The Measure of Success

I’ve been thinking a lot about success this past week.  We measure success is so many different ways.  Some measurements are subjective:  how we feel or how we perceive ourselves.  Others are objective:  finish times, personal records, etc.  Some measures of success are fair, some not so fair.  Take for example my Commit to be Fit Nutrition Challenge.

Week one of the nutrition challenge officially started last Monday.  I’ve learned a lot in a week.  First, I never have eaten so much protein in my life.  Second, I think the protein really helps.  I’ve tried new recipes and new foods.  I’ve asked for things in the grocery store that I have a hard time even pronouncing (Can you say Quinoa?  Once you can say it…..try to find it at Wal-Mart).   Really it has been great………..for me.  My husband has some different ideas.

Adam is a wonderful guy.  A great husband and father.  He provides well for our family and is always there to support me even if I don’t want him there 🙂  The only problem……He has no drive.  No motivation.  I have more motivation in my pinky finger than he has in his entire body.  It’s his personality.  It’s just how he is.  Where I get up at 4:30 a.m. to make certain I get a workout done.  He hits the snooze (if he even sets the alarm) and convinces himself that the world will still be a fine place if he doesn’t workout that day.  Yup!  He drives me crazy!  I had full intentions of this Nutrition challenge being the one thing that he could get into and really sink his teeth 😉  Well……He ate a hotdog at Costco on Saturady.  Yes….That means its over.  His nutrition challenge has officially ended and he’s not coming back.

So what does this story have to do with success?  Be patient with me……I’m getting there.  Adam sees the last week as a tremendous success.  He feels that he tried lots of new things and really gave it the old “college try”.  He is going to continue eating what I make him and finds that he is truly transforming his nutritional habits.

I’ve been beating myself up for 24 hours because I ate pizza, birthday cake and some icecream for our daughters birthday.  Adam is celebrating the fact that he ate well for 5 days.  Clearly, we measure success differently.  I guess that is why I married him.  He offers me a perspective that I really need sometimes.  In feeling that I’ve fallen off the wagon with our little birthday celebration, I’m overlooking the tremendous success that I had this week and will continue to have this coming week.  Perspective is so valuable sometimes.

So my thought for today is that you must measure success fairly, especially when applying it to ourselves.  No one is perfect.  So you had some pizza and birthday cake.  Tomorrow is a new day and as long as most of your days lead you closer to your goals, one day is not going to throw all your success completely out the window.  Throwing it out the window ensures failure; putting it behind us and pressing on moves us closer to success.

Luckily I’m surrounded by a lot of success stories lately that keep me positive.  I just have to share at least one of today.  I have been working with a couple, Pat and Mac.  Pat is in her late 60s and Mac is in his early 70s.  They are retired and very active.  They came to me wanting to decrease their body fat (neither needed to lose weight per se) and gain lean mass.  The really neat thing about Pat and Mac is that they were in this journey together.  Both had similar goals and they were going to do it together.

I worked with each of them individually for 12 weeks.  The first thing I had them do was a BodPod (body composition test).   Like most people, they stepped out of the BodPod amazed at the results……..and not in such a good way.  Both had higher percentages of body fat than they thought.  I knew what we needed to do.  I took their estimated metabolic information from the test and started to help them change the way they eat.

I’m not one of those trainers who puts people on strange diets or recommends supplementation.  I like the whole food approach to things.  Eat well, exercise hard and you will get results.  That is what I asked Pat and Mac to do.  They began to food journal.  Pat realized that she consumed far more calories than she actually needed based on her resting metabolic rate and Mac didn’t eat enough.  They continued tracking their food and starting making better food choices.  The changes were evident.

Both Pat and Mac suffer with transient back problems.  We worked tirelessly to find the source of the pain and both started a comprehensive core strengthening and flexibility program.  Their backs will never be perfect, but we’ve found some good ideas of how to limit and sometimes prevent further injury.

Mac is an avid cyclists.  Honestly, he’s an animal in a 71 year old man’s body.  He wants his body to keep up with his spirit and really has amazing success.  Mac, though, is a little like me when it comes to success.  If it isn’t perfect…..if he doesn’t ride better than everyone else……he doesn’t see his success.  I have to constantly remind him of his limitations and that he is an amazing athlete considering his age.  Mac is truly an inspiration to me.  I only hope to be riding the way he does when I’m 71.

So for 12 weeks we hit the strength workouts, tweaked current programs and meticulously tracked caloric intake.  I knew we were successful, I just never could have imagined how successful we actually would be in the end.  After roughly 12 weeks, Pat and Mac headed back in for their follow-up BodPod.  Pat had not only lost a bit of weight, but dropped over 8% in body fat!  WOW!!!!!  She even gained about a pound of lean mass.  IN 12 WEEKS!!!!  Mac lost 3.5% body fat and we realized that he still needed to hit the gym as his lean mass was not responding as well as he would like (it’s tough to build a lot of muscle when you are burning everything off on those bike rides).  So much success!  Pat couldn’t have been happier with her results (and either could I for that matter), but Mac had more work to do.  But, even though Mac has more work, we saw the success in the results.  He could have been upset with the fact that his lean mass was not headed in the direction it needed to be, but we had MORE information than before and could now apply it going forward.  That is success!  Having information and a path to follow is invaluable.

Anyway, I’m so proud of Pat and Mac!  They came to me with their minds open and their bodies at the ready.  They used each other as support and saw success, measured in many, many ways.  What a story!  I’m so grateful to work with such great clients.  Such an honor and a privilege for me 🙂  Thanks Pat and Mac for helping me to define my success!

More success stories to come.  Have a great week!

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