Accountability in fitness
When we talk about accountability in fitness, it often means having someone by your side who cares about your goals, is following your progress, and wants you to succeed. This accountability can give you extra motivation to get off the couch and at a deeper level, it’s a relationship where someone takes an active interest in your training and gives you support to make it easier and more rewarding.
Accountability partners can be a great resource for your fitness. Three common types are an accountability buddy, a workout buddy, and a personal trainer.
- Accountability Buddy: Someone who agrees to be your check-in person
When you have an accountability buddy, you tell them your goals and workout plans, and you follow up with them as you complete each step. Your buddy pays attention to your progress, asks how it’s coming along, and cheers you on. They can also supply gentle harassment if you need it. This type of support can be really helpful if you prefer to workout alone for some “me time”, but want a little outside pressure to keep you on track.
- Workout Buddy (or group): Someone who joins you for workouts
A workout buddy meets you at the gym or trailhead. They provide pleasant company and make your workouts fun, and can be a partner for new adventures like trying your first marathon or strength class together. Workout buddies can be especially great if you like a little friendly competition.
- Personal Trainer: a skilled professional who plans and monitors your workouts
A personal trainer is a paid coach who makes sure you’re doing the right exercise for your goals and optimizes your training plan to help you reach your full potential. Your trainer doesn’t just expect you to show up, they want to see you workout safely and give the best effort you can that day. Having this kind of help to break through plateaus can be especially satisfying.
What does accountability mean?
The basic idea of fitness accountability is that if you need motivation, you can find it externally. But what happens when those external arrangements change? Maybe your buddy gets injured or sick, or your coaching program comes to an end.
Do you really only show up to your sessions because otherwise your trainer will yell at you? You’re not paying them to threaten you or make you feel bad. You’re looking for support. But when you put all the power in your trainer’s hands, you’re setting yourself up for frustration and you give away all your power.
Because what does accountability really mean? It means stepping into being 100% responsible for your life. It’s recognizing that you are the creator of your experience, and you are responsible for the outcome.
“Instead of pushing all of our power outside of ourselves, and making other people responsible for who and how we are in the moment, we’re going to consistently look at ways where we can grab that power back and own ourselves and our experience. So this is really about choosing that life is happening for me instead of to me.” say Star Rose Bond, Licensed Psychotherapist and Ruby Christine Head, Life Coach and co-founders of Life Camp.
How to go beyond external accountability
With all that said, I believe that working out with a trainer, a workout buddy, or a group of like-minded people can be incredibly helpful, especially when you’re just starting out or are stuck in a rut.
But what I want you to recognize is that it’s not really me or your buddy that makes changes happen in your life, but your own determination. You are the one getting up early or heading to the gym after a long day. It’s your effort, your drive, and your commitment to yourself that earns your results.
If that sounds just a bit overwhelming, here are a three ways that can help keep yourself accountable:
- Track your progress
Whether you decide to keep track of your reps and sets or you write down how you feel mentally and physically, sooner or later patterns will emerge that give you a visual representation of how you’re doing and how close you are to achieving your goals. You will also keep your goals on the top of your mind when you consciously have to enter data each day.
- Follow a long-term fitness program
Despite what some may tell you, eating healthy and clean and exercising properly on a regular basis is not always intuitive and it takes time to get it right. I encourage my clients to a 6-month commitment. That way they hold themselves accountable for long enough that what they learn stands a real chance of becoming a habit that they continue for the rest of their lives.
- Celebrate your achievements
It’s important to take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small they seem at the moment. It’s not just about checking your workouts off the to-do list but reinforcing the idea that following through ends in something you love and that makes you feel good—your favorite protein shake, a warm bath, a little dance for yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of patting yourself on the back and what it can do to your self-esteem.
If you want to know more about my work and how I can help you succeed, contact me and let’s get on a call together. I look forward to learning more about you.