Today, there are more weight loss schemes than there were yesterday. Today, we have more gyms and trainers than we had yesterday. Today, we have more healthy food choices than yesterday. Yet 39% of adults were overweight and 13% were obese in 2016. Many people have a problem with sticking to their gym schedule and 72% of people do not reach their fitness goal. That is alarming. Despite having more resources than we ever had in the past, why are we not seeing fitness results?
What to do for real fitness results?
Success begins in our head. We all underestimate the amount of mental energy it takes to stick to all of the multiple lifestyle adjustments that any fitness program requires of us. The best way to tackle weight loss is to think of it as a lifestyle change comprising of multiple small behavior patterns.
Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for all day-to-day activities and short-term memory. Point being, that it can get overloaded very fast. Instead of trying to change 10 behaviors at a time, try to change just one. Create a plan with step-by-step, week-by-week increments the multiple behavioral changes that you have determined as your new lifestyle requirements.
Set specific goals based on action. It serves no purpose to say that you want to lose 10 pounds. It serves no purpose to say that you want to lose 10 pounds unless you set up how long you plan to take to reach this goal. Plan to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks, for example. Also, it is very useful to decide on a specific schedule and stick with it. For example, to go to the gym and exercise from 6 am to 7 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Add as many details as possible. Take it a step further and plan out the exact regimen you are going to follow. Do not leave any room for ambiguity. The more specific your plan is, the more likely you will follow through it.
It is also important to set up an accountability system. Everyone does better when they have to answer to someone other than themselves. This could be a personal trainer who ensures you make it to the gym each time. It could also be a friend, a spouse or a family member. In this day and age, it could even be your social media followers. Set yourself up for success by being accountable for your progress.
70-80% of weight loss is attributed to nutrition. There is no point in slogging at the gym for hours on end if your diet is not dialed in. You can start cleaning your diet with a number of steps. Include high fiber foods with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Swap pork and beef for chicken and fish and drink a lot of water. Avoid any processed and artificial food high in calories with a high glycemic index such as chips, cookies or candy. The aim is not to deprive yourself, it is to make the right choices; just eat smart.
Change is not easy; it is hard. Do not count on willpower alone to get you through the day. Simplify your life by taking the steps necessary to accomplish your new lifestyle modifications. For instance: clean your kitchen of all unhealthy, processed food with artificial flavoring or coloring.
At the very least, move all junk food to a location which is not easily accessible. Do not fool yourself into believing that you will be able to resist yourself when temptation strikes; it is better to not allow yourself to be in a situation where you could face temptation.
Most people who desire to lose weight, when they begin a new exercise regimen, focus only on cardio. The problem with this is that although they burn fat, they do not allow for any changes in their body composition (i.e. build muscle). Muscle increases your resting metabolic rate, implying that during your periods of inactivity you will burn more calories.
There are three main exercise groups: aerobic (cardio), anaerobic (muscle building: weightlifting, jump squats, burpees, push-ups) and flexibility (yoga, stretching, and pilates). Each of these groups has specific benefits and it is the synergy of the three that will result in a toned, strong and lean body. Read more in "Exercise Types - More than Weight Loss!".
Another mistake people make is not reaching their optimum exertion levels: they either do too much too soon or they do not push themselves enough. There is a sweet spot. During your training find the point where you feel like you are about to collapse, but do not actually collapse, the spot where you need to be to achieve the best fitness results.
There you have it - the reasons you are not seeing any fitness results. Make these changes and you will begin to morph into the best version of yourself. Most importantly, enjoy what you do; have fun! Unless you find a way to be excited about the changes you are making, you will never find long-term motivation.
• Today, there are more weight loss schemes than there was yesterday
• Set yourself up for success by being accountable for your progress
• 70-80% of weight loss is attributed to nutrition
• Find the point where you feel like you are about to collapse, but do not actually collapse
• Most importantly, enjoy what you do and have fun!