2615 Park Central Blvd, Decatur, Georgia 30035

Are you handicapping yourself?

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November 5, 2021  Are you handicapping yourself?


Year after year, bootcamp after bootcamp I see the same cycle repeated… campers missing runday Mondays, missing midpoint and/or dropping out of a fitness program before it ends…No matter how many times I see it happen I say the following:

  • This is your fitness journey
  • Trust your trainer and their feedback, they only want to see you win
  • Never compare yourself to others
  • Go at your pace
  • Writing in your meal plan booklet & getting real time feedback will help you reach your goals faster
  • There is always a modification especially for bad knees, etc.
  • Walk, run, jog, whatever you can do
  • PT test is to see where you are and how you can improve on your weaknesses
  • Stay off the scale, the scale is not your friend, it clouds your thinking and sends you back to old habits
  • Finish what you start

During our bootcamp I call clients I haven’t seen in a few days. I love the clients that are transparent when I ask them where have they been. They say, “I lost my motivation, or I am just being lazy”. But that’s not my reality most times. First, no one expects me to call. So, when I call and catch them off guard, they start with multiple excuses. I listen and try to motivate them, and it truly works for some. However, I find that many people are exhibiting self-handicapping behavior and that’s hard to talk someone out of.

Self-handicapping is defined as actions or statements made that allow us to avoid effort or responsibility for fear of potential failures that could damage our self-esteem. It is much more embarrassing and harmful to our self-esteem to put forth effort and fail than it is to self-handicap and have excuses as to why we failed.

See, when we self-handicap, our decisions and actions provide us with a way to internalize success while externalizing failure. In other words, self-handicapping lets us take the credit for our success, while blaming other external factors for our failures. Self-handicapping involves engaging in a behavior known to hurt performance, such as constantly complaining, getting too little sleep, not studying, using a harmful substance, or not working hard.

This past run day I had a client that set in their mind that they were going to end at a certain point and when I asked them to go all the way to the light, they started to cry, complaining of this and that. When she finished the last part, which only took her 5 minutes, she was still crying. This is a pattern I find her doing on outdoor days however on indoor days she’s a beast. So, as she was crying, I turned her towards the hospital and said, they are lots of people in there that can not even walk to look out the window, there are also many people who are not breathing on their own without the use of a ventilator. We complain because we feel a little discomfort and did more than what we planned to do. This person like many people psych themselves up so much that they self-handicap their minds into believing their bodies can’t do something.

I was instilled with a can do mindset from an early age, because I had a mother that wouldn’t let me quit once I started something. No matter how much I disliked the activity, I still had to attend with a pleasant attitude and give 110%. My mother would forewarn us that it is okay to fail if you tried your best and gave it your all, because even in failure there are lessons to make you better and stronger for the next go round. You may have lost but you will win if you keep trying.

This mindset carried over into my adulthood. As my clients know, there are many things I try in front of them without practicing because I either dreamed it or thought about it on the way to the gym. The majority of the time the exercises work out exactly how I saw them in my mind, but there have been quite a few that were a bust. I don’t mind failing in front of people because we are all human and at least I tried. “Nothing beats a failure but a TRY”!

I am very proud of the picture above. I had been practicing my wide back pull ups, which I still struggle with however I can do 8-10 now on my own. This is a huge improvement from NONE! So, yesterday when my trainer demonstrated the L-shape one bar pull up from side to side, I was excited to try, even though I had never done them before. I did about 6 out of the gate and I celebrated immediately. My excitement came from him believing I could do it. So, when your trainer is asking you to do something, they believe in you. Lastly, I was excited because I have able limbs to be able to try.

This is what I want from each of you. To be excited about trying new things that scare you, whether you succeed the first time or not, give it your all. If you don’t like it and you know it will help improve your health in the long run, keep doing it with a great attitude. If you fail, seek help, ask for assistance/modification. Lastly celebrate all victories large and small, you deserve it. No Mess

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