I decided to title my guest post for Juli’s blog, “Learning How to K.I.P.”, where K.I.P stands for “Keeping (it) In Perspective.”  Many of us, as athletes, business people, stay-at-home parents, students, and human beings, may occasionally need a friendly reminder that at the end of the day, we’re going to the gym to work out, and that is should be fun.

CrossFit (the fitness program that I follow) can have a strange ability to consume many aspects of a person’s life, from their sleep patterns, to their diet, to their dating habits (I’mTalkingToYouJuli).  Yet, while there are many positive outcomes that can come from hard work in the gym, we sometimes forget that our lifting, running, jumping, and throwing are supposed to be FUN!

I’ve had the honor of coaching some amazing individuals in my years as a CrossFit trainer.  Almost every single milestone that one of them hits makes anything I’ve “accomplished” as an athlete, myself, pale in comparison.  That’s because their achievements are rarely about the number of pounds they put over their head.  They’re not about the time they dropped re-doing a workout.  The focus isn’t just about how low (or high, depending on the circumstance) the number on the scale is getting.  The reason that I am so pumped when I hear these success stories, or even better, when I get to witness a special moment in person, is because of the profound impact that their accomplishment can have on the REST of their life.  When someone walks in the door of the gym for the first time, and after a few months of hard work they hit their first pull-up, or make it through their first 200m run without stopping… those have potential to be life-changing moments.

There are times, however, when we can become our own harshest critics.  If EVERY lift isn’t a PR, if EVERY run doesn’t feel fast, it can be easy to get down on ourselves.  “I’ve done this before, why can’t I do it now?”   “I wanted to work out today, but work ran late so I had to miss the gym.“  “I ate poorly this weekend.”  With every one of those situations, your best course of action is probably going to be to relax!  One off day doesn’t mean you’re getting weaker.  One missed class at the gym doesn’t mean you’ve lost all of the progress you’ve already made (your body could probably use the rest, anyways).  One “cheat meal”, or a vacation full of indulgence, doesn’t mean you will never reach your goals with food.  Instead, view those “set-backs” as opportunities to refocus yourself and get back on track.

With nutrition, find food that is good for you and that gets you excited to cook (like the meals Juli shares with us on PaleOMG.com).  With training, set specific goals on things you would like to accomplish, and work towards achieving those goals.  Having milestones can be great in boosting our motivation and confidence levels!

The truth is, a lot of us tell ourselves that we’ll “never be able to” do things.  When those things that we knew we’d never accomplish actually start happening because of our hard work, those walls of self-doubt slowly start to come down and the floodgates open for what we believe we can accomplish in life.

But please, realize that most people in the world don’t care if you can Squat Clean 300lbs or run a mile in 5:00.  If we remember that most of us are trying so hard in the gym so we can keep up with our kids or grandkids, or carry groceries upstairs by ourselves, or see our blood pressure drop without the use of “drugs” (just a clean diet and a regular physical exercise)… then it will all make more sense.

By “Keeping it In Perspective,” we can remind ourselves that being active and healthy is what life is all about.  Let go of the pressure, and have fun with what we do!  Remember to K.I.P., my friends!

Tom is another one of my friends that has A LOT of abs. I love posting these pictures.