Updated: Sep 7
French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo died recently. Belmondo was initially associated with the New Wave of the 1960s and also a major French film star from the 1960s. His best-known movies include Breathless (1960), That Man from Rio (1964) and The Professional (1981).
One of his much-repeated comments on his profession was that in acting, once you start to lose the motivation to succeed is when you start to get old, to fall back and to lose your zest for life. It is a philosophy that can be extended into other areas (personal and professional) and which can also act as a support when the going gets tough, as it tends to do from time to time.
Such as with the past year and a half, for example.
I raise this because, in my business of fitness training, I also know from experience that as a personal trainer you have to be enthusiastic about your training, both for yourself and for those clients you work with, otherwise the energy and the benefits of training can fade away to nothing. At which point you can then run the risk of becoming nothing more than a hack, grinding through the gears and repeating the same advice on how to live, lose weight, put on muscle or build endurance, whatever the fitness topic may be, without feeling the energy.
The same principle applies and, I would say, is just as important (if not more so), when training for yourself. There is no magic formula for making a success of fitness training to your own goals. There are proven techniques, methods and processes which have been shown to work and which should be used (I write about these regularly on this blog), but the drive to make a success of building fitness over months and years can only come from within and be self-generated. It is the magic that brings success, it is the energy.
Key to this energy is the effect that successful training has on the mind as well as the body. For example, if when you train it does make you happy, you should not carry on training as you are, you should change it up, and adapt to a new training regime that does bring the happy energy you need to make a success of fitness.
Or you should stop training so much.
Being disciplined, motivated and committed is one thing; training like your whole life exists on a grinding treadmill is another and a recipe for injury. So, find the right training rhythm for you which has recovery time built in and adhere to that regime no matter how guilty it might make you feel when you are relaxing watching a movie with friends (when you could be at the gym showing everyone else what a gym floor warrior you are).
As a starting point, however, ask yourself, why are you training?
Sometimes people ask me about how to best lose weight right out of the fitness conversation gate. In these instances, I always say that it is not a good idea to train to lose weight, per se, but rather to train for more sophisticated fitness goals. I exercise to confidently face my job as a personal trainer, for example, and to be the best personal trainer I can be. To achieve these goals I know I have to be physically and mentally fit and to be fresh each time I hit the gym; I need to get a good quality of sleep, maintain a strong mind and personal values, to take a holistic and coordinated approach to health and fitness (which also helps maintain my weight, by the way).
What is also important is to be able to adapt when such adaptation is required, to be alert to when that time comes, and to evolve a training lifestyle as the years' pass.
Again, the forward-looking approach to fitness is about embracing a holistic and flexible fitness lifestyle and being able to adapt to any situation. If you are over-tired from a fitness grind, you will not be able to adapt; you will instead become mechanical and develop tunnel vision. You will also not be fit enough to follow a faster society and a new rhythm of life when the time comes.
Belmondo was a great actor. Check out his movies and adopt his vibe of embracing the zest of life flexibly and positively. Your fitness lifestyle will benefit as a result.