“Success is worthless if we don’t have someone to share it with; indeed, our most desired human emotion is that of connection with other souls” – Tony Robbins
As we near the end of the year, it’s a good time to take a moment to reflect on the past 10 months or so. What were our successes? Our failures? Most importantly, who did we share them with?
Community is a vital, but sometimes underrated, part of life. In fact, community, the theme of this month’s newsletter, is our 7th principle at Sweet7. While the other six are crucial to life (you know, like breathing), community is often the game changer. It can be the difference between someone falling off the wagon completely and someone who stumbles, falls off and gets back up again.
So what is community and why is it important?
To quote the dictionary, it’s “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”
But why is this important and what does it do for you?
We’ve worked with many people over the years, and those who have walked through our doors have done so for three main reasons.
These are knowledge, periodisation (or planning) and accountability.
To put it simply, when it comes to fitness and nutrition, most people don’t have the knowledge to get the results they desire on their own. And neither should they! We’ve studied for years (and still do) to know how to help guide and assist you to achieve your goals.
We know how to plan long term, how to account for all the various factors that occur in life and consider the fact your body adapts to your regime after about 6 weeks (give or take). Even with a basic plan of action, this isn’t something most people can do without guidance. And lastly, this cannot be stressed enough, they don’t have the accountability to stick with the plan consistently.
Consistency is one of the biggest challenges to achieving your goals, and one that our clients tell us they struggle with the most. We hear ya! Consistency is hard, we too struggle to get up at 5 or 6am to get to the gym (usually to train you!), we get lazy, we can’t be bothered cooking sometimes. Everyone experiences this struggle.
The difference however, as to whether someone remains consistent or not, is their accountability. Even individual sports people have TEAMS of people supporting them. No tennis player or golfer is an individual athlete. Many top business executives, entrepreneurs and the like have teams of people to support and help them to remain healthy and able to cope with the level of stress/work/travel/
Consider this excerpt from the book, The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
“Even if you give people better habits, it doesn’t repair why they started drinking in the first place. Eventually they’ll have a bad day, and no new routine is going to make everything seem okay. What can make a difference is believing that they can cope with that stress without alcohol.
By putting alcoholics in meetings where belief is a given – where, in fact, belief is an integral part of the 12 steps – AA trains people in how to believe in something until they believe in the program and themselves. It lets people practice believing that things will eventually get better, until things actually do.
At some point, people in AA look around the room and think, “if it worked for that guy, I guess it can work for me.”
There’s something really powerful about groups and shared experiences. People might be sceptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief. A community creates belief.”
Exercising in a group does a similar thing. It creates community, which can often result in wonderful friendships and relationships with other people. But it has another important by-product. Competition. As humans, we often can’t help but compare ourselves to one another: “if he can do it, I can”, “I have to show up this morning because the others will know if I’m not there”, “I can’t believe she beat me in squats, I’m going to practice and beat her next week!”
All of these scenarios help to create consistency. While you might say you’re not interested in getting into competition with someone else over squats, it doesn’t have to be competition, it could be as simple as not wanting to let the team down.
This team effort and team focus can pull you through the tough times of your week, your month, or even your year. Even without you or them realising it.
“We know for habits to permanently change, people must believe that change is feasible. The same process that makes AA so effective – the power of a group to teach individuals how to believe – happens whenever people come together to help one another change. Belief is easier when it occurs within a community.”
Many people are hesitant to attend group exercise. This can come from a negative past experience – maybe you got a sweaty armpit in your face in aerobics back in the day – or you simply would rather not ‘share’ your trainer.
However, once people try it, they quite enjoy it and end up sticking to it.
If this article has made you think about your consistency, your ability to train and stay on track towards your goals week in and week out, then maybe group exercise could be something to consider. At the studio – if you didn’t know – we do classes every week, both ELDOA and bodyweight-based strength classes (check out our timetable here). Everyone is welcome.
We also do “semi-private” training sessions where 2-4 people are teamed up to work with us (see here). This is a fun, social and more cost-effective way to train for many people who know they need to train and get strong, but don’t particularly enjoy lifting weights.
Get amongst and make the most of those community benefits! We’re all here to help.