Fear of Loss, Not Success is the True Motivator

January 8, 2018

While scrolling your timeline you may occasionally come across a post of an extremely fit senior lifting weights or doing something exceptional for their age. It's often accompanied with a motivational or "no excuses" quote. Comments are riddled with people who say they are inspired and hope to be like that when they age. While these posts are certainly motivational, I find they are not what truly invokes most people to change. A much more powerful motivator is fear of loss.

 

Look at the majority of most people approaching 50 and 60 and you'll find those who struggle with things that were once taken for granted. That walk or bike ride is now limited by knee or back pain. The result of years of degeneration from either the lack of exercise or an extreme version of it (e.g. sports; competitive fitness). That fear is what brings people to seek our assistance. The most common response I get from clients is "I wish I found you sooner." Me too, but, unfortunately that's usually not human nature. We don't appreciate things until they are gone. The wearing away of cartilage and joints don't happen overnight. HOW you exercise matters. Walking, biking, gardening are things we associate with being active, but those things alone are not strategic ways to improve your body. You need strong muscles and healthy joints in order to enjoy those things. Youth often gives us enough to tolerate that to some extent. We must optimize that gift. Therefore, resistance training should be a precursor to recreational activity not a progression from it.

 

Because we have such a stereotype of what weight lifting is or should be we think backwards. The old lady deadlifting does not mean you should start with olympic lifts for a better functioning body. "Real People",as I call them, need to be cared for as individuals. Each person should have their own set of rules with exercise. The rules shouldn't be in place before hand. The body is far too complex to make generalized protocols.

 

I fear the current trend of extreme fitness is pushing those who really need help away and the worsening epidemic of obesity and arthritic conditions is evidence of that. Trainers are learning "rope slam" and "box jumping" routines before knowing what joints do or where one muscle attaches on the body. That's unfortunate, but we will continue to preach for the road less traveled because that's the road most "real people" need, which will be realized when the fear of loss kicks in.

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