The Ignite Guideline Series – #4

Be Open Minded

Our human brains are hard-wired to be negative.  There are even scientific studies about this.  Our cave man ancestors needed to know how to spot poisonous plants and avoid dangerous predators more than they needed to know which berries tasted better.  Focusing on the negative was important because it kept them alive.  But that negative mental bias didn’t leave our DNA.  Even though we are way past those primitive days, we are still more easily inclined to participate in and display negative behaviors.

Which is why maintaining an open mind when you start Fitness is essential.

Being open-minded will do more than positively impact your performance in the gym.  (Although it will do that, too.)  By maintaining a positive attitude you’ll see finishing a hard workout as a success, it’ll be easier to stay motivated in attaining your goals, and you’ll have more confidence in what you once thought was impossible.  Plus, practicing a positive attitude will also make you a more enjoyable classmate for the athletes around you.  Maintaining an open mind will help you focus on your opportunity to improve weaknesses when a hard workout shows up, instead of just complaining about how difficult it is.  It also helps to ask about the “why’s” behind the workouts, so you understand why we do the movements we do.

I won’t sugar coat it.  Fitness is hard.  Sometimes it’s really hard.  The saying is “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you” for a reason.  You won’t find rows of shiny machines in our gym.  The equipment we use is mobile on purpose.  Life is not stationary or predictable.  There will be days when you’ll have to use a lighter weight than you want to, or you’ll have to modify a movement that you were able to do with ease last week.  Or you just honestly won’t be able to finish a workout.  You will have days when the workout gets the best of you.  It’s easy to fall into the blame-game trap and mistake missed goals as failures.  Re-train yourself to seek out more optimistic language.  Instead of talking about how much the workout sucked, congratulate yourself on finishing it.  Positive self-talk only needs to be genuine.

We don’t do any “10 pounds in 10 days” challenges in our gym, because we know those are gimmicks and not proven techniques that increase the quality of your life.  They don’t bring lasting results because the original goal is to just lose 10 pounds in 10 days.  But, what happens when you lose the first 10 pounds?  What if that’s the only weight you have to lose?  What happens if you only lose 5 pounds in 10 days?  Our coaches know that creating a list of small, easily attainable goals to begin with, will help you maintain your positive attitude because you have already seen success.  So they know that when you hit a rough patch, you won’t become frustrated and throw in the towel.

By attending regular classes and following the advice of the coaches, you will continue to improve.  And as your proficiency increases, so will your confidence.  We all feel good when we have confidence in what we’re doing.  And knowing the ropes automatically makes what you’re doing more enjoyable – even if it’s difficult.  Remember, these are group classes you’re taking.  Completing these workouts together is a bonding experience.  Your classmates are doing a workout that is JUST as hard as yours.  Are they smiling and cheering each other on?  Can you tell they’re having fun?  Great!!  Follow their lead and see the fun in the fellowship of doing it as a team.

Being open minded doesn’t mean that you’ll never hit a roadblock.  Or that you will be a constant ray of sunshine.  You’re human.  Instead of getting down on yourself because you may not have performed as well as you’d like, make sure to pat yourself on the back and acknowledge that you showed up and tried.  You’ll get there.  And we’ll help you.

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