We were warming up for a workout and my best friend told me “You’re fit”. I thought to myself “Thanks..that’s an odd thing to randomly say”. In the time it took for me to think that he continued his statement “for someone in their 40’s.” Then I thought “Thanks…that’s a mean thing to randomly say.” I responded with “If that’s what I am, what’s that make you?”
For some background, I am what doctors would call an appropriate weight for my height and I would consider myself to be more muscular and athletic than the average person. My bestie, at the time, weighed a good amount more than he should have. He has since lost about half of his goal weight loss and is making another strong push.
During the workout I was secretly a little angry with him for saying such a thing but I took it and cried. I mean I took it in stride. Our workout continued and I noticed I was trying a little harder. Trying to best him in whichever lift I could. For a few days the feeling of resentment continued, but it was accompanied by a burning desire to prove him wrong. You see, he said that we are in our 20s and we should be “yoked”. I never really had that as a goal, but I had always wanted to be a bit more muscular I just hadn’t actively worked toward it for a while. His comment gave me a little push.
The head of steam from that comment carried me for about a month and a half and I was noticing some muscle gain and fat loss from my workouts and better eating. So here I am, feeling good about myself again. The wounds from the backhanded compliment had healed and I was back to normal.
One day as I was talking to my fiancé she said “Why don’t you get abs? And maybe bigger arms.” I have been vocally against caring about such things in the past and never really elaborated on why. She wanted to finally know why, and maybe she wanted me to look a little better. When she asked I responded by saying “What’s in it for me?”
I never had a burning desire to look that way. I knew how much work it would take for someone of my genetic inclination (I’m prone to store body far in my torso and have never been one to easily pack on muscle) and I never saw that payoff to be worth it. This may have been true in the beginning when I first started working out years ago, but over the years I have inched closer and closer toward that possibility and while there would be a lot of work it wouldn’t be as much as it would have been in the beginning. The problem has been that I clung to that mentality for far too long. I made it to be this insurmountable task and as I got closer and it got more possible I never reexamined my thoughts and reevaluated my goals.
One of my possible subconscious objections was that I wanted to be approachable to the people I think I can have the biggest impact on. I’ve always known that by and large if I were to have a respectable shirtless picture floating around that I would attract more business to my online training. But I also knew that it would likely attract the business I wasn’t looking to service. My focus has been to get people to have a healthy body and mind. Instead of focusing on purely physical goals I want to make people stronger mentally so they have the mind state to succeed physically and in life.
Another subconscious objection to getting abs and arms has been fear. If I’m honest with myself I probably haven’t done it because I have been afraid I would fail. I had failing so much that I never took on the task since there was the distinct possibility (in my mind only) that I would not be able to accomplish the look so desired by most people. In reality, I have been weak and have not fully embraced what I have been telling people to do for years. I have not lived up to the best I can be physically.
I took these two comments by some of the people that mean the most to me to be an impetus for personal change. I have now set out to accomplish more physically visible signs of health and fitness. I have been healthy and fit for years, now I am challenging myself (fueled by the challenges of those I love most) to look the part. I have so much health and fitness knowledge, now it is time for it to show.
Things to take away from this:
- People in America are completely different than other parts of the world when it comes to fitness. I’ve heard many times about how people in other parts of the world will tell you right when they see you if you put on weight. In America we wouldn’t dare do such a thing, in fact, we only ever mention weight if we are trying to compliment someone on the two pounds they lost after they had gained forty. It may not be culturally acceptable to point out when someone has visibly gotten less healthy but it may just be the right thing. The thing they need to not fall on the slippery slope of weight gain.
- You need good, honest people around you. You need to encourage the people you love to call you out when you aren’t living up to your potential. It may hurt at first, but the resulting success if totally worth it.
Don’t get too high or low on yourself, but always be aware of where you are compared to where you could be.