Picture this, It’s a beautiful Sunday you wake up and have a whole list of things planned. Mow the lawn, clean the house, cook for the week, spend time outside. You sit down to eat breakfast and flip on your favorite TV show with the promise that you will only watch one episode, which turns into two, three, four, ok maybe five. Then you suddenly feel tired and take a nap. You pass out for an hour or so and before you know it your entire day is shot. So you say, hey I’ll just do it tomorrow. I feel like this vicious cycle happens to a lot of people with their fitness goals. Except unlike the lawn outside it usually doesn’t get taken care of the next day. It can be months, years, or even decades before people start taking their health seriously. A few pounds are gained, then a few more, then maybe a medical diagnosis of high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. Maybe heart disease. Does this sound like an extreme example to you? Well, unfortunately it isn’t. Heart disease is responsible for 25% of deaths in the United States every year. Genetics definitely tip the scales of the a bit, but for the most part it is sad that the number one killer in our society is preventable or at least reducible. So let me throw another statistic in your direction. According to the CDC only 23% of US adults meet the minimum requirement of physical activity per week. So why is it despite skyrocketing levels of disease that more people aren’t getting up and moving more?
Because its FUCKING HARD! If you’re reading this “sorry mom”. If you’re not extremely passionate about fitness actually doing it can be quite challenging. For one, you’re pushing your body to do things its not used to doing. This can lead to days of soreness, especially in the beginning. You’re also putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Gyms can be an intimidating place. You’re in a room full of beautiful people while you look in the mirror and are unhappy. You then proceed to try and exercise off a plan you found online, having no idea if you’re even performing the movements properly. Then you feel more insecure and end up worrying more about what’s going on around you or who’s watching you than actually working out. It’s not easy. Unfortunately, it can feel like we live in an eat or be eaten kind of world. So if that first gym experience was enough to deter you and you made it through the period of major soreness then you start to get into a routine. But, then life happens. You have a kid. You start a more demanding job. Your significant other demands moire time with you. Usually, (and I can only speak from my own experience) the gym is one of the first things people “don’t have time for”. Then many fall off and dread the process of getting back into it. And the vicious cycle repeats itself.
But, let me ask you all a question. When was the last time you were in great shape? How did you feel when you were in that good of shape? Would you rather feel that way than you do now? For some of you reading this, right now could be the best shape of your life (and you will understand exactly what I am about to say). For others it could have been high school, college, before you had kids, before you became a high level management exec, or maybe you’ve never felt comfortable in your own skin. I am going to be 100% honest, real, and raw with you. Being comfortable in your own skin is the greatest feeling you will ever have in your entire life. Because you know that no one can take that away from you. You aren’t dependent on others for feeling good because deep down you feel good. I will tell you that the farther I go into fitness the better I feel. And I know from first hand experience what it’s like to hate the way you look and be unhealthy. Just look at the pictures on the accompanying pages of this website. It’s not even just liking the way you look. It’s a feeling of health. That you’re doing good for your body. That you are adding years onto your time on this earth. Years for more traveling and experiences. More years with your children. More years to enjoy thew body you live in.
Getting started is by far the hardest part of this journey. It always is. The first time you do anything new in life it is. But, the longer you do it, the easier it gets and the better it feels. Getting off the couch is hard. Driving to the gym is hard. Running down the street is hard. Doing that home workout off of Youtube is hard. It’s never going to be easy. Even now there are days I wake up and don’t want to go to the gym, or go to work, or even get out of bed. But, I do and I always feel better afterwards. Because I know that I am doing something for myself that no one can take away. And I love that I get to do that everyday for other people. You can see the look in people’s eyes, and the change in their demeanor when they start to get stronger and feel better. The first couple weeks I always get text messages about how sore my clients are. Then the following weeks, months, and years it’s all about how great they feel and how glad they are that they made the decision to take control of their health. I’m not saying that you have to get a personal trainer. I’m not saying that you have to lift weights. Take a yoga class, go for a walk, go swimming, hike a mountain, go running. Just get up and do it. It’s always hard to get started. But, I promise you wont look back. No one ever said to themselves “I regret that workout today”. Stay strong everyone.
