When I first saw Jaws the movie, I am not sure of my age, I was convinced that sharks could be on the upstairs landing, under my bed, or come from the toilet. It seemed quite reasonable at the time! Going to bed became something of a tortuous task. Of course, once I was there and finally got to sleep, everything was actually OK and after doing it a few times, the fear must have subsided. I have had a most excellent relationship with bed and sleeping ever since!
When I speak to new members or prospects – I often hear horrendous impressions of what they expect exercise is going to be like! No wonder they (and maybe you?) are afraid to start on an exercise regime.
If you read no further – read this – almost everyone over-estimates how hard, how painful, and how challenging it is to get the results they want.
Here are some real expectations clients have brought along with them to an initial consult:
- I am going to have to starve myself to make progress.
- I think I am going to be sore or it will be painful.
- I am going to have to do hours and hours and it will be boring.
- I want to lose weight but I haven’t tried because I know I can’t do it.
Like heavy chains dragging behind them – those expectations have held them back and made even the thought of starting to exercise seem as horrific as sharks in the toilet!
Are these expectations right?
One of the most fundamental shifts in thinking I try to help clients achieve (and people just considering exercise) is that exercise need only be slightly more, slightly harder, than what you currently do.
Exercise versus training. In this intro I will stick to using exercise as the term but I prefer to call it training. Training includes the objective, a plan how to get there, and execution and refining of the plan. Helping people train is what my coaches do best.
Here are some brief examples of the sort of changes people need to make and I hope they demonstrate that success does not need to start with brutality, pain, and slavish adherence to a strict diet.
A client, Sam, comes in and wants to be strong…
Sam’s expectation: I need to lift big weights and there is a risk that I could get hurt.
Coach advises: Strength is an awesome result to train for. Right now, stronger for you, Sam, can be achieved with just your own body weight and deep ranges of movement – these can be challenging and you will get stronger, quickly – but they are also safe. You will succeed and you will not get hurt.
A client, Jane, comes in and wants to get fit.
Jane’s expectation: I need to do 3-5 hours of cardio each week, initially, and maybe some sort of interval – I heard that high intensity intervals get you fit, fast.
Coach advises: going from relatively inactive to very active is not necessary and may not actually get you any fitter in the end. For the first few weeks, just 20 mins of comfortable cardio will get you fitter than probably 90% of people and we can measure and prove that. When that seems easy, Jane (and it will,) we can dial it up a little and within 12 weeks, not only will you be a lot fitter, but each small incremental increase will not seem so hard. Even better – you probably never need to do more than 3 hours in any given week to be ‘fit’.
A client, Sarah, comes in and wants to lose weight.
Sarah’s expectation: I need to do a zero carb diet to lose weight and exercise each day to melt off the fat.
Coach advises: the great thing about fat loss is that gentle, in the long term, is more effective than extreme but short lived efforts. Right now, you could probably lose 0.5-1kg per week with a gentle walk every day and making better food choices – like baked potato instead of bread or pasta and leaving some food on your plate at every meal. If that works, and it probably will, you might not need a gym membership and just a check-in with a coach every 4 weeks could be enough to get you what you need.
Coaches are not there to hold you back – they are there to tell you the best way of achieving your goals. What is required to hit a target is often a lot simpler than clients think and obstacles that hold them back are easily negotiated with the right advice.
Most of the time, I find that clients have assumed they will need to battle through pain and suffering because that is what TV shows and magazines have told them.
At Ninth Wave – we absolutely want you to be successful but we will help you get there by coaching you via the path of least resistance and intelligently planning for a journey we know you can make.
The exercise required to achieve the typical objectives clients come to us with: to lose weight, to get fit, or to be mobile and healthy, is rarely as hard as people expect.
As a bonus – the process and the journey is actually more rewarding than they would have imagined, and the incremental improvements make the next steps easier to take.
Clients at Ninth Wave have massively varying objectives – but one reason clients stay with us for years is that we create plans that foster and encourage success. We build people up, we do not weight them down with unrealistic or unnecessary expectations.
Each client’s results are our priority – but much of our skill is in the ease with which we can help people achieve them.
You do not need to shy away from impressive goals – but never let yourself be daunted by what you want to achieve. If you let our coaches guide you – those goals may come a little easier than you thought possible.