A while ago the folks at Precision Nutrition created a brilliant infographic on the pros and cons of life at varying levels of body fat.
What I loved about this was it's brutal honesty. Everyone wants a six pack. But do you understand what getting one requires from you?
The average person has been duped into believing that six pack abs and the body of their dreams is something that can be achieved in 6 weeks, so long as they drink enough 'skinny tea'. This is dead wrong. Reaching fitness goals requires longterm discipline and effort. The loftier the goals, the more effort required.
Here's an interesting statistic: 6 out of 7 obese people will lose a significant amount of weight in their lifetime (20lbs or more). However, within 1 year, 75% will relapse to their original weight or heavier, and within 3 years it's 95%. What does this tell us? That people can make changes to their diet and exercise, but that it's generally not something they can sustain. A major reason why, is because either the goal or the way in which they are attempting to reach the goal requires more sacrifice than they are willing to give.
For example, here are some of the things that I have had to change about my lifestyle over the past 2 years to get stronger and gain more muscle:
- Get a minimum of 7 hours sleep each night
- Increase my time spent training each week from 6 hours to 8
- Improve my food quality by adding more veg to each day
- Spend more time on my mobility
These may seem like sacrifices you are willing to make, until you realise what effect they could have on day-to-day life. Let me present you with 3 scenarios that regularly happen to me:
1. It's 11pm. I've just finished a work day that started at 6am. I got home at 10 and force fed a massive dinner to myself, in an attempt to make up all the calories and protein I didn't have time to eat during the day. I skip watching Netflix so that I can get enough sleep.
2. It's summer time and I'm on holidays with my girlfriend. I get up early each day to walk to a nearby gym (because the hotel gym is crap) so that I can maintain my strength.
3. I'm on a night out and having a great time. I've gotten bad sleep this week though and I have to train tomorrow, so I decide to skip the club and get a taxi home early. (Although often times I'm happy to do this as I hate night clubs).
These real life examples generally make people's lofty goals much less appealing to them. Which is totally fine. We all have different priorities. All I'm trying to get across to you is that you can't have it all. You can't go out every night and get wasted and still improve your fitness. You can't miss half your training sessions and get as jacked as the other guys who show up every day.
If you want to look a certain way or be able to do certain things, you have to accept that there will be tradeoffs. Most people who aren't getting results are simply just not giving as much to their goal as is needed. Each individual needs to decide what they are and aren't willing to sacrifice.
Cut the whining about your lack of results. Pick your goals in line with what you're willing to do.