A Real Warrior, A Real Struggle

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Late 2011 vs Mid 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into Synergy at 5:30am to Rob’s “Good morning Sunshine” and instead of my normal response, I plopped down in his office and just started crying.  Poor Rob – Coach, Trainer, Therapist, “One of my girls,” and a true friend – He sees it ALL.  I was in pain and couldn’t understand what happened to the progress I’d made over the last 15 months.  I was feeling pretty defeated and like no one could possibly understand how both physically and emotionally painful this set back is for me.  In typical Coach Rob fashion, he gave me some sage advice and asked me to write a blog about my set backs because, “It’s real life.”  

From 2011 to mid 2013, I had gotten much healthier and was in great shape, so I was devastated when my car accident restricted my ability to work out for almost a year.  I gained at least 40 pounds and felt like I was back at SQUARE 1.  Let’s BE CLEAR, I am NOT one of those girls that can work out 3x a week and eat healthy and stay in shape.  It takes work.  At any size, I have been very active, able to do yoga, and run around in stilettos; after my accident, I could do NONE of these.  For me, this was unacceptable! IMG_4459

When Rob and I started working out, I took breaks between exercises within a set and often times, I would have to sit on the floor and stretch before I could continue.  But I WOULD NOT QUIT – I persevered!  IMG_7948There were days I would work out 3 times a day, once with Rob, once in the pool, and then cardio.  I was on a mission.  From the end of April 2016, only 3 months out of surgery, to December of last year, I made huge strides.  I dropped weight, was able to regain some of my balance, and could workout without taking breaks! I could see the light at the end of the tunnel!  

During my recovery period, I have been plagued with a lot of emotional life changes.  I am going through a divorce, I lost my career, because of the extended leave of absence, and I was/am (2 years later) in a horrific lawsuit with my car insurance company.  So, I threw myself into looking for a new career and working out.  After several months of looking, another of Coach Rob J’s Real Warriors, Steph, helped me find a new career I LOVE!  Her team at Hire Ups is AWESOME!    I was finally feeling like I had gotten my life back!  Within 3 days of being back in an office environment and sitting, I was in excruciating pain and absolutely ready to give up.  You know that saying, “a body in motion, stays in motion?”  Ummm that’s TRUTH right there!

IMG_1040Due to the pain, I went to my surgeon and received less than stellar news about the future of “my back health.”  My last few sessions with Rob had been emotionally taxing, because I had lost a lot of my agility, balance, and stamina.  The biggest deterrent for me, the pain.  I was/am scared of the pain that is waiting for me with every workout.  I told Rob through tears, “I just can’t do it (I have never said this phrase to him until that day!), I am just so frustrated.”  He let me cry and rant and curse a little about the uninsured driver that changed my life and then he leaned across his desk and said, “I’m sorry Sunshine, but you can do this.  We just need to go back to what we know works.  Baby steps.”  So here we go, BACK to the beginning…For the record, I HATE BABY STEPS!           

 

Real Warrior and Boot-Camper, LK!

IMG_7435I admit it, I am one of those gym-goers that walks around a little unsure of where I should start and in what order I should work out my muscle groups.  I have always been athletic, but I wouldn’t have considered myself strong.  I would walk in to the gym and feel like I was not maximizing my time spent in there.  Well, that is the person I USED to be. 

As a single mom, I was teaching at a charter school, always pressed for time, and looking to change up my fitness routine.  I bought 2 Groupons to try some new workout ideas.  The first Groupon was for Synergy Personal Training; they offered 2 weeks of unlimited bootcamp sessions and the second was for another bootcamp, which I also tried.  IMG_6611

Ready to try something different, I met Coach Rob for a consultation and decided to try different boot camps.  I tried both the 5:30am bootcamp and Rob’s 6:15am bootcamp; 2 1/2 years later, I am still going to his bootcamp 5 days a week.

