Change Your Mind – 5
Who is on your team?
Imagine two people of equal skill, equal motivation and equal time setting out to accomplish the same task. The Boston Marathon is right around the corner, so let’s say completing the marathon is the task. Both people are the same in almost every way. Person one, we will call them Han, as in Han Solo, sets out to accomplish the task alone…aka solo. Person two, we will call them Port, as in support (it’s a stretch I know but I seriously just sat here for 5 minutes trying to think of a clever name, enough is enough just go with it), sets out to accomplish the task with a support team. Let’s see how it goes!
Han wakes up, excited to take on this latest task. He is feeling highly motivated and very optimistic that he is going to do a great job and can see himself being successful. He maps out a plan of attack and begins working towards his goal. He has done some research on his own and knows he should start off with short runs and build up to longer distances. His first run goes great! He feels like he did not run very quickly, but he was able to run the entire distance and he is happy with that. Two days later DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) hits and Han’s co-workers ask him if he is okay as he stumbles through the office wincing in pain at every step. Han tells them he might try to run the Boston Marathon, but his first run made him really sore. His co- workers say cool, good luck and move on with their day. A week later, when the soreness has subsided and Han can walk normally again, he goes for another run. Again he is feeling hopeful but given the last run put him out of commission for a week he thinks it best to shorten this run a bit. It goes well, some slight soreness over the next day or two, but nothing too bad. After a few weeks of solid runs, Han begins to experience pain in his hip and knee. After a quick google search “what do I do about knee pain” he stumbles upon some things talking about ice baths, something called foam rolling and this article about Mental Toughness. He skims through the article quickly because he has other work to do and his main take away, is his own interpretation of the title only. So he decides he will just run through the pain and hope it goes away. Of course it does not go away and Han begins getting discouraged. He begins to question why he wanted to run the Marathon in the first place. Who cares, it’s not like he is going to make any money, or change the world by running. Slowly but surely Han begins to talk himself out of running, even though just a few weeks ago, this was the thing in his life that he was most excited about. Han makes the decision to stop wasting his time training for the Boston Marathon. The world doesn’t end, his life isn’t over, but a few weeks later Han sees the coverage of the Marathon on T.V. and wonders if he ever even had a shot. One of his co- workers sees him in the office on Marathon Monday and asks why he decided not to run in the event. Han, unable to admit that he quit says he read that long distance running isn’t good for you; he found out the hard way and now has knee and hip pain.
Port wakes up, excited to take on this latest task. He is feeling highly motivated and very optimistic that he is going to do a great job and can see himself being successful. He maps out a plan of attack and begins working towards his goal. His friend Jess has run the marathon many times so he asks her for advice. She suggest he seek out a running coach who can help him pick out shoes, work on his stride and program the distances he should be reaching monthly, weekly and daily. Port meets with the coach who helps him with all of those things and shows him a few exercises he should do daily to help avoid injury. Port is thrilled with the advice and begins following his coaches recommendations. Two days after his first run Port is so sore his co-workers are asking him if he is okay as he stumbles through the office wincing in pain with every step. He grabs the foam roller his coach suggested he purchase and explains to his co-workers that he is sore from his first marathon training run, but says his coach told him this would happen. He enthusiastically tells them all how pumped he is that Boston will be his first marathon. Most of them congratulate him for taking on such a challenge, but one proceeds to tell him about this guy from the sales department who tried training for the marathon last year and just ended up really hurting his hip and knee. Port’s co worker tells Port how stupid it is to run such a long distance and tells him he should stop before he gets hurt. Port shrugs off this advice and avoids that particular person for the rest of his journey.
After a few weeks of solid runs Port begins to feel pain in his hip and his knee. He returns to the coach to ask why this is happening, they figure out that the shoes Port purchased are breaking down quicker than anticipated and causing him to change his stride. With some new shoes and corrective exercises Port is back to training virtually pain free. The Marathon is only a few weeks away now, which means the weekly mileage is getting very high. Port is finding it challenging to balance time with his family, work and training. He begins to get discouraged and tells his wife he is going to stop running, it just isn’t worth it any more. His wife agrees that he is spending too much time running and missing out on a lot of quality time with his kids. However she remembers how excited he was when he first committed to running the Boston Marathon and reminds him of this. Together they factor in time that Port can train and not miss out on family activities. With the support of his family Port decides to keep training. Unfortunately this does not make the runs any shorter and with the new schedule they agreed to, Port is running at 6:00 am before the kids wake up. Port has never been a morning person, but he knows someone who is. He calls Jess and she agrees to be his running partner for the next few weeks. Just knowing that Jess is waiting for him gets Port out of bed. During the run they push each other to improve their times and Jess is impressed how having a training partner has made her better also!
