So you have finally decided to get (back) into a routine to get healthy, lose weight, feel better … And look better naked, of course. You did this a few times already, or you may have even spiralled out of control since the last time you said you currently don’t have time for this.
On one hand, maybe you are already terrified of this being the hardest thing to achieve (again): already envisioning the heartache of being on a strict diet, resisting temptation and daydreaming about cupcakes in order to “drop a few”, while your friends are feasting on beer and pizza. And on the other side of the spectrum, you might have been sold on the promise of exercising with no (or maybe some) proper structure 3-5 times per week and eating “clean” (whatever that means) will get you a Brazilian butt-lift, guns of steel or a six-pack in no time.
In this article, we will look at:
- why do you keep being stuck between extremes
- how do you want your body to look like and how to achieve that look
- how to approach your body goals – smarter
- how to stop going one step forward, two steps back
If you are a male starting out at +20% body fat, you cannot be expecting to see visible abs anywhere near the 3 month period, even if you do “everything right” on an ideal 100%. If “everything right” means a healthy 0,5% drop in body fat per week (that would mean a 20% calorie deficit from what you are currently consuming on a regular basis), you could expect no more than 6% drop in body fat over a 12 week period. And for a woman, aiming for that “toned” look, would have to be close around or slightly under 20-19% body fat.
100% vs 0% … Perfect or “f*ck it completely* mentality
While going at 100% in regards to your nutrition, sleep, stress management and training is for sure achievable for someone with this single goal in mind, be prepared to put your physique on a piedestal for a given period of time and not having other priorities meanwhile – or at least be willing to adapt your circumstances in a way that might not be sustainable for a lifetime in that order.
The steeper the application of changes, the faster you will see results, of course – but this comes with a price. Achieving your goal through regimented practices that call upon severely adapting your current lifestyle, are most likely not to be sustainable in the long run.
“But I just want to achieve results really fast and then work on maintaining them” … Said everyone ever who then proceeded to yo-yo all the weight back up after they’ve lost it … And then some.
While just “eating clean” and randomly exercising “more” most likely won’t give you that desired look that the fitness industry keeps selling you (6-8% body fat for man and 15-18% for women), this approach most certainly is applicable and actually really easy to implement if you are starting with more than 10 or 15 kilos to lose – and most importantly:
It is not true that you have to go from 0% to 100% to see positive changes.
Introducing the balance scale
What about if you first tried to get to 20%, then 30% … And work towards 50%? Go to a 70%, 80% for a short while and then back down to 30-40% when life happens?
You see, maintaining fitness is not about extremes of always being on point on one side, or not doing anything at all and letting yourself go borderline crazy on the other. And I am not saying achieving fast results isn’t a good way to go – especially from the motivational standpoint it might even be better to fasttrack a bit – but make sure you have the right tools to keep your boat floating after you poke holes in it.
Starting the diet on Monday …
I wish to encourage you to look at your health & fitness on that scale and adjust accordingly based on your current life demands and other priorities in life. There is never going to be a perfect time to start a perfect diet, and while you may have achieved results in the past with a 6, 8 or 12 week intense transformation program, I dare to say you haven’t been able to maintain that levels of effort. Those programmes are a great way to see big changes in short periods of time, but don’t account for life happening (from stress, family obligations, disrupted sleep, increased work loads, work travel) and are just screaming for the constant on/off mentality …
So what to do next? A 14 day plan
Rather than constantly implementing rigid diets and vigorous exercise that keeps getting you injured, deprived and irritated, rather position yourself on the balance scale as you are this very moment – with all the messy life stuff, stress and obligations happening – and realistically assess ONE PRACTICE that you can already apply today and stay consistent with – within the next 10-14 days.
What is that one thing that would move you higher on this scale and is actually achievable for you to do every day? Be honest! The magic about this approach is that you are building your skills that will support your goal in the long term and you can always scale down on the previous, easier practice, when goin’ gets rough.
As you become more confident, your practice can and will be scaled up – now let’s look at some practices that are needed to support the body you desire in the long term. Are they worth fitting in your daily schedule? Or if possible, are they worth even building your daily schedule around them to achieve and maintain the body you desire?
Precision Nutrition has a great infographic on this topic:
So there you have it. Now ask yourself those 4 questions:
What kind of body do you desire?
What practices you will need to do consistenly in order to support that?
Where do you position yourself today on the balance scale?
How do these practices fit into your current routine and how could you level up on the balance scale?
If you have any questions for me or need help with coaching you towards your desired goals, feel free to contact me anytime.
IFPA certified Personal Trainer, Pn1 Coach, CHFI Strength Performance & Performance Nutrition lvl2 Coach