I started this post a bit ago. Left it hanging. Never finished it. Couldn’t figure out how to finish it. Got pissed that I couldn’t find the words. I wasn’t sure how to tell everyone to stop apologizing to me for the pizza they ate or the fitness or strength they don’t have. Then yesterday, boom! I read a kick ass article about giving ourselves permission to be “wherever the f*** we are when we’re there.” Oh the irony. The article about not stressing about inspiration was exactly what I needed as some inspiration for my article being written to give my readers some inspiration. That sentence tho. Stay with me. Here is why you should stop apologizing to me or your trainer or your friends for your lack of *whatever* you think you lack ...
I meet with several people every day. Fitness, health, or nutrition coaching. I often hear myself saying these words, over and over again: “It’s ok. You don’t need to apologize.” All day long. At the end of the day I am left in bewilderment by a multitude of apologetic statements that sound like this:
- I’m sorry I can’t do that yet, I must need to work harder.
- Oops! Don’t be mad - I ate PIZZA last night!
- I used to be so much better.
- When I was eating better and sleeping I wasn’t such an embarrassment.
- Sorry I don’t get it, can you show me again?
- I’m sorry, that deadlift was shitty wasn’t it?
You guys - I don’t want you to apologize to me. And if I’m not your personal trainer or coach, I bet your coach doesn’t want you to apologize to them either. I get it though. I beat myself up too, about things I think I “should” have mastered already or done better. If only…. But it doesn’t help us actually get better, does it? I know that you might have eaten some pizza last night - and that’s ok. I know that you didn’t sleep and your deadlift is crappy, we will adjust and that’s ok. I know that when you were in high school and not juggling kids and work that you were a pain free multi-sport athlete - and that’s ok. I know that you are trying and I’m not mad that you aren’t perfect.
I became a Coach because I like helping people get better, I like making complicated processes more simple and fun, and I like watching other people crush goals and obstacles. These are my gifts. I didn’t do it because I think I know exactly what you should eat or what you should do to be perfect. I don’t. I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers. My job is to meet you where you are, help you find the best way to get there and guide you along and have some fun while we’re doing it. My job is to know what is safe for you, what will be effective, and to artfully deliver it to you in some digestible format. I want you to have a paradigm shift in the way you see yourself and what you can do - not a guilt shift into an apologetic frenzy of shame.
The fitness world and the ‘health’ industry are saturated with elitists that have “all the answers” and a**holes dressed as “do gooders” that want you to drink their kool-aid. I can see where that might elicit a shock response from a consumer desperately wanting help that sounds like: “Oh crap, I’m sorry … I just don’t measure up.” Sad face, skulk away, beat self up more. Those industry trolls benefit from shaming people for their lack of effort and lack of fitness and lack of willpower. It’s never quite enough and there are always more gains to be made and smaller clothes to fit into and more of our youthfulness that we can maybe get back if only… Guess what? It’s not coming back. I will never be younger and I will never be older than I am in this very moment as I type this. And that is the beauty of enjoying the process that you are in and embracing where you are right now. If a coach ever makes you feel bad, belittles you rather than brings you up, or shames you for eating something or not getting the form on exercise right - Run. Run far away. And please, do not apologize to them for trying.
We are conditioned to find the ‘lack’, the ‘what’ we are missing, the ‘if’ we could just tap into...and oh the shame that we carry around with us and the expectations we hold - for ourselves and for others that aren’t always fair. Yes, try hard to be better and if you are working on your eating habits. Yes, consciously think about whether or not the food you are eating is supporting your goals. But feeling guilty about being human and eating something you think is ‘bad’ is a waste of your precious energy. No food is ‘bad’, no movement is ‘wrong’, no true effort even if small, is crappy.
So don’t do it anymore. Don’t apologize to me, to your trainer, to your friends, to your whomever because you think you ‘should’ be better. I know you are trying and I know you are being hard on yourself. I know that you have a vision and you aren’t quite there yet. Keep showing up and bring your best, your best that day, whatever it may be. You will get there if you are consistent with your efforts and let time work it’s effortless magic. Google “Good communication”. You will find endless lists on how to effectively communicate with other people and what to do, think, and say. But what if you had good communication with yourself and the state of your progress? What if you praised yourself for your efforts and lovingly looked in a mirror and found things you like about yourself instead of things you hate? Like I told you - I know you ate pizza last night, and it’s ok - I probably ate some too. And. It. Is. Ok.