Sacrifices and Social Support

The fitness lifestyle involves all sorts of sacrifices, and no, I am not talking about sacrificing time, family, or anything that we hold dear to ourselves. The fitness lifestyle involves all sorts of good sacrifices, and these sacrifices are going to only make us better and move us forward. It is one thing to exercise regularly and eat the right foods but if you are still clinging to those things that you were before tweaking the lifestyle a bit into a lifestyle that you believe is going to make yourself better, then you are only going to burn two sides of one candle and that is not good for anyone.

We all have peers that may attempt to sway us into going to bars, drinking, smoking, eating junk food when eating out, and living a lifestyle that may still be detrimental to our fitness goals. This totally defeats the purpose. Why on Earth am I going to put in all of that work, time, and effort and then turn around and do the things that will only hold me back from achieving my goals? There is no reason for these kinds of things and there are much, much better ways to spend your weekends.

Now, I am not saying that you can’t go out and enjoy a night on the town or a night in the city but you still need to exercise a bit of self control. Even over the holidays I still attend family gatherings but I don’t go hog wild when the cookies and pies are in sight. In all honesty I don’t even eat at all unless the gathering is happening at my place and I still pass on the junk food. My goals are still in mind. If you want a more current event I went out last Saturday with friends to a comedy show and then next week I’m going to watch a band play downtown. Did I drink or will I be drinking? Nope. Am I going to skip a good meal and eat a bunch of fried food just because it’s the only option out there? Nope. Am I going to miss a workout because of this? Again, the answer is no. No I am not because I invest a lot of money into my fitness and I have goals that I want to accomplish within the next month and I am not going to engage in any activity that deters me from reaching those goals.

This takes a lot of self control and discipline, but honestly, this is only going to help you reach your goals. You have to have that power to tell others no when they want you to do what they are doing when out and about. Your friends have to respect your lifestyle and your decisions and if they don’t then they aren’t friends at all, they only like you for who you were before you found a new lifestyle and decided to better yourself.

This lack of social support is really a main reason why many don’t reach their fitness goals in the amount of time that they should reach them. This lack of social support can cause many who are new or relatively new to the fitness lifestyle to drop out of the lifestyle completely because they will honestly feel like it’s them against the world when it comes to fitness and they get this idea that the fitness lifestyle isn’t for them. Newsflash, this lifestyle is for everyone and those who may stand alone in their family or social network need to realize that and they were wise enough to pursue this lifestyle.

As trainers, it is our job to be that social support because there are a lot of individuals out there who may be struggling with their fitness goals due to lack of social support. Anyone and everyone can and will succeed with the right support but if clients aren’t getting this at home then they need someone to turn to when things get tough because for many, things are going to get very tough. We need to be there for our clients when they have no one else to turn to. Our clients need to have access to our cell and email because we need to be there for them immediately if they feel they are not getting the support that they need because this is what makes people quit sometimes. And all they need is that one person standing by them, standing behind them, and telling them that yes, they can do it and not to listen to anyone else who is trying to hold them back and bring them back down to their level. Our clients are better than that.

I have mentioned before and I will reiterate that there are a lot of people out there who don’t succeed because they lack the drive, willpower, and work ethic to do so. So, in an effort to make them feel better about themselves, they will consistently use their negative outlook to bring people back down to their level who are either trying to succeed, are succeeding, and in some cases, have succeeded. These kinds of people hate success and they will be detrimental to your client’s goals and lifestyle if these are the people that are clients choose to be friends with. Here are just a few options that I like to tell my clients who may be struggling with a lack of social support:

  • Find new friends: This is really a lot easier than it looks because if your client happens to be working out at a gym then they have an endless pool of people who they can become friends with. I love introducing my clients to each other and on days that they are not with me they can be workout partners. All of the sudden, these clients have now become part of each others support network.
  • Talk to me: That’s right, the trainer’s hotline is always open, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. I am always there to direct my clients in the right direction even if I get a text at 2:00am. I am still there to sort out the problem my client might be having. Remember, our clients are investing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in us and it is our job to make sure that they make this a complete lifestyle change.
  • Spend more time in the gym: If your client is spending four days per week inside the gym maybe they should come in for a fifth day. Maybe it’s Friday night and they know that if they don’t do something beneficial they may fall victim once again to a weekend cheat meal. Maybe this week, and in the weeks that follow, start going to the gym and getting in another workout on Friday night or Saturday night. Again, maybe a client will find more support from this late night crowd. Twenty-four hour gyms are ideal and really come in handy here.

All in all, as trainers, we have to do more than just hand out exercise and nutrition plans. Yeah, many trainers might do this but by standing apart from the rest of the group you and only you will make yourself a much more marketable and attractive option to both potential and existing clients. It is up to us to ensure lifestyle change and to better our client’s future for the better. This is what we do for a living and this is more than just a forty hour per week, nine to five job. This is our lifestyle and we have others who are going to invest time, money, and energy into us so they can live the same lifestyle that we live and for some, this is the lifestyle they have always wanted and they see us as their opportunity to live that lifestyle. We need to hold up our end of the deal and do what we do best. Best of luck and stay Matthews Fit!

Todd Matthews, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, California University of Pennsylvania, Wellness and Fitness, Class of 2016.

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