No, You Are Not Failing (Even When You Think You Are)
Failing – it’s a scary word.
Lately I’ve increasingly noticed people telling me why they’re failing. I thought I’d pick my favourite 5 and let you know how I feel about them.
1. I’m Failing Because … I’m the Most Unfit Person in the Class.
If you are doing intense cardio properly, I don’t care who you are, you are going to struggle! When I first started doing ICE (Intense Cardio Exercise), I struggled to get through it. In fact, I still struggle to get through it. Now that’s not because the sessions are harder, it’s because I am fitter and stronger and I push myself more. You will always find an ICE session hard and feel like you are unfit. But that’s the point! If they are easy, your are doing it wrong!
2. I’m Failing Because … I Had 3 Cheat Meals Last Week
“I had more cheat meals than I should’ve had this week”. Our minds always want to focus on the negative. Why? (Who the hell knows, it just does! Just look at what is always the lead news story each night). So, while our minds have been focusing on the negative, the cheat meals, we have conveniently forgotten about all the great meals we had over the week. What about them? Do they not count?
You are not failing if you have one or two more cheat meals then you had allocated for yourself. Shit happens. That is not enough to make all the weight pile back on, or for you to say “stuff it, I’ll re-start next week”. Focus on what you did right and learn from this little mishap and improve next week’s effort. And remember the most important thing of all – you can NEVER be perfect. Sure, aim for perfection, but strive for progress.
3. I’m Failing Because … I Can’t Get Through a Hard Weights Session
Weight training is hard. It’s very taxing on the body and takes a lot of energy and concentration. Sometimes you may pull up sore, find yourself fatiguing quicker than normal, or not quite hitting the level you achieved the previous week. What a disaster! This happens a lot. There are so many factors that could contribute to this so it’s completely unfair to belt yourself up over it. Did you sleep well the day before? Did you do any physical exercise you don’t usually do? Did you eat enough food? Did you drink enough water? Are you just fatigued from a hard workout? The list could go on and on.
Sometimes you just need to listen to your body and stop. It does not mean you are failing. If this happens at your next workout and the one after, then we need to address it. This pattern you’re developing is telling you you may need to adjust your workouts, your sleep patterns, your food intake, your water intake. Again the list goes on and is the reason why recording data such as food, sleep, water is vital (check out the blog Secret Code to Weight Loss’). Maybe the days or the exercises themselves need to be adjusted. But this still doesn’t mean you’re failing!
4. I’m Failing Because … My Old (insert injury here) is Playing Up and I’m Not Going to be Able to do Anything.
Almost every person I know has some kind of injury. Whether it’s something they know about and pops back up every now and then, or it’s one that has just appeared. This is no reason to stress. There is always something you can do. In all my time as a trainer I’ve never been told by a physio that a client could not do anything. Never!
Every client I’ve ever had has been able to do something. Yes, it may be a little trial and error to work that out. Yes, it may be a pain in the arse until you get it right. But you can still do something.
You have a back problem and can’t get on the ground to do push up’s? Fine, do them on the wall.
You have a shoulder injury and can’t hold a barbell? Fine, use dumbbells.
I always get clarification from a health professional (physiotherapist, chiropractor, etc.) before we do anything, but there is always something you can do. And we all know that if we are moving our bodies and eating good food – we are on the right path.
5. I’m Failing Because … I’ve Stopped Changing
This one is so common it’s not even funny!
The big question is – who said you’ve stopped changing?
You are the last person who should be trusted to make a fair judgement on your own progress. Remember our brains favour the negative, so of course we think we’ve stopped changing.
Think about how often we notice others in the gym, but not ourselves. So, the chances are you are completely wrong!
I’ve even have one client tell me, “I’ve stopped losing weight, but my clothes fit differently.” My response, “isn’t that telling you something?” (plus that’s another story for another time - weight loss v fat loss).
You are not failing if you think you have stopped changing, because the chances are very high you are wrong!
Now, on the other side – what if you have taken photos, got your DEXA scan done and you really have stopped changing?
You’re still not failing! All this means is you need to look at your habits. Have you started to eat anything different? Have you changed your exercise program?
It is possible something is just not clicking and you need to tighten up on some bad habits which have crept back in? (There it is again - the need for data). Remember it’s always going to be a work in progress to get to where you want to be and stay there. It’s a journey, not a destination.
The biggest lesson I wanted to get across is that failing is none of these things. These are all just negative thoughts we let ourselves dwell on. They are just small bumps in the road that need to be adjusted in order for us to move one.
What is Failing?
Failing is quitting.
Failing is giving up.
Failure is throwing in the towel and saying, “it’s all just too hard”. “I’m doing OK for my age”. “I’m not that bad”.
We all allow our negative thoughts to creep into our minds from time to time…even me. But if you are still on that journey to improve how you look, function, and feel, no matter how bumpy it may be, you are never failing.