The fitness industry sells sex. On every magazine cover we all see six packs, biceps and sexy stuff. A majority of people understand that these images are a marketing strategy to sell supplements and shoddy get-fit-quick plans. But because you don’t look like the cover models shouldn’t be a reason to feel self conscious or discouraged.
Of course these images are not all bad. Perhaps some of these individuals can serve as inspiration and a goal to work toward. But let me tell you, as someone who has been in magazine inspired shape, it is not that exciting. My physique added no tangible value to my life. What was valuable however was the beauty of the process. The end goal even for those people on the magazines is fleeting. There is no perfect physique. The process of living a sustainable, healthy and active lifestyle in real life(not just on social media) is the exciting part. That is what I am going to sell to you in this blogpost.
Exercise to fall in love with the process rather than the end goal because the process will empower you to change your life.
The gym or wherever you carry out your fitness endeavors is the one place in life where your effort will most clearly dictate your success. Genetics, finances and all other factors come second. Effort comes first. This is a cliche but a fundamental fact. You can buy all sorts of clothes, supplements and sexy stuff but your effort is the primary deciding factor in your progress and success. When people come to realize this fitness becomes exciting.
I am a fitness coach. On a daily basis I have the wonderful privilege of seeing people come to this realization that they are powerful. I see this realization in series of moments. When I turn the stopwatch around after someone does a plank, and they find they have stayed up for much longer than they had ever imagined, there is special moment. In that small moment there is sparkle in the person’s eyes and a sense of accomplishment. In that moment they know that their efforts have created progress. In that moment they feel the power of their actions. That moment is the reason why I love my work.
This moment is not one that gets left behind at my gyms’ front door. When people earn those small moments of accomplishment, those moments stay with them. They translate into a silent self confidence that carries into their daily life. They come to know that if they dedicate themselves to their careers, their love lives and their day to day activities they are powerful. They develop ‘self-efficacy’ as the fancy folks would call it, but very simply they believe in themselves. That its the value of one hour of intentioned exercise.
Effort is a primary deciding factor in success in fitness routine but it is surely only a part of it.
Every advanced athlete will tell you that focus is a key to progress, performance and staying injury free. Not everyone is working to become an advanced athlete but this an essential skill for all to learn. Quality intentioned focus however is a lacking skill in a majority of fitness routines that consist of ‘yogging’ on a treadmill or some mindless high intensity bootcamp.
This ability to focus is powerful. Quality movements have intention and require your attention. Practice of quality movements will make you more efficient, put you in touch with your body and in time make these movement patterns second nature. This is why focus from start to finish is always important in a quality exercise routine.
For one hour if you can devote not only your effort, but also your attention to the execution of sound movement patterns to improve your yoga, your boxing skills, or whatever your fitness medium is(I just mentioned those because those are mediums I use), you are gaining control. For that one hour you are gaining control of your body, your mind and your existence.
Once again I can say from experience from seeing it in people that I work alongside, in time this focus transcends the gym. When their movements gain intention and become more efficient so do their actions in their daily lives outside the gym. When they take control of their minds and bodies in the gym they begin to take small steps to do the same outside the gym. In small moments they are able to make better decisions, increase productivity and reduce stress by focusing on singular tasks. What a beautiful thing this is to see.
In a world of instant gratification, smartphones and constant comparison against other’s standards, this focus tool is at a premium. A variation of this simple word has been outsourced from my home country of India’s age old practices and packaged and sold by hipsters and yoga instructors as the word ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness has become a buzzword and has surely been deluded in the process but these hipsters and yoga instructors are doing wonderful work. They are changing lives with this word.
In some ways our mission is the same. If for one hour we can take control of our thoughts, our attention, our bodies and our minds we can transcend and take control of the moments and the decisions that in turn make up our lives.
Thats it. Effort and Focus. These are two of the things that make the process of fitness beautiful and worthwhile. Too many folks are attached to the outcome but forget to love the journey. In fitness, love, business and life the path ahead is never easy but it is always worthwhile. Lets love the process!
I wish you the best!
Hey! Thanks For Reading. My name is Pranav Arora but you can call me PJ! I am a listener, a thinker, a goofball and a personal trainer located in Pittsburgh PA. I love the work that I do and I hope that you found this blog valuable. If so subscribe for more posts just like this!