The most rewarding part of my job as a Spartan SGX coach and personal trainer is watching my clients transform. One guy in particular has been an inspiration to me. We’ll call him Roger, and Roger came to me with a simple goal: to lose weight and build muscle. But he had a problem. He didn’t want to be in the gym.
For the three months, Roger would show up and say things like, “This workout is stupid.” Or he’d be running on a treadmill, complaining about how much he hated running on a treadmill. But slowly, he started to get his mind straight. He began to transform. I could see the signs: One day, instead of forcing himself through the motions in service of some far-off dream of ideal fitness, he started to enjoy the workout. He stopped complaining and started to relish the simple joy in lifting weights, moving his body, and—yes—running. Now, five months in, Roger finally has the mentally that he’ll use to break through barriers. And indeed, the past two months have delivered his biggest increases in strength and stamina, and a decrease in body fat.
I watched Roger go from doubtful to determined, and it made me realize that there are certain things that set champions apart. Every client I work with has a barrier to break through. Maybe you do, too. This is what you need to know about making it happen.
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1. Champions Have a Purpose
There are people who only come to the gym to improve their vanity muscles, or only join a race for the trophy. These people are not champions. Some of them won’t get what they want, and they’ll never be happy. Others will get what they want, and then—well, so what? The vanity muscles will disappear when they stop lifting; the trophy will eventually end up in a box in the attic. A real champion mindset is one that gives meaning to every race and workout—regardless of the outcome. That meaning could be about overcoming personal limitations, inspiring others, or getting healthy for the people you care about.
2. Champions Don’t Blame Others
Failure is a part of life, but only those who embrace it can benefit from its lessons. When champions fail to finish a race as quickly as they’d hoped, they don’t blame the person who tripped them up at mile three or the person who held up the line at obstacle seven. They say, “What could I have done differently?” And then they work on it.
3. Champions Celebrate Incremental Gain
It’s easy to become frustrated when your race time or body-fat percentage don’t drop as quickly as you’d like. But champions understand that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Good things don’t come all at once—they’re hard-won from countless hours of sweat. For champions, that’s what makes the payoff so sweet. Anything that comes too easily is simply not worth having.
4. Champions Are Self-Motivated
If you’re only working out because of social pressure or because your spouse expects you to, then you’ll never reach your potential. You have to look inward and ask, “What do I want to get out of this?” If you can’t find a reason, look harder. Nothing in the gym matters until you find an answer to that question.
5. Champions Care About the Process
Everybody checks themselves out in the mirror at the gym. But champions aren’t looking at the obvious. Instead of watching their biceps bulge, they’re checking their form. They care less about looking good and more about being effective. Perfect the process, and everything else falls into place.