Personally, I would love to train everyone. Working with clients is the best part of my life. You build a bond with someone, you watch them succeed, and then they refer more people that you can help. But, some people can’t afford trainers. Others may believe they don’t need a trainer. And, some may just prefer working alone. Whatever your reasoning is, you can still get results without a trainer or coach. I’m going to give you 5 tips that I have for people who train without a coach.
My biggest tip for being you own coach is knowing exactly what your goals are. If you don’t have a clear outlined goal then you cant develop a plan to work towards that goal. Most people who don’t have a plan go to the gym and do aimless workouts that they see on Instagram, or whatever they FEEL like doing that day. This is no way to make actual progress. Also, if you don’t have a goal you’re working towards odds are motivation will be lost and consistency will go out the window. This is exactly why you have to have a goal. When you’re setting you “goal” make sure it isn’t too vague. “I want to get big” isn’t really a good goal. My best advice would be to make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive). Once you have a SMART goal you’re ready to move on to step two.
The second thing you need to do when coaching yourself is do your research. Everyone who is at the top of their fitness game has hundreds of thousands of hours of research under their belt. I’m not saying you have to go to school and get a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. But I do recommend surfing on amazon and picking up a few books at least once or twice a year. Even scrolling through some reputable articles on bodybuilding.com or google is a good way to get the information you need. However, I would recommend being specific in what you are looking for. If you want to get big arms don’t just search “how to get big arms” because you will be bombarded with thousands of articles, most of which are bull****. Instead I would search “fitness level”, “goal”, “reputable coach”. For example you could search “how to build you best deadlift by Layne Norton”. This is going to lead to much better information than just some bro-ey article written by no one. If you’re not sure if someone is a good coach, again DO YOUR RESEARCH.
After you have your goals outlined, and some useful fitness advice from good coaches it’s time to develop a plan. Developing a plan involves outlining how often you will work out, what types of exercises you will use, and what rep ranges you will be working in. If you do good enough research you can usually find pre made programs on bodybuilding.com, many of which work very well. But, if you’d like to build your own that’s ok too. But, have a plan, because if you don’t odds are you will end up doing random workouts that wont get you anywhere.
Now that you’ve made your plan using the good research you found built off the goal you picked it’s time to TRACK YOUR PROGRESS. Tracking your progress is imperative because there is no other way to know if you’re actually making progress. Progress can be tracked in a number of different ways, and whatever your goal is there will be different methods for tracking the progress you make. If you want to lose weight then you need to weigh yourself (I would also recommend tracking body fat because you want to make sure you’re losing the right “kind of weight”). If your goal is to build muscle then you need to measure your body with a tape measure and also track your body fat to make sure that the inches being added to your body aren’t just fat. If your goal is to get stronger then simply make sure you’re adding weight to the bar (with good form of course). Good form brings me to my next point.
When you are your own coach it is crucial that you workout with good form. One of the biggest things I Do for my clients is correct them when their form is off. Especially with big movements like the deadlift and squat because improper form can lead to major injuries down the road. There are two ways to go about this. One is, find a good training partner. A good training partner can be an extra set of eyes and if they know what they’re doing they can give you tips on how to improve. Two is, take videos of big movements. Taking videos may look douschey, but it’s actually a really smart way to train. How do you know if you’re doing something right if you cant see it? Even if a movement feels good there could be minute things that are off that can lead to problems down the road.
So, let’s go over what was talked about in this blog post. When you are coaching yourself always remember to: have a goal, do your research, develop a plan, track your progress, and monitor your form. If you follow these five rules you can see excellent results. Now, is everything going to be perfect. No, but thats life. If you hit a plateau just repeat the process. Check your goal, do your research as to what’s holding you back, research how to fix it, track your progress, and monitor your form. Its simple and effective. Thanks for reading everyone hope you enjoyed it. Now go crush your goals.
My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.