Recently I talked about the necessity of specific and correct course of action to produce a desired result. If I do say so myself it was a particularly astute and insightful little article, so if you missed it I would suggest you go check it out as soon as you’re finished reading this one.
Now, think about this for a minute. Most people when they sign up for a fitness program or a gym membership have a pretty good idea of the result that they want. For example “I want to lose 10kg”, or maybe an even more specific goal with a particular body fat percentage. Maybe they want to gain weight, or it could be some performance related goal to do with strength or endurance.
So to attain this result, I’ve already talked about how crucial it is to have the right program. Some people will very diligently follow the program they have been given, created for themselves or copied from someone else either because it seemed like something they could see themselves doing without going too far out of their comfort zone, or conversely because it seemed so torturous that they’d feel that they had earned the results regardless of if they actually got them or not. And even when the results aren’t coming, they’ll stubbornly refuse to change, because “this is the program for me!”.
Then again on the other hand you have people who don’t actually follow any sort of program, but just go in to the gym now and then (or even quite regularly) and float around using whichever machine catches their attention, with no real purpose. Half arsed effort on the treadmill for 15 minutes, random choice of resistance machines, some pointless ab work and then back out the door again until next time. Clearly this is not an approach you would reasonably expect to produce any significant results… but for some reason certain people will do it. They’ll make the effort to turn up and do a bit of something, but they’re actually quite determined to make sure that they’re just wasting their time and achieving very little.
SO, you need a program. And on top of that, you need the right program.
What about the people who have been given the correct program, but aren’t quite sure if they are following it correctly or not?
Here I’m talking mostly about the nutrition side of a program. What I have observed over the years is a reluctance to do what is required in this area, even when doing everything else consistently and to the best of their ability. Nutrition is really where the whole plan will fall down if you do pay as close attention as you would to the exercise component of your program. The two components are of equal importance and both must be treated as such.
So as to nutrition I often have very similar conversations with people who are a bit disappointed with a lack of results from training. As follow:
I had expected to have lost more weight by now!
Hmmm… how many calories a day are you taking in?
Oh, I don’t count calories. I eat pretty well though!
OK that’s good but at the end of the day your body weight is determined by how many calories you take in. If you’re not getting closer to your goal weight, you’re not taking in the right amount.
I eat pretty healthy though. Here’s what I would usually eat in a day [insert various foods usually followed by “and not very much chocolate. Just a little bit after dinner most nights”].
Look, I can give you / have given you guidelines with a maximum and minimum amount of calories per day, and if you consume somewhere within that range I can guarantee that you will end up at your goal weight.
Nah… I don’t want to count calories. I don’t think I am eating too much.
Hmmm… maybe I’m UNDER eating? No… I don’t think I’m undereating. I think what I’m eating is about right.
I am thinking of at least… dozens of people I’ve had pretty much the exact same conversation with and then given up on over the years. The people I DIDN’T have this converstation with (not all of them mind you) are up on the testimonials page talking about what great results they got and how easy it was.
Why guess, when you can be sure?
So the point of the conversation above is… if you’re not getting the result, your intuition is a little off. If your intake of food was correct within the appropriate ranges, you would be getting the results. Pretty simple right? So if you’re not getting the result, you’re left guessing “am I eating too much? No I don’t think that’s it” and then “maybe I’m not actually eating enough? No… that doesn’t seem right either” or even “maybe it’s the chocolate that is messing things up? Well, no I don’t really eat that much of it, so it wouldn’t be that”. In the end nothing changes, or you decide “what I’m doing is about right”.
I’ll say it again… if what you were doing was about right, you’d be about getting the result, wouldn’t you?