on Tom Sawyer

fall in love with fitness

I love my job. I get to coach strength. I get to see people transform themselves, and this goes way beyond fat loss.

I get to work with people who have never thought of themselves as athletic, people who were never allowed to participate in sports because they did not have the knack for it. Their identity was anti-fitness. Not because they hated it but because they never had a chance to fall in love with it. And that's my job - I get them to fall in love with lifting weights and fitness and health.

I get to coach regular people like me and you into loving to lift weights, and leading healthier and happier lives.

Photo Courtesy: Rahul Sadagopan and The Quad

Some people see incredible results and go through physical and mental transformations. I've had many people get back to me about how they moved ahead in their career due to a renewed confidence, or how the increased resilience helped them handle stressful periods in the lives and came out stronger. All of this is above and beyond weight loss and improved strength.

but. and there's always a but

But not everyone sees results. Not everyone is a success story.

As silly as it sounds, why is the success ratio not 100%? I know what we do is pretty good. We know it works, it is scientific and safe. And we have 100s and 100s of living, breathing exemplars who've done it.

That got me thinking, and I narrowed it down to a few issues. What was almost never an issue was people knowing a few absolute truths. For example,

  • sleep is important
  • we need to eat vegetables
  • we need to eat less junk food and sugar

That left me with

  1. the results are not quick enough.
  2. the methods are not hard enough, or obscure/sexy enough
  3. the mindset of the student and my mindset do not match i.e. I have not fully understood them.
  4. everyone is unique. They are different from not just other people, but different from themselves at that current point of time.

If people already knew the answer, what was I doing telling them the same thing? Especially when the alternatives are much sexier, heavily marketed fad exercise routines or diets.

And there's no way to dispute #4. Everyone is different. A sensible person might not behave sensibly if stress is too much, or if they've had a bad day or a week. Or what does a parent do if their child is sick and they have other things to worry about than getting exercise, and making sure their food intake is high quality?! The true experts were themselves. I knew myself better than anyone else. My student knows herself better than I ever can. We simply needed an objective method of seeing this.

light-bulb

Instead of trying to hand-hold, I needed to let go. Instead of leading, I needed to guide. I needed to get them/you to take ownership over yourself.

white fence and flowers
Photo by Randy Fath / Unsplash

And that's how me and a group of people came up with the Daily9 system, essentially telling people 9 things to do daily for a specific period of time. You log your daily actions on these 9 with a yes or no. You measure yourself once a week. If things are moving in the right direction, you are doing well. If things are moving in the wrong direction, you know why (see the No in the 9).

Magically, we had a majority of our community show up a lot more often to class, eat like adults, and take responsibility for their actions.

The magic was not just the successes, but the folks who did not see the results they wanted. They knew why, and they were not dispirited but instead walked away with a clear sense of what needed to be done.

Now, that is something I will chalk up as a victory.

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