I admit that I bounced around and tried everything from the complex to the simplest of programs and my favorite, by far, is Coach Rob’s bootcamp.  His focus on keeping his classes relevant, fresh, and concentrated on proper form, leave me exhausted in just 30 minutes.  Rob is constantly pushing us boot-campers to our limits with positive reinforcement and makes us feel like we are in a private sessions with him.  In the 2 1/2 years I have been at Synergy, there has not been one injury in our bootcamp.  I think our coach’s education and ability to lead a great workout is a key reason we have such a strong core group of bootcamp attendees.

IMG_7434Thank goodness I have never been one to watch the scale because I weigh 10 pounds more now than I did when I started.  By the BMI chart at my doctor’s office, I am considered over weight!  HA! I have only increased my endurance, feel that I can protect myself if necessary, and I am stronger than I have ever been!  The benefits of starting my weekdays in a positive and productive environment, with my fellow boot-campers pours over into every aspect of my life.  I am living and loving sharing my life with like-minded people!

 

BAM! Motivation Monday

Monday-MotivationDo you dread Mondays?  Do you sit at work on Mondays struggling to get in to the groove of a new work week?  For some, just getting out of bed on Monday is a struggle.  After a leisure weekend, working out before work, prepping your meals for the day, and making it to work on time, can make any Monday feel overwhelming.  I found this quick read, from the HuffPost, on why you should NEVER miss your Monday workout.

IMG_9105I also checked in with some of Coach Rob J’s Real Warriors to see how they maintain motivation and asked for some of their favorite resources to kickstart their drive, when they are feeling a little sluggish.  Chef B-rizzle, Bryan, isn’t one for social media or inspiring quotes; his motivation is fueled by results!  He said, “results become an addiction.”  From fitting into smaller sized clothing, the number on his scale decreasing, and consistently noticing improvements in his health, Chef B-rizzle is his own motivation.  I can personally attest that Bryan reigns himself back in and seeks guidance and motivation when he needs to refocus.  Check out his story – Chef B-Rizzle Gets Fit

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Steph, aka #TeamKilla, has several resources of encouragement, and much like B-Rizzle, her own results fuel her fire.  Having transformed her body from a size 14 to a size 2 in just over a year, she gets a much needed boost from her before and after photos, inspirational quotes, Pinterest, Tumblr, and she follows a few male and female weightlifters and athletes on Instagram.  Check out some of the accounts #teamkilla shares: Gymaholic, HealthyFitMantras on IG, and Bossbabe.inc.  But between you and me, I think she gets her biggest boost of motivation when she shows up in new workout digs!  Check out how her transformation started, Team Killa.

Deb, aka #teamSunshine, gleans inspiration from all over, but says, “My BIGGEST motivations are Coach Rob’s page at 4:30am, #TeamKIlla and #FresnoFitChef’s instagram feeds, they are 2 crazy inspiring, positive women, and watching the successes of so many others on the web.”  Some of the accounts that she follows on Instagram are The Good Quote, GlennonDoyleMelton (author of “Love Warrior”), Better Things in Life, Kate.Cash.Fitness, and LvnFit.  IMG_5599In my opinion, Deb isn’t motivated by a number on the scale.  When she came to me, she said that she didn’t care what she weighed as long as I  could help her get to a healthier version of her old self.  Baby steps Sunshine, back to baby steps.  Check out when #teamSunshine started her baby steps.

As I have discussed before, motivation and maintaining motivation are key components to any successful lifestyle change.  Starting next Monday September 4th, my Monday posts will be dedicated to sharing the people, quotes, and sites that I turn to for my own MOTIVATION!   Just in case you missed it, check out one of my blogs on Motivation, “The M in B.A.M. Logic!!!”

Motivation is what

 

 

 

Who holds your feet to the fire?

IMG_5120.JPGNo man or woman is an island and no goal worth accomplishing will happen without the help of others.

If you are seeking a change or to develop a new habit, it would be extremely advantageous to find an Accountability Partner (AP).  We can accomplish difficult tasks and make huge leaps toward our goals using our personal fortitude and will power, but if you want to go the distance and do great things, then you must enlist the help of someone that will hold your feet to the fire!

