There are numerous successful and smart busy men and women who are highly frustrated with their lack of success when it comes to their fitness.
A high percentage of these same successful and smart busy individuals are high performers with a Type A personality who pride themselves on discipline, willpower and getting results. When things don’t work out, feelings of shame start to creep in which leads to a downward slope.
As a high performer with fitness goals, it’s a rocky slope when it comes to your approach. As a high performer, you want things to be black and white. Unfortunately, life (and especially fitness) isn’t this way.
Why high performers struggle to transform their body
You pride yourself on discipline, willpower, following the given set of rules, and getting results at all costs.
But when it comes to fitness, rigidly following a set of rules isn’t going to cut it. Often times, you’re following something that is mainstream and built for the one-size-fits-all crowd.
Instead of blaming yourself along with questioning your capabilities due to the shortcomings, it could be the program that’s a failure because it’s not suited to your specific personality and lifestyle needs.
High achievers run into numerous problems with their fitness and struggle to lose fat compared to the everyday person because:
- They’re exhausted from handling so many things
- Their emotions are not managed
- Their stress isn’t being controlled
- They’re avoiding and procrastinating in one area while overcompensating in another area
- They’re crazy busy and aren’t effectively recharging
These are legit problems that when left unaddressed will swiftly send you into frustration and far from your goal. Working harder isn’t going to do it.
Instead of letting your personality self-sabotage your fitness, understand yourself and how you operate so you can effectively handle situations.
With that said, here are 3 key areas why high performers struggle to transform their body. Besides merely diagnosing these 3 key areas, here’s how you can effectively reverse them into an actionable solution that propels you forward with your fitness goals.
Area #1— The all or none mentality
Back in college, I was at the point that if I for some reason went off my nutrition plan at lunch, I would equate the rest of the day a failure and also bad talk myself. I would eat crappy for the rest of the day and “reset” tomorrow.
Luckily, I learned the concept of there being four quarters to the day as I mentioned in my book ‘Body Architect ‘ which means that I could still win the day despite a minor hiccup in the plan.
With this type of persona, you’re either all in, or you’re all out. Feeling terribly sick? Oh well, you’re still going to workout because the program says to exercise today. This type of personality is super competitive with themselves and others.
On a strict diet, you’ll avoid anything that deviates from the plan by even a fraction. While this seems great on the surface, peel back a few layers and there’s a lot of potential downfalls to this type of persona.
When you’re overly-restrictive with yourself, this leads to a higher probability that you’re going to go overboard the moment you give yourself some leniency. With that said, the biggest problem here is the tendency to be a perfectionist. This pattern leads you to feel like you “blew it” should you make one poor choice or decision during the day.
Solution to the all or none approach — Strive for perfection but plan for imperfection
Don’t ditch your program entirely, but realize that perfection is only a myth and one or two small hiccups in the process isn’t going to ruin your progress.
For example, following a workout plan for an extended time and you’re not seeing results, don’t be afraid to let it go. You’re not a quitter. This is far from being shameful. In fact, this is smart because pivots are inevitable.
With that said, develop flexibility within your process and strategy. Be rigid and adamant about where you want to go (i.e. your desired outcome), but be flexible in the details of how you get there. There are multiple avenues that all lead to your desired results, but one path will ideal for your specific lifestyle.
Even if you fall off track in the morning, you can immediately get back momentum by making the next decision something that empowers you and your goals.
Area #2— Trying to just “work harder”
We’ve heard the saying that “hard work” solves everything and that isn’t true. In fact, believing this is only going to waste your time, lead to frustration, and make you inefficient.
When I’m talking with a client for the first time, I’m getting information on their background and previous experiences with health and fitness. More often than not, they’re doing activities because they think they’re supposed to do them and when it’s not delivering results, they don’t pivot—they double down and try harder.
A classic example is dieting. If they’re not losing fat, inches, nor feeling better, they’ll keep lowering calories (which is a big no-no) while doing the same workouts.
Solution — Learn to pivot and be open to new ideas
It’s important to let go of any attachments when it comes to solving your fitness goals. When you pivot, it’s nothing against your capabilities. In fact, pivoting is the smartest thing you can do because you’re going to get to the same desired destination faster and without the unnecessary frustration.
You have enough on your plate, don’t make your fitness goals any more complicated than they should be.
If you’re having trouble losing fat, don’t always assume you need to lower calories or exercise more. Look into your sleep, hormones, stress, and quality of foods being eaten.
Area #3— Poor relationship with yourself
Pushing yourself harder will only make the hamster wheel that you’re on go faster. Results won’t come quicker. You can hate yourself into a new body. There’s a reason why you aren’t hitting your goals and it’s not because you aren’t capable.
Taking extreme ownership of the situation is one thing, but ruminating in negativity because you haven’t seen your desired results or because you ate too much is pointless.
No solution is coming out of this. Only frustration and a guarantee to stay at your current level.
Solution — Act with compassion and thoughtfully investigate
When you feel stuck and not able to breakthrough, it’s not a lack of capability. Often times, it’s a lack of a proper mindset and understanding of your own psychology that needs addressing.
While it’s important to take ownership of the situation, it’s also important to learn to move and navigate through the frustration and self-blame so you extract the wisdom hidden in the mess. Once you do this, you can start asking questions that lead to breakthroughs.
Example: Why did food have so much power over me this week? Why did I not feel like exercising this week? What was going on in my life when I binged and overate? What was going on in my life that prevented me from getting the sleep I needed?
By acting with compassion and thoughtfully investigating, you’re going to have a better understanding of your hidden hunger triggers, stressors, situations, emotions, and issues that led to behaviors that aren’t moving you forward with your health goals.
Let go of the self-infliction and instead ask “why”.
The situation already happened. Get some positives from it by seeking to understand why it happened. Evolve and grow at a fast rate is the name of the game so you don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly.
Being a high performer with a type A personality is beneficial and can be a gift because you’ll be quicker to embrace the structure needed for success. But don’t forget to allow room for flexibility.