Sitting on a bench outside the coffee shop, Coach Dan and I had just wrapped up a successful Unbreakable Body workshop weekend, and the conversation turned to what we get out of our own fitness practice – the learning, the workshops, the coaching, that we pursue for our own practice – beyond the “usual” results of ‘get stronger’ or ‘be more mobile’. I asked Dan, who served previously as my Assistant Coach in The Unbreakable Body, to share more on this topic with you. As you read, ask yourself, “what are my returns on this investment I’m making into my body, besides the ‘obvious’ stuff?” Over to Coach Dan…
My wife and I recently started ordering food from a meal kit service. You probably know the drill with these. Every couple of days, a large freezer box shows up at our door. When I open the box I find clearly labeled ingredients and an easy to follow recipe. There is no guess work, no grocery list, no trip to the store, and no researching new recipes. The meal kit service does all of that for us, we just need to follow the directions.
Now, our family is far from ignorant in the kitchen. My wife went to culinary school and I’ve been cooking my entire life. We have more than enough grocery stores near our house and though we’re busy with full-time jobs and two kids, we definitely could schedule time to shop once or twice a week.
The reason we decided to order meal kits is because of the tremendous upside.
It has freed up our evening schedule. We’re preparing meals we wouldn’t have thought of on our own. And I’m learning new skills in the kitchen that I wouldn’t have if I was relying on the same recipes I’ve been cycling through for years.
Yes, meal kits cost a bit more than if we did all of the work on our own, but we value the return on investment more.
My experience with fitness has been similar to my experience with meal kits. Like the kitchen, I know my way around a gym. I’ve been a card-carrying certified personal trainer for a long time. I have the ability to write programming for myself and I look forward to my workouts.
My list of “go to” programs is like my list of “go to” recipes – they work, but the lack of variety leaves a lot to be desired.
Because of that, I’ve pursued coaches, attended workshops, and earned certifications, so I can learn new things and expand my horizons…just like I’ve been doing with the meal kit services. The upside of pursuing more guidance and knowledge in fitness has been even higher than letting someone else plan what I’m going to make for dinner!
Here are a few of my secret side effects I’ve found from pursuing knowledge about how to be a better caretaker of my body. Which of these resonate with you? What else would you add to this list if you were making it?
Secret Side Effect:
Discovering what I didn’t know that I didn’t know
Imagine you bump into a friend you haven’t seen in a few months. Upon noticing them you can’t believe how fit and healthy they look. Out of curiosity, you ask what they’ve been doing to get into such great shape. Their response is, “Oh, I’ve been attending _____ classes. “
You’d like to be fit and healthy too, and since those classes worked for your friend, you decide it will also work for you.
The problem lies in that most of people don’t know what they don’t know regarding how prepared their body needs to be before starting a new type of physical activity. Even fitness coaches, when entering a new realm, like powerlifting or Mobility Training, don’t know what they don’t know.
Having a coach to ask question about your preparedness that you didn’t even know you needed to be asking, and helping you to determine where you need to prepare your body more, is worth it.
Doing so can save you a potential plateau, pain, or maybe even an injury in the future. Even if you’ve never had aches or pains from being active, improving your understanding of what you really need to make your body do what you want it to do, is invaluable.
Secret Side Effect:
Improved personal accountability
Working out is something I look forward to, but even though I enjoy training, I can lose motivation from time to time. Every coach I’ve worked with has checked in on how my workouts are going.
Whether that check-in is once a week or once a month, I’m always motivated by knowing I’ll have to provide feedback to my teacher. Remembering that gives me the energy to start my workout. And once I get started, the ball tends to keep rolling forward until ‘all of a sudden’, the workout is done.
More importantly, accountability transcends paying someone to make sure I’m working hard. The coach/client relationship tends to become more personal than that. I have my fair share of insecurities – I don’t often see in myself what others perceive clearly.
Most of the coaches I’ve worked with have uncovered potential in me I didn’t know I had.
Letting someone help you tap into your true potential requires more vulnerability than simply opening your wallet and swiping a credit card, but you can’t place a dollar value on allowing others to shed light on how incredible you really are.
Secret Side Effect:
Making new friends and connections
I have made and maintained a lot of friends by going to workshops and seminars put on by coaches. Attending these events places a bunch of people who are on a similar journey in the same room, and with social media to support, it’s easy to stay in touch with the like minded people you’ve met. Those friendships can lead to encouragement on Instagram and the sharing of resources on Facebook. You might not get to see these people live and in-person very often, but corresponding online is very beneficial, both in terms of support and in furthering your education even more.
An old adage goes like this “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I’d go a step further and say, your world is colored by the five things you connect with online most.
Meaning, if I can make my social media feeds chock full of people I know, like, support, and who support me – even if it’s only through a comment on my most recent video – I’ll take that over the awful noise that would otherwise fill my feed.
Secret Side Effect:
Evolving My Self
Most people have a detailed list of exercises they despise. I’m no different. Often, the exercises I don’t like are the same ones that would be of most benefit to me. And doing these drills and noticing what bubbles up inside me is as I do these annoying but beneficial exercises is hugely beneficial for more than just my biceps or my gluteus medius.
Those exercises teach lessons about work ethic, patience, abundance-mindset thinking, and how to apply them to other areas of life.
When I notice an aversion to a particular exercise in my program, I can either avoid it, and skip over all the feelings and thoughts that come up for me. Or, I can march forward, do the exercise, and notice what I’m thinking, feeling, and sensing, as I do it. I always choose to march forward because this territory is prime ‘personal development landscape’ for me to cultivate.
For example, the very act of writing this article for publication where I know thousands of people will read it wouldn’t have gotten done if it weren’t for the personal development I’ve done through my workouts. You see, I’ve had the same doubts about my writing ability as I’ve had about what I can achieve my body. But what I’ve been taught by coaches – “show up daily”, “trust the process”, and “set the bar high” has paved the road to this being the second article I’ve written for Fit For Real Life.
How To Get More Secret Side Effects
Out Of Your Fitness Practice
Expand yourself. Dive in further. Purchase a new book on a subject that you think might help you be a better care taker of your body. Find a workshop that looks interesting. Hire a coach to assist you on one of your goals you haven’t yet reached.
The investment you make of your attention, your time, and your money, into caring for your body will never be wasted.
As Kate always says, “even if you try something and it turns out to not be the Thing that gets you the result you wanted…that wasn’t time wasted because now you have a new piece of data”. Those ‘pieces of data’ are what end up guiding you to the ultimate Thing that is going to get you where you want to go.
So consider taking a step today to invest further in yourself and your fitness practice. More secret side effects are waiting for you as you walk your journey toward feeling great and moving well!
photo credit: FotoGrazio Prelude to Cybernetic Circuits via photopin (license)
Dan Chmura lives in Holland, MI with his wife and two children. Exploring the holistic function of humans is his passion. A few of his interests include hiking the North Country Scenic Trail, swimming in Lake Michigan, and conversations laden with analogies.