By Joan Kent, PhD

Have you heard it? It”™s been around a long time: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

I feel sure whoever came up with that statement — bad grammar and all — never worked in the fitness industry, or as a nutritionist.

How many times have I run into training clients like Kathy the stockbroker? She was a fearless cyclist but, by all accounts, a rather cowardly stock broker.

Or Debra, a sugar addict whose lack of progress in our weight-loss program made the supervisor say, “I don”™t understand. She trains well.” For this client, training was the easy part. Not only was she accustomed to working out regularly, she was down for the intense workouts, too. Nutrition, on the other hand, was her challenge.

Debra was conscientious about her workouts because she”™d been using them for years to compensate for bad food habits and her sugar addiction. She was trying to burn all those excess sugar calories in tough fitness classes.

If the how-you-do-anything cliché were actually true, why would these two clients do one thing so well, but not another?

Where There”™s No Law, There”™s No Freedom
(Apologies to John Locke)

Rachel was a successful attorney and a partner in a thriving law firm. She was less successful at creating healthful meals, at least at first. She did get on the right nutrition track pretty easily, but exercise was the tougher obstacle.

You might wonder how someone who could get into a good law school, make it all the way through, pass the notoriously difficult California bar exam, and become a successful lawyer could possibly have difficulty fitting exercise into her life.

But it had never been part of her life before, so it was completely new. The idea of making time for it was new. Prioritizing it, working her appointments around her exercise session, even waking up a few minutes earlier to squeeze a modified workout into her busy day — were all new.

Rachel didn”™t seem to see that she could use the same skills she”™d used her entire professional life to launch her fitness “career.”

In fact, when she started working on a new case and knew her schedule would be hectic for at least 6 weeks, her plan was … to skip her workouts till that hectic time was over.

Rachel had no clear picture of the impact those 6 sedentary weeks would have had on her fitness. You can”™t take 6 weeks off and expect to pick up where you left off when you quit. You”™ll end up starting from square one, especially in the early stages of a fitness program.

We did finally get Rachel”™s fitness program solidly entrenched in her schedule, but it was slow going. She started with one day a week, and occasionally a second. Moving to 3 days a week — the minimum for fitness maintenance — took a long time. But she did it and got results.

Perhaps you have participants who are doing similar things. Part 2 will cover a final extreme example and some suggestions for how to use this info to advantage.

Joan Kent

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