I’ve been a personal trainer and health coach for more than eight years now. The types of clients I have had the priveledge of working with range from teenagers trying to peak for athletic performance to the elderly adult trying to rehabilitate hip and knee problems. I have been fortunate enough to have observed some pretty remarkable success stories over the years. I have noticed, that without fail, these stories share some obvious commonalities that have always resonated with me. Is it mere happenstance that these individuals all shared these similar qualities and characteristics on their road to success? Or could it be that is it something more?
I wish for everyone to achieve fitness success, whatever that means for you. And although you think there might be a magic trick, or well-kept secret, the truth is all of these individuals achieved their results with a lot of determination and drive. From my experience, successful people in all walks of life have several key qualities in common. In this installment, we are going to take a little closer look into the recipe for creating your own fitness success story. So, if you are one of those people who have witnessed remarkable transformations but have yet to write your own story, look no further, you have come to the right place!
1.) Their Lifestyle is completely changed.
Not many fitness success stories would have been possible without a complete lifestyle overhaul. It’s not just about making small tweaks to your schedule here and there, it’s the way you go about your everyday life that has to change. Most people finally find the motivation when they “hit rock bottom,” and can no longer go on looking or feeling the way they do. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I do not believe in dieting in the tradtitional sense. I do not believe in jumping into a workout plan that is too ambitious for your busy schedule to allow. You must change your life. You have to want your results, whatever they may be, more then your existing lifestyle. What does that mean? Well that may mean, for you, that you must skip out on the daily stops at the fast food restaurants. You may be trying to stave off Diabetes and protect your health and longevity. It may be something that is not life-threatening but equally important to you. Possibly losing that last 15 pounds of stubborn baby weight brought on from your last pregnancy two years ago.
It’s simple, both goals require a lifestyle change. Implement a plan, and make choices on a daily basis that are sustainable; to ensure your long term success. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
2.) Highly Determined.
Another quality almost all successful people have in common, they are fiercely determined. If you’re not happy or content with something in your life it’s easy for us to acknowledge it and say we’re going to change it. However, to actually follow through, and take those steps necessary to make that change happen, for that, you’ll need determination. Your body wants to take it easy, that’s why you need to bring a steadfast, determined, attitude to every workout & every meal in order to reach the next milestone. Don’t think about the long road ahead, focus on short term goals and smaller victories. This strategy has been proven effective time and again. So, stay determined, and know that you are worth it!
3.) Positive Attitude / Self Belief.
This may be one of my favorite “secrets” to fitness success stories. You can just tell by looking at people’s before and after pictures that they are just so filled with hope, positivity, and satisfaction when they have achieved an incredible transformation. Let me assure you, this positive attitude did not just show up in the “after” pictures. A positive attitude is a key to success and must be a part of your process. You need to believe in yourself and your plan of attack. A negative person is constantly losing the fight before it ever begins. On the other hand, the winner, is often the one who believed in themselves and thought positively about their situation and opportunity for success.
In every fitness success story, two things jump out at me, confidence & self-worth. A positive attitude breeds confidence and self-worth. You see it in every story, but to achieve those great results this means you need to somehow cultivate that positive attitude from the very beginning. Though it is hard at first, think of it this way, do at least one thing everyday to improve your health and quality of life. Little by little it will start to add up, and your attitude will improve/change. The better you feel about your body, the more positive you’ll feel; the more you’ll want to continue your healthy streak. One of the best anti-depressants available to you is a great workout. I dare you to try and be depressed after! Everything will look a little brighter when you know you have given it your best.
4.) A Support Team is in place.
The thing is, most of the greatest fitness success stories are inspired by loved ones, friends, and dedicated trainers, pushing the person along every step of the way. Everyone needs support from time to time, as we all inevitably hit those discouraging plateaus. The people we surround ourselves with are critical; as they can motivate us to stay, or get back on track. Motivation and accountability are two critical pieces of every Transformation story I have witnessed. So, look for that friend or trainer, someone that believes in you. Someone that is willing to invest in your live and committed to help you achieve the change you are after. You’ll be amazed at how valuable that support will be. Two is always more powerful then one, always.
5.) Slow and Steady wins the Race.
No one has ever achieved the physique of their dreams without putting in a huge amount of hard work. Even if you “get there”, there is still a lot of maintenance that must be done to ensure you do not slip back into old habits. I have to laugh here, because having worked in the fitness industry for some time now I can tell you that even the person on the cover of all the magazines has moments where they cannot stand the way they look or feel. It is a process; and it is human nature to never be satisfied all the time. You have to enjoy/value the journey, the race. The most successful people understand that it is consistency and lifestyle that creates the results. You have to be in it for the long haul. That means getting into the habit of frequent exercise and proper diet; but it also means not going all out to quickly, no short cuts. Injuries and burn out can and will happen; especially if you take on too much too fast! Don’t be in a hurry to make the cover of the next magazine. Work hard, stay healthy, and you will achieve incredible things you did not know were possible.
6.) Falling off the bandwagon doesn’t stop them.
How many of you know successful people also fail? I will tell you another little secret, very successful people often fail more then most! Why is this? Successful people are not afraid to take risks and shoot for the stars. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but think about it for a second. Successful people accomplish what they do because they set goals that many see as unattainable; that’s what sets them apart. So they fail, now what? Well you have two choices. You get back in the game, or you quit, guess what successful people do? That’s right, they keep fighting, they never quit. They realize that to achieve great things, sometimes, it won’t go as planned and you are going to make mistakes. So, the next time you fall off the bandwagon and cheat on your meal plan, pick yourself up and get back to it. Trust me, we all have fallen short of our goals from time to time. There is always some kind of setback or obstacle, this is real life. What defines you, and your success, is what you do about it. Never give up!
7.) Motivating themselves becomes easier & easier.
As mentioned above, having a support system is often how most people get started and learn to believe in themselves. It’s rare for someone to have the internal motivation for a fitness success story without any outside support. Don’t get me wrong, this can happen, in fact, I have seen it quite a few times. However, the fact remains that many people need someone to believe in them, motivate them, before they will believe or motivate themselves. Often times, it is when people start to see tangible results that their self-motivation starts to really kick in. They start to see and feel what’s possible and it is contagious. The individual begins to dig deeper, searching deep within, often finding what they are made of. Fitness and nutrition, the lifestyle in general, can be truly fascinating to observe. The transformation a person goes through as they begin to be self-motivated has never ceased to amaze me. It spills out into other facets of their their life with a new attitude, a new approach, to almost every aspect of their life. The confidence, the self worth, it can be so empowering for people to take responsibility and ownership of their health and fitness. A sign that a lifestyle change has truly occurred is when the motivation comes from within the individual. They no longer need the support alone for motivation.
**These are seven traits or characteristics I have observed in almost every success story I have ever seen. As you can see, they are not complicated and can easily be extrapolated out to many other areas of ones life. The fact is, their is a recipe for success in all areas of your life. Now, is this list all encompassing, surely not, but these seven attributes or strategies are very valuable components of putting together a game plan to write your own fitness success story. So, what are you waiting for, it’s time to write your story. There is no one standing in your way; it is your time!
Thanks for being a part of my journey and letting me be a part of yours.