“Now is the only reality. All else is either memory or imagination”
Look at where you are right now with your health, body, and fitness.
Don’t sugar coat it, but don’t condemn yourself either. If you don’t know where you are right now, how are you going get to where you want to go? Stand naked in front of a full-length mirror. It’s a sobering thought for many, but it might be just what you need. That’s the harsh reality staring back at you. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can make some changes.
Many people will avoid doing this and bury their head in the sand like an ostrich, which is believed (incorrectly I might add) to hide its head in a hole in the ground when it sees danger. If ostriches did bury their heads in the sand (they don’t), I’d say, don’t be an ostrich. The awareness of where you are right now is very important. Acknowledge, “I’m in this situation right now and this is where I need to change”. Accept where you are in terms of your health, your fitness, how your body looks, and how you feel. It can be painful but also very liberating.
Former Navy SEAL turned best selling author Jocko Willink talks about this in his book, “Extreme Ownership”. Extreme ownership is taking control and accepting exactly where you are right now. In other words saying, “There’s no one else to blame but myself for exactly the position I’m in right now. I’m going to take full responsibility for where I am with my health, where I am with my fitness, where I am with my life, then I’m going to make the necessary changes to move my life to where I want it to be”. All the decisions you’ve ever made have led you to where you are in this moment.
You are 100% responsible for your health, and your life”
Accepting and being OK with that can be a tough but important moment for many.
Where are you?
Do you have 20, 30, 40lbs to lose? More maybe?
Do you get out of breath going up the stairs or walking up a hill?
Is the waistband on your trousers tight and restrictive?
Do you have a favourite suit jacket that you can’t wear anymore?
Are you in pain from sitting at your desk all day?
Are you tired, lethargic, and irritable?
Do you go to sleep wired and wake up exhausted?
What exactly are your physical symptoms?
Let’s look at this from the inside, as well as the outside.
Do you hate how you look and feel when you look in the mirror?
Do you feel disgusted with your own body?
Like you have so much more potential inside?
Do you feel like you’re letting your family down and even more importantly perhaps, letting yourself down?
Are you happy in life or are you depressed?
Do you wake up each day and jump out of bed with energy, drive, and motivation; or do you hit snooze several times and wish you could stay in bed a little longer?
Do you relish the day ahead or do you wish it would just end so you could retreat into the warmth and safety of that cosy pit of yours?
To be honest, you may not know exactly how you feel because no one has ever asked you before. You likely have not asked yourself these questions. You just have an underlying, overwhelming feeling of negativity and discontent. Maybe.
Maybe you know exactly how you feel and exactly what you want and need to change. If so, that’s good. Maybe you are disgusted with how you look AND feel. Maybe you’ve had a health scare and a reality check from the doctor? Or maybe you’re just sick to the back teeth of feeling like shit? Hold that feeling. You’re going to need those feelings and emotions if you ever hope to make some serious life-long changes.
Writing about how you feel on paper can be helpful for some. Experiments have shown that people who write about emotionally charged episodes experience a marked increase in their physical and mental wellbeing. Write below the three words that come to the forefront of your mind when you think about where you are with your current level of health & fitness. Don’t worry about feeling stupid. I’ve found that the people that interact the most in exercises like this tend to gain the most benefit.
E.G. You might be feeling frustrated, disappointed, and fed up. You may be feeling depressed, demotivated, and angry. Write how you feel in three words below. Don’t rush. Have a good think. Take your time.
I don’t know if writing down how you feel has made you feel better, but it probably hasn’t made you feel worse. You might be even more determined to do something now you’ve recognised exactly how you feel. Be honest with yourself. We can make a start from there.
Working with clients
I can ask a client to tell me how they feel, but to really know where they’re at I need a few basic details that will give me a bigger picture. I always ask for a seven-day food and drink diary. Everything they eat and drink, good and bad, for a week. This gives me a great idea of not only what they eat, but also how they eat: timings, quantities, and habits. Plus, it will show the difference between weekdays and the weekend, which for most people is when things go horribly wrong. A detailed food and drink diary will give me a great snapshot of their life. It will tell me whether food and nutrition is important to that person, a case of convenience, or maybe even just an afterthought. Success in the coaching game is won and lost on the ability of the client to adhere to basic nutritional principles. It doesn’t mean eating like a rabbit for weeks on end, nor does it mean severe restriction like many people believe. It simply relies on a few basic rules.