During the evil section they call “Heartbreak Hill” port runs by a cheering crowd of his co-workers, eager to see their friend accomplish his goal. They are there at the perfect moment has the fatigue in his muscles were making him want to stop running and he could no longer fight the negative thoughts in his mind. Hearing his named being cheered, helped him dig deeper into the tank that he thought he could. He crosses the finish line in down town Boston with a feeling of pride and success. His legs are extremely tired and they almost crumble as his wife and two kids give him congratulatory hugs. As he stands there and looks back on his accomplishment he wonders if he ever had a shot at quitting with such a strong support system around him.
Of course the two fake people in these stories are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to a support system. One is going it completely alone; the other has what seems to be an abundance of support. My guess is most people fall somewhere in the middle. What I would like you to take away from these stories is the importance of surrounding yourself with positive influences.
People who come to Fitness Together Newtonville for one on one, or PACK training are starting to add positive influences to their lives. Your trainer, who is holding you accountable to your scheduled session, pushing you to work harder than you would on your own, keeping on top of your form, nutrition and activity recommendations outside of the studio. I also love to see clients interact with each other. You are all here for the same reason, to improve your health in some way. Who better to surround yourself with, than people with a similar challenge to overcome! I believe those who take advantage of this opportunity increase their chances of success. Get to know one another, cheer each other on. Not only will your workout be more fun, but you will find yourself working just little bit harder too!
What about when you are not in the studio? Break it down for a minute, how much time do you spend in the studio per week? Let’s say you come 3x per week for an appointment with a trainer and you are doing 3x per week on your own for 45 minutes worth of cardio. That is 270 minutes per week that you are in an environment specifically designed to help you improve your health, with people who are part of your team specifically there to help you improve your health. There are 10,080 minutes in a week and let’s be honest the majority of places you go or people you see are not specifically there to make you a healthier more active person. I would argue most of them are tailored to making you less active and designed to have you consuming higher quantities of poor quality foods than you need. So if you are exercising for the time we just discussed perfectly every week, you are still surrounded by not so healthy influences for 9,810 minutes every week.
That is a crazy amount of time to be exposed to things trying to nudge you the opposite way you want to go. Even if you are doing your positive affirmations and you believe 100% that you can accomplish anything. The likely hood of negative influences of your daily environment eventually getting to you is extremely high. Let’s face it, we as humans are pack animals. We tend to go with the majority any ways, so why not make that majority suit our goals?
Think about the last time someone you care about shared one of their goals with you. How did they present it? Were they excited about it or were they kinda sorta maybe I might one day think about eventually doing this. How did you feel about it? I bet if they were excited and committed you were excited to help them in any way you could right? If they were wishy washy you probably didn’t want to put a lot of energy into helping them, for fear it would be a waste of your time when they didn’t follow through. Surrounding yourself with a team of positivity will make the other 9,810 minutes of your week much easier to manage. However to recruit someone willing to be on this team of yours, you have to share your goal with them and you have to share it in a way that tells them how serious you are. This can be scary because it exposes you to the possibility that if you don’t reach that goal someone else will know about it. However, that fact, is also what will help you make better choices during your week. The more quality people you have on your team, the easier it will be to make positive choices in your life, simply because other people know about it. Let alone, those actively helping you reach your goals by giving you the nudges in the healthy direction you are striving for.
Everyone needs a support system to some degree. Johnny needed his father and I to acknowledge and cheer him on with every event. The power lifting women have coaches, each other and I assume those close friends and family all know and support their ambitions as power lifters. I needed my friends there to witness me climbing that mountain on my bike, without them I would have quit and no one would have ever known the difference.
As you read this I hope you were thinking about the people in your life. Who really knows about your goals in health and fitness? Are they supportive of those goals? Are they helping you either passively or actively? If so make sure to thank them and let them know that you are still putting in the effort to pursue those goals. You may even want to think about letting them know a way they can help you even more. If someone I cared about had a goal and I could help them reach it, I would want to know how to best spend my time and energy doing so.
If they are not helping, are they actively or passively restricting you from reaching your goals? If so, you may honestly want to consider letting them know. This could be a tough conversation, but maybe they are unaware how they are holding you back. If they are intentionally holding you back it is in your best interest to remove that negativity completely.
Do you feel as though you are alone in your attempts to reach your goals? I hope not, but if so, go out and recruit some team members. You may have to step outside of your comfort zone and be vulnerable, but I really believe people can surprise you if you just give them the opportunity. Don’t forget, they probably have goals they would like to accomplish as well. By helping each other overcome challenges it makes the chance of success much higher. Besides it’s always better to celebrate a victory with a others!
Have a high quality support team!