Don’t make the mistake of over thinking the qualifications of your Accountability Partner.   IMG_6616The only real qualification needed is that your new partner will have your best interest at heart and that they’ll be brutally honest with you. Another thing to keep in mind — the accountability process / partnership will work best if you’re open and honest about what you are working on or need to work on.  Give your AP as much detail as possible and make yourself as vulnerable as you feel comfortable.  Your AP should be a “safe place” but a place where you will be challenged and stretched to move out of your comfort zone.

If you need some statistics to convince you that an AP is the way to go, The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found the following statistics:

The probability of completing a goal if:

  • You have an idea or a goal:  10%
  • You consciously decide you will do it:  25%
  • You decide when you will do it:  40%
  • You plan how  you will do it:  50%
  • You commit to someone you will do it:  65%
  • You have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed to:  95%

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Remember, an accountability partner will be honest with you, won’t listen to your excuses, will give you honest feedback, will give you a motivational push when you need it, and will hold your feet to the fire when you want to give up!  So if it is in business, fitness, or just doing life better that you are now, seek someone that will hold you accountable and help you attack your goals.  BAM!!!

The Positivity Trap: How upbeat coaches can kill client results

Think about how you sound when working with clients.

Do you say things like: 

“You’re only one workout away from a good mood!”

“You’re not gonna get the butt you want by sitting on it!”

“You’ll get a lot more compliments for working out than you will for sleeping in!”

Many health and fitness coaches think that always being positive, upbeat, inspiring, and ass-kicking is part of the job.

Encouraging language is what’s required to motivate clients through tough times and nudge them toward big success, right?

Actually, no.

Blindly spewing positivity in the midst of the suckiness of lifestyle change doesn’t show that you’re awesome and motivating.

In fact, it suggests you don’t care. That you don’t hear your clients, you don’t see them, and you don’t understand they’re struggling.

It sounds kinda crazy, but…

Too much positive talk is bad for your clients.

There’s certainly a place for positivity in coaching.

You want your clients to feel that you believe in them. You can help them visualize success, or point out the next steps they can take. All of that can be motivating. 

When your client is feeling all sunshine-and-rainbows, it’s okay to share that. Rock on with your rainbows.

But effective coaching also requires you to sense in and track with your clients.

This means paying attention. Observe carefully. Attune.

Know your clients’ cues. Listen to them. And understand their current state of mind.

Because your clients need their pain.

In most fitness and health coaching situations, we’re working with people who are in the midst of lifestyle upheaval.

That takes a lot of work. It also comes with a lot of ups and downs. Which are all completely normal.

Your clients deserve the opportunity to “feel” the lows.

In fact — this is important; pay attention — your clients may need those low moments in order to make progress.

Most change comes from responding to pain. We usually don’t change until the pain of not changing gets too strong to be ignored.

In other words, we need that pain. Pain is a signal to pay attention, get present, and check in.

And from a coaching perspective, clients need people to be with them in that pain… but not necessarily trying to push them out of it too quickly.

A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reveals that fantasy-caliber positive thinking may make you less likely to achieve a goal because it doesn’t generate the energy that’s needed to push forward.

If you want your clients to follow you to the finish line, you have to be able to support them in dark times. You have to let them be real.

For that, they have to see that you really get them, and that you truly empathize with how hard it can be to keep going.

When someone is struggling, the knee-jerk tendency to act like everything is happy-happy, joy-joy doesn’t communicate compassion at all.

It communicates that you’re not really paying attention.

Too much positivity isn’t real.

As a coach, thinking you have to be positive and inspiring all the time not only drags clients down — it can actually de-motivate them.

Imagine: You’re a client having a “fat day”. (Or a “scrawny day”. Or an “I’m so out of shape day”. Or your darn shoulder hurts again. Or that chocolate croissant you ate is sitting in your gut like a brick. Or…)

You arrive at the gym to greet your coach — Mr. Perfect or Ms. Invincible, who ignores your emotional state and gets in your face with rah-rah let’s-go-team!!

Ugh.

You think:

Not only do I suck at this and fail miserably, but my coach is a perfect model of positivity. S/he has bulletproof abs and an awesome life and a perma-smile. S/he can’t even begin to relate to how hard this is for me. I’ll never be like that.

