Don’t get me wrong, you can find better and worse diets and workout plans, but we need to look a level deeper to find the things that really make a big impact.
There are 4 things I have identified that are the keys to your success. Let’s take a look at what they are, and what you need to do to use this information, so you can achieve more in your body and get off the cycle of starting and stopping, seeing some results and then losing them again.
The first variable to look at is your desire.
Sure, you want to make some changes, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading. The question is why?
Why do you want to make changes? What is driving you at the deepest level?
When you can tap into the deep drivers that you value the most, you’re able to achieve incredible things. Meanwhile, if fitness is always something you’re half-heartedly doing to lose a few pounds, you’re never going to see significant success.
The key is to identify the things that are most important in your life; things like family, kids, career – the places that you spend most of your time, money, and energy. Identify the things that you love, and link your fitness with your long-term goals in these areas.
How is transforming your body going to impact your professional life, for example?
More energy, more drive, less sick time. Reduce stress, get out of the office and occupy your mind to allow your subconscious to think, feel more confident in yourself.
When you have something bigger than yourself that you’re fighting for in the gym, you can transmute the energy you give in the gym into that bigger mission. With this level of desire, you can achieve anything.
How committed are you to success in the gym?
Do you take it as seriously as looking after your kids or succeeding at work?
When you do, you will really start to achieve great things.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice; miss out on pizza because you’re dieting; go to the gym instead of the bar after work.
Not forever, and not all of the time, but you need a base level of commitment. Apply the 80/20 rule and you will be successful over the long term.
People trip up because they get highly motivated by an event; the new year, a break-up, etc. and go at 100% for a few weeks, then burn out, resent the gym, eat unsustainable diets that they hate, and inevitably sabotage it all. Quickly regressing back to zero, or worse.
Instead, you want to commit to a long-term fitness lifestyle. It doesn’t mean never having nice food or days off; it means doing the right thing most of the time, and then having the freedom to enjoy the other 20% of the time.
The difference between people who are always in good shape and people who yo-yo up and down is not that the former work harder, they’re just consistent. They maintain their commitment like the tortoise, instead of burning themselves out and going backward, like the hare.
The best-laid plans only work as well as they are implemented.
You could have the best workout plan in the world, if you don’t put the effort in and push yourself, you won’t see great results.
Doing what you do with as much intensity and enthusiasm as possible is much more important than the difference in different workout or diet plans.
All kinds of exercise will be effective, as long as you work hard and push yourself.
Most (sensible) diet plans work if you actually follow them consistently, without deviating from the plan and rationalizing that you ‘mostly’ followed it.
The voracity with which you follow a plan is generally more important than what the plan says, as long as it’s sensible to your goals and the level you’re at.
I see a lot of people jumping from one plan to the next, thinking they’re going to get better results, but what they really need to do is work harder, stick to the plan more consistently, and give it time.
People don’t like to hear this, but it takes a long time to get in great shape. Years.
You can make significant changes in a matter of weeks, but to go from out of shape, to someone in great shape, takes the consistent dedication of an 80+% commitment to doing the right things, applied with intensity, over months and years.
That’s not to say it takes years to see any benefits.
Within days you will feel better; more energy, moving more freely, better mood, less stress. Within a couple of weeks, you can lose enough weight where people notice, and your clothes get looser.
In a few months, you can add a decent amount of muscle mass, lose a lot of weight, and vastly improve your fitness level.
You just need to be realistic about the timeframes. Depending on where you’re starting from. If it took you 10-15 years or more to get out of shape, you are not going to look like a cover model in 12 weeks.
It will take a year or two to reverse all of that. But that’s ok because you will be seeing progress in the right direction week on week.
It’s important to recognize and celebrate small, consistent victories. They accumulate into huge changes over time. If you’re only looking out for that huge change, you’re always going to be not there yet. Your goals should be along a continuum, not a binary there/not there.
If you focus on getting these 4 things right, you will see success. Of course, the diet and exercise plans you follow are important, but they’re a level higher than these 4 things. You need the foundations in place before you start building the walls.