By: Missy Henry
At Edge Body, members can come to any class time. So if you are an early riser you might be used to having Joy as your coach. In the evening, it’s usually me or Terrance. If you pop in at noon you likely have Zoe. You know the things we say often during class to motivate you and I am sure you can think of the different cues we give to break down the lifts and movements for safety. (Yes, I know I say “alright guys!!” like 50 times a class LOL). But, what about the way you coach yourself? Seriously think about it…
What do you say to yourself during a workout? When you hop on the scale? When you go to grab a snickers bar? Heck, what do you say to yourself every day you look in the mirror?
Now here is an even better question. Can you be honest about what your “inner coach” tells you? I have often heard members say, “I had your voice in my head to keep pushing and that helped!”. This makes me so happy as a coach, but what does your own voice tell you? Is it as encouraging as your actual coaches?
I saw a quote the other day from renown coach Ben Bergeron, The gist of the quote was this, “Your inner voice can be the best or worst coach. Nobody will coach you more than that voice. If that voice was projected over the loud speaker, would you be proud of it?” This is an interesting concept that many of us coaches face everyday. What are our clients telling themselves? Heck, what are we telling oursleves?!?! We as professionals, are certaintly not beyond some self love help. Some would even argue that the more advanced you are in your goals or health, the harder you are on yourself.
Health, wellness, transformation whatever you want to call it, is a process. Trusting the process is what we preach as coaches. But the road may be bumpy and was never promised to be easy. Worth it yes, but how do we handle the frustrations along the road to keep going? The answer in this lies with that “inner coach”. That inner voice can be positive or negative AND plays the largest role in how we view oursleves or what are current mood is for the day, week, year…
So I decided to do an experiment. First, here’s the background. The past several months have not been particular easy on me in terms of transformation. I, like most new moms, am trying to navigate the new world that is “post partum”. Some friends have joked that this stage never really ends, or at least it didn’t for them. A new body and new goals is what they tell me. Well, for those of you that know me, I am not used to sticking in the parameteres of what others tell me I should be doing. So for me I revereted back to my inner coach. My voice of a former athlete, competitor and a coach to others. Change is about discipline. It’s about being focused and sacrifice for the greater good. So that was the theme that played over and over as my inner voice coached me towards weight loss and strength gains. However, I’m having some issues that aren’t entirely in my control, but how did my inner coach respond to this? Not well. I was quickly reminded that this voice doesn’t like “failing”. BUT that’s the thing about inner voices, they are like internet trolls acting all tough and full of opinions behind the scenes. I used this as an example because frankly seeing coach Bergeron’s quote the other day reminded me that my inner voice can be kind of a dick sometimes. Saying awful things about my progress or lack there of at times. So he was spot on. This inner voice will always be the loudest motivation or degradation you hear on a regular basis.
I knew that I wasn’t alone so this is where the experiment came in. Disicipline I am good at. Being aware of how my actions and words affect others in relationships, absolutely! But how I talk to and encourage myself? Not always as positive as it could be. So, I took this quote literally. Everytime I meal prepped, everytime I worked out, each time I stepped on the scale or each time I hit the snooze button, I payed attention. Whatever my inner voice said to “coach” me, I immediately tried to repeat out loud. Sometimes it was easy to say out loud and was positive. Sometimes, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want anyone to hear the nasty thing I had said to myself. Just having awareness of this inner voice is enough to get you thinking.
So are you beating yourself up? Are you encouraging yourself during the journey? Do you allow yourself to be proud of progress you’ve made or the accomplishments? We are all on the spectrum somewhere. Now the important thing to remember is that you’ll never stay positive 100% of the time. BUT pay attention to that inner coach. The words you hear can often sabotage you from enjoying progress or hard work. (Case in point- 1 pound loss for the week is awesome and what we are shooting for, so be happy not discouraged cause it “seems” small). So when your voice “coaches” you and you wouldn’t want to repeat the phrase out loud or you wouldn’t say that to someone else in your shoes, then think about reframing that thought. Didn’t lose weight in a month? Frustrating yes, but think about solutions. Instead of a negative comment about your self worth, reframe and say, “Ok, so what I was doing didn’t work. What can I change or add to be more in line with my goals?” OR “No weight lossed, was there areas of my meal prepping that could’ve been more spot on?” Create a positive discussion with yourself to create action. Negative self talk often creates the opposite. Frustration and sadness and often not the kind of energy that has you jazzed about heading into the gym for class. This is easier said than done. But it starts with awareness of that inner voice. Here are some tips to “coach” yourself in a more positive way:
Use these examples to help you reframe your thoughts:
- “What, you only lost 1 pound, ugh what are doing!?” TRY “Congrats on the progress, you are one step closer!”
- “They are just saying that to be nice. You probably don’t look any different.” TRY “Wow, someone complimented me on my weight loss, I hadn’t noticed before. That feels good to hear my hard work is paying off.”
- “Why can’t you just fit your workout in. You are screwing this up!” TRY “Ok. That tactic did not work. Tonight I will look at my schedule and see the best time to schedule my workout. I may need to get up early in morning or set a day alarm so I can stop instead of getting caught up in email and losing track of the time.”
- “Ugh. I just don’t want my food at home. Just go through the drive thru, you aren’t losing weight anyway so why try.” TRY “I’m just not in the mood for my chicken, but thats all I have at home. What can I get thats quick, but also in line with my goals?”
- “Great, you planned too many things today and won’t get in a workout. Way to go- I knew you’d mess this up.” TRY “Wow this day got away from me. I will use this as my rest day and plan out my workouts for every other day this week. It will work in the end!”
- “No pounds down. See I knew this wouldn’t be worth it and I’d fail.” TRY “No pounds lost this week. OK, what happened this week? What tweaks can I make to my food prep, my workouts etc.?”
- “Ugh you look awful, you better hit the gym harder this week AND no treats. Get it together.” TRY “I’m not where I want to be, yes, but I am on my way. I choose to fuel my body and workout to FEEL good, not punsih myself.”
Some of these examples may seem extreme, but I’ve heard clients admit that they say things like this to themselves all the time. I have had the same inner conversations as well. (Maybe not always as PG haha). Don’t let a negative “inner coach” beat you down. Health should be about lifting you up. So now experiment on yourself… what is your mind saying and would you want it projected for all to hear??