Doing Something “Crazy”May Just Be Practical

If a client sticks out a training program long enough, the changes are remarkable. Not only are there physical changes (strength, physique, weight loss etc), there are also mental, emotional and even spiritual changes that occur. A strength trainee at GN Strength & Conditioning for example, will exercise with a weight that is heavier than the previous session, and the most weight they’ve ever lifted…..for 3 sessions per week! This undoubtedly requires the development of mental and emotional attributes such as courage, trust in the process/coach, perseverance etc. and has the predictable outcome of increased confidence and self-esteem.

Eventually this growth should, and will, pour out into other areas of a person’s life.

But sometimes, it needs encouragement to do so. If we view the elements of our character like a muscle, we can see that it can grow if trained; or shrink if we ignore it.

I typically encourage each client who has trained with me for awhile in our small groups to identify something “crazy” that they will do at some identified date in the future. Of course there are exceptions, and we use judgment on a person to person basis. We write it on the white board (unless its too personal), and we begin discussing how we can make it happen. Some times they would like my help with nerves, or planning, advice etc. Other times, they don’t want or need my assistance, they just need to make it happen. And either way is fine, as long as they know I’m available, and that I have their best interests at heart. I’ll explain these “crazy” ideas in a moment.

The reasoning for this little “exercise” is twofold. First, maintaining any sort of consistent training regimen requires the growth and incorporation of other factors than just the fleeting emotion of motivation, or the dull, lifeless, drudgery of pure self discipline, to keep them coming to the gym. To put it another way, if a client trusts me to instill a healthy lifestyle change that’s sustainable, I need to think outside the 4 walls of my gym. And performing challenging, exciting and sometimes scary things outside the gym, has a way of improving performance inside the gym. Secondly, hard, consistent training has so many benefits, and I truly want to see that manifest itself in my client’s lives. These two points are interwoven, and feed upon each other, until the driving motivations become one in the same.

Here’s how it works, with some real life examples.

This “crazy” thing is different than “rewarding” yourself. Going to an all you can eat buffet or a trip to Aruba after a hard block of training has its place, but that’s a different topic for another day.

Pick an activity that challenges your new found physical, mental, emotional or spiritual strength. Sometimes you’ll have to sit quietly and let that “thing” creep into your consciousness, because in many cases, you’ve wanted to do it all your life but buried it. Other times, you could just pick something that “sounds cool”. “What the hell” and “you only live once” are common sentiments at this stage. Although the point is to challenge us in some way, its important to remember that we should stay within our moral/legal/religious boundaries, and support of family and spouses are critical. Jail time, divorce or death are not outcomes we’re going for here.

Although some of the examples may seem trivial to you, keep in mind that this is what a person chose that somehow challenged them in a new way, and they were previously too afraid or otherwise not ready to perform. On the flip side, some items may be morally repulsive, or too scary to consider. That is fine too. We are on our journey, and we should be ok with that.

If you’d like to get “crazy”, look over the list to see if anything speaks to you, or pick your own, and go for it! You’ll never regret trying something new.

  1. Sign up for a powerlifting meet. Any age can do it, and its typically a supportive environment no matter how strong you are.
  2. High School student tried out, and made, a new school sport.
  3. A hiking excursion that is challenging, but manageable for your abilities.
  4. Enter a physique competition (male or female)
  5. Middle aged man took up Brazillian Ju Jitsu, and eventually competed.
  6. A weight loss client volunteered to be a figure model for a college drawing class (nude).
  7. Hired professional photographer for Boudoir photo session (for spouse’s eyes only!!)