What health and fitness is really all about.

Simple Motivation | Kourtney Thomas Fitness

Image via Alecia Hoyt Photography

One of my favorite things about working as closely as I do with my one-on-one clients is that I learn from them just as much as they learn from me. Over time, we get to know each other well, and there’s an exchange of information on both sides that’s beneficial to both of our growth.

Seriously, I have the best job ever.

Anyway, one of my most valued friendships has grown out of what started as client/trainer. And from that, a constant flow of thoughtful, and useful, articles, books, and ideas. One of the most significant shares was a couple of years ago, the book, No Sweat.

The subtitle of the book is “How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness,” and while it sounds a little like clickbait, it’s no bullshit. I’ve adopted the philosophy laid out in this book myself, and have recommended it to countless clients, watching as it completely changes their outlook about health and fitness – and their lives.

The book is heavily based in research and evidence, but Dr. Segar does a fantastic job of breaking it down and illustrating her points with client case studies that are relatable as real human beings going through similar struggles. Basically, it comes down to the fact that “health and fitness” in its current mass-market format does not work. It’s not helpful, it creates a terrible negative cycle, and it leaves people feeling like compete failures every time they even think of trying to make an improvement. No Sweat provides an alternative, and a useful and practical roadmap.

What’s interesting is that I pretty much already had this figured out before I read the book, and had been practicing and coaching my own version of it. In fact, I just talked about it on my friend Pete McCall’s podcast too, in describing how I got into fitness, and how I felt about running. In the beginning, I did different workouts because I wanted to try them. The ones that I enjoyed, I stuck with and did frequently of my own volition. The ones that I didn’t love, I didn’t do any longer, didn’t worry about forcing. That’s how I came to love of endurance running, and it’s how I fell head over heels for bodybuilding – both purely because I enjoyed the hell out of them and found them fun. I tried HIIT, I tried strength, I tried group fitness…none of it stuck because I didn’t enjoy it.

And that’s the key, which also turns out to be the main part of this “simple science of motivation” —

Find out what you enjoy, and do more of it.

Again, through my own experience, I had figured this out and had begun to pass it on to my clients and coach them through their exploration. It was stuff like, hey, I know you’re trying to force these structured workouts, but you really love taking all the kids in the big-ass stroller and walking to the park for a couple hours. Guess what – that counts! You enjoy of it, do more of it. Or you just want to make it easy and go to barre class? Awesome! Get after it! I have always said, I don’t need you to train with me. I need you to do what you love, whether that’s Zumba or CrossFit or mountain biking or powerlifting. I don’t care. I want you to figure out what kind of movement you love, and do it with no judgment or pressure.

When No Sweat came along, it was the validation of my coaching methods, which made me smile. Of course, Dr. Segar puts this philosophy into much clearer terms than I, and provides background and research, as well as well-defined steps for how to make it practical for you. But it’s just so cool to see it out there, and to have such a wonderful tool available.

And that’s why I’ve made it a cornerstone of the Build Your Big Life Coaching group curriculum. It’s one of those things where it’s really easy to read a book and get all excited about it, but then kind of forget about it as the days go by, not really putting any of the new knowledge into action. It happens all the time. We get all excited for a little bit, but run out of steam quickly when it’s not new anymore. But reading this book, then analyzing it with book club style questions, having active real-time discussions about the concepts in a group setting, and providing support to move through the sticky parts of changing your mindset around health and fitness is pretty damn valuable – and effective at managing that change and securing those new habits in the long run.

Really though, book or no book, I’ll say it one more time: health and fitness isn’t about expectations. It isn’t about the latest thing in a magazine or the newest challenge on Instagram. It isn’t about one method over another. And it most certainly isn’t about killing yourself and making life miserable to achieve something you think you need to achieve.

Health and fitness is about having an open mind, learning, playing, exploring what feels good in your body and mind, and then doing more of that, consistently.

Yep, that’s it.

I mean, I’m always here to help, and I’m always up for talking about/debating this. (That’s why I keep the comments section open.) But in the end, trying this philosophy on for size may surprise you, and you may end up like my clients who have seen life-changing results.

What do you think about considering the No Sweat way?


The August 14, 2017 edition of Build Your Big Life Coaching is going to open up to exclusive pre-sale through this link on Friday, August 4. You can find out all the details here, but your brand new copy of No Sweat is included. Just sayin’.

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