“You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.” – Malone, (AKA Sean Connery) The Untouchables.
Ok, this week I’m not advocating violence under any circumstances. What I’d like you to do instead, is to consider what you are honestly prepared to do in order to achieve the goals that you say you want to achieve.
A good working definition of insanity (which may – or may not – have been said by Albert Einstein) states that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Based on that, we’ve all probably been a little insane in some area of our lives at one stage or another. In my experience, one of the bigger sources of this form of insanity is the area of health and fitness.
I’ve lost track of the amount of clients (sorry ladies, but it’s mostly female clients), whose only method of weight loss is walking. Although many of them have not seen any significant improvement in weight, clothes size or body fat levels, they continue to walk the same route at the same time and at the same speed, in the vain hope that a huge amount of fat-loss will magically happen.
And it’s not just confined to females or walkers. There are many people, male and female, who are doing gym and class-based training programmes, but who have been sorely disappointed with the results.
If this applies to you, or somebody you know, stay with me while we look at some practical ways to fix the situation.
Make a Realistic Assessment: Your goal, or destination, is obviously important, but so too is your starting point. In order to be able to put together a realistic plan to reach your goal, it’s vital that you assess where you currently stand in relation to that target. By assessing, your current strength, fitness level, body shape or whatever measurement you want to improve, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’ll need to do to change it. This will help to keep your expectations realistic, because it should be obvious that a training programme to drop 15% body fat will require greater effort and last longer than one that’s aiming to drop 2% fat.
Be Accountable: As a general rule, when we’re left to our own devices, there’s a huge temptation to stay comfortable and take the easy option. A missed training session, a sugar-filled “treat,” or another night on the town can usually be justified in one way or another if we’re answerable to nobody but ourselves. Or maybe that’s just me.
I see it all the time with my own clients: the people who make themselves accountable by consistently handing in food diaries, and getting measured on a weekly basis, achieve far better results than those who choose to train without any reference to their progress or lack of same.
Research and practical experience has shown that when an individual is accountable to somebody else, whether it’s a trainer, training partner or support group, they tend to achieve far better results. Therefore it makes sense to find somebody who will make sure that you stick with your plan, and who won’t allow you to cheat yourself out of achieving your goal.
Be Prepared To Change the Plan: The purpose of accountability is to make sure that you stick to the plan, and the purpose of re-assessing on a regular basis is to make sure that the plan is working. If you are making progress towards your goal, well done, keep going. However, if what you’re doing is not getting the desired results, the plan will need to change.
This is where our quotes above come into play: if you’re not making progress and you don’t change it, then, by “Einstein’s definition” you are insane! So, what exactly are you prepared to do? If fat loss is the goal, can you reduce some calories, can you make better food choices, can you increase the frequency or the intensity of your training sessions?
And if you can, are you willing to do it in order to reach your goal? This willingness to do whatever it takes to reach the target is what separates successful individuals from also-rans in all areas of life. Never stop fighting until the fighting’s done!