I originally wrote this one in the Huffington post here.
Life as a business person is easier when you’re fit.
But when I tackle a goal, I always ask myself. What’s the hard part?
In business that’s often making the sale or attracting customers.
The hard part about exercise is showing up. You wake up tired, you have many priorities and working out moves down the priority list. Next thing you know it’s been 2 weeks and you haven’t moved from your chair.
If that describes you I want to propose you take on a new mindset. You’re going to have to set aside your ego for this one because it’s nothing ambitious like you’re used to.
I know it sounds quite boring but focussing on showing up is what is needed for consistency. Instead of focusing on what you will do or how hard your workout needs to be just focus on showing up. That means putting your workout in your calendar and making it a habit to show up no matter how tired you feel.
If you go to a bootcamp or a class, it’s easy to convince yourself not to show up because you think about the last time you got your butt kicked there. The memories of pushing and grinding your way through to the end start to set in.
That’s why I adopt a different approach with people, it’s called RPE.
RPE stands for rating of perceived effort. It’s a method of keeping track of how hard the workout is in order to avoid over-training the body or a muscle group. At least that’s what it was originally designed for. In other words It’s a great technique for making sure you don’t go over board on your workout and get injured. But for me it’s more of a motivation tool than anything. It’s a way of making sure clients want to show up and look forward to working out.
Here is how it works:
It’s quite simple; You go into the workout with the lowest expectation of effort. You are only allowed to decide your training intensity based on how you feel once you get started.
If you your energy level feels like 10%, give it 10%. If your energy is 80%, give 80%. The point is the expectation needs to be low before you go. 10% isn’t a wasted workout, it’s better than sitting at your desk. The first question I ask clients when I see them, is how do they feel today and that’s the intensity of the workout I choose.
You would think that the problem would then be that most people will always give it 10% but that’s not the case. Most people surprise themselves after getting in the routine that they want to push harder. Knowing that there is no expectation of pain makes it easier to show up.
Many power lifter with years of experience use a variation of this approach. They may be able to bench press 500lbs on a day to day basis but will choose their intensity after pressing a measly 45lbs bar.
So instead of thinking you need to get to the gym and workout as hard as you can. Drop the ego and adopt the “just show up” mindset and you will be much more consistent than you’ve ever been.