Imagine you have the best program on the planet. Maybe it's the program that Angelina Jolie used for Tomb Raider or the one that Brad Pitt used for Troy. What do you think will happen if you follow it half ass? Think you’ll get the results of Angelina or Brad? Nope, you’ll get half-ass results… Even a bad program followed consistently will yield a better result than an amazing program followed poorly.
When it comes to starting a new training program, we need to place as much of an emphasis on the psychological as well as the physical. Everyone likes to focus on “What exercise do I do?” or “What foods should I eat?” But those are only good questions if you’re actually going to follow through… Why is it so hard to follow through? You KNOW it’s a good idea to exercise. You KNOW it’ll give you the confidence you’re looking for. You also know that NOT doing it won’t change a damn thing, so why are you still having a hard time??
- Lack the education
- Lack the self-control
- Lack the environment
I like to use the metaphor: The Rider, the Elephant and the Path. I wish I could take credit for this but alas, I borrowed it from the awesome book “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. If it’s not on your shelf yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up.
The Rider is our analytical, controlled and rational side we all have inside of us. For example, you probably know & understand that trans fats are awful for you. If something has trans fats in it, you shouldn’t eat it. You also know that calling your ex after 6 or so beers isn’t a great idea either. Nothing good will come from either of those situations (in the long term anyway); Simple logic right? Well, those things are simple enough for the Rider. The rider responds to data and logic.
The Elephant on the other hand, is the emotional, automatic and often irrational side we ALSO have inside of us. We know those trans fats are terrible for us. If something has trans fats in it, we shouldn’t eat it. It’s an absolutely rational thought. Buuuuuuutt, what if we’ve had piss poor sleep, we woke up late, we missed breakfast and now there’s a birthday at work and Susie brought in maple glazed donuts! What if it’s 2am and we’re 12 beers deep and cruising social media only to see our ex with some chump? Try telling the Elephant not to send that text message. You get the picture.
When the rational rider and the emotional 6 ton elephant disagree, guess who wins?
Ultimately, the Rider and the Elephant will be the things that directly impact our decisions. However, the last piece of the puzzle is the Path. Even if the Rider and the Elephant are in agreement, they still need a little guidance on how to get to their destination. When the Rider and the Elephant move together on the same Path, change can come easily. The Path could be as simple as preparing meals ahead of time or deleting your ex’s number from your phone. It could be planning how to respond in social situations. You know, like when Lil Jon appears out of nowhere and wants you to do some SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS!!!!!!….WHAT? YEAH! OK!!!!
How you’ve planned and prepared will put you on the right “Path” to success. When you know that it’s Jonny’s Cakeface’s birthday and there’s going to be treats in the office, have a protein shake ready and drink that first! Shape the Path by keeping protein powder in your drawer at work or in the break-room. The Rider knows it’s a good idea and the Elephant will be more satisfied. When you have a Path (Think of it as a plan), both the Rider and Elephant can work together much easier.
So how can you apply this to your training at Axistence??
The key word in the question is “Training”. At Axistence Athletics, we create programs, we don’t write workouts. It’s much easier to skip a workout than it is to skip a day of your training program, especially if you have a specific goal that your training program is leading up to. You all came in here with a goal and the program set forth will allow you to achieve that goal. For a small percentage of the population, the drive to achieve comes from the Rider. The Rider knows that training consistently will yield the results they’re looking for. These are the folks that thrive in fitness competitions, be that bodybuilding, CrossFit or even Obstacle Course Races (OCRs). These folks make up about 1 to 5% of the population. Their Rider creates the Path and their Elephant happily goes along for the ride.
For us mortals, it’s our Elephants and our Paths that could use some work. Let’s start with our Elephant. If he's not on board, we might as well be pissing in the wind. If you’re not emotionally connected to your goal, your Elephant won’t budge. So ask yourself WHY. WHY do you want this? Now ask yourself again, WHY. Do it again? Are you getting different answers? You should be.
Here’s what I mean in an example:
Goal: I want to lose 20lbs
WHY? Because I want to feel better
WHY do you want to feel better? Because I don’t feel good with this extra 20lbs.
WHY don’t you feel good with an extra 20lbs? Well, I tried to do the Incline and I actually had to turn around half way through because I knew I couldn’t make it.
WHY do you want to do the Incline? Because I want to be able to take my kids with me on hikes and show them all the cool shit that Colorado has to offer and I want to be an example to them.
Boom! You’ve found your WHY. You don’t want to lose 20lbs to feel a little better. You want to do it because you want to be a good example for your family. Now your Elephant is listening.
You know and understand that eating better and exercising is paramount to you achieving your goal right? Both your Rider and your Elephant are on board. Now what does your Path look like?
At Axistence, one of our goals is not only to shape the Path for you but also to give you the education to appeal to the Rider. We don’t just want you to eat your veggies but we want you to be aware that they’re full of phytonutrients and antioxidants that will help you perform to your max potential in the training center. We don’t just want you to do 20 minutes of step-ups to watch you sweat. We want you to do 20 minutes of step-ups, developing the mental toughness and leg endurance you’ll need on the mountain. We want to fuel your Rider with knowledge.
We’ll also ask you those (sometimes not so fun) WHY questions. If you’ve ever sat down for a 1 on 1 goal setting session, you know that these can get a little emotional. That’s ok. We’re trying to find out what motivates your Elephant. If you want to tell us that’s awesome, but if not, as long as YOU know your WHY, we’re cool with that too.
After the Rider and the Elephant are on board, it’s time for us to help you shape your Path. All you have to do is show up and the training program is set forth. The COMMUNITY will help you along the way when things get tough. The ADVENTURE will fuel your spirit...
Through our core values of Education, Community and Adventure, we hope to be able to speak to the Rider & the Elephant as well as help you shape your Path so that your goals are met with as little resistance as possible.
Still trying to figure out how to help get the Elephant on board? Looking for more education for your Rider? Would you like more accountability so you stay on the Path? Email us and let’s set up a time to sit down and help develop the plan that will help you achieve the results you’re looking for! In the meantime, download our free eBook on Training for Adventure.
Cheers to crushing goals my friends,