Unpack Your Excuses for Success With Nick Routson


Nick Routson, general manager of 24 Hour Fitness Fullerton Super-Sport Gym and former fitness manager, loves one thing more than fitness, and that’s people. He loves building bodies, including his own. And he really loves helping others create strategic plans to transform their fitness goals into reality.

Somehow Routson manages to fit in an ambitious training schedule while working full time and leading a team at 24 Hour Fitness in Southern California. (Routson’s training schedule has included competition, as well: He placed second overall in Men’s Classic Physique in the 2017 California State Championships.) He says it’s not that hard, once you identify and commit to the dream—then it’s simply a matter of showing up. “People give up on their fitness dreams because they haven’t connected to their ‘why’ yet,” he says.

Here’s how Routson stays committed to his passion:

Get energy from your results


If you don’t get paid for your job, you’re not going to show up for very long—even if you love it. It’s the same in fitness: If you don’t see results, then you’re not going to keep coming to the gym.

For my clients who have been successful, it all came down to aligning their lives and truly making a lifestyle change where they’re not just coming in the gym to practice for an hour a day but also letting this new behavior influence the other 23 hours that they’re not working out. They find a way to engage people who are going to support them and get rid of anything that’s going to hold them back. It is really about getting to the heart of your beliefs and being able to channel that positive energy into achieving the new outcome and the change that you want to see.

The best piece of training advice I’ve ever received was to never let one day or one workout define you and to keep pushing through. Not every workout is going to be the best workout you’ve ever had, but that’s not the point. It’s the accumulation of the work—that long-term consistency, not short-term intensity—that’s going to make you successful.

Unpack your excuses

If we don’t have a clear, definitive goal or an emotional connection to it, we lose sight of why we’re pushing through the hard times. This leads to common excuses or objections like I don’t have time, I can’t make this happen, it’s too expensive, I have too much on my plate or I need to take care of others.

What this comes down to is thinking that the gym can’t directly benefit us or it’s a waste of time. This requires that we go back to how important our goal is and how it’s going to impact our lives positively. It’s paramount to identify this at the start. What are you doing this for? Without that reason, it doesn’t matter how great your plan is, and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.

Mind what’s on your plate


Nutrition is one of the most important things to consider. You cannot work off that bad diet, so complement what you’re doing at the gym with everything you do outside of it. Your nutrition is going to give you energy, it’s going to give you the change you want to see—and it’s going to keep you going.

If I was a voice in my client’s ear, I would say don’t get caught up in it too much; enjoy the process. When you fall in love with the process, the results follow. So do your best every day. Don’t worry if you get set back one day because one bad meal doesn’t make you unhealthy, just like one good meal isn’t going to make you healthy. Figure out what you like to eat. Don’t try to fit it into this ideal of what you think healthy food is. Find what you truly like. You can make any kind of food nutritious or fit the nutrients you want. Make sure you like it. That’s the most important thing.

Take advantage of all things fitness

Movement quality is the most important thing when it comes to working out. It’s not all about how much you lift; it’s about how well you lift it. Take time and learn—and master—the primal movements used in daily life. Those are the basis of all the exercises that we do in the gym with various modifications: squat, deadlift, bench press, push (any kind of upper-body press), pull (whether a pull-up or row) and plank.

If you’re just getting started at the gym, come in proud and excited. Don’t feel judged. The newcomer is the most important person we want to be successful. Usually, the more fit other people are, the more they want to cheer you on and see you get there. The gym is very much about being a supportive community. We all want to get better together, and those who have been successful want others to experience the same success and the profound impact that fitness has had for them.

Fit pros, learn your craft


My advice for new fitness pros is to see your whole lifetime as a chance to learn your craft. You’re helping so many people through so many things, and it can get overwhelming or daunting. I remember the days that I had to work the hardest, to put in the most effort to bring myself to a new level, and those are the times I appreciate and love the most—because I know that I was able to give my clients 110 percent. I was able to give my best and thus help them get to their best.

Video and photo credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com