I finished a hard, new work-out the other day. Feeling quite proud of myself, I did what everyone in the gym does at least once: I snapped a selfie for Instagram. I checked in at the gym, and, out of curiousity, clicked to see what other photos and videos had been posted for that gym. It took maybe 30 seconds for me to regret that decision.
In my opinion, if this were the “which one doesn’t belong” game, I would be the one to stick out like a sore thumb
That location check-in was filled with what I call, the pretty people. They are the ones who look like they stepped out of a fitness ad. They are the ones that employers want to represent them at health fairs or other vendor fairs because a lot of people are willing to spend money to look like them. I am not one of the pretty people. I am one of the worker bees who works hard and keeps things running smoothly. . .in the background.
I immediately took the check-in off my picture and spent my entire drive home kicking myself for doing so. Why?
I was still proud of myself for that work-out. I know that, from an appearance stand-point, I am not yet where I want to be. I also know that it takes a lot of hard work and time to get to that point. I can look back to where I was even before Christmas and see evidence of my hard work. I also remembered that changes in my appearance are bonus side effect of my training. I work out to reach and maintain my goal of being an asset, not a liability, on the fire ground. I want my men to be able to depend on me to do any assignment I am given. I want to be able to get any of my men and patients out of any potential dangerous scenarios. I have health concerns I would like to reverse and prevent returning. I want to be a good example for anyone who looks up to me.
When I went back to that Instagram check-in, I realized that the majority of those pretty people are professional, competing body builders. They were practicing their poses. They were trying to look as perfect as humanly possible. (There’s also the possibility that they are not competing in the natural shows. . .)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a professional in this field, and I struggle with self-confidence that comes with comparing myself to others. The thing to remember is reaching your highest potential for health and fitness is not an overnight change or quick fix. It is a process. Everyone is in a different place in that process based on from where they started and towards which goals they are striving.
Be proud of the progress you have made. Before and progress photos are a great tool that do not require any fancy or expensive equipment. Stay off the scale! I had clients who wanted to weigh-in every single week. I managed to convince them to go every other week as a compromise with my preferred once every month or two. Do not compare yourself to everyone else you see in the gym. Be encouraging to those you see struggling.
This is a selfie after a hard work-out today. I crushed the work-out, but I was exhausted. I was not trying to look cute or tough or anything in this photo. I could not even actually manage the proud look to reflect what I was feeling inside. I wanted this picture as a reminder for later days when I am struggling.