It is estimated that about 20% of the population get the recommended amount of daily exercise which is about 2.5 hours per week. An estimated 15% of people have gym memberships and of these, only about 30% will ever use the gym on a regular basis. These numbers are depressingly low given that inactivity leads to a reduction in the quality of life.
Of the ~5% of the general population who use a gym regularly, less than half of those people do anything other than maintain; that is they go to the gym with a stated intention that is different than their actual outcome. For example, a lot of people join a gym to lose weight or gain muscle but never lose the weight or gain the muscle, they just stay as they were when they joined. This maintenance is a success in that they are not getting worse, but they do not achieve their goal so they do not get the result that they were looking for.
I tend to work with the general population because it is more challenging – while it is fun to train athletes, there are many strength coaches out there who have a real passion for working with them. Athletes LOVE training and don’t need what I bring to the training relationship. I’m more curious about why people won’t workout, eat reasonably, and display the success behaviors that are natural for the athlete.
I have found that there are four things that are critical indicators that someone is going to be part of the 2% that is going to transform:
- They or someone they know is sick due to the consequences from a lack of exercise and poor eating.
- They are newly single and wish to exact revenge on their ex by getting into great shape.
- They wish to regain their peak shape after having a child.
- A life event or experiences has altered how they view themselves.
When someone lists one of these reasons as their motivation for joining a gym and connecting with a trainer, their success is almost a forgone conclusion.
I like working with these people, but in many ways it’s a dispassionate experience with few break-throughs as we blaze a trail that has been traveled countless times before. There are no roadblocks in their path to success because they have uncovered a very compelling reason why they need to be successful. They have transcended the “wants” and created a “must” and everything about them moves them towards this.
All of the people that join gyms who end-up not being successful are seeking something that they want to have, not something that they must have. The absence of a compelling must is a major road block of transformation.