Guest Contributor: Noel Flynn from ABC GYM
As I write this post it is Thursday afternoon and I am currently sitting on a flight from Dublin to London. Earlier today, I got quite emotional over a message that I received from one of my clients and I felt compelled to share this message with you. I really think that the story behind the message could really help many men or women that read it.
Recently I completed a course that was delivered by a world-famous strength and condition coach called Mike Boyle. While taking part in this course he said something to me that really hit home with me. “You will pay a huge investment in your health at some point in your life, in one way or another. It could be in medication, doctors fee’s, hospital waiting rooms or surgery. It could be an early funeral or an early visit to the nursing home OR it could be invested in yourself in the form of exercise and healthy nutrition.”
Let me introduce you to Stephen, a client at ABC Gym. I don’t like using the words clients or members because when you spend a few hours a week in the company of somebody that you enjoy or appreciate, the word client or member does not seem to cut it .
Earlier this year, Stephen decided it was time to invest in getting healthy through exercise and nutrition. In the last 9 months he has invested over €1000 on his health, by coming to our gym. To many this sounds like a massive about of money, as most people will look for a €20 a month gym membership, or the fastest route they can find to get results with their fitness and physique. I am going to let you in on a little secret that we in the fitness industry like to hide from you.
There is no fast route, there is no quick fix.
It is time to forget the latest fad. Forget the latest celebrity diet. Forget the latest detox or abs machine you viewed on an infomercial. When it comes to health and fitness, you need to be willing to play the long game rather than the quick fix. We all can give something a go, we all have great intentions at the start but how many of us can sustain that?
In my last blog I spoke about Operation Transformation. In a recent episode, Karl Henry gave Gerald Keane a hard time for going too full on with his fitness plan. While I think Karl could have communicated his feelings to Gerald a bit better, when he told Gerald that he was overdoing things in show 1, I agreed with the sentiment. Yes people need to move more often, exercise more and eat better, Karl was right in that it needs to be sustainable action.
In sports preparation we often worry about over training and often advocate a ‘less is more approach’ to physical training as athletes chase success. Sometimes this same principle applies to your average person’s health and fitness.
If you look at Stephen in the first picture, it took him his whole life to put on the weight but for some reason people think they can lose it overnight. Stephen was different however, he had an incredible personal trait. A trait that would bring success to so many if they possessed it. He had Patience
While the pictures are extremely impressive, it is important that I tell you the story behind them.
When we fail to move our bodies, we lose so many physical competencies. We lose the ability to co-ordinate oneself, to be aware of how to move and how to engage certain muscles. We term this as a lack of body awareness.
I keep saying it, the fitness arena is a scary place for people and for Stephen, like many others, before his first session he was scared. In a way he was right to be because I made the mistake of doing too much with him on day one and he went outside and got sick.
I am always hugely apologetic if somebody gets sick in my gym because pain and sickness are the body telling you it needs protection, it needs to stop. I am not going to go into any science here but if you get sick from exercise the body is literally crying for help and your systems have gone too far and is shutting down. If you feel nauseous it is a warning sign to stop.
While Gerald Keane approached the 2nd episode with contempt having taken the hump with the way Karl Henry spoke to him, Stephen continuously came back to us because of the concern shown on his 1st day.
In 2 years running my gym, I have had 5 people get sick and every time I apologised but too many people think ‘no pain, no gain’. I hate that expression and I will go into that again but do not for one second think that I mean results are easy. They are anything but. It is not easy to be patient. It is not easy to say yes I will train 3 or 4 times a week for the rest of my life.
Why do people yo-yo? People yo-yo because they failed to develop habits. They failed to develop routines that they enjoy and can sustain and when they get impatient they quit. They lower their intensity of effort, often as a result of going too hard with the ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality in the first place and they have not got the physical ability never mind the mental resilience to continue. Quitting and losing patience becomes a whole lot easier.
Why was movement so important to Stephens progress?
We do not want to cause anyone any harm and first your body needs to be able to move well before you can push it, otherwise you risk injury and illness, maybe not in the short term but at some stage.
Be prepared to work, be prepared to face discomfort. There is a difference – discomfort brings growth, growth in fitness and growth in strength but most importantly it brings growth as a person, a growth in how empowered you feel and when you face discomfort and regularly come through, it brings a huge sense of accomplishment and happiness, that could be applied to any area of your life.
As my plane is set to land it dawns on me. I was nervous about a flight for the first time ever and I wondered why? It is my 2nd time heading to London but only my first time flying somewhere without a friend or loved one. I am heading to a fitness seminar for 2 days and I am scared that I won’t be as good as the other guys in the room. That is exactly what Stephen thought when he entered the gym for the first time. Yet look at the journey he went on in the last 8 months or so.
You don’t need to get fit to start in the gym, you need to start in the gym (or whatever you like) to get fit. It is the same in other scenarios and Stephens story has made me realise I do not need to be great as a fitness business owner before I go looking for help in business. So wish me luck, by the time you read this I will be home but hopefully having had a great weekend that will help me in business and in turn help my clients…..for want of a better word !!
Stephens Message to me:
“First week (Picture 1 January) I was in ABC gym and now still in ABC gym (picture 2 September) I think I owe you Noel, Enda and Rory and ABC gym a huge thank you I can’t explain how much your gym has changed me.
The first day I was there, I swore I would never go back the pain I was in but it was the friendly trainer’s and little things like I was outside getting sick (oops sorry Stephen) and you came out to make sure I was alright. I felt like it is not one of these money grabbing gyms these trainer’s care about their clients and that meant so much to me plus the atmosphere in the gym is top class.
it took a lot to go to the gym I was so big I was afraid of what people there would be thinking and saying about the size of me but from the first day I entered ABC gym I felt so welcome and I was so relaxed I said to myself I have now found a gym, that no matter what you were like or how big you were or how unfit you were everybody was treated the same and meant so so much to me I think only for that I would still be a big couch potato so let’s rock on see you tomorrow once again thanks Noel and all your staff
I am so so happy how much work you guys put into me and how much happier I am in myself. In my eyes your gym is the Ferrari of gyms I would highly recommend it to anybody looking for results so once again a big big thanks to all at ABC gym 😀😀😀😀😀😀“
You can follow Noel on Snapchat on @abcgym and on Instagram here.