Working in magazines taught me many things. I learned how to edit, develop a story idea, and share information in a way that helps people take action. I also learned a lot about human psychology based on how we respond to certain words and phrases. In particular, it was always fascinating to see how people reacted to different cover lines and headlines.
One of the most common (and popular) cover lines for health magazines is, “Get Back in Shape.” It’s popular because it works. When those words appear on the front of a magazine, more copies are purchased.
It would seem these words translate well because, at some point, we’re all just trying to recapture what we once had, thought we had, or always desperately wanted.
Getting back in shape comes down to many steps. But oftentimes when end up stressing many unnecessary details, making a simple solution complex [for example, check out my new blog on “The Myth of Workout Nutrition”] and losing the war before the battle even begins.
I prefer a simpler model because it works. And before you start stressing the details you first need to decide: Am I a loser or a gainer?
This has nothing to do with fat loss or the ability to pack on strength and muscle. And this also isn’t an issue of gender, hormones, or caloric intake. This is about change mentality.
I’m not talking about some new-age spirituality. This is a basic mindset approach that is invaluable to emphasizing what really matters. Your success with any program depends on whether you are focusing on what you are gaining from your efforts to improve your health or if you focus on what you are losing.
Are you worrying about how you’ll be able to eat pasta fewer nights per week or focusing on how getting back in shape will improve your overall health, teach you to control more elements of your life, and ultimately allow you to eat more pasta consistently for the rest of your life?
Are you complaining about exercise, or rejoicing that the work you do now will help you living longer, potentially play a role in making you more money, improving the way you look and feel, and enabling you to fight off disease?
This is change mentality. This is the difference maker. This is how you really get back in shape. You focus on the good and silence the short-term difficulties or struggles that are part of the process.
If you only emphasize what you will lose, you will continue to have a lesser life in every way possible. Commit to change and become a gainer. Remind yourself every single day if necessary. And the process will become easier. The reward will become greater. And your plan will result in success.
It’s just the first step. But it’s the most important one you’ll take on your way to getting back in shape.
Adam Bornstein is a New York Times bestselling author and, according to The Huffington Post, “one of the most inspiring sources in all of health and fitness.” An award-winning writer and editor, Bornstein was the Fitness and Nutrition editor for Men’s Health, Editorial Director at LIVESTRONG.com, and a columnist for SHAPE, Men’s Fitness, and Muscle & Fitness. He’s also a nutrition and fitness advisor for LeBron James, Cindy Crawford, Lindsey Vonn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His work has been featured in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Fast Company, ESPN, and GQ, and he’s appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, E! News, and The Cheddar.