More than two decades ago I moved to San Diego. The first gym I belonged to was Golds Gym in Pacific Beach. I had heard from a friend who owned a Max Muscle in Irvine that Golds was the gym to join. That gym ended up being my home away from home and ultimately changed the direction of my life.
Back in the day the gym was filled with bodybuilders and fitness competitors. It was inspiring to train amongst the elite, the strong, the beautiful and the powerful. There was a supplement store in the same building where a lot of people hung out after their workout talking to Eric, the guru of supplements. A lot of times I didn’t even get pass the front desk. I would end up talking to the owners, Rick and Brad. I would bring food to the gym and sit in the lounge area while watching the latest bodybuilding show on VHS.
So today when I pulled into the parking lot, walked up the stairs and saw that everything was exactly the same – it was nostalgic. I belonged to this gym during a time in my life that I had forgotten. I had forgotten how young and naive I was. Looking back and remembering the person I was 20 something years ago is challenging. I was very judgmental. I was critical of others. I was easily jealous and quickly angered. My world consisted of superficial people and toxic friends. I lived in a different world than I do now because I was a different person. Walking into this gym reminded me of how much I have grown and changed. It made me thankful for the path that has lead me to today.
We all have roads that we took, some good and some bad. We all have journeys that we are on with many unknown destinations. I embrace reminiscing about my past and how I got to where I am today. Finally, I don’t look back with regrets anymore. I can’t change what I did or why I did it. My path was definitely not traditional or conventional but it has made me the person I am. I am now very compassionate and extremely empathetic because of the ground I have traveled.
I ask a lot of clients to keep a Fitness Journal. They dread it because they have to write down EVERYTHING. I hear, “This is a pain in the a_ _.” I understand that but people need to be accountable in order for success. My clients who want to see significant changes in their body must track everything they are eating, doing, thinking and feeling. In my experience when people take the time to write (use paper and pen, not an ipad or their phone or an app), put in the effort and feel comfortable sharing with me – those people have the most success but this is not always the case. Plenty of clients will write very little so then I have to ask questions, inquire more and literally “drill them”. I don’t like doing that but in order to have success with anything, you have to be held accountable. You have to be honest. You must be able to admit what you have done.
So many people will cut me off and say something like ,”It’s nothing” or “I can’t remember” or “It was no big deal”. They always say it very defensively to which raises the “red flag”. Thats when my radar goes up and I feel like my client is hiding something.
At one point you will be held accountable for your actions. If not with me, then with someone else or some higher power. We all answer to someone or something. It’s called your conscience. You must be be honest with what you do. Could you watch a video tape of yourself and be proud of what you saw? You have to be okay at looking at who you are. Can you look in the mirror without criticism or cynicism? You have to be accepting of answering to those who care about you. Can you talk vulnerably with your loved ones without being defensive? This my friends is called being accountable.
Around this time of the year people are always telling me that they are waiting for the “1st of the year” to start their diet, to join a gym, begin yoga, hire a trainer, etc. I hear, “It’s the holidays so I just want to wait.”
Guess what? Thanksgiving and Christmas are TWO days. There will always be some day or some thing that will come between you and your goals if you let it. Why give the holidays the power to alter your health or how you feel about yourself? Why give up the control over your life?
I am here to tell you that saying, “I am waiting…” Is just another EXCUSE! Think about all the things in your life that are on hold because you are “waiting”. How long have you been waiting? Maybe you are “hoping” things will change. Some of you are “wanting” it to be easier.
Waiting, Hoping, Wanting are words that give you permission to do no action. They will hold you in a state of purgatory. They are EXCUSE words that release you of responsibility and give all the power to the unknown. In other words you are powerless and the goals you have will not be met if you keep saying, “I am waiting” or “I am hoping” or “I am wanting”.
I encourage you to take a look at what you NEED right now that will make you healthy and then do it TODAY! No more waiting for the 1st of the year, the next month, this week to be over or tomorrow. Stop excusing yourself for being essentially unhappy and unhealthy.
Instead of waiting for the 1st, tell yourself that you will have your goal in place by the 1st. Write down three things that need to be done to make your goal happen and have them all checked off before the 1st. Meaning you will already have had 40 plus days of working towards your goal instead of 40 days of waiting, hoping and wanting.
It’s been several days since I have been to the gym. I know, I know- I work at a gym. I even have a gym at home. Don’t get me wrong. I have exercised. I have gone for runs. I sit on my bike at work and get all my emails and paperwork done. I stretch, foam roll and do yoga all on my own. BUT – nothing is like going to “the gym”. It’s my escape!
