How do Those That Seem to Have it all, Make it Work?

Defining the eight qualities displayed by those that make it work

Column by Matt Kay

The characteristics displayed by those that make it work are common throughout each and every successful person we have in our gyms. The opposite characteristics apply to those that do not make it work. These characteristics are not based on luck, genetic advantages or life circumstances. They are the internal characteristics that drive a particular attitude.

I have been in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years. I have personally trained thousands of clients, hired and mentored over 35 Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches and as a company we help currently help over 400 personal training clients per week across our two FITISM gyms. I have seen many that have failed, but more to the point I have seen many that have been successful.

Those that make it work achieve a perfect balance between body shape, health and wellbeing as well as family, work, relationships and social time. These clients live their life in the body they want; they train hard but still spend time with the kids. They go out and on occasions, even drink a skin-full, but they have the self-discipline to get straight back on to healthy ways. They can have really bad days, but have an ability to respond in a positive way to pull themselves up again so as not to affect their eating, exercise or mindset in the medium or long term

They might not have a fitness model’s body but they look pretty damn good. They might not be stress free, but they understand how to positively combat stress using health and fitness as their outlet. They are dedicated in their focus and bring intensity to their training yet have an ability to maintain quality time with their friends, family and the relationships that really matter to them.

Ultimately those that make it work achieve a state of balance.

Here are the eight characteristics that I have found in those that make it work.

Confidence displayed by those that make it work is not what you might think it is. Confidence is not about being the fastest, fittest and it’s certainly not about being the thinnest. Confidence has nothing to do with outcomes!

Confidence is your ability to be in 100 per cent control of your response at any given moment – physically and emotionally. It’s about you and what you can control with conviction and certainty. No matter what life throws at you, you control the situation and take the right decisions.

But we are all human and we all have weak moments that impact our decisions causing us to ‘fall off’ from time to time. Support from others and an outlet to fuel your confidence while helping others is essential.

Those that make it work have the confidence to start but also have the confidence to go and find a support network that will support and guide them.

Here are the two biggest tips I can offer to help you find and build your confidence:

1 Find It: Find an engaging and welcoming bunch of people and/or environment that inspires you, accepts you, enhances you and helps you reach your full potential. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀

2 Spread It: Be part of something bigger. Add to the community that welcomed you. Help others joining the community to find their confidence and in turn this will feed your own.

The environment and people you surround yourself with has more of an impact on your habits and confidence than you might realise.

Those that make it work control the things they can and ignore the things they cannot! You can control exercise, nutrition and your mindset.

You cannot directly control weight loss, lean muscle gain, other people’s opinions, school holidays, the weather, pressures of work or social media to name a few. Energy is a finite resource. Don’t waste it worrying about what you cannot control. Instead put all your physical and emotional energy into what you can control and take maximum ownership over those things – exercise, nutrition and your mindset.

Break these three areas down so you understand how to maximise your efforts. Then put all this detail into a focused exercise, nutrition and mindset process that enhances your life.

A well thought out process would involve a progressive annual, monthly and weekly exercise schedule, daily eating recipes to achieve calorie and macro targets and mind training taking you away from the pressures of life to calm and recharge your mind.

Those that make it work understand they do not have direct control over outcomes. The only thing they have control over is the process.

The process is about focusing on the steps to success rather than worrying about the outcome.

Those that become obsessed with losing weight (outcome), gaining more muscle (outcome) or lifting heavier (outcome) lose control, do not create balance in their lives and can quite quickly become disillusioned and demotivated.

Focusing on outcomes can take over and drive you into a dark place, will put you in a constant state of worry and can make you so anxious that you miss the most important parts of the process.

A well thought out process leaves nothing to chance and will take you to where you want to be so trust it! It will give you the ability to not to obsess about losing weight, gaining muscle or getting bigger numbers on your lifts but focus on what you can control – daily diet, workout structure and attitude.

Channel your focus into creating the right thoughts, habits, environments, interactions and prioritising what’s important in the knowledge that these things will lead to everything you aspire to be. Put everything you have physically and emotionally into a well thought out process and let the magic happen.


Photograph by Justyn Warner

What if the process doesn’t work? What if the process does not lead to the outcome (goal) you originally set..?

Those that make it work fail all the time. The difference between those that make it work and those that do not is how they react. You set a goal, formulate a plan (process) built around the things you can control (exercise, nutrition, mindset) and measure the success of the process, yet it does not yield the result you were hoping for.

Life can throw you curve balls. Something in the process was not quite right, you fell off a few too many times, you didn’t put enough intensity into your workouts. Whatever the reason, it is how you react that will have the greatest impact on your mental, emotional and physical health.

You have to MOVE ON! You have to hit the reset button.

But first you must analyse the situation (better done with a coach) by spending 10 – 20 minutes looking back over the things in your control that didn’t go to plan. Use this to enhance, improve and build a new process to go again with conviction, excitement, enthusiasm and positively.

This is much easier said than done. It’s okay to feel frustrated and emotional. Struggles and set backs are here to test us. They are part of life. They give us the opportunity to improve the way we cope with negativity. These situations will make you stronger if you allow them to. Those that make it work use failure as a guide to fuel them and make them better.

It is always up to you.

If things go well it is because of you. If you lose your mojo it is up to you to find it again. If you do not get results it is because of you. Everything that does or does not happen in your life is up to you. Those that make it work take 100 per cent responsibility for their actions.  They accept the outcome(s) and they take complete responsibility for maximising the things that are working and change the things that are not.

Choose your attitude and make your daily actions count!

Those that make it work bring commitment and intensity to each area of their life they have control over.

They are not necessarily the fastest, the strongest or the fittest. It is what you cannot see that makes the difference. It helps bring out the best in your physique, fitness, health and ultimate fulfilment as a human being.

I talk to my clients a lot about finding an internal love and ‘grit’ mentality for the process. It takes internal grit and determination to put yourself through a hard workout that hurts like hell but those that do consistently get the most out of that time. But not only are they more fulfilled, they value the process so much more than those that coast through workouts. Those that make it work embrace this mentality to take into everyday life to make them stronger and enhancing their confidence.

It is not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

People you see in great shape that seem to effortlessly make exercise and nutrition work, do so because they see life differently. Those that make it work find the taste of ‘naughty’ food delicious, love food,  enjoy a drink just as much as anyone and are surrounded by the same temptation you are every day.

But they choose not to let that affect their choices. They choose to find healthy food that tastes great and choose to find a method of exercise that is exciting. They choose to stay optimistic and positive towards a healthier way of life because they thrive on the outcome.

Staying positive is difficult for human beings. Negativity is hardwired into our DNA to protect us from danger. We have developed a survival instinct that is ingrained in a negative mindset. However, you can change that.

When you make the choice to switch from a negative mindset to a positive one, great things will happen; more energy, alertness, fulfilling relationships and the ability to make better choices to enhance your health. You will be better in all walks of life.

Those that make it work, make it work every day.

Of course they have cheat days, drink alcohol and have days off training but that is not the point. It is an attitude they take into each and every day. Had a bad day yesterday? Forget about it and move on. If you do not fancy training today, understand that you will not fancy training tomorrow. Stop making excuses in your head and train!

If you find yourself reaching for a snack with a ‘diet starts tomorrow mentality’ recognize that it will not. Always eat well today and tomorrow will look after itself.

You are the result of the actions and habits you adopt today, not tomorrow nor yesterday.

Make TODAY count! riddle_stop 2

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