- IT’S GOING TO TAKE LONGER THAN YOU THINK
Most of us want to be healthy and feel confident with our bodies. While health will improve rather quickly, the physical change and confidence you’re seeking is a lengthy process. It’s understandable to think the fat should come off fast based on what society and social media have told us. “Transform your body in 30/60/90 days!” “Lose 5 pounds in 5 days!” Even if you don’t buy into the “fast transformation” fad it’s still affecting your subconscious when it comes to your time frame for results. The rate at which you change will be greatly influenced by: nutrition, quality of sleep, overall stress, style of training, age, current physical condition, sex, and genetics. That’s why you should always tell yourself it’s going to take 1-5 years to reach your goals; fewer years if you’re healthy with minimal weight to lose and more years if you’ve been “de-conditioned” most of your life. Once you have a plan, trust the process. It’s going to take time but every day where you make smart choices will be a step in the right direction. The same is true in the opposite direction when you make bad choices.
- YOU BETTER LIKE SCHEDULES
We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately, changing a habit can take as long as 100 days (2 weeks if you’re Type A). So, let’s assume most of us are somewhere in the middle and it’s going to take roughly 65 days to change our habits. Now, we have to factor in which habits should take priority in our schedules on a daily basis. Maybe it’s eating a healthier breakfast or going for a 3-mile walk every day. Whatever the habit, you need to put yourself on a time schedule. If you’re going to eat a healthier breakfast then set a time you eat breakfast every day. If you’re going for a 3-mile walk then block out 1 hour every day where you’ll have no distractions (bonus points if you have kids and use a stroller). As these habits continue to improve you can begin working on other habits and have set times to focus on them as well. It’s ok to adjust your schedule but try to keep it simple and only change it when absolutely necessary. A common theme among high-end achievers in many industries is a schedule. Work on your schedule and you’ll be surprised how LESS stressed you are when you block out time for your health.
- YOU DECIDE WHAT TAKES PRIORITY
Is it more important for you to visit the new local brewery for a 2-hour beer tasting or is it more important to eat a healthy dinner and get a good nights sleep? It’s your life so you decide what’s important. Trust me, your friends will be there for you and there’s always healthier and more physically active social events to attend. Yes, you can have a life but it doesn’t always have to involve alcohol or food. If you can’t think of any then use this thing called the “internet”. There’s a lot of info on there….I mean…”like A LOT!”
- YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO
There are trade-offs when it comes to improving our health and body composition. Yes, you can still eat that delicious pizza with your friends but don’t think for one second that 1-hour workout you did earlier in the day is going to make a difference. You already know diet is 80% of the equation to reaching your goals and no amount “rationalization” on your part is going to change physics and biology. The same can be said for your training. Yes, some people can see great results very quickly but those individuals are rare. Most of us have to pick a priority (i.e. build muscle or lose fat). It’s very difficult to do both. If you run 10 miles a day but want to get stronger then you need to cut down on the running. Want to decrease body fat then your strength will, at best, stagnate or, worse, decrease. Use science-backed information when making your decisions, not your version of logic.
- TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
If you plan on following your diet and training only 90% of the time then don’t expect 100% results. You ate well all week long, including Saturday, but then you blew it on a massive brunch and bbq for dinner on Sunday. Every decision…I’ll say again…EVERY DECISION is yours to make. You know those meals weren’t going to help you but you ate them any way. That’s ok! It’s your life and you live it how you see fit. Just don’t beat yourself up when you screw up. You’re an adult and no amount of “guilt” is going to take back what you just did (this goes for life as well). Learn from the mistakes and move forward. Or, keep making those mistakes and be happy, not depressed.
- PREP. PREP.PREP. AND PREP SOME MORE.
Ask someone who’s in great shape if they meal prep and 99.9% of the time they will say, “yes.” As someone who has been in bad shape and great shape I can tell you without a doubt I only improved my body and health when I meal prepped. Sure, I could “finagle” a little when it came to not prepping my meals but I quickly noticed my body changing for the worse. Want to change your body? Meal prep. You DO have time in your schedule to meal prep. You’re just not MAKING the time for it. That means it’s NOT a priority. If you truly believe your health is a priority then meal prepping MUST be at the top of your list.
While you need to meal prep you do NOT need to measure your food. If you do, then the only thing I recommend would be to count calories. The quality of your food matters, but at the beginning just focus on the calories. This is easy if you make all of your meals but becomes difficult the more you eat out. Fortunately, apps such as MyFitnessPal® have an enormous library of nutritional information for many popular restaurants. If you want to step up your game then use a simple “portion plate”. You can find these on Amazon®.
- TO USE THE SCALE? OR NOT TO? THAT IS THE QUESTION
Here are 2 easy methods to determine if you should use a scale to track your progress:
- Do you have 20lbs+ of fat to lose?
- Will weighing yourself make you depressed?
If you answered, “yes” to #1 and “no” to #2 then you should weigh yourself at least 1x week. It’ll keep you on track and motivated. If you answered, “no” to #1 then don’t bother weighing yourself unless you want to keep yourself in check and not fall off the rails (it doesn’t matter what you answered for #2). HOWEVER, if you answered, “yes” to #1 and to #2 then you’re in a predicament. From a tracking perspective you SHOULD weigh yourself at least 1x week but if this will upset you and increas your stress then do NOT weigh yourself. Or, at the very minimum, have your trainer look at the scale while you keep your eyes closed and they will record it for you. Yes, I’ve done this with clients in the past.
- TAKE A PICTURE, IT’LL LAST LONGER!
You may not want to weigh yourself but you better take measurements in some manner. In all honesty, why the HECK would you NOT take measurements and/or photos? You made a decision to improve your body and health. Why NOT take measurements/photos to measure progress? Do you go to your doctor for an annual check up and say, “Let’s not do an assessment today. I’ll come back in 6 months and see if things improved.” Does that make any sense? No! You’re doctor has no data to compare your current health to your future health. What if you’re morbidly obese and 6 months later you’re obese. That’s progress! But, you didn’t want to do an assessment 6 months prior and now it looks like you’re just obese and you haven’t made progress. See why it’s important to do measurements? If you want to be extra detailed then try to use a machine that measures body fat %. It’ll give you a better picture of what’s happening aside from photos and the scale. Take your pick (pun intended) but do SOMETHING to track your progress.
- YOU’RE GOING TO F*CK UP (pardon my language)
Attitude is everything. Top CEOs believe this. Navy SEALs believe this. Whether you realize it or not YOU, also, believe this. Attitude can have an incredible influence on outcome. If you have a defeatist attitude you’re doomed to fail. I’ve never heard of someone who didn’t look on the positive side in any situation who wasn’t successful. The same goes for your health. Don’t misinterpret this to mean your health will improve by having a positive attitude while eating a piece of cake. I mean staying positive with your progress. You will run into obstacles but you will eventually find your way around it, whether it is nutrition or training, and continue moving forward. Just know that you will, eventually, f*ck up. All of us do. It’s ok. Stay positive. Correct the mistake. Keep going.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!