Have you been active most of your life, always feeling pretty fit and confident in your capabilities, until that one challenge of changing your physique comes along and all of sudden, no activities you do seem to get you the lean-ness that you suddenly have a strong desire for?
The past year had been about resetting my mindset when approaching training, from understanding my objectives, what it takes to achieve them, to managing my expectations.
OK, sure but what does that mean?
Let me use the below as examples to elaborate the above.
Those 8 – 12 weeks transformations you see plastered all over social media are pretty subjective to the individual’s history in activity level, eating behaviour and overall mental wellbeing. Just because the other girl or guy who appears to be around your age, went from chubs to having six pack abs, it doesn’t mean that you will achieve that standard of progress too. We all stem from different activity background, nutritional behaviour and manage stress differently, hence why variables on how long it would take, how strict diet needs to be, and how much cardio you have to do – should not be cookie cutter and promise cookie cutter results. My reality is that I had to be much stricter on my food and training intensity to see similar progress compared to someone who hardly ever lifts, their bodies response to newfound structure would be greater to start.
That’s MANAGING EXPECTATIONS.
There’s more to a selfie, a before-and-after photo, a photo of their post-workout meal – those are all evidence that the person had worked hard, is working hard and don’t plan on giving up. Let’s call that person Yap for now. Yap wakes up by 5am on training days so she can fit in training before work, eats all of her own prepared meals, stays home to cook some more, hits the daily water consumption target, takes her supplements, manages her time to avoid unnecessary stress, and sleeps enough. Yap also keeps up with her social life, despite having to endure snide remarks, eye-rolls and jokes from her friends and colleagues about not drinking alcohol, or saying no to a cupcake. It almost becomes a lonely journey but since Yap had her vision to #makeshithappen, she continued anyway. Posting photos of her physique, post-workout meals, quiet Saturday nights…they resemble the social sacrifices Yap made, the mental strength to commit to something, the physical strength to change her body and the fresh autonomy she has over her own body.
That’s doing WHAT IT TAKES.
Yap had always thought that being knowledgable and strong was all that mattered to be considered fit. She was intimate with Mr Clean Eating as much as she was with Mr Binge Eating. Overtime, the home wrecker called Biological Clock made it gosh-darn-difficult for the affair with Mr Binge Eating to continue without obvious repercussions. So Yap increased her exercise volume, dated Mr Clean Eating more, for the objective of getting leaner. However, she failed to recognise other important variables in that equation.
Yap humbled down and looked up seeking help from those with experience, since everything she has done to get leaner had not worked. #butletsbehonest not sticking to any plan long enough wouldn’t hold many promises to begin with. What does one do when admitting to that reality?
SHIFT THE MINDSET.
Saying you want to “get leaner” is the same as saying “I just want to lose weight”. Do you want to lose weight overall? or do you want to lose fat weight? How much of “get leaner” is lean enough for you to be satisfied that you are leaner? Why is this important to you? Why will it make you happier?
What was missing for Yap was measurable accountability and identifying its position of priority.
That’s UNDERSTANDING the WHY.
You might have guessed it – Yap is me, I am Yap.
I’ve been around in the fitness industry for a while yet the biggest game changer for me was when I came clean (to myself), kicked my ego to the curb, be a coachable client myself, invested in learning what I really don’t know, and reclaimed the reigns from a social media addiction – an addiction that is detrimental to body image perceptions.
This study from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine talks about the risk of eating and body image concerns. “In an effort to battle social media-fueled eating disorders, Instagram banned the hashtags ‘thinspiration’ and ‘thinspo’.”
On the other end of the spectrum, unrealistic and false expectations on what is “fitspo” and “shredded” can lead to similar effects. An example, if someone who is vascular, lean and a coach herself, posts a video of herself pinching her own layers of skin complaining how she can’t stand being fat and is in “bad” condition, and you watch it because you follow her – it’s pretty hard NOT feeling a little shitty about your own condition. It isn’t her fault for posting it, she is entitled to her own expectations of herself, we just need to be sensible consumers of social media.
why can’t your best fitspiration…
Invest in YOU.