There are four gym stereotypes: the victim, the child, the drama queen and the prostitute
It can be hard to make the changes required for a healthier lifestyle. There may be occasions when you find yourself slipping back into the old routine because this is the easier option.
Our brain has learned patterns and it is easier to stay with these patterns than to make new ones. When you interlock your fingers or cross your arms, your brain favours one over the other.
When you attempt to change that pattern it feels uncomfortable, as your habit has been ingrained and to change that, your brain has to learn a new motor pattern.
The rule of 21 states that the same movement or habit must be performed at least 21 consecutive times to make long-lasting change, and if you attempt to undertake too many changes at once, your brain will be overwhelmed and you will be destined to return to what you know best — what is easiest, to remain where you are!
This may be one of the reasons that success in the gym is evading you. During all my years in this industry I’ve come to be acquainted with four stereotypes, all of which aim to be fitness saboteurs.
First up it’s ‘the victim’. The victim will always claim that it is not their fault that they are in poor shape. You know they are playing the victim when they start off with a great story to justify their poor body shape.
They never had a chance. They were born with poor genes that gave them more fat cells and slowed down your metabolism. They’ve tried every diet but none of them worked. Even their doctor said that there is nothing he can do to help.
Then there’s the back injury you never got treated, which flares up at the mere mention of the word exercise.
The next stereotype I see is ‘the child’. You will hear them say: “I can’t do it, I’m stuck, I can’t help myself, somebody help me, I can’t do it by myself.”
You may be aware of your inner child and there are times in life when you must regain control of your health but it starts with you.
The third stereotype, ‘the drama queen’, chases the new idea, the new deal, or the new diet. People with a drama hook are like adrenaline junkies and when things are going well they will do something to liven things up.
These clients are making progress but when a new fad diet comes out, they abandon ship. They jump from their lifestyle plan and training programme on to the latest and greatest marketing message how you can lose weight, do no exercise and eat crap all day!
The last stereotype is ‘the prostitute’. They work off a barter system. In order to keep the peace, they keep their mouth closed. They operate on an ‘I’II do something for you if you do something for me’ premise.
They don’t do what they are doing because they believe in it; they do it for an ulterior motive. I have met many people who appease their spouses or friends’ demands of breaking their new lifestyle plan, consuming alcohol continuously or processed foods, in order to keep the peace in the relationship.
I’m sure there are many things that may be sabotaging your goals and ambitions of being where you want to be in health or your career. You just need to be aware of them because with awareness comes responsibility.
When the child, victim, drama queen or prostitute within you raises their voice the next time, be aware and quieten them down and do what needs to be done.
Hire the services of a coach who says what needs to be said. All too often we shrink and minimise ourselves and play our sad story. A coach will hold you accountable and tell you what you don’t see, where a friend may give you a hug and sympathise with you about how it’s not your fault.
You need to realise that the daily actions we make are the result of practice. Silence your saboteur. As Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
Make good ones and be excellent. They say its tough at the top, but it looks pretty crowded at the bottom.