Just Starting Your Journey... Start Here

Written by Karl Gellert, Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness

Thinking about getting in shape?


Read this now and save yourself headaches later

Fall is in the air and so are new beginnings! To those of you who are starting your “fitness journey”, congrats! I am proud of you. You’ve finally stopped making excuses and jumped into the deep end. You may have noticed what a strange, confusing place it is.

Let’s have an honest talk - pretend we’re at a bar and we’ve been friends for 30 years (I don’t drink and I was born in 1987 so we’re off to a good start).

If you’re noticing some muffin top, feeling tired just walking up the stairs, and realizing that a good chunk of your wardrobe doesn’t quite fit anymore, I empathize. I’ve been in your shoes and I will emphatically tell you, you’re making the right choice - life is so, so much better when you’re comfortable in your own skin.

“Getting in shape” will do just that - you look better, you feel better, and once you know you can accomplish a goal, it opens up a whole new realm of mental possibilities. You set your mind to something and accomplished it and that, my friend, that is so much more than most people can say.

I want you to do this, and I want you to do well, so here are some things you need to know, both for your mental state and to accomplish what you set out to.

Success Picture

Define Your “Success”

You may have noticed the condescending quotations around “getting in shape” up above. I have a good reason for that - what does “getting in shape” mean to you? Is it running a marathon? Competing in a bodybuilding show? Or, perhaps more commonly, just being able to keep up with your kids?

Whatever your “success” is, figure out what it actually looks like and why it’s important to you. Once you know, you can plan. Which brings me to my next point.

Have a Plan

You wouldn’t drive to Montreal without a map (bad example, Canada only has one road but you get my point) and yet it baffles me that people decide to go to the gym and just kind of see what happens.

Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect, but even the stupidest plan followed to a tee will likely work better than just going to the gym and doing whatever you want and or what you see other people doing.

My first suggestion to remedy this problem would be to hire a trainer who can make this plan for you. I may be a tad biased here but I recommend me, because not only do I happen to hold myself in (extremely) high esteem but because I’ve been the person on the other end of this conversation: i.e. you. I’ve had all of these problems and I know how to solve them. Any good trainer will. This is the fastest and most pain free (mentally, not physically) route there is. 

If a trainer isn’t in the cards for whatever reason, go on the internet (I know you can, you’re already here). Do a little research and pick a workout plan that resonates with you. It might be great, it might be a dud, but at least it’s something.

Information is so abundant nowadays that honestly you have no excuse not to do this. Lack of information in today’s age is not a valid excuse. Lack of time or money sure, but you have access to almost all human knowledge in your pocket. Use it.

Just remember, you do get what you pay for. If you want a plan specifically for you, you need to talk to someone who knows what they’re doing i.e. actually works with other human beings, not someone who writes random ideas that sound good online.

Instagram Isn’t Real

While we’re on the subject of that Internet, we need to get something out of the way. I love social media (well, I love Instagram). I think it’s great and does a lot of fantastic things for us,but there’s something I want to really impart to you - it’s not “real”. For the most part, It’s a screenshot of a singular point in time, with no context and no background. It’s people’s “Life PR department” as Gary Vaynerchuck likes to say.

What I mean by that is you’ll see all kinds of awesome looking people doing awesome things that seem so far out reach for you it’s almost depressing. Take it all with a grain of salt. I know, you’re probably an adult who knows not to trust everything you see on the Internet but it bears repeating.

Two things I want you to know:

1)    Angles, lighting and slight “modifications” to pictures are hugely important. I personally know people who post looking like they could be on the cover of a magazine and when I saw them earlier on the very day it was posted (in real life no less) they looked nothing like that picture. As in, unrecognizable. I know you’re thinking “Jeez Karl, obviously I know this” but it’s subtle thing. When you everyone looks better than you, it creeps into your brain and you start thinking everyone is doing so much better than you . They’re not. Some might be and some aren’t, but in the end, who the hell cares how people compare to you? Do your thing and do it the best you can.

2)    Everyone posts their most impressive and visually striking stuff - obviously, this gets likes and this is what Instagram is all about. No one wants to see boring things, I have real life for that. But when all you see is people’s “Greatest Hits” - you don’t see the non radio songs, the b-sides, the outtakes, the songs that didn’t get recorded. All you see is the best of the best. It’s hardly representative of all of the work that went into that moment. You can go watch me Deadlift over 400lb right now. What you don’t see is the daily mobility work, the years (and years, and years…) of workouts and the fact that I started by only doing the bar. Just like everyone else.