I ask the client to weigh him/herself. Weight is an important benchmark that will be monitored throughout the time I work with a client. If someone has a lot of weight to lose, we obviously want that scale to be shifting south, but it’s not the be all and end all. No one knows what you weigh. You don’t walk around with a sign on the front of your head saying, “I weigh 15 stone”. The truth is, we don’t know what that end number will be. The aim is to burn body fat and build, or at least preserve, lean muscle tissue. Body composition is our goal. That means we want a favourable ratio of LBM (lean body mass) to adipose tissue (body fat).
I like to have the client take pictures or have pictures taken of them in underwear or swimwear. One picture from the front, one from the side, and one from the rear. This is uncomfortable for most. Understandably of course, which is one of the reasons I ask them to do it. Firstly, a visual record of the starting point, week-to-week progress, and the end result is very powerful for the client and helps me. Secondly, asking the client to step out their comfort zone, by taking a picture or three of themselves semi-naked and sending them to their coach, is very empowering.
A picture is worth a thousand words, the old idiom states, and in this case it’s never been truer. Very often a client will be visibly shocked when we compare the picture from week 1 next to the picture in week 12. Shocked in a positive way. When you see yourself day in and day out, it’s hard to notice the difference. You know things are working, but when you drop 20-30lbs over a three-month period, the visual difference is phenomenal when you look back at it.
Next up are measurements. With a tape measure and the help of someone, I like to have the following measurements:
· Upper waist
· Lower waist
· Hips (female)
· Non-dominant upper arm
· Non-dominant upper leg (quads)
Measurements, like pictures, are very tangible and simply don’t lie. When a client sees that they’re losing inches on paper, it’s very encouraging. This can be invaluable if the scales haven’t moved much and the client is perhaps feeling disappointed. With the loss of inches, the client’s outlook is much more positive than only using the weight on the scale as an indicator of success.
When a client sees these starting measurements and pictures – the cold hard facts of where they are right now with their health & fitness – it can go one of two ways. It’s a real leveler for many and an eye-opener. It can send the client away inspired, motivated, and ready to make some big changes in their life. “This is where I am. Shit. No one else to blame, this is all me. I’m here, this is real and it’s up to me to change”. Or it can have the opposite effect entirely. I’ve seen clients throw the towel in before we even begin. The stark reality of their current situation has been too much for them to handle, but it’s a necessary process that you must go through if you’re to create the results you desire. It’s a punch in the face, but not one from which you can’t recover.
Lane was a client of mine a while back. He was a big lad with a lot of weight to lose. He weighed 22 stone and even though he was 6’3 tall, I figured he had at least five stone to lose before he was anything close to being healthy. I asked him to weigh himself and send me some pictures. I didn’t need to know any measurements. It just wasn’t necessary and under these circumstances, I felt it would only cause more anguish to an already delicate situation. Lane had been thinking of working with me for over a year before he plucked up the courage to pick up the phone. I wasn’t going to do anything to make him feel more uncomfortable than he already was. I asked him if he was OK with the pictures and he assured me he was.
As we worked together, we looked at three areas to gauge his improvement. His weight, his pictures, and his performance in the gym. The scales were moving in the right direction and his performance in the gym was going up (an increase in the weights being lifted), so I knew that progress was being made. From that alone, I knew it was unlikely he was losing any muscle mass and he was definitely burning body fat. This, coupled with regular photos, showed us both that he was losing a tonne of body fat and his shape was changing rapidly. Lane went on to lose over two stone (29lbs) with me in just 12 weeks and increased his bench press, deadlift, and squat significantly, which he was most surprised by.
“I have always struggled with my weight (and suffered with an overactive knife and fork). I had always done a lot of weightlifting but had never taken the nutrition seriously – I had thought that to lose weight I’d have to basically become vegan and live on lentils and sunflower seeds. I was also afraid I wouldn’t be as strong if I lost weight, but 12 weeks later and over two stone lighter, I couldn’t be happier. I eat a lot of high protein/low carb foods, which means I’m always full up and I’m not losing muscle. I can now deadlift and bench press more than ever. I couldn’t have done this without Gav’s knowledge, experience, and his 12-week coaching plan – he gave me a plan to follow, I did just that and it worked.
If anyone were considering getting a coach, I’d recommend working with Gav 100%.
If you are struggling with your weight, don’t suffer in silence.
Reach out to me and book a simple 15min chat. Nothing to sell, just solid advice to get you moving in the right direction. Book that call here or simply send me a DM if you prefer.
All the best.