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"Painting is the easy part"

“People think painting is easy…”

One of my long time personal training clients, 62-year-old Connie Jo, and I often find ourselves in philosophical conversations about life, business, and training between sets during sessions. Connie, a former ski racer, business owner, a dairy farmer, a mother, lives life to the fullest. I’ve come to value her opinions, and get the unique opportunity of soaking in her wisdom from a lifetime of hard work and positive attitude. Little does Connie know, at this point in our coach-client relationship, I should be the one paying her, not the other way around.

A few days ago during a conversation she was explaining how the act of doing a project or job is the easy part. It’s the prep work that is the kicker, and why so many people procrastinate on things or just never get them started in the first place.

She said “Rolling on the paint is the easy part. You can think ‘oh, I’m going to paint the kitchen this week, it's going to look awesome!” But what you don't realize is, now you have to drive to the paint store, decide on the color, purchase all the supplies, drive home, move everything out of the way, tape your walls, put protection down on the floor, make sure your kids and dog are out of the way, set up your stool and ladder, put on your painting clothes. You probably need to prime the walls or sand the old paint off. All of that work to spend 15 minutes rolling your paint on, then waiting hours again between coats. When you are done now you have to clean up the mess you made. And at the end of it, there is a 50-50 chance you don’t even like the shade of paint you picked.

This got me thinking about training and the process a person goes through before they ever set foot in my gym to start their strength and fitness journey for the first, or maybe even 10th time.

The training in the gym is the easy part. You show up and get under the bar. If you’ve hired a coach like me, it is MY responsibility to get you moving under the bar efficiently and safely and build you a plan for you to make continuous progress. The hard part is outside the gym. You now have a 60-90 minute appointment 2-3x/wk on top of your already busy schedule. You’ll have to make the commute and shuffle around your schedule. You’ll need someone to watch your kids, maybe take them to their events. You will need to purchase some workout clothes, lifting shoes, and belt if you don’t have them already. After a while, your spouse may urge you to skip a session. You’ll have to adjust your eating, shopping, and food prep routine to get more protein in. Something will come up with your finances, making you think twice about your gym membership dues. You will constantly be staring down the barrel of another hard training session and want to skip it. But for my clients who stick with it for the long haul, the results are always worth it.

The fitness industry talks about the failure rate of people starting their fitness journey. The idea of getting strong, building your body, losing body fat, becoming healthier and more capable sounds good until it is time to take the steps necessary to achieve it.

But if you truly want to change yourself, you need to harness that initial motivation. You need to stick with it and make it fit into your life. You need to eat differently, you need to refuse to skip training sessions even when you don’t feel like it. You need to accept the fact each session is going to get progressively hard and heavy. This is the only way to turn that rapidly fleeting motivation into a lifelong training habit and reap the benefits of a strong, robust body as you age.

In simple wall painting terms - if you want to enjoy the beautiful new hue of the walls next to your new kitchen cabinets… you need to be committed to the entire process or you’ll never even start and that Lowes paint bucket will sit in your garage collecting dust.

In simple fitness terms - if you want to enjoy a strong, healthy, robust, and good-looking body - you will need to be committed to the entire process, or you’ll never even set foot in the gym, or if you do, you won’t stay long.

So, if you have been blessed with the idea that you need to paint your walls or build your body don’t hesitate. Go buy the paint and supplies, and commit to the process.

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