We want to be fit, active, and full of life well into our later years. That’s why you’re reading this article, and why you’re interested in improving your fitness and health.
You want long-term solutions. Not something that will get you a 6-pack in 6 weeks and then have you back in fat clothes 6 weeks after that.
You’re looking for a program that will give you results you can take to your grave.
Let’s talk about the 2 biggest mistakes people make when they get started walking the road of self-improvement.
They don’t have a plan
Too many people get on the Internet and try the “I’ll ask 20,000 people what the best option for me is” method of starting a program….. Think about that for a minute.
You’re going to ask random strangers what’s best for you….. Next time your doctor calls you in for an annual exam, tell him that you’re good to go because you asked the Internet what you need to do to be healthy and not get sick or diseased…..Really?!?!
That’s NOT the same as having a plan.
What is a plan? A plan is a set of information that includes:
- Where you are now, and how you got there
- Where you want to get to, when, and why
- What are the lifestyle factors that will affect your adherence and ability to follow the plan
- How you know if the plan is working
- What is the process for adjustment if a change is needed
Does that look the same as what you would get off a random “WHAT’S THE BEST WAY FOR ME TO LOSE BELLY FAT” post in a facebook group??
In order to come up with a solid, realistic, and effective plan, YOU NEED A COACH or a PROVEN PROGRAM that gives you all the pieces of the puzzle.
What happens when you start putting in the work but don’t have a plan or a guide to making the work mean something?
1. It’s so much more effort. Even if you’re really good at what you do, you WILL miss things, if you just run with an idea before you take the time to consider the impact and possible courses of action. You will have to double back, re-do work, see that some of the work you’ve done wasn’t needed in the first place. You’ll generally work like a mad man who has no idea what he’s doing…..because in many ways you don’t. How could you, you don’t have a plan.Consider this. You aren’t an expert on health, nutrition, or mindset. If you can’t just wing it in something you’re good at, how could you possibly be successful with your health?
2. It takes a lot of extra time. If you want to lose 10% body fat in 3 months but you waste time trying 5 different methods because they didn’t work in the first week, then why did you set a goal for 3 months? Every time you change from one method to another without knowing, 1. How it fits into your plan (if you have one) and 2. What the intended results are,….you’re adding to the time it will take to achieve the changes you want to see.
3. You can do more harm than good. When it comes to your health and fitness, this is a supercritical factor. Every time you have a setback it creates more work, increases the time to your goal, and raises the risk of another setback.Common things that people have to deal with when they rush forward without a plan or try different things they “think” will work.
- Fat loss stalls
- Loss of lean mass (muscle)
- Setbacks in physical performance
- Frustration and lack of consistency
- In the worst cases, people have seriously messed up their hormones or reverted into a worse state of health that required medical intervention.
4. Chances of failure are way more likely. Considering everything I’ve just laid out, is it any surprise that you have a greater chance of overall failure? Without a plan, you have no direction. This leads to frustration, lack of consistency, and eventually, many people just give up.
The people that don’t give up tend to jump around from program to program, or online routine to online routine, or diet to diet,…(see where this is going??) without ever seeing any real progress.
They end up living a life of futility, never realizing their full potential.
Let’s follow that idea to the next thing people do that sabotages their success.
They try everything
When you don’t start with a plan you have no idea what will work, how to tell if it’s working, or how long to wait to see if it works….. This leads to one of the most frustrating habits a person can develop.
“Let me try this…”
I see and hear it ALL THE TIME. “I just started keto a few weeks ago and I’m not seeing any results, should I try Intermittent Fasting to lose fat faster?”
“I did Paleo for a year and I felt a lot better but I couldn’t lose any weight, so I went keto and gained weight after a couple of months so now I’m trying Protein Sparing Modified Fasting to see if that works.”
“Do I need to add more cardio to my routine? I do CrossFit 3 x a week, yoga 2 x a week and I walk my dog 3 miles everyday….?”
Every method and protocol has different expected times to see changes. Every one of them requires a different level of detail and commitment to maintaining. Some are very sustainable. Some are in no way meant to be long-term solutions.
How are you going to know which one is right for you? What to expect, or how to keep it going long enough to see results if you don’t have a coach and a plan to follow?
Everyone starts as a beginner before they becomes advanced enough to be self-sustaining.
You CANNOT shortcut that process.
This goes for nutrition or fitness.
A beginner is a blank slate with no good foundation physiologically, in their central nervous system, or psychologically. Just about ANY added stimulus is going to create some kind of positive change. Just by taking consistent action, a beginner will improve.
And then they won’t
At some point, there will be a reduction in the amount of progress a beginner sees from their work. They are starting to move into an intermediate area that requires the introduction of a higher level of slightly more complex methods, and protocols in order to get the response from their body that they’re looking for.
Just the sort of things a coach can help them figure out.
This process continues the closer a person gets to what we call their “genetic potential”. The closer you get to the upper limit of what your body can do, the more deliberate and exacting you have to be in how you work to get your body to make even the smallest changes. This advanced level is rare and your normal 9-5 Jane and Joe will probably never get there.
That’s ok, you don’t need to get there to be functionally fit and have a super high quality of life.
As I said, you CANNOT shortcut this process.
You need to be fat-adapted before you implement a Cyclic Ketogenic Diet.
You need to be able to Squat and Deadlift correctly under a good amount of weight before you try to follow Wendler 5x5.
You should understand what your Maximum Recovery Volume is before you implement a Conjugate or Juggernaut training program.
Do you know how much carbs you need to fuel your workouts? Do you need carbs to fuel your workouts?
Are your goals in line with what you would need to over-feed on protein, fat or carbs? Would it be better to just make sure you can maintain a regular routine and hit your macros consistently for a while first?
Way too often I see people trying out the “Cool” stuff that everyone else is talking about. They truly have no idea how it may help them other than, “so and so had this result”. Which means they should have the same result too doesn’t it?
Where do you fit in the grand scheme of your journey? Are you a Beginner or Intermediate?
To give you a reference. I’ve been in the fitness business for over 10 years. I’m Intermediate in most aspects, a beginner in a few, and advanced in even less.
There is no real timeline, everyone is different. The best judge of where you are and what you need is objective and should not be made by you looking at yourself in the mirror.
Get an expert to guide you.