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7 Inconvenient Truths About Fitness

Remember those episodes of sitcoms where they took a load of clips from previous episodes, filmed a few minutes of new material as a framing device and then broadcast it as a filler show? That’s kind of what this is. A few ideas that might have become blog posts but never made it. We’re underselling this a bit, but hopefully there’s something here for everyone to disagree with.

1 – At a certain point, how good you look is directly correlated with how boring a life you’re willing to lead.

At the beginning, you can simply add exercise, add protein, add veg, all while making small tweaks to your lifestyle. But eventually it stops being about what you’re willing to do, and becomes about what you’re willing to not do. Are you willing to say no to Thursday evening work drinks, or order salad while you’re friends are munching burgers. Unless you’re genetically gifted or chemically assisted, abs usually come at the expense of fun.

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2 – Not everyone needs to drink in order to have a good time.

A non-drinker will always be the first to inform you of this. However, they’ll often undermine their point by proceeding to be the most boring person in the room.

3 -Getting into truly remarkable shape requires an obsession with every morsel you put in your mouth on a par with, if not equal to, an eating disorder.

That’s not always a bad thing. When done for a specific period of time and with a level of emotional detachment, it can be a powerful and transformative learning experience. But when it becomes a chronic state, creates constant stress and prevents us from having a life outside of the relentless pursuit of a physical ideal, the eating disorder tag becomes more appropriate.

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4 -Due to the constant need for new content and marketing, there’s a massive emphasis on originality in the fitness industry. This is misplaced.

People have been getting in great shape for years, the chance of a trainer actually coming up with a “revolutionary” system or exercise is pretty minimal.

5 – More money is made within the fitness industry from selling courses to trainers than from training the end user (i.e. You).

To maintain demand, there is a lot of pressure on trainers to gain ever more technical knowledge, or at least attend more courses. This can become a pissing contest.

In reality, beyond a certain point, a trainer’s technical knowledge has zero correlation with how successful they are. That doesn’t mean technical knowledge is a bad thing of course, and many trainers are happy to keep learning purely because they love the subject. But with the average client, this high level technical training knowledge is the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

The value that successful trainers provide isn’t their “super secret ab formula.” It’s how they communicate and empathise with their clients. They realise that the service is about the client’s values, not the trainer’s ego.


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6 – Despite looking the part, people who have always naturally been in great shape often don’t make great trainers.

Having said that, a trainer who looks like they don’t train at all is unlikely to inspire confidence.

7 – Occasionally a client comes along who is prepared and motivated to do anything you tell them. If you say “run through that wall”, they’ll say “how many sets?”

These clients are a gift. Their trainer will get amazing results with them. But so would anybody. One way to get incredible results as a trainer is to consistently target and only ever train these clients. The catch is these trainers will never stretch your coaching abilities.

Words by Zack Cahill