Two Women Talking about Getting in Shape

I’ve written before about trips to a posh leisure club and this weekend I visited one again. I like to go sometimes in the winter for the relaxation side of health & fitness when it’s not so easy to lie in one’s own garden and feel the heat from the sun or sit by the beach and feel the breeze off the sea. These places are great if I find a good one with a variety of heated, dry, steamy, salty and mentholated rooms to lie down in and if I get a Jacuzzi and powerful jets to massage my legs and back then that’s ace for me!

So the usual script when I go is to visit the gym for 45-60mins and have a playful workout. I don’t let rip and seek to IMPROVE my fitness in there because when I’m IMPROVING my fitness those sessions are accompanied by noises suggesting pain, a lot of panting and on a few occasions a collapsed mess on the floor. I don’t like to do that in the posh leisure club because it doesn’t fit in, it wouldn’t be approved of and I can understand how it could be intimidating for ‘lesser stags’ in the same room (I love that phrase which I’m eternally grateful to White Goodman for) so I use my own gym for that type of work. Then, after I’ve got a bit of a swell on my chest, back and arms I strut through the pool area and move to relax in the areas mentioned above.

It was in one of these rooms that the purpose of this article unfolded. I’m sat there enjoying the heat when two women walk in; just regular women – I won’t describe them in any way other than they were just a couple of nice pleasant ladies probably in their mid thirties. They begin to talk….

“Weight loss…calories…fitness…yoga…kettlebells…juicing…Pilates…Zumba…workout DVD in the lounge…”

I’m sure this conversation, whether you are a man or a woman, is one that is not particularly new to your ears and you may have it a heard a hundred times before as have I only probably a lot more times than a hundred. It now becomes a little more difficult for me to relax because I’m being pushed back into work mode and wanting to step in with a helpful word or two but I take stock of why I am there and refrain. I am trying to relax.

Anyway, I continue to listen (it’s impossible not to in such a small, quiet room of course) and I’m praying for one of them to say something that allows me to think they have some small chance of achieving their goal of getting in shape and losing the weight they want to. Nothing though is giving me any hope. They’re rattling off a million variables of diets, workout classes and exercise machines as they search for the one that will give them what they desire and all the while I’m thinking ‘no no no no no no no you are missing the point’.

And then….BINGO! One of them said it!

“I’ve been going to Taekwondo classes recently.”

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Now whether you’re singing like the angels or whining with a twang like Sean Ryder, the moment of joy is the same. She’s got it! The girl’s nailed it with this one. I’ve now got hope for her because she’s started something that will give her the opportunity to IMPROVE herself. She is attending a class where she will be learning to move FORWARD in an environment with others sharing the same goals of wanting to better themselves. She’s learning discipline, accountability to others and a new skill which she is going to feel awesome about. She may go on to compete and to feel so much self worth that her life will improve in lots of other areas too. And what will be the side effect of all these ace parts in her life that she’s improving? She’s going to lose a load of body fat and get in shape! Wahoo! Go girl! You Rock!

I am so, so sorry to report though that then she goes and blows it. As she continues her story of all manner of cures for her belly fat reduction she delivers the blow to my heart that sends me crashing to the floor narrowly missing my head on the hot stones.

“…but I’m going to stop.”
“Oh why?” the friend says, “That’s a shame.”
“Because it’s getting too hard.”

I sigh! As another piece of my soul is punched and kicked while I’m lay on the floor I stumble to stand on my weary legs.

“It was fun at first but now he’s increasing the pressure and he’s starting to grade us which is bad for your self esteem so I’m giving up.”

Please stop talking lady, please. I’m almost in tears. This is so upsetting. Do you not realise how close you are? Do you not realise that you have the answer in the palm of your hands and you are about to throw it all away just because you have met PRESSURE?

Pressure: wonderful, exhilarating, exciting, happiness-giving pressure!

If only you could see that if you TRY to better yourself then you just might succeed. You have to fail on your journey to the promised land. You have to fail at an attempt to be graded. You have to fail at multiple attempts after that. You have to keep failing and failing but by trying and trying then you WILL get to where you want to be.

And that is what I believe is a perfect illustration of why very, very few people succeed with their goals and ambitions be that in weight loss, fitness or any other areas in life. The moment that something becomes uncomfortable is the time that most people stop pushing forward. I see this time and time again in a gym setting and you must understand that if you are not pushing forward then you are staying where you are or even going backwards.

Now you don’t have to compete in Taekwondo and you don’t have to compete in other sports but what you do have to do is attempt to improve. Take a look at your own routine in the gym. What do you do?

If you only attend classes that do not track progress?
You are stagnating.
If you only perform the same programme(s) time and again without pushing boundaries?
You are stagnating.
If you failed to set and you are not working towards targets?
You are stagnating.


If you regularly seek to better what you have accomplished in previous sessions?
You are improving.
If you work at your own programme either on your own or with a coach that monitors your progress?
You are improving.
If you are consistently working towards a target?
You are improving.

It is much the easier option to stay in your comfort zone because you won’t fail and you won’t get hurt but you will not get to where you want to be. You can’t buy your result and I can’t give it to you. If you just take the risk and dare to step into pastures new then I guarantee the grass is 100% greener and the enjoyment you get will be immeasurable.

Take the risk and experience the thrill of the ride for it is your journey that you are living for and not the destination.