Beginning Your Fitness Regimen… Successfully

Copyright 2006 John Perry

I recently returned from the idea incubator seminar ( hosted by Stu McLaren. This event is for anyone trying to improve their online business and delivers a multitude of on and offline business ideas from a panel of top-notch speakers.

I had the pleasure of talking one-on-one with Stu at the event over lunch one day. I always get a lot of “ah-has” after speaking with Stu, but this particular meeting really opened up the flood gates.

Stu was saying that the biggest question many of the students have is “How do I get started?” He felt this was a very tough question because there are many answers to this query. Stu was saying asking a more specific question is a much better way to begin.

He went on to say that many of the participants (including myself) have been to a ton of courses and listened to hours of instruction by the speakers at the course (including himself). He felt that too often people get wrapped up in trying to ally every technique they have ever learned.

The trick is to pick one or two strategies and then apply them…take action. Stu himself only uses 20-25% of all the strategies he has ever learned and he has been taught by the best.

I then told Stu that this is the same thing I do in my personal and team training with clients. I first find where they are successful and then “tweak in” the things that need improvement.

That is when it hit me…I had been spending too much time on the parts of my business where I was not as efficient; thinking this would improve my business and life satisfaction. On the contrary, it was making me overworked and miserable.

After listening to what Stu had to say, I made a decision to only do what I do best and outsource everything else. I will get better at what I am good at and will be much more efficient in the things I am not as proficient in by hiring them out.

I have found that there are things I still like to have a little control over and have not completely let go; but for the most part, this has allowed more time freedom for my family and work. It has lowered my stress level immensely.

When it comes to new endeavors, I now pick one thing to work on and begin to apply it. Depending upon what category it falls into, I may choose to outsource it… it has been very liberating!

How does this apply to fitness? Well, I get asked the same question by clients and patients alike. They want to know where to start – to lose weight, to become faster, have more energy, be more productive, free up time by exercising less, get the most out of each exercise session, or to have less stress.

In all of the above cases we begin with success.

When someone is beginning a weight loss program we always begin where the body is successful; i.e. moving in three planes, using muscle synergies vs. individual muscles, moving through the available range to allow proper muscle loading and using the butt to train the brain.

We then “tweak in” nutrition, action (or time) management and work on specific deficits with their particular body mechanics.

This allows clients to have success initially in the program and gives them confidence to stick with the program. New activities are introduced gradually and usually one or two at a time. We apply new techniques or exercises and make sure clients are proficient at them before moving on to something else.

Sound familiar?

In the case of injuries, we always begin with what the patient can do well before forcing a difficult or painful task into their repertoire of exercises. Only one or two main goals are ever worked on at any given time. The success rate and patient compliance are much higher when tackling the situation from this angle.

Increasing an athlete’s speed is the same; I do a biomechanical evaluation, and based upon the evaluation, pick one thing to focus on. Amazingly, this one area, if mastered, will improve many other deficits simultaneously.

These successes will carry over into other aspects of clients’ lives. Their stress levels, success in school, productivity and energy levels all improve because of the step-by-step improvements in their training.

This was all because we started with success and built upon it from the inside out.

I read a recent article entitled “How to Be an Expert” ( The article talks about doing the things you don’t like doing to build upon success; fundamental requirements that many people avoid because they are not as proficient in them or find them boring.

I agree that we need to go back to the “drawing board” occasionally. Fundamental skills are necessary for mastery of any skill set.

However, my take is that this is where we should begin… with successful fundamentals. With my particular vocation this would be the movement skills discussed earlier in the article. Sometimes the answer is right under our noses. We are born with these movement skills and our “wired” for movement success.

In the case of my business it would be beginning with what I am proficient in and then applying one new strategy at a time or even delegating tasks to get them done.

To me, it isn’t a matter of doing something I don’t like, as much as it is focusing on what is important to me.

What is important to you? Are you beginning a new exercise routine? I realize there is a ton of information available on the “Best” way to exercise. Are you wondering where to start?

My advice is to start where you are successful. What are you comfortable with? When have you had success and with what type of activity? Why are you doing what you are currently doing?

Build off of your past and present success.

Stu reminded me it is more important to build upon your proficiencies versus always trying to learn the newest strategy and technique.

“The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French novelist