So partake, enjoy and take it for what it is - entertainment. Also don’t forget to follow me @theoriginalkarlg and @infinitefit on Instagram. That’s very important, if not the most important part, of this entire post.

Take Control (Because It’s On You and Only You)

Don’t be the person who waits until Monday, or until school starts or when your shift changes at work or when the planets align ushering the golden age of Syfurion… blah blah blah. There’s never a perfect time and there never will be. You can’t control a lot of things in life but this you can. Find a way.

There are plenty of people who work 60 hours a week who find a way to squeeze two 45 minute workouts in. Is it ideal? No, but life rarely is. You’ll figure it out. Whatever you do, remember it’s on you. You can have the best program in the world, the best nutrition, the best coach who yells you until they’re blue in the face but if you don’t work hard, you miss workouts and complain about how someone at work brought donuts again, then my friend, I can’t help you.

I can resurrect Jimi Hendrix from the dead to teach me to play guitar but if I don’t practice, there’s nothing he can do. There are always things that are out of your control - hurricanes, staying at work late, kids, the resurrection of Jimi Hendrix, but at the end of the day it’s on you.

Think Long Term (Because the Honeymoon Won’t Last)

A harsh truth and unwelcome truth. To make a significant, lasting change in your life and how you look and how you feel, you’re probably looking at a year, minimum.

This does depend on your goals, but the 1 - 3 month turnaround people expect doesn’t usually happen. It can, but usually only if the person has already done it before and knows what they’re doing/what to expect.

Say you’re 20 - 40 lbs overweight. It took probably five years or more to reach that point. While losing it all CAN be done in 3 months, it’s probably not healthy and almost certainly isn’t sustainable.

If you want to get and stay in shape, and I’m assuming you do, you need to transition into a different set of behaviours.

For the vast majority of people, you can’t go from watching sports/HGTV all night and eating whatever you want, to eating chicken/fish/things that don’t taste as good as pizza as well as working out semi daily all in the span of a week - for the vast majority of people, it’s just not going to happen.

It will work for a bit but if you’re not accustomed to and you hate it, it won’t last. Look at things long term. 6 months, A year, 5 years. 10 years. 30 day challenges are great and all but there’s a reason why people yo-yo all over the place. Anyone can buckle down for a month, but 99% of the time the behaviours are too drastically different and ultimately not sustainable.

If you just started, or started again, you’re motivated and the fire is burning strong. For now. I liken it to a relationship - you’re in the honeymoon phase and unfortunately for you, it won’t last.

Yes, yes, I know the “you’re not special” talk hurts but it’s true. When I worked at a commercial gym the majority of people I met who planned these elaborate ideas of working out 5 times a week and swimming and on their off days and eating salads lasted all of 9 - 12 days. It’s too much, too fast. That’s not how this works.

You’re motivated right now. That’s awesome. But it’s the fire starter, not the thing that will keep it going. I don’t want to give you the “discipline” speech because quite frankly, it’s lame and it’s me, Karl, your cool non-drinking drinking buddy!

But you need to embrace the fact that saying something and actually doing it are two different things. Embrace the fact that sometimes working out will suck and you’d rather watch Game of Thrones (I also don’t watch that. We’re not doing well). It will hurt, you’ll have setbacks, plateaus, and sometimes you seemingly won’t make progress for months. And like any relationship, sometimes it will suck, and it will suck hard (not like that).

But I want you to embrace that challenge. It sounds corny but if you want something, you have to prove how much you want it. You don’t get something for nothing. You earn it. Set by set, exercise by exercise, workout by workout. All the bricks in the wall add up. Eventually. 

And it’s worth it. I can 100%, with absolute certainty tell you, getting in shape is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your family and your life.

And it’s really not as melodramatic as I made it seem because when you break it down, all you’re doing is going to the gym 3 times a week for an hour and trying to walk some more than you do right now.

That’s not so bad, is it?

So my friend, good luck and know that I’m in your corner. I know you’ll do great.

Just remember, the most important thing in all of this is to follow me on IG @theoriginalkarlg.

Good luck (and I’m not paying your imaginary bar tab)

Want to learn more about Karl or book a complimentary consultation with him? Drop us a line at info@infinitefit.ca and we would be happy to help you out!


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