Train your mind before transforming your body

Ketan Mavinkurve, Founder and CEO of Alpha Coach, writes about an interesting approach to health and fitness.

Does it seem like you’ve been on this never-ending path to losing weight? Have you ever told yourself that fitness is not for you? And isn’t that frustrating? Yes, you’re looking for a change. 

One of the reasons could be that you’re approaching one of those big 30th or 40th birthdays or you just want to fit into those pants you bought a year ago! But why do you have a hard time achieving your ultimate goal?

A lot of people that talk to me say: “But Ketan, it’s easy for you to be in shape because you’re a fitness enthusiast, you own this company, you ought to be fit…” I honestly wish it were that easy. Even as an enthusiast (and a fitness business owner), I struggled for years to get in great shape. I realised there’s so much more to being in shape than being passionate about fitness.

I’ve tried every extreme diet, online cookie-cutter programs, and 21-day challenges that you could imagine. What I realised is that the side effects of these strict programs are hunger, a struggle to keep up, and being constantly hangry (a combination of being angry and hungry at the same time. You know what I mean…) But when I found this framework I shared below, everything became much easier to achieve...

An analogy about life… (and how it applies to your fitness journey)

We all want to be more disciplined and consistent. But why do we struggle so much? Why aren’t we achieving the goals that we’re so passionate about? Probably because you’re more worried about finding the perfect destination, instead of taking a few steps every day. That’s like wasting 45 mins to find that perfect Netflix movie and ending up watching nothing!

All-time great philosopher Alan Watts said it perfectly: Life’s NOT a journey with a set destination. Explaining it in the analogy of music, he said that if music were only about endings, composers would only write finales!

And if that would be true, the best conductors would play the fastest. Imagine people going to a concert, hearing one crashing chord, and being satisfied because that’s the end. But we both know that’s not how life works…

That’s why life is like a musical! There’s singing, dancing, laughing and crying. But at the end of the show, you had one hell of a time. And the ups and downs of the story are engaging, interesting, and made it worth your money and time!

And therefore, drumrolls please, the same is 100 percent true with your fitness routine!

Moral of the story?

If your intention is to lose weight, don’t worry so much about the closing chapter. Enjoy the now more than the end destination. We live in a society where we’re constantly trying to chase the next thing, hoping “that” will bring us happiness.

But when you achieved your promotion, got your pay raise, or bought a shiny new car, how does it make you feel after two weeks? Not as satisfied as you thought it would, right? So, you move on to the next shiny object. Before you know it, you’re old and filled with regret because you realized: you were chasing your own tail.

So, life is a process with millions of possibilities, like that musical. It’s bound to have ups and downs, great wonderful moments, and some absolutely chaotic chapters. But isn’t that the beauty of life?

Now, I don’t mean to suggest going aimless through life. But do you recognize this pattern? You decide it’s time for a critical change, you want to get up at 4 am in the morning, do a 60-minute workout, meditate, have a coffee in silence before everyone wakes up. And the other part of you wants to sleep in and says: “maybe tomorrow champ…”

Most people believe that they have to do something before they can have something. When this succeeds, they finally can be the person they desire. 

Also known as the DO-HAVE-BE framework. They think that they have to DO everything right, before they can HAVE the body they desire, in order to BE more confident. In reality, the reverse works far better.

The BE-DO-HAVE Framework.

If you feel like fitness isn’t for you, do you think anything will change by doing it? Probably not.

It’s easy to say: “I went to the gym today; fitness is not for me…But at least I tried.” Have you ever heard a person say: “Well, I tried the walking thing; but it’s not for me. I’m good with crawling for the rest of my life!” Quite unlikely.

So, here’s a little strategy that turns every pessimist into an optimist when it comes to fitness. Do the BE-DO-HAVE!

BE - Imagine how your life would look like if you would have more energy. You’re in better shape, you enjoy your healthy meals, you know how to handle your busy schedule. How would it feel to be in complete control of your health and fitness? How would your healthy food taste? How would your relationship with your spouse or children feel like? Be as creative as you want.

DO - Imagine how that version of you behaves. What characteristics would the best version of you have? Now do it! Write down one characteristic that the best version of you has. Let’s say you want to be more disciplined. Now, write a sentence about yourself in third person. Example: “Ketan is disciplined and no matter how he feels, he will complete a 15-minute workout.” Read that every day when you wake up, and show up for that non-negotiable workout. Don’t let your emotions or excuses get in the way.

HAVE – This speaks for itself, if you do the two above correctly, this is the inevitable outcome.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)