Balancing Mind and Body
Throughout history, much of our knowledge has been passed down in the form of stories. To really get the message home of how important the mind and body balance is I will continue that tradition. Hundreds of years ago, most people stank. If you were lucky, the tin bath may come out once a week and the poor soul to get in last usually came out dirtier than they went in.
Back then hygiene was actually a luxury and the average person did not have access to clean, running water with the ability to heat it and enjoy a warm bath at the end of a busy day. People were dirty most of the time, had very few clothes and being clean was not something available to the masses.
Fast forward to present day and we are absolutely inundated with ways of presenting ourselves – Clothes, Make up, Perfumes, Aftershave, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Manicures and pedicures, Beauty treatments Cosmetic surgery and so on.
Now what we have is millions of people spending a huge amount of time and money looking good. In fact, some people actually spend HOURS in the morning looking and smelling good before they leave the house. Only to leave the house carrying the anger from yesterday, the same self-doubt that has been with them for years and an anxiety over what today may bring from a world of possibilities. You see, we have mastered looking good.
My job is feeling good, based on thinking good. So now we have set the scene and built our little paper aeroplane I am going to target it straight at the fitness industry. There is such a huge misconception in modern day that looking good = feeling good.
I have even had clients that hate themselves and will only ever be happy when they look a certain way. These were there exact words and something that I have experience several times. My job is very simple. I understand human behaviour and use my knowledge and experience to help people move from largely unconscious habits, beliefs, desires and reactions, to implementing choices and taking back control. The bigger field would be awareness, as you cannot change that which you have no idea exists and only react to how you feel once it has happened.
Do you MIND?
So, what do I see in this fitness industry that is so full of potential and slowly drifting into an abyss? Firstly, how absolutely essential it is for ANY coach to have at least a basic grasp of mindset. While those who would benefit from it the most, actually have the most resistance to it, it is important to understand we are talking the nuts and bolts of who you are as a person. If you struggle with confidence – mind If you struggle with your business – mind If relationships are an issue – mind If your health is all over the place – mind Who you are as a person comes from your beliefs and we end up reacting to how we feel based on what we just did and wished we hadn’t, or what we really wanted to do and yet did not have the courage for.
So, let me elaborate one the above and bring some clarity.
"Your brain is hard-wired for survival, not happiness and not even health".
We have an in-built negativity bias to rapidly learn from things that could harm us in order to keep us safe. Doubt in your ability is because your brain works hard to achieve a comfort zone and keep you in the middle of it. Any deviation from this is met with massive resistance as it could be a threat and even risk death. When one situation has caused you to feel that you are not enough, embarrassed, rejected, or a failure your brain process your physiology in that moment and connects it to the raw experience. It will then never place you anywhere near that again. This is how a fear of public speaking is uploaded as a child and can stay for life unless challenged. Why? Because I had a fear of public speaking and now talk at conferences and I am no different to anyone reading this.
There are rarely any business problems. Most of the time there is doubt, fear of failure and livening in the problem state of what could go wrong so often that our thought now lead to inaction in case we appear as a failure to our peers and somebody says something.
We do not attract to us what we want, but who we are. For many people that sentence explains the last 10-20 years of their life. Often, we look for another person to add to what is broken, to fix us, to fill the void and complete us. The danger here is that until we can love ourselves as we are right now and unconditionally then we do not give permission for anyone else to be able to do the same and the cycle continues. A huge aspect of my work is the relationship to the person in the mirror. When you will only be happy with a 6 pack, lower numbers on the scales, when you can fit in to that dress, or those jeans, and when you can finally accept how you look then consider what you have just directly said about your life – I will only be happy when I have this and as I do not have it yet, I am left with misery until I achieve it. Not a very empowering path to walk for anyone I am sure you will agree.
As someone who trained for the best part of 28 years and has worked with over 10,000 people I have develop some good spidey senses. What I see on a daily basis in the health and fitness industry is quite worrying on many levels. There is an influx of people wrongly convinced that health and happiness is a great shop window, but they forget to buy carpet, furniture and put the heating on so the house is bare and un-liveable. This happens when we believe that the sum total of our existence is what we see in the mirror and that the best version of that is to be like the people on the magazines that represent health. What they fail to realise is that many people on this path look like that for a certain amount of days in the year – namely competitions and photo shoots –some down a bucket of KFC afterwards based on being starved, dehydrated and close to exploding. They risk mental health issues, metabolic damage, digestive health problems and serious psychological problems.
Many people step up to prove a point. They had low self-esteem, doubts and a lack of self-worth. Let me prove how good I am by getting on stage and having my entire world come down to the random numbers assigned by judges that know nothing about me and an audience that will know 2 minutes of my life and nothing of who I am deep down as a person. Personally, I see the above as a huge problem for a lot of people. Now I am all for people training, lifting, eating well, managing stress and enjoying life. Why I am throwing the cautionary spanner at this machine is just in case you are doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. When we set out to prove a point, prove people wrong, there is sibling rivalry, peer pressure, or to get revenge on the doubters, we walk a very toxic path. I have seen so many people that look “healthy” and are anything but. It took me a very long time to realise that mental health is health and that is why I do what I do.
There is a worrying underground training movement of self-destruction, narcissism, competition, annihilation and beating down anyone that is not in your group. We have personal trainers at war with themselves and everyone else and then wonder why they have no clients. We have coaches that can only focus on what is wrong and make a play out of everything that pings their radar and they wonder why life is hard. We have athletes that have changed outside many times and failed to realise inside was in need of attention in order to restore balance.
I speak on this with a degree of authority, as I would train up to 5 hours a day and reached international level in several fields. I could do some pretty crazy stuff and had many party tricks for the audiences. Luckily, I sit here typing this relatively able-bodied, injury free, psychologically balanced and at peace.
The key message for those of you reading – you do not have to run down a path for 20 years and hit your face square on a brick wall, if you have a good idea that is where you are going to end up. I hardly train at present. When I do train I have no program and it is for fun. I also have an MSc in strength and conditioning so that helps deflect any Bro-arrows fired.
Let the noise in your head fade away and see what is left. What do you want from life? What are you fears? What are your goals? Are they for you and adding to your life? What would life be like once they are achieved? Is it worth the journey invested? It is only when we are honest that we can use this awareness in a very powerful way. When you are pushed and pulled by the opinions of other people then your goals will reflect that and you will never be at peace. There will be massive discomfort inside, as you cannot lie to yourself as a conscious entity. It takes huge strength to walk from the crowd and stand out as an individual, confident that you are enough, have value, have nothing to prove and can be at peace with this new lifestyle.