Sitting down in the hairdressers chair I looked through my pinterest board and wondered “Can my hairdresser make me look Jen Aniston?” This thought was followed by my own experience working with clients many of whom sit down in my office and ask me to make them skinny or I want the body of Zac Efron in Baywatch or a VS model. I knew the answer the hairdresser was going to give me as I have given the same answer to my clients, NO! Jen Aniston’s hair is different to mine, it may take differently to colour, have a different texture and skin tone. So instead, Clodagh my hairdresser suggests several colours and styles to suit me.
The same principle can be applied to you. So your friend Mary is on the X diet and she has lost 10lbs in a month but it hasn’t worked for you. This is a regular complaint I hear when clients come to the gym. Comparison is the thief of joy- T. Roosevelt. By comparing yourself to someone else or an ideal in your head you take away from the success you have achieved by yourself in your way!
When it comes to weight-loss and fitness goals it is important to make decisions based on what works for you. There will always be a Joe on Instagram who can power through 20 pushups without breaking a sweat. Or there’s a Mary who has tried diet X and looks AMAZING. Beginners need to look beyond the end game, past what others are doing and focus on what they can do now or change now to get results. Of course it is good to have the motivation to get into the best shape of your life but constantly staring and wishing to look like Mila Kunis may in fact be your downfall.
“But you make it look easy” or “You can do 20 pushups and I can only do 1,” is usually followed by “am I that bad?” or “why should I bother?” Let me give you a personal example, I am trying to play tag rugby. Basketball has always been my sport and I can pass a ball full court, bounce a ball between defenders and pass off one hand with great success. So I thought in order to pass the ball in tag I just need to move my body & hands in the direction I want it to go. I rock up to training and see people passing with ease off both sides with very little body movement. The coach was showing us how to pass the ball, talking and moving with no change in technique. I was slow, inaccurate and as soon as I started talking I lost technique.
Now instead of giving up, I had to understand that the some of my teammates played rugby or had more experience than I did. My goal was not to be as good as my teammates but to be better every time I pass. The same can be said for Mary; Mary’s diet might work for her because her activity level or diet might have been poor before she started. Joe your office buddy might be a long time gym member and you might never have stepped in the gym.
If I was to say “Mary, your office buddy Joe is doing 20 pushups every session and you are only doing 1” every time she came in for a workout, how do you think Mary would feel? For the majority of people comparisons are energy zapping, discouraging and just inefficient. There will always be the competitive type, who love hearing what others are doing and trying to beat them but they are the exceptions, usually already active and on the right track.
To be successful in your goals, find what works for you. Make comparisons with yourself e.g. Last week I got 6 squats but today I got 10. This way you can see your own progress, put energy into improving yourself instead of losing energy thinking “why can’t I be Mary?”. When I take body measurements during the initial consultation clients worry about what it is now and how does that compare to the norm? My response is simple “This is your starting point, to get to your goal you need to be within this range, our next target is x.” By making the information personal and breaking it down into smaller goals the process becomes about the client and allows the client to focus on themselves.
Take pride in your efforts, focus on what you want to achieve and keep working. Have fun with it, nothing just like me with trying to pass the ball, as frustrating as it is that the ball wont do what I want it to do all the time, its getting easier and I’m enjoying the process. So what if others can pass 20m easy, I’ll get 10m then 15m and hopefully 20!
Take home message- ‘Just do what works for you, because there will always be someone who thinks differently” Michelle Obama.