When the X’s and O’s Do Not Matter

This article is authored by Brian Binkley. Opinions expressed may not be that of SMARTER Team Training, STT sponsors or constituents. Brian has served as an Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach as well as Strength & Conditioning Intern Coach for various Division-I universities including University of Michigan, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Tennessee. He currently holds a position as Personal Training Manager at Gold’s Gym in Central Florida.

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When you are fresh out of college you are very eager to help people with anything relating to health improvement or performance enhancement. After being hammered with the benefits that exercise has on the body you feel like you can save the world! It is a good feeling when you graduate with that degree and have experienced real world applications that confirm that your education is not a waste.

Some experiences we may have as exercise scientists are in cardiac/respiratory rehabilitation programs, physical therapy, training youth, coaching college athletes, coaching future Olympians, as well as other clinical experiences. In each one of those areas you should feel confident when walking through the doors because in your head is a plethora of scientifically based, peer reviewed and accepted exercise methodologies that have shown to help each one of these individuals with their goals. From a kid wanting to learn how to squat properly, to a stroke victim trying to learn how to move their fingers again, to an athlete training for a professional career; anyone can attain their goals by utilizing exercise and you know it.

Most people ask the same questions; how do I improve my strength, speed or physique? Often leaving improving health on the back burner until it is too late. People either want to be super strong, fast, or look good. All of which have a similar by-product, a more healthy body. Fresh out of college, I found myself answering questions by explaining how certain training methodologies could help or hinder the result they wanted to achieve and that it was imperative to train properly using a structured exercise and nutrition program designed specifically to help them attain their goals.

After talking with thousands of people and listening to their goals, I noticed that we as health professionals run into a similar problem each time we meet with someone. At some point in the conversation, those who asked for advice at first completely shut out the idea of everything that you have explained to them and have somehow convinced themselves that they have it under control. There are many reasons that this theme can occur; from what you can and can’t eat, how much time and money is invested, to the difficulty of the exercises. However the theme remains solid. What can you SACRIFICE?

You have to sacrifice in order to be successful. Every person that you meet in your entire life who is successful has had to make a sacrifice in order to focus on what they wanted to achieve. Some sacrifices are bigger than others but what might be a HUGE sacrifice for you might not be such a big deal for “John Smith” down the street. Consider those who are successful right now and what they sacrifice daily. Strength and sport coaches sacrifice time with family and their own health to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Celebrities sacrifice their privacy having thousands of cameras surround them daily watching every move they make just to be recognized. Athletes sacrifice social time, study time, and a regular college student life to be able to prepare for their sport. A diabetic patient has to sacrifice their favorite foods. A patient with cardiovascular disease has to sacrifice smoking/chewing tobacco. The strongest people in the world sacrifice a “regular” life and live in a gym. Why? Because you have to sacrifice in order to be successful.

Maybe our focus when we meet to discuss what people need to do to get what they want should go somewhere along the lines of, “What can you think of right now that you need to sacrifice to reach your goals?” After they respond then ask, “Are you willing to sacrifice those things in order to achieve what you really want?” Then finish with, “Can you sacrifice those things for your own good so that you can focus on achieving the goals you have set for yourself?” Because if you are unable to, the best exercise program, the best nutrition program, even the best coach in the world cannot help you despite whatever you are hoping to achieve. But, if you can, then you have already overcome the most difficult phase of any decision. You accepted that it is necessary. With that first step, you are already half way there. Now all you have to do is continue to climb towards your goals, and with your sacrifices, YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!

Brian Binkley believes in a relentless pursuit of continuous self improvement in all walks of life and exercise. If you have a weakness, identify it and overcome it. If it is important to you to overcome your weaknesses you will find a way, if it isn’t then you will find excuses and stay weak. BE STRONG! You can contact him at BrianBinkleyMS.