As soon as I park my car I put my headphones on. I sing as I strut myself into the gym. Entering the gym I feel as if I am walking into my childhood home, “I am home.” Lock my stuff up and head to the gym floor. I find a
piece of cardio equipment available and jump on. I am not picky. Look through my playlist for the ONE inspirational song of the day to repeat 3-4 times so I can get a quick 10 min warm up. That song is my mantra, my chant, my theme. After that I literally check out. I stare off into space. I look pass people. I feel nothing but my heart rate getting faster. I hear nothing but my music and breath. I see nothing but sweat dripping off of me. I have escaped!
So now you have my secret. I head to the gym to escape. It’s healthier than a cocktail. It’s cheaper than a vacation.
Sometimes when I am training a client the exercises I am giving them aren’t working. Sometimes when I am offering nutritional guidance, my suggestions are not working. Sometimes I feel like I am at a loss, like I just don’t know what to do. One exercise gives them pain. Another exercise they don’t feel it in the right place. One diet makes them tired. One diet makes them hungry. Why isn’t it working?
So I follow these three guidelines to things that aren’t working.
1) When I am not sure – I retreat
2) When I don’t know – I research
3) When I can’t do anymore – I refer out
When my efforts are not working I step back. I look at the client carefully – their gait, their posture, their movement, their stillness. I take a birds eye view of what is going on. I try to see a different perspective. I look at myself as a trainer and see how I might be missing something.
When I am not sure what to do I ask. I ask the client. I inquire. I go through their entire day and diet again as if they were a new client. I seek advice of others. I read. I write. I study.
When I feel that I have exhausted my means, I suggest they seek a different professional. I am confident that I give my all and work diligently to help but sometimes what someones needs is not better but just different.
I don’t know why it isn’t working but I do know that I won’t waste your time. I will retreat, research and refer out if needed. In other words – I will walk away, get help and say “Goodbye” if it isn’t working.
There are so many fitness workouts, diet programs, cleanses, etc. How do you know what is right for you? I know of people who will keep doing a certain exercise plan because they get results but they also get injured. I hear of people going back to the same diet program because they lost a lot of weight but were starving. I have
worked with people on cleanses who were tired and grumpy but love the fact they were “cleaning” out their insides. I am here to tell you that those are not right for you. You don’t have to be in pain, hungry or tired to be healthy and happy with yourself.
If your workouts are causing pain – you need to stop. If your diet is leaving you hungry – you need to stop. If your cleanse is making you tired – you need to stop. I know sometimes investing time and money makes it hard to stop. I know that focusing on the results is tempting but you have to enjoy your life. I know that we are wired to think that everything comes with a price but the price IS the hard work, motivation and discipline. Pain, hunger and tiredness are wrong.
It’s not easy to know what is right or wrong for you. It’s an experiment and most of us work on trial and error versus someone telling us what is right. The kicker is a lot of the times what is right for us isn’t always the quick path, the fun choice or what we want to hear. Stop doing what is wrong for you today. Come talk
to me and together we can find what is right for you.
When you walk into LisaFIT it’s because you want me to help you, that is a vulnerable place to be in. When we start talking about why you haven’t met your goals on your own, it is a very emotional discussion. When you start training with me it is a very intimate setting because it is just you and I. The whole process is challenging and it requires compassion, empathy and a lot of sensitivity on both of our parts.
Recently I was told that I am “too sensitive” and it was not the first time nor do I think it will be the last time. I use to take offense to those words. Now that I am older I take it as a compliment although it is never said to me in a kind voice. I grew up being called “too sensitive”. I was sad watching “Charlotte’s Web”. It made me sensitive to what happens to animals in order for us to eat them. My parents said, “Just don’t think about it and eat your food!”. At school I was bullied from second grade to seventh grade. My sister would yell at the kids. My parents would tell me to ignore them. I was hurt because people were mean. It made me more sensitive to the words that I say to other people and how much they can hurt. I used to watch the news in the morning and hear about the deaths, accidents and illnesses. I felt terrible for those people and anyone who had to endure such pain. I was told in a matter of fact sort of way, “Death happens everyday”, which to me seemed an insensitive thing to say even if it is a fact. Still today if the song, “Same Love” comes on I tear up because I cannot imagine being hated for who I love.
So I understand that to the rest of the world I am “too sensitive”. I am affected by they way we treat animals. I am hurt by the words people say not just to me but to each other and behind close doors. I pause my breath every time I hear of a death. I let things effect me which makes me “too sensitive” by majority but who is to say that the majority is right. My sensitivity allows me to be vulnerable, emotional and intimate with clients, friends and family. Can you say the same for you? How many of you choose to “not think about it” to make yourself less
sensitive? How many of you yell through your emotions so you won’t cry? How many of you ignore to manage your hurt? How many of you have become callus to death because you hear about it all the time? How many of you hate what is unfamiliar to you? How many of you still feel the need to hold back your tears so others won’t
think you are “too sensitive”