I have a new man in my life. Every time I’m around him I get a little weak in the knees. Literally. I can hardly walk when he’s done with me. And I’d only known him for a few weeks when he confided his secret fantasy to me. Let’s just say it involves a cowboy hat and spurs.
Oddly enough my husband introduced me to him, so no need to worry. Matt is the owner of Dynamic Strength and Conditioning, and he’s one of my personal trainers. The first few weeks I worked with Matt, he made me do so many squats that I begged for mercy, my legs wobbly and uncooperative for days after my workout. I have never been to a strength and conditioning gym with a sports focus, never been remotely athletic, never envisioned that I could actually do some of the exercises I’m now doing on a regular basis. But here I am: loving this new part of my life. Well, mostly.
“You’ll learn these exercises in no time,” Matt says. “And then you’re gonna crush it.”
“Crush it,” I repeat under my breath as I do my tiny little push up on the easiest setting of the push up bar, utterly convinced that I AM going to get stronger. Matt is just a believable kind of guy.
“Your plank is impeccable,” Matt says. “You’re crushing it.”
“Arrrgh! I AM crushing it,” I roar, glowing with pride under that sheen of sweat.
I was inspired by Peter to go to DSC. He worked out there for about six months and it completely changed the shape of his body, his level of strength, his posture, and his gait. Two months after starting there, Peter noticed that his knees had stopped hurting. That really got my attention. That and the fact that my 40th High School reunion was on the horizon. So I dragged my old bones down to the gym and started a new chapter of wellness.
Our motivations for change are many. I ramped up my exercising for health reasons: reducing back pain, increasing strength, wanting to see better numbers at my yearly physical, improving bone density, and lets face it, wanting to look better at my 40th HS reunion than I did at my 35th. Becoming inspired may be the easy part. Staying motivated is the challenge. This is where Matt and my other trainers help a lot.
Having a Coach at the gym helps me to identify my goals, work safely to meet them, be held accountable, stay on track, push through my resistance, and ultimately, to crush it. Sustaining motivation is tricky, but not impossible.
In her new book Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Gabriele Oettingen suggests that positive dreams about our future selves aren’t enough to keep us motivated. She goes further to say that positive fantasies can work against our success, draining the energy we need to work hard and make changes. Her research proposes that we need to factor in the hard work of making changes in our lives into our fantasies about the future if we want to make successful changes. Oettingen says that “mental contrasting” is the process of “visualizing the personal barriers or impediments that prevent us from achieving these dreams.” Her easy to remember approach to maintaining motivation for change is WOOP: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. Check out Oettingen’s work at http://www.woopmylife.org
Being prepared for barriers that will arise doesn’t crush our dreams. Rather it helps us to develop a plan to overcome the obstacles and gives us energy to move through those barriers.
Here’s where Matt comes in. His experience, education, and expertise help him to create a program that can meet me where I am, work through obstacles when they arise, and help me safely build up my capacity to move forward into a healthier, stronger life. Coaching, whether it be a fitness coach or a life coach, helps us to meet our goals… to crush it. So thanks Matt!
Oh, maybe if you can guess Matt’s secret fantasy he’ll give you a free week at the gym.