Putting Skin in the Game: Invest – Commit – Conquer

Words by Fatima Lee Garsi
Happy New Year! Well, Happy February!
Do you like making New Year’s resolutions or goals? 
I do, but not the typical goal that demands upheaval and a complete lifestyle makeover – which is the kind of goal that often grabs our attention.
As years pass, I am more realistic; I know myself more and more – what will stick, and what won’t.
Sometimes big goals require more than one year…maybe two or three.  
In 2020, my goal was to become a “kettlebell lady” and compete in a competition. I wanted to beat the national record – and when I commit to something, I like to go all in. And what’s the best way to go all in and be consistent? Put your money where your mouth is: I hired a coach to guide my training and hold me accountable.

The Grueling Practice of Goals

My kettlebell coach was excellent, and I worked with her for two years. In preparing for my second competition, I decided to really go for that record – and I almost did it. I came in just three lifts shy of the national record. Officials documented that I did 110 clean lifts. I needed 113 to be the champion. 



Although I didn’t beat that record, I was satisfied in knowing I did my absolute best at the time, despite all the personal issues I was going through.
Leading up to the competition, my coach scheduled three extremely challenging workouts for me to complete each week. These workouts were so grueling that I would procrastinate, sometimes putting off the workout until MIDNIGHT. But I still did it.
In-between sets, I would sometimes find myself crying. It wasn’t the physical challenge that pushed me to tears – I was also going through a lot personally. And of course, the pandemic intensified my challenges. 
Through this, I still completed my tasks. I had set a goal to become a real kettlebell lady and implanted this seed deeply in my mind. The combination of my new identity and having a coach that I wanted to impress meant that I would do what I had to do…

Bumps and Bruises

I certainly pushed myself through the depths of both emotional and physical pain to stay dedicated to my training. But, I also pushed myself to take a step back when it was needed. 
Sometimes, I took breaks. I developed elbow pain and continued to manage my chronic low back pain. When my body told me I had to, I took time off training to heal, or I scaled back my training. I paid attention to the needs of my body, which was at times, incredibly frustrating. 
During Ramadan, I took a whole month off of kettlebell training. When the month was over, I got right back on that kettlebell horse.

My kettlebell coach worked with me throughout the pandemic. I would record my training and she would spot technical areas of importance for me to focus on.

My point is, things came up over and over again. My training took many hits, but my initial investment in a coach paid off. My coach was there to adjust my training as needed and ultimately her presence to support my goals helped me immensely.  

My 2023 Goal: New Goals, Deeper Challenges 

I am not doing kettlebell lifting anymore. Now, I’m solely focused on building my physique. 
I have been working with a bodybuilding coach for almost a full year. Things were going GREAT until I tore my groin tendon in August of 2022. 
For almost six months I have not been able to do anything with my lower half. I’ve only recently begun to reintroduce training that requires my lower body. Life continues to have its ups and downs. I know my injury will heal eventually and that I will get back to building the physique that I desire: I want big muscles!

Incline hammer curl.

My goals for a thick and lean physique might take me YEARS to achieve, not six weeks like they say on Instagram.
But when you’ve got your skin in the game, you know that it’s a long game. I also know that I am not a prisoner of my goals. I am focussed and dedicated to my goals as long-term commitments I make in my life. And that’s just it – my goals will flow and adapt with my life, whatever life may bring.

Facing my Weakness

Now that you know about my physique goals, I’d like to share my weak point:
My job requires me to be fully present physically and energetically. I exert myself to such a degree sometimes, that I miss workouts when I shouldn’t. But beyond missing some workouts, I get deeply frustrated. The fatigue bites me so hard that I sometimes feel stuck in my thoughts and I can’t think expansively or as positively as I could if I was fully rejuvenated. 

Sometimes fatigue creeps up and bites you really hard.

I resist rejuvenation though. 
Because I’ve never really prioritized it. I grew up in a family that had a lot of financial stress, and working hard and often is what I’m used to.  
On my birthday in December of 2021, I got a spa package from my friends. It’s now 2023 – have I used it? Nope. I know that a trip to the spa would be good for my mind and body (and it’s a gift, so it’s free), but it posed a challenge because it’s out of my comfort zone. 
I’d have to face the discomfort before feeling the ease. 
Additionally, we often don’t commit ourselves to things because we don’t have skin in the game. Like this FREE spa day. If I had paid for it myself, I’d definitely go. The personal investment would compel me to go. 
My bodybuilding coach is based in Alberta and he is not cheap. I got Covid during the first month of training with him and I wanted to quit, but by that point,  I had already spent two thousand dollars for a few months of training. There was no way I was going to throw in the towel after such a hefty financial commitment. 
So here’s what I’m going to do about my rejuvenation goal:
PAY UPFRONT or get on a subscription and schedule in my days FOR THE YEAR. 
I don’t think I’m expressing any revelatory information here but it’s what so many of us overlook or it’s where we get stuck. And then we feel down about not accomplishing what we wanted. 
So how are you going to move the needle in the right direction this year?
How will you commit to your goals? Do you have skin in the game?
My advice: invest in your goals, get a coach, and stick it out.
I’ll update you on my rejuvenation in six months :).