As we begin a new year with new expectations, I thought it was important to talk about perception. Perception as it relates to your health in the gym and your position as a human being overall. In our current society it is easy to become sensationalized by a topic and begin to blur the lines of what real issues exist in the world. The same thing can happen in the gym.  When we look at things only through our point of view we tend to miss the truth as well as other people’s perception. Our understanding of things comes from our own biases as well as those who we deem to be truthful. My opinion on a topic is simply built off of other people’s opinion who I agree or resonate with.  My purpose in this blog is to provide you an opportunity to step out of your body, your mind, and your opinion; and gain a better perception. Take a walk in someone else’s shoes not only to be more aware of where they come from but also to gain a better understanding of where you are.

Our opinions on hot button topics develop from how we were raised, with whom we associate, and what we have come to believe in. In the middle of left and right, up and down, east and west, etc. is a center ground; a point in the middle – perhaps a true north, so to speak. 

No hidden agenda, no underlying motive – just the truth. Parsing through opinions and biases will uncover the truth but only in so far as you remove your biases from the facts.  

Other people experience the world in completely different ways than you do. 

They were raised differently, grew up and associated with different people, and came to believe different things. How you perceive something is entirely different than how someone else perceives it. When you come across someone with a differing opinion: instead of getting irate, take a moment and consider where this person is coming. Do you/they have all the facts? Who has influenced your /their opinion? What is your/their perception? Again there is a certain truth or correctness but two opinions could be a few ticks away from the truth but in opposite perspectives.

What lesson should be taken from this? That we think. That we think beyond our own experience. That we think beyond our own experience to better understand others. That we think beyond our own experience to better understand others and their experience. Ultimately to be better people.

Now, how does this relate to our health and the gym? 

The concept of perception is very relatable to the gym and understanding ourselves in relation to our workout buddies. 

My experience, capabilities, goals etc. create my perception of what I want my health to look like. Being aware of what we say, how we act and how we associate with each other is important. Let’s take something simple like a pull-up.  I caught myself when I wrote that last sentence, but it proves my point. My ability, experience and capabilities on pull-ups make it so I disregarded them as a serious accomplishment or a difficult skill. Me bragging about how many I can do or poo-pooing someone getting there first one is about my perception. Instead of recognizing that for some this may be the highlight of their year, my perception has possibly destroyed this amazing moment for them.

This perception or empathy goes for anything and everything. My relationship with food/diet, my mental health, my personal relationships, exercise, sleep etc. is different than the next guy’s. 

Am I advocating walking on eggshells, afraid to converse and discuss your life? NO! My point is when it comes to your health, your success and failures; take a moment and think about how far you’ve come and the perception you have of yourself juxtaposed with how someone else may benefit or be hurt by what you are saying. Basically, just think; think of someone else’s position or perspective and have some perception. You may learn something and will be a better human from it.

Written by Mario Zeppetelli

Coach Mario is a Thrive Coach’s prep course graduate, a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and Active Life Professional. You can find him at Thrive most days either coaching one-on-one clients or the ThriveX Class as well as some CrossFit Classes. 

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