In order to reach your fitness goals – and to give a shit about your fitness in general – you need to NOT give a shit about what others think. Yes, we all know it’s important to have a support network rooting for us and helping us to make healthy choices, but very often in our daily lives it’s necessary to go against the grain and be a Lone Wolf in order to achieve our goals. In my work with clients over the years, the ones who constantly give a shit what others think are less likely to achieve their health and fitness goals compared to those who don’t.
In our society, it’s normal to be over-fat (that doesn’t mean it’s healthy, obviously). About 70% of North Americans are classified as overweight! Our culture caters to over-eating, under-nourishing, and leading extremely sedentary lifestyles.
So, if you want to be lean, strong, and fit, and lead an active, healthy lifestyle, you need to do something different from what the average person does. You need to stop thinking about what “normal” or “expected” behaviours are, and do your own damn thing. Embrace being the Lone Wolf, and you’ll be the one getting health and fitness results while everyone else keeps doing the same ol’ and complaining they’re not getting anywhere.
I went vegan 14 years ago, so I’ve had my fair share of practice being the Lone [herbivorous] Wolf. Back then, there were no all-vegan restaurants, social media groups, vegan certified food package labels, faux meats that actually tasted good, or any other vegans I knew of other than my best friend. I was constantly the Lone Wolf bringing my own food to events, and ordering off-menu items at restaurants.
These days, my vegan lifestyle is a non-issue, especially living in an extremely veg-friendly city. I still do many fitness-related “non-normal” things of course, but most people chalk that up to being a fitness coach, doing this for a living, and having a gym as my workplace.
This is why I’m turning things over to my esteemed clients. My clients know that not caring what others think is an important piece of the fitness puzzle. As strong, active, and healthy individuals, they go against the grain to achieve fitness goals so they can be non-“normal” (i.e. overweight and sedentary) like everyone else.
Six of my clients shared with me their experiences in setting aside expectations and social norms in the name of reaching their health and fitness goals. I asked them, “What health behaviours (no matter how small) do you engage in that necessitate being non-self-conscious?”
So, here are the ways my clients are nailing their fitness goals by not giving a shit what others think:
- Carrying a huge cooler bag containing many ice packs every day to work with multiple meals in it.
- Packing my cooler bag packed with shakes and prepared food to Las Vegas or Arizona when visiting so I have healthy choices available and not mini bar food.
- Packing my full-size Vitamix to Hawaii for ten days on multiple occasions so I can make healthy snacks in the hotel room.
- Being the only person carrying around a big cooler bag of food while attending all-day photography training events. Lugging it a hell of a long way to the rocks to take photographs on the beach when everyone else packs only their camera gear. I stand out for doing this but I do it anyway.
- Going to work every day with a Samsonite trolley bag and having to answer “Are you going on a trip?” “Yeah, to the gym twice so I need 3 changes of clothes and all my gear with me at all times.”
- Asking a girl out on a date but having to tell her it can only be an early dinner as I have to get up at 6am to work out.
- Going to the movies with friends but leaving early because the movie is too long and I’d be late to my spin class.
- Taking long lunch breaks but coming back with lunch in my hand because I went to the gym instead.
- Choosing hotels based on how their gym is equipped.
- Having all these and more at the office kitchen: Nutribullet blender, shaker cup, infusion bottle, protein powder. Getting stares while making smoothies while everyone else is loading up on carbonated drinks.
Angelika: (<-- that’s my mom!):
- I recently did yoga in the airport lounge while waiting for a connecting flight. Someone even approached me to ask whether I’m a yoga teacher!
- Doing squats while in an hour-long passport renewal lineup with a book.
- I always take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. I often run into coworkers in the parking lot and they wait for the elevator instead of walking to the fourth floor with me. They give me strange looks every time but I take every opportunity to be active, and it's often faster!
- Opting out of "fried chicken Fridays" (or whatever terrible takeout they order). I always bring my own lunch but for some reason they still act like I'm betraying the team by opting out. The best part is when they say, "Don't be such a stick in the mud; one meal won't make you fat."
- Going on a multi-day sailing trip with a friend on our shared boat (sailing is non-stop physical work). Upon docking on a small Gulf Island, we didn’t crack open the beers like most people would. Instead, we immediately headed to the local gym for a strength workout! [Karina’s note: This badass client is 70 years young. And benches 200+ lbs.]
Here are a few more Lone Wolf examples my clients have shared with me. Many of these have been mentioned by more than one client:
- Leaving work parties early to work out, and to skip the drink-eat-drink cycle.
- Drinking mineral water + lime at work/office functions instead of alcohol, even though the expectation is to have multiple drinks.
- Ordering off-menu entrees at business meetings to better align with nutrition goals.
- Doing sprints and walking lunges out on the street because the condo gym is too small.
- Doing push-ups and squats at the office desk to break up long periods of sitting.
- Jumping rope and running sprints while keeping an eye on the kids at the playground (instead of sitting on the sidelines like everyone else).
- Planning hiking events with friends instead of the usual dinner and drinks.
Some true Lone Wolf wise words from my client Kensi:
“Even though having a support network is extremely important, very often we as fitness nuts will be the Lone Wolf and make decisions that run counter to what everyone else is doing - without support from friends or family. Once you realize that you are alone, your battle will be psychologically much easier. Lone Wolves know that when standing alone for something they want, their personal resolve gets stronger, and in turn forges the assertiveness to accomplish the goal. Understanding the Lone Wolf concept in itself becomes the motivator.”
You alone are responsible for your actions. You’re not in this to please anyone but yourself, so you need to stop giving a shit what everyone else thinks. Just get out there and do what you need to do, and embrace being the Lone Wolf.
Download Karina's 350-item vegan grocery list!
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Are you a Lone Wolf in need of some support? Get in touch; I'd love to hear from you!