For those of you who don’t know me, my wife Anna and I were married in Maine last October – this meant that much of Labor Day weekend last year was spent meeting the DJ, visiting the wedding location, and, in my case, smiling and nodding in agreement. Suffice it to say that Anna did most of the planning!
Daydreamer that I am, during what seemed like a 15-hour meeting with our DJ, I started thinking about how nobody EVER fails in planning a wedding. Seriously, have you ever been to a wedding where the bride tapped out two weeks before the wedding and declared that she just couldn’t fill out another place card for table #13? Ask any married woman (and her husband, too), and you’ll find that wedding planning was one of the most stressful times of her life – but they pretty much have a 100% success rate.
Conversely, most people bite the big one when they start a new fitness program. Last I heard, 50% of people stop exercising within six months of starting. The success of commercial gyms, in fact, hinges on the fact that a huge percentage of the members that enroll don’t actually come after the first few months (if they even make it that far). Heck, 80% of people who enter the fitness profession leave within one year. The place cards are kicking people’s asses.
What’s the difference between brides dominating wedding planning, and aspiring exercisers getting whooped in their exercise programs?
In a word, accountability.
If you’re a bride, you’ve got a groom counting on you (and helping you along, hopefully). And, in our case, we had about 140 guests expecting to party like rock stars on our dime. In addition, we had bridesmaids, groomsmen, a minister, an organist, a chauffeur, and an entire host facility – all expecting us to present the complete polar opposite to an epic fail. We might as well have put it on a billboard.
A bride has hundreds of people involved in the process to keep her accountable. Conversely, the upstart fitness consumer usually goes it alone. I would be very curious to see what the success rate is of people who start exercising with a training partner – and I’ll bet all my 2011 paychecks that it is markedly higher.
Coincidentally, over that same Labor Day weekend while “helping” my wife with wedding plans, I also chatted on the phone with Tim Ferris, the author of the wildly successful books,
The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body.
Here is a guy who has published a #1 New York Times Bestseller as well as one of the most popular blogs on the internet. Tim’s also an entrepreneur with his hands in a lot of successful businesses, and he’s learned multiple languages and taken on all sorts of physical endeavors – from martial arts to dancing. And, most importantly, he’s succeeded (thrived, actually) in all of them. Moreover, he’s mentored loads of people on how to do the same for themselves. In short, he’s an expert on getting stuff done.
So, when Tim decided that he was going to go for a 500-pound deadlift in 2010, what did he do?
He made his goals very public. Anybody who reads his blog knew about them – and that’s a lot of people. It made him accountable to not only himself, but all of them as well. And, he allied himself with resources – from training partners to meathead deadlifters across the country (yours truly) – to help him get to where he needed to be. He was like a fired up bride who just wanted to lift some heavy stuff.
This is why my biggest recommendation to those starting a fitness program is to find a training partner and get into a solid training environment. This isn’t just for offering hand-offs and spots when you’re benching, which, while nice, are the tip of the iceberg. Rather, on those days when you’re tempted to skip an exercise session, it’ll make a big difference to know that there is someone waiting for you at the gym who will be disappointed if you don’t show up. They’ll be there to push you when you need to be pushed, or to hold you back when you’re being stupid and pushing too hard. And, when you start to get soft and try to skip out on training, they’ll be there to remind you of your goals – which you made very public. You’ll do the same for them, too.
This is also one reason why I think you’re seeing semi-private training and boot camps absolutely boom in the fitness industry while one-on-one personal training dies a slow death. In the former two options, you don’t just get affordability; you also get increased camaraderie, accountability – and built-in training partners and motivation.
So, regardless of your goals, find a few people you can clue in on – and get those people involved in the process. Doing so just might keep you from becoming another bride who tapped out on the fitness wedding.
If you would like to learn about the deadlift ideas I shared with Tim Ferris and much more, please drop by my website and subscribe to my FREE newsletter.
photo credit: tibcris