The #1 Exercise You're NOT Doing!
Sometimes when I’m at a dinner party, or meeting new people, I get introduced by what I do: “This is Jack, he’s a personal trainer and nutrition coach.” And, as anyone who works in the health or fitness industry can tell you, you instantly get bombarded with questions! One of the things I’m often asked is, “What is the best exercise for me to do?” Or folks will point at a part of their body and say, “How do I get rid of this?” (Which always makes me sad, by the way, because no part of our bodies are a problem!)
Unfortunately for these new folks I’m meeting, I’m not a liar.
I’m not going to try to sell them on a particular exercise, piece of equipment, modality of training, or even on training itself. I’m going to tell them the truth:
Cue the crickets -- ha ha! I get a lot of stares at that point. Some indignation. Sometimes people get downright mad!
Consistency isn’t sexy, it’s isn’t exciting, and it isn’t what most people are expecting to hear. They might think I’m not taking them seriously, that I didn’t understand the question, that I’m keeping some “fitness hack” a secret from them. But I actually am giving them the answer, even if they don’t know it yet.
Consistency is key to getting results. Any of the results you’re after, consistency will make happen. And there’s a lot of research behind that. As well, consistency is an exercise: it’s an exercise in patience, it’s an exercise in humility, it’s an exercise in adaptation and it’s a practice -- which is what all exercise really boils down to.
(I know a fair deal about consistency, it’s the main skill that I teach as a trainer, as a nutrition and health coach and I designed the FREE 6 week #makeithappenworkout challenge to help you develop it while finding ways to include fitness in your busy summer schedule; you can read more about it by clicking HERE.)
But just underneath the surface of my answer and the big smile on my face when I give it is a lot of anger.
To be honest with you, I’m angry at the fitness industry, and at the diet industry, the nutrition industry, the wellness industry and the health industry, too. Because all of them have done you a tremendous disservice.
Instead of helping people step back into their own power by arming them with skills that allow real changes to be made, results to be obtained and for those changes and results to become easy to maintain, these industries have profited off of folks’ insecurities and confusion by constantly pushing “the next big thing.”
Most folks spend their whole lives chasing each new trend, never dealing with underlying issues that send them on this wild goose chase in the first place, and also never getting what they pay for.
After 9 years in this industry, plus my own lifetime of experience trying, failing and finally figuring out how to create healthy habits that stick, I was so furious with what I saw that I've dedicated myself to creating programs that address it. This year I created a program called #makemuscleshappen that is designed to teach beginners who are looking to make a change how to apply strength training to their lives. I’ll skip all the technical jargon of how it works and why it’s effective in terms of your body. Because what I really want to talk about is this:
No one was thinking about, talking about or making something that is actually appropriate for either beginners or folks who have been on the fitness wild goose chase. No one was making available the skills that people need to learn in order to get actual results and maintain them.
Yup, I’m talking about consistency.
Remember how I said there’s a lot of research behind consistency? It’s true. As an agent of change, I’m always striving to learn how to best help people become the strongest most powerful versions of themselves. I know that strong, powerful people are happy people. These are the kind of people I want to fill the world with, because these people create the kind of world I want to live in. In that quest I’m always educating myself, reading, learning, taking in information. And I’ve learned what the scientists who study how people change and learn know: that self-compassion creates more positive outcomes than negative self-talk and punishment; that accountability feels vulnerable and terrifying but actually amplifies success and connection among people; and that consistency, not perfection, is what drives results!
We live in a culture that doesn’t know how to deal with mistakes. We grow up thinking the worst thing we can do is to fail. But what none of us get taught is that mistakes don’t hold us back, failure doesn’t stop us from succeeding. Instead, mistakes and failure are the path to success, they are how we learn what to do next and how to keep moving forward because if we keep it moving, it’s not a matter of “if” we get to our goals, but “when!”
Showing up and doing what we can, over and over; that is the heart of consistency. It’s better to be at 80%, or heck even 40%, day after day until we meet our goals than to go to 100% for one day and then curl up and blow away.
Just ask any of our favorite failures: the Wright Brothers, Oprah, Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison, J.K. Rowling. All of these “success stories” went through years of what we might call “failure.” What made them into huge successes what that they kept going forward. They kept going!
And all of them were rewarded for it by seeing their dreams become reality.
Now, your dreams might be a little smaller in scale. And that’s just fine, mine are pretty every-day, too! But one thing is for certain, if you can learn this one skill, the skill of consistency, you will be certain to reach them!
I have a lifetime of failures to pull from, as well as over a decade of succeeding at what I wanted most: to live in a healthy body that is strong and can move well, to heal the pain I lived with, to love my life with total abandon. I took all of that, and everything I’ve been learning from and teaching myself since 2009 while I’ve been helping 1000s of people with fitness, nutrition and self-care, and I put it into #makemuscleshappen, creating not just a training program for your body, but for your life.
I wanted people to know the truth, to learn “the best exercise” for them to do: be consistent. I wanted to help cut through all the noise that simultaneously tells you that you’re no good and if you just do this one exercise or use this one new-fangled device you’ll finally be good enough. Because that’s just what it is, noise. Bullshit. I wanted to help people learn skills that create independence, so they can choose their own path, find their own power and build the world they want.
I know that if you’re going to learn and execute one exercise, it better be the exercise of consistency!
This is the thing that will allow you to meet and maintain your goals. This is the skill that allows you to drop the need to be perfect and instead adopt the strategies that allow you to keep showing up, make changes and get it done! Want to be strong? Get consistent! Successful, happy, powerful? Be consistent.
That’s the only “ secret trick” you ever need to know!
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Want to learn how to use consistency as a skill to make fitness a part of a healthy lifestyle you can do long term?