By Jason Laporte
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
When I first met Mike, we were sitting down for his orientation into our 60/60 program. Mike was a typical 60/60 beginner – new to exercise, a little nervous, and a bit unsure and apprehensive of the trainer sitting across from him. Being in a gym for the first time can be overwhelming – even intimidating. The effect can be compounded for a person who has never exercised before when sitting across from another person who is actually paid to exercise every day. Mike had a look on his face that I’ve seen a thousand times. It’s a look that says “Oh geez, look at this guy – he’ll never be able to relate to me. What was I thinking coming here?”
I get it. I knew exactly how Mike was feeling and what he was thinking. It’s the same way that nearly every 60/60 member feels when I sit down with them the first time. When people are overweight, Diabetic, battling hypertension, hyperlipidemia, a bad back injury, or whatever, they don’t know how to relate to someone whose job it is to represent physical “fitness”. People talk about their past and how they used to be fit. Sometimes they talk about reasons why they have never exercised before – work, stress, kids, injuries, etc, etc. People seem to think that they’ve sat down for an ultimate fitness judgment. But really, I’m just here to help.
Mike was no different. He told me about his past and his battle with obesity. He told me about how he had lost his mother and how her courage and example had given him the courage to get started on his journey. He had already lost a significant amount of weight on his own and he was ready to take things to the next level. Mike clearly wasn’t entirely comfortable divulging all of this information to a perfect stranger. But Mike had made a commitment to himself. He had found his intrinsic motivation. From this point forward, there were no excuses. No obstacles. Mike was motivated to succeed.
All too often people are motivated to avoid failure. They look for trainers or dieticians or doctors to provide motivation for them rather than finding it within themselves. They deflect responsibility and accountability by looking to others to give them the answers or tell them what to do. They make excuses. They create obstacles. There are always ten thousand reasons why we can’t do something and we tend to focus on them.
Mike was able to focus on the few reasons why he had to do something. This was a pivotal point in his life. He had to commit for his family, his mother, his health, his life – and so he did. And that’s where it all began…