of thought and having a fantastic sense of mental well being.
Raquel manages stress in her busy life very well.
Raquel is a busy, confident and productive person in all of her activities, professional life and family role and responsibilities.
Even though Raquel leads a busy professional and personal life, she schedules time to move around on a daily basis including recreational activities, walking, hiking and mobility exercises. She doesn’t allow herself to be “overwhelmed” and does what she can to move forward and progress. Some days Raquel can do 10 minutes of mobility exercises here and there and other days she can get a brisk walk in for 45 minutes. She understands the value of doing something every day and getting her butt out of the chair. Regardless of her time constraints, Raquel knows all these small activities add up throughout the week like deposits in the “fitness bank” translating to excellent health and fitness dividends for her.
Raquel will challenge herself with the exercises in the program and drive her fitness and results to new heights, but understands the over fatigue signals her body communicates to her and will back off the intensity in order to preserve her fitness gains instead of running her body into the ground promoting injury and progress de-railment
Expected Fitness Results
Through her productive and disciplined habits, Raquel has positioned herself to achieve fantastic health and fitness results. Her excellent habits are so productively powerful, that even if she participated in a somewhat lackluster fitness program, she would still get some good results based solely on the sheer strength and discipline of following these habits. However, Raquel is a smart cookie and only channels her energies and efforts into programs designed to deliver the most benefits for her precious time invested! That’s how powerfully productive possessing these types of quality habits can be for you when you adopt and practice them consistently.
I strongly advocate that an ideal fitness program contain these essential exercise movements thoughtfully programmed into your workout if you truly want to experience supreme results for your valuable time invested.
Which one of these types of fitness trainees do you identify with? I hope you don’t match up too heavily with Angie Everywhere because if you lean toward her habits and lifestyle, you have way more problems to deal with other than getting fit.
Fortunately for my own sanity and well-being, I don’t put up with or entertain many “Angie Everywhere” types in my fitness teachings, my business or personal life. I have found that these “Angie” types are like devastating forces of nature. You can either engage them and mistakenly try to change their course and get worn down and crushed by their antics or step aside, politely refuse them entry into your successful system and let them rain on someone else’s parade. After all, there is no shortage of delusional folks out there willing to entertain the toxic drama and nonsense of the “Angie Everywhere’s” of the world, so I know there will always be a dysfunctional refuge for these characters- as long as it’s not me. That probably goes a long way in explaining why I am pretty happy and stress free!
Most folks who are able to get great fitness results and happily and productively meet their goals will tend to adopt a strategy that falls somewhere between the efforts of “Johnny Average” and “Raquel Results” to put things in perspective.
There are not too many people out there with the discipline, self awareness, wonderfully productive attitude and responsibility of “Raquel Results.” If you do come across the Raquel Results types in your life, I would suggest either hiring them or marrying them! I have had the pleasure of teaching/working with/associating with some “Raquels”, but they truly are a rare breed who blaze incredibly fulfilling paths for themselves and add incredible value to your life.
My challenge to you is to take an objectively honest look at your own habits and behaviors. Determine if you are practicing self-defeating habits that may not only be eternally sabotaging and keeping you from realizing your desired health and fitness goals, but holding you back in other areas of life. If you are in need of a habit overhaul or tweaking, please don’t be afraid to take a step out of your comfort zone and seek meaningful help from an outside source.
This can be as simple as reading a book, listening to or attending a seminar/workshop, joining a group or getting some direct coaching from someone with the demonstrated experience in the skills or habits you want to learn. Just keep it simple and progress in manageable ‘bite size” chunks without getting overwhelmed. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but be proud, encouraged and motivated by small, progressive victories that add up- leading to wonderful success and a happy existence. I urge you to take action NOW as we only have a finite amount of precious time to try to live a fulfilling, productively active life on this chunk of rock spinning around in space we all call home!
Mark Mellohusky (Mellow-Husky) Mellow as in laid back and husky like the dog
“There’s a Sparkle in my Eyes and Iron in my Thighs!”
I Eat T-Bone Steaks and Lift Kettlebells, Sandbags and My Body Weight!
Seven Stars Fitness