Or worse:

My coach doesn’t understand me. I’m just another client.

And once you as a client start feeling that way, here’s what happens.

  • Activate operation “Give the heck up”…
  • followed by “Eat more cookies and ice cream to soothe pain of giving up”…
  • and, finally, “Burn down the houses of all the positive people I know, starting with my annoying trainer.”

Just kidding about that last one. (Sort of.)

precision nutrition positivity coaching trap smile The Positivity Trap: How upbeat coaches can kill client results.

Incessant positivity costs coaches, too.

Not only does this excessive positivity make it tough for clients — it’s tough for coaches, too.

Who out there can honestly keep up the “I’m always positive and upbeat and motivating” charade?

Who can continue being a walking, talking fitspiration poster ‘round the clock? 

Who can cover all the bases — competition-fit body, super-nutritious diet, perfect life choices, sparkling attitude?

Hint: No one.

Real humans feel real emotions. Happiness and positivity. Ambivalence and pain.

Real humans — yes, even supercoaches — aren’t magazine cover models either.

Fitness and health are about making real choices in real lives with real demands and real messiness.

Commence operation “get real”.

To be a great coach, you need to learn when positivity and inspiration are useful. Or when other tools are more appropriate.

The truth is: Sometimes things suck. And people shouldn’t always have to look on the bright side.

Coaches can learn to be present with that and respect it.

In situations like this, don’t pat clients on the back and point to some cheesy-ass motivational poster on the wall. Don’t fall into the positivity trap. For most clients, these are actively de-motivating.

Instead, learn to recognize that real emotions are being felt. And that these real emotions have a purpose too. They have value. In fact, these real, icky, inconvenient, painful emotions may actually be moving your client closer to change.

Use these moments to connect on a meaningful level — during ups, downs, and in-betweens — because it goes much further.

Here’s how to connect.

Think about how you go about motivating clients.

Do your attitude and demeanor send the message that everything has to be happy, positive, and easy all the time?

Do you feel uncomfortable in the face of “difficult” emotions or discussions? (Or worse, silence? Augh! You probably want to freak out just reading that, right?)

Or do your actions signal that it’s okay to struggle, to be sad, to need help? To not know the answers? To feel lost?

Imagine that your client expresses some form of frustration, complaint, or negativity, like, “I’m not seeing progress,” or “My body hurts,” or “I just don’t think I can do this!”

 Now ask yourself:

  • How do you imagine reacting in this scenario?
  • Does your reaction show the client that you genuinely hear them?
  • Does your reaction help your client feel more connected to you as a human being?
  • How do your expressions, body language, and words convey to your client that you can see where they’re coming from in their struggle?
  • How can you show compassion and help your client develop self-compassion, even when — especially when — things are tough?

Next time you encounter a difficult situation where empathy and compassion is warranted — not motivational slogans — here are some responses to try:

“Wow. That does sound tough [or sad, or challenging, or puzzling…].
How can I help?”

Or: 

“Wow. That does sound tough [or sad, or challenging, or puzzling…].
Want to talk about it a bit more?”

Or:

“It sounds like you’re  ___.
And that’s frustrating?”

Or:

“I have so been there.
And you know what? It’s perfectly normal and OK to feel anxious right now.
Lots of folks feel like this when ___.”

Or:

“Tell me what the most frustrating [anxiety-provoking, saddening, irritating, etc.] thing is about this situation for you.
What’s bothering you most?”

In these situations, you want a good combination of empathy and information gathering.

The key is to really hear your clients’ needs and feelings. Let them feel the suckiness.

Let yourself get used to feeling suckiness too. It’s OK.

And then find ways of moving forward, together.

What to do next

  • If you own a cheesy motivational poster and you regularly share it with clients, do this instead: Burn it.
  • Take a few moments and go through the above “Here’s how to connect” scenario. Consider alternatives to how you normally react to struggling clients and how you engage with them when things suck.
  • Remember: The ultimate goal isn’t to make clients pretend everything is groovy. Or even to make them feel groovy. It’s to meaningfully connect. That’s what elite coaches do.

By Krista Scott-Dixon