Hello, I’m Nate and I have a fun job. I meet people for a living! Well, I don’t just meet people; I engage with them, I listen to them, I get to know the things they hold near and dear to their hearts, the things that scare them, the things they aspire to be, and the obstacles they aspire to overcome. Seems pretty deep for the “sales guy” at a gym, but that’s just part of our process here at AFS. We believe that people are not fitness goals, people are people and should be treated as such. We believe weight loss or other aesthetic achievement (big or small) means nothing if it doesn’t come with new found confidence and self love. Needless to say, I don’t sit down with people and show them a pricing chart and then walk them around a hollow space filled with machines. I dig a little deeper and I’m writing today to share some of the things I’ve learned.
I took the time to calculate it and I’ve met over 5,000 people as they embarked on the mission of self improvement through fitness. Reading that back to myself I now realize why I’ve gone through 6 office chairs! Anyway, back to my meetings…For some individuals, this is their first step and for others it’s closer to their 10th. Ultimately it’s my mission to find out what got them into my office and what my team can do to help ensure this is their last step. So I just ask in one way or another-
“Why are you here?”
It’s the answer I get to this question that I want to focus on in this blog. Far and away the most common response I get is simply: “I need motivation.” before we go any further, let’s define the word motivate.
Motivate: To Provide someone with a motive for doing something.
Logically this statement can’t be true. If a new client truly lacked a motive there would be nothing driving them to click on our facebook ad, or to do research on our website, or most of all to take time out of a busy day to meet with me at a place that probably isn’t their first choice for an after work hangout 😉 Something inside is driving those actions. That something is motivation! Feel better, keep up with the kids, live longer, gain confidence, those are all great motives!
People aren’t lying when they say they need motivation, they’re just misinterpreting. A client is saying: “for some reason I’m not taking action and I need someone to make me.” We’ve established the motive is there, but something else is getting in the way. When I first started in the fitness industry I (wrongfully) assumed that anytime someone didn’t want to get started that they were just lazy and had too many excuses, but the older and wiser I’ve become the more I understand the impediment is often the opposite of laziness…So what is it that’s getting in the way?
I probably should have pointed out sooner that the majority (probably 80%) of people I meet with are women with families. Being a momma’s boy myself I have a boat load of respect for women in this situation. Often times they’re working, they’re driving kids all over the countryside for sports/activities, they’re prepping meals, helping with homework, taking care of elderly parents, more or less they’re powerhouses that support the existence of the entire family. Being a 30 year old guy who can’t even care for succulent house plants, I can’t imagine that level of responsibility. If a mom lets one thing slip, the family doesn’t get dinner, or the kids miss the bus, or somebody shows up for school with no pants on. Moms are the ultimate jugglers and it requires an immense amount of focus to keep all the balls in the air.
Moms are SO focused on making sure everyone else is ok (and that all the balls stay in the air) that they often completely forget that the “juggler” needs care too. After all, if the juggler gets exhausted, all the balls could hit the ground.
Give Yourself Permission
What I’ve come to realize is that the moms I’m talking about don’t need motivation. What they really need is permission! Moms are so selfless that they actually feel guilty and anxious spending time on themselves. It takes an external source (in this case a personal trainer or coach) to give them permission to dedicate time to self care and to hold them to that commitment even when other commitments ebb and flow.
If the mom I’m describing sounds like you, I want to share an observation I made while on a flight to Edmonton last fall. As the flight attendant explained the safety rules, she got to the part about cabin pressure. She said: “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will be deployed from the ceiling. Be sure to put on your mask first before you help your loved ones with their masks.” In other words, you have to take care of yourself so you’re better equipped to take care of everyone else. Ask any mom who’s already taken the plunge and gotten consistent with her fitness routine and she’ll tell you that she has more energy, she’s less stressed, and feels a sense of pride that she’s demonstrating positive lifestyle habits to her family.
The Hard Part is Starting
My advice as someone who takes part in a lot of conversations surrounding fitness plans is to first make a realistic time commitment. How many hours per week can you realistically spend exercising? How much time do you have to do some meal prepping on a Sunday? It doesn’t have to be 7hrs a week exercising and a 4hr long cook-off on Sunday. Start small, stay consistent, and scale up from there! This should make giving yourself permission to take the time even easier!
If after reading this article you’re still not feeling justified in being a little selfish, you’re welcome to stop by AFS anytime and we’ll be happy to give you the nudge you need. We know the obstacles you’re facing and we don’t expect you to be perfect, just be you 🙂
Nate Langley-Marketing Director & Momma’s boy
From left: Nate Langley, his mom Penny, AFS owner Jared Freeman, his mom Patty.