Fitness is an individual journey. The desire to embark on it must come from within. It is important to understand the essence of internal motivation from the start, without which achieving long-term results will simply be impossible. To make life easier, you can join a proven path of behaviors, but that does not guarantee success in itself. You still have to experiment and take responsibility for what you do.
People starting their journey with diet and exercise are certainly thinking about how to maximize their chances of success – what to do to achieve the best possible results.
It’s not about a standard “individual” training program and diet, but rather a more holistic understanding of your own fitness journey.
This starting point is quite crucial because it determines where attention and hope will be focused. There is a risk that they will be directed to the wrong areas.
A beginner may heavily rely on a trainer, supplements, a magical diet, or a special training program that they managed to find and which promised them quick and amazing results.
My experience indicates that the key to success lies elsewhere, much closer than you think. The art is not so much in finding it, but in using it skillfully.
Role of basics
My approach to diet and training evolves over the years and I consider this natural. However, what doesn’t change is my belief in the importance of fitness basics.
There is a certain canon of behaviors related to nutrition and exercise that serve as an almost essential starting point and a solid strategy for the first years of a fitness journey.
There are many factors that affect your results in the gym, and you may not have full control over all of them. However, generally speaking, nothing will generate results for you like sticking to the basics over the long term.
It seems to me that people are looking for something more sexy right from the start, partly because the fitness industry itself has to constantly conjure up new ideas by repackaging diets and training styles, but that’s a topic for another time.
Somewhat paradoxically, the basics will give you a lot, but they won’t take you as far in your fitness journey as you potentially can go. There comes a point when it’s worth experimenting with diet and training, but completely ignoring the basics is not recommended.
The element of individualism
Over time, by listening to and watching several fitness content creators whose approach I respect, I have come to realize that although my fundamentalism of “stick to the basics for results” is not essentially wrong, it limits the entire fitness journey in terms of both experience and results.
In other words, there is more to try and gain.
The evolution of my position is also influenced, I think, by the fact that my own tenure in fitness is growing. At the time of writing this, it is already objectively not insignificant (although still not huge), and as a result, my view of the whole journey is much clearer. I better see what really matters and what to focus on.
Indeed, there are proven fundamentals, but that doesn’t mean you have to blindly stick to them forever without paying attention to anything else.
After mastering them, individual experimentation begins – I like to call it playing with sliders – to see what works, gives you the most satisfaction, and perhaps also helps you progress over a longer period of time.
Going through a set program is not a guarantee of success. Combining things to continue growing is a necessity at some point.
When practicing fitness, you move through a certain canyon, but it is very wide and many paths lead through it. You color inside the frame, but the style, palette, brushes, line thickness, and other factors depend on you.
There are solid, confirmed principles, but their individual interpretation over time is actually recommended. You have to take a significant amount of responsibility for your fitness success.
What does all of this mean in practice? Using my own example, I am currently implementing a program aimed at improving the weak points of my physique.
After achieving overall satisfactory results so far, I realized that if I want to take my form to the next level, I have to think specifically about my situation and not stick to the same program for another year or follow someone else’s recommended training plans.
This is precisely that individualism and responsibility I am talking about.
I thought that, given the main theme of this post, it’s worth mentioning the trainer-client relationship, even though I don’t usually write about personal training on this blog.
When starting a collaboration, both sides of this relationship should make sure they understand and fulfill their roles properly.
What does that mean?
In my opinion, a trainer is more of a mentor and guide than a guarantee of results, and the client should still demand more from themselves. In my eyes, a meal plan, counting sets and reps, and handing over dumbbells is not personal training, and I have the impression that this is often the case based on visiting 20 gyms in Poznań. At the same time, I admit that I may not see everything that happens along this line outside the gym, so I may be wrong, but many people seem to simply hire a workout partner.
At the same time, thinking that having a trainer is a huge part of the work to be done and a guarantee of results is a mistake.
Both sides can and should do more for the success of the project of improving the physique. At the end of the day, however, the client should take greater responsibility and initiative, understanding that fitness is their own personal journey, which no one else will undertake for them.
The reflections contained in this post are aimed more at people who are not complete beginners, but even they can keep them in mind for the future.
Mastering the training canon is still the best thing you can do to maximize your chances of success, but you should keep an open mind.
No extreme is good – neither complete rigidity nor constantly seeking new solutions.
Fitness dogmatism will not help you achieve your best results. At the same time, completely abandoning the principles will have the same effect.
Awareness is the key, you need to know what and why you are doing it. You must remember that fitness is your individual journey that no one will take for you.
A trainer can point you in the right direction and provide knowledge and guidance, but ultimately the work is yours to do. My fitness journey and yours will not be the same.
At the end of the day, you will have to determine what you are capable of doing long-term, what brings you the most enjoyment, what produces the best results, and what you want to achieve with it all – what your ultimate goals are in a sense.
Fitness is a way to rediscover your body, improve your relationship with it, and make mental changes, certain reevaluations. You can and should seek help from someone who has gone much further down this path than you, but ultimately, the responsibility for success rests with you.
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