Let me see if this applies to you. It’s the New Year, and you’ve set yourself goals like getting a “Six-Pack”, or getting a ‘Bikini Body’ or never touching a carb ever again, despite binging on carbs for the past few months. But come February, you’re not seeing the results you want. You get frustrated, dispirited, and demotivated. You either give up completely and raid the cupboards until they’re bare, undoing all your good work, or you switch to a different diet or fitness programme. If that’s you, don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s a very common problem and something I see a lot of. The question is, why do we set ourselves goals and then fail to see them through?
For a lot of people, the simple answer is that the goals are wildly unrealistic. If you are very overweight, no amount of dieting and exercise is going to get you a cover-model body in four weeks. And just saying ‘I want to lose weight’ is incredibly nebulous and a sure fire recipe for a wayward diet and zero progress. And, for some, their goals are too small to see any real changes to their body composition. Far better to set SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, time. So, for example: ‘I want to lose 20 pounds of body fat in 15 weeks, so I can look great on the beach this summer and fit into my clothes again.’
Secondly, many people see progress in their first month, but then they plateau. All the time, I get questions such as: ‘I’ve lost some weight, but I can’t get rid of this last bit of stubborn fat’. And so they ditch their original programme, and start bouncing around from faddy diet to faddy diet, exercise programme to exercise programme, with no results. And then they give up.
There is no such thing as stubborn fat. It has no personality. What is really going to shed the remaining fat is remaining committed and disciplined. It’s a harsh, but true, fact that many people lack the patience and discipline to stick to their programme and their diet. Fat will only come off so fast, so I would advise people to set yourself realistic expectations. It takes time – stick to your plan, stick to your diet, stay disciplined, and you will see results. In order to get the body you want, you’re going to have to go through some level of pain. So, commitment and determination is absolutely key – don’t give up at the first hurdle.
That also brings up another problem why you might be sabotaging your fitness goals – you have no plan.
This is not a criticism, but many people lack the skills and the knowledge to put together an effective fitness plan, and just as importantly, an effective nutritional plan. The temptation is to go on Google, bombard yourself with information that’s either misleading or just plain wrong, and end up with a fitness and diet programme that isn’t right for you. If you’re one of those people who strip all carbs and calories out of your diet for a week, and are then so hungry you binge eat on chocolate and crisps at the weekends, I’m talking to you. The ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset will almost certainly set you up to fail. Don’t strip out all of your carbs or all of your calories immediately for results. Smaller, manageable deficits and a balanced diet will always trump extremes in the long-term. One of the easiest things you can do to prevent this is prep your food in advance. It takes a bit of extra effort, but it will be worth it. If you pre-prepare your nutrient-dense meals in advance, you’re far less likely to reach for that chocolate bar when you have hunger pangs.
For all these reasons, if you can afford it, I would advise you to invest in a personal trainer. I’ve worked with every different type of client under the sun for more than 15 years. So, I have the knowledge and experience to put together the right exercise programmes, and create the right diet, to get you into the shape you want. Doing it on your own can often be a minefield and hinder, rather than help, your fat loss efforts. Do your research, find a reputable personal trainer (not just those whose name is in the flashiest of lights and making the biggest noise) that has a proven track-record of getting results, and I promise you, you will see results.
Now you have some great ideas to get back on track what one thing are you going to action TODAY?
Leave me a comment and we’ll smash those goals…
About The Author
Elliot is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)-certified personal trainer, and Head of Online Training at Ultimate Performance. He is currently gym manager at U.P.’s Marbella gym and is also presenter and creator of the world famous LiveUp Transformation Programme. Elliott has more than 15 years’ experience as a personal trainer, and has delivered more than 20,000 hours of 1:1 sessions and multiple sell-out seminars all over Europe. He has also contributed to various training and nutrition articles published all over the world.
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