Ideas in the Wild: How Rachel Freiman Aims To Shift Our Approach to Health and Fitness to Help Us Reach Our Goals
There has to be a trick to this, right?
At a certain point in our health and fitness journey, we become certain we’ve inherited a gene preventing us from hitting our health and fitness goals because years of new diets and routines have gotten us nowhere. Clearly, getting healthy just isn’t meant for us.
But it’s not us — it’s them. The diets and routines we’ve relied on in the past never did the trick because we don’t need a trick to get healthy; we simply need to learn how.
Rachel Freiman wrote Becoming Mindstrong, Rachel Freiman to show readers how to create lifelong habits by training their mind along with their body. I recently caught up with Rachel to learn what inspired her to write the book and the biggest lesson she shares with readers.
What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?
When I first started getting serious about working out and about going to the gym, I started taking friends and fellow teachers with me. The feedback I heard for them were things like I’m showing up as a better wife, as a better parent, as a better teacher, just because of my energy, just because of how confident I feel and how good I feel about myself. Going to the gym is changing the way that I show up in this world. To me, that was just the spark of, “Holy crap. This is what I was put on this earth to do.” I want every human being to feel this, but those conversations also entailed an element of, “I want to feel this way, but I don’t know how to do it. There’s so much conflicting information out there in the health and fitness world.”
People wondered: Do I cut out carbs? Do I go on a low fat diet? Do I do these point systems? After years and years of just struggling with this and bouncing back and forth, we develop these limiting beliefs that it’s just not going to last for us. Then we take it as a reflection on ourselves, right? “I don’t have enough willpower. I’m not good enough to do this.”
We all believe it’s just us, that we alone can’t figure this out. I joke that I wish all my clients could get together in one room and have this conversation and see they’re not alone. These limiting beliefs are a repercussion of all the BS that’s out there in the health and fitness industry.
After talking to so many women and hearing over and over again, how good they feel when they do the work and also how confused they are about how to do the work, the teacher in me was like, I just need to yell from the hilltops that nutrition and fitness are skills and they’re learnable and they don’t have to be this complicated. The problem is big business wants to hand you a fish instead of teaching you to fish. So, I started my company and ultimately I wrote this book to teach people to fish by showing them these skills they can learn to do themselves. They just need someone to teach them how, which is what I’m here to do.
What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?
It’s the importance of one specific mindset shift. To completely transform your life, whether we’re talking about health and fitness, relationships, business, or whatever else, get out of the “all-in or all-out” mindset. We have been so brainwashed to believe, especially with health and fitness, that we’re either completely on our “diet” eating clean six days a week, not eating any junk food, and we’re in the gym five days a week, just killing the game. Or, God forbid, I had a slice of pizza and now I’ve ruined my diet. As a result, there’s no point in going to the gym and I’ll start over next Monday or next week or next month. As we all know, that reset often never comes.
In the book you sign a contract that says from this day forward, I am in and some days I will crush it. Some days I will destroy my goals, I will be spot on. Some days, I’m going to house a whole pizza by myself, and that does not mean I failed. You are in, you will crush it some days, you will be a hot mess other days, but no matter what, you keep freaking going.
What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?
I used to be the queen of all-in or all-out. I was neurotic about eating “clean.” No, I will not have a bite of your cookie. No, I will not have one chip because I am eating clean.
But then what would happen is at some point, willpower runs out, right? Willpower is an exhaustible resource. So, eventually, I’d see there was pizza at this party and well… we know where this story goes. One slice of pizza goes into five slices, which ruins my week. So, let me just go balls to the wall this week, eating anything and everything, and I’ll start again on Monday. For the first year I was in the gym, I did not see results because my nutrition was a hot mess.
Then I shifted my mindset. There is no all-in or all-out. I have my goals. I know what my nutrition plan looks like. Most days, I can stick to it. I’ve put in enough time, I’ve learned the skills, and I know how to do this without relying on willpower. When those days happen — not if, but when those days happen — that I don’t stick to it perfectly, cool. Maybe there’s a lesson there. Maybe I was trying to go too hard on something during the week. Maybe there’s too much on my plate. (Pun intended.) Maybe there is a contributing factor I need to step back and look to see why I’m not sticking to my goals. Whatever the reason, I’m not off my diet when this happens.
When I got out of the all-in all-out mindset, a few things happened. One, I could continue sticking to my goals. There is no more of this yo-yo up and down. I reframed “failure” as information. This applied not just to my health and fitness, but to my business.
Let’s say you do a launch, you put your heart and soul into something for months and it bombs. Does that mean you’re all out? Because if it does, there wouldn’t be a single business on the face of the earth that would still be in business. It’s simply information. Why did this happen? What do I need to adjust for next time? How do I keep going? And it is the same thing when it comes to nutrition. It’s the same thing. Pause, study it, and keep freaking going.