Four Letter Words

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                       Four Letter Words.

My mom had a saying that she told us when we were kids: “Can’t never could.” I grew up believing, and still believe that is true – if you tell yourself you can’t, you are programing that you won’t be able to.

I’m a big believer in the power of language. The words we use with others and with ourselves have a profound affect. The word “can’t” is one that we examine a lot around the gym.

When our members are training, we encourage them to avoid using the word “can’t” when they are learning new exercises or trying something challenging. Just because you aren’t able to lift a certain amount, or make it through your interval training without taking extra rest today, doesn’t mean that you never will. But saying, “I can’t do it” just sets yourself up for failure the next time you try. Switch up the language you use (internally as well) to something that makes you feel powerful and confirms that you will be able to do it!


When it comes to nutrition, we’ve also found that the word “can’t” plays a powerful role. If you are working on improving your nutrition, and you tell yourself that you “can’t” have a certain food, you are likely to obsess more on the things you “can’t” have. And the truth is, you actually can have whatever you want. You’re an adult. It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you are choosing not to because you have made a decision that you want to eat in a way that supports your health and fitness goals. It’s a choice and you are in control of that choice. That’s a pretty powerful thing!

Really, the word “can’t” comes up a lot when it comes to health and fitness. But when you examine some of these scenarios, are these really “can’t”s?

  1. I can’t find the time to workout or meal prep… but I just spent an hour scrolling around on Facebook

  2. I can’t afford to join a gym… but I will spend $5 at Starbucks everyday

  3. I can’t figure out how to cook healthy meals… but I will spend my time and money on all the latest supplements and miracle cures.

  4. Now, I know you or I would never do any of those things, but maybe you have a friend who fits those descriptions

Here is an exercise I heard of a while back that I found very powerful. Next time you want to use the word “can’t” replace it with the word “won’t”. If you are being honest, often “won’t” is really what you mean. “I won’t find the time to workout or cook my meals.” “I won’t afford to join a gym.” Of course there are situations when someone truly can’t afford the time or money to invest in something, but I believe it’s not as often as we tell ourselves.

I encourage you to try bringing some awareness to your language and the words you choose. Be on the lookout for the word “can’t”, and look for opportunities to reprogram yourself when it comes to that word. Try the “can’t vs. won’t” exercise and you may be surprised at what you discover.

I believe, and I have seen that a “can do” attitude is a huge factor in determining success or failure. I truly believe that we absolutely CAN!

Strength and love,


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