I was speaking with Melany (who is in training for her first 5k) and of course the subject of her training came up. During the talk I explained the need to set additional future goals and that without them within two months of her finishing the 5k, she would be back to where she is now.
“Only one goal at a time” I was told. “I know what works for me”. I tried to explain that she should at least be looking for a future goal, and I was shut down. Since my argument was going nowhere, I tried another tactic. An explanation of my Fitness Personality Profile and where she fit into it soon followed.
Fitness Personality Profile.
In my experience most people that fail to meet their fitness goals usually fall somewhere within the following three profiles.
The Bullshiters: Approximately sixty percent of the people who say they want to get fit are full of it. They like the “idea” of working out, and love the idea of looking great, but when it comes to action they are all talk. Give them an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is, and they will always find an excuse to back out.
If you were to take away their job, give them a live in dietician and trainer, give them a free gym membership, take away all other life responsibilities, and do the workout for them, they would still find an excuse.
In the end they are all talk and never follow through.
The Malcontents: This group makes up another twenty or so percent. This group is the easiest to work with out of all three. They really want to get in shape; they just lack direction.
Most have tried numerous “programs” in the past, but have never seen results. They go from one thing to the next, always looking for a magic cure. They are dedicated but don’t know how to channel that dedication to get real results. Most hope and pray for an overnight cure that will sadly never come. With the right guidance, they can meet their goals, but they will always need a structured program, and constant encouragement.
The Stubborns: This group is the last twenty or so percent. This group is full of the ex-jocks, ex-athlete wanabees, business professionals etc.
It is usually packed with the extroverted, leadership type personalities. This is the hardest group to work with, because they know it all, and you will never know more than they do.
If you do know more, they will take in as much info as they can, and swear in two weeks time that they know more than you. Some will even try to convince you that they know more than you do, while they are learning.
So what did my explanation of my Fitness Profile mean for Melany, and what does it mean for you? Well like I told her, to move forward, you need to look inward and decide which profile you best describes you. Then you need to take action.
Below I’ve outlined a few simple ways to tell where you stand and what it will take to overcome some common problems I’ve associated with each personality profile.
Remember my goal here is not to tear you down or make you feel bad. My goal is to help you realize that the reason you may have failed in your past fitness endeavors, might have less to do with outside circumstances, and more with the real you..
Take the Fitness Personality Profile Quiz.
A Bullshitter: If you are unwilling to set a “Real” goal, make an investment towards that goal, or set aside time to achieve that goal, you are probably a bullshitter.
Whenever someone approaches me and asks for help these days, I’m more than glad to offer advice, give tips, and even design a program for them. But my time is valuable, and I don’t like to waste it.
One thing I love to do to weed out the bullshitters is to tell them to take a short fitness test over the weekend, write down a real goal, and to get back with me. Nine times out of ten I never hear from them again.
I don’t bother following up because I figure if that if they don’t want to invest the time, why should I.
So if you’re a bullshitter, and you know who you are, it’s great that you want to get in shape, but just wanting to do something isn’t enough, you have to take action. If you’re not willing to do your part, you might as well as not even start. I promise no one will walk the mile for you, I know I won’t, I have my own mile to run.
The Malcontent: If you’ve tried every gadget on the market, purchased every diet book, followed every training program, you probably fall into this profile.
Luckily you sort of have it made as long as you can find something that works for you and you stick with it. A good rule of thumb on finding out if something works is the “Three Month Test”. Simply, “If you still look and feel the same as you did when you started, after doing a workout program for three months, then that program isn’t working”.
Sadly most malcontents never get past the one-month mark let alone the three-month mark. They want instant results, and when they don’t get them, they blame everyone but themselves.
So if you’re a malcontent, here is my recommendation: Follow a workout plan as close as possible and stick with it for several months. Don’t expect that you’re going to look like the cover of a magazine in that time either. Have realistic expectations. You didn’t get to the way you are overnight and you won’t change back that fast either. If you’ve given it a solid three months and your program didn’t work, only then move on.
The stubborn: If you are overweight, out of shape, have been working out for more than six months, look the same as you did when you started, and still refuse to take advice, you probably fall into this category.
This is the hardest group to deal with. They are convinced that what they know trumps everything you know. They can be standing in front of you; 200lbs overweight, and still argue with you.
When and if you do convince them to change their routine, they will learn a small bit, and with that bit of knowledge, they will proceed to tell you how stuff really works.
So if this is you and you really want to get fit and make a change, chill out, take a back seat, and let your coach tell you what to do.
Don’t always try to explain how things work for you, because honestly whatever you’ve done to get in the shape you’re in now, obviously isn’t working.
Realize that it is your own stubbornness and reluctance to change that is holding you back. Release the reigns, stop thinking you know anything about what you are doing and enjoy the ride. With proper training, you can return to your former glory.
So can you guess which category Melany fell into? My entire explanation was to guide her into a different way of thinking. Like I have stated before, most people in the “Stubborn” category are already successful in other areas of their lives, so they think they can apply those same principles to fitness. In some cases this will work, but in many cases it doesn’t.
So what is my advice?
My advice to anyone who is having a problem getting in shape is to first look at which profile they fall into.
Then they should then take this advice and apply it.
A good program, coach, or trainer will guide you to the results you want. And hey, with perseverance and dedication you might actually know more than the person training you in a few years.
See you in the hills.
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