So you have a goal, whether it’s to get bigger, stronger, faster or leaner or to lose weight. The next step is to find a good program — no, the best program. After some Google searches and talking to a few fitness experts or trainers, you’ve got it: the one solution that has a perfectly formulated diet and training program and promises the exact results that you want.
After following it for two weeks and seeing some small changes, you hear about another program with a different diet that might work better. Then, two weeks later, you hear about another training program where you don’t have to watch your diet. Now it’s six months later; you have the same goals you started with, months of effort going toward them, and absolutely nothing but frustration to show for it. If this sounds all too familiar, here’s the solution:
- Pick one, realistic, simple goal
This doesn’t have to be a goal out of a motivational video. Choose something that has been nagging you for a while, like losing a few pounds or gaining an inch on your bicep, and lock it in your mind. There’s nothing worse than picking multiple, unrelated goals in which there’s no good way to tackle them all at once. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. If you have more than one goal, try to relate them, or tackle them one at a time.
- Decide on a program
Read a few articles, ask some people in your life who seem like they’ve had better luck than you, and see how you can fit it into your lifestyle. If your best friend is a bodybuilder and you want to get bigger biceps, chances are he or she can give you a tip or two. Or if you know someone who has recently lost 20 to 30 pounds, he or she can probably help you with those five pounds you’ve been obsessing over. The people around you are often your best tools in chasing your goals, and articles online from reputable sources can help you solidify a plan.
- Stop reading articles, and stop asking everyone for advice
Doesn’t this contradict my last point? Yes and no. This is a process of diminishing returns. In today’s day and age, everyone is an expert, and as soon as you tell your friends about your new diet and exercise program, they all suddenly want to pitch and give you advice. This may seem nice, but it can get confusing very quickly. One person will tell you to go no carb, high fat while another will tell you high fat, no carb. Then one will tell you to do strength training while another tells you to do cardio to lose fat. Pretty soon you have bits and pieces of a thousand programs, you’re running yourself to exhaustion, and you’re more confused than when you started — a recipe for disaster. So, once you find a program, stick to it, tell only your closest friends about it, and consistently follow it with 100 percent effort.
- Be patient
With any goal, patience is key. If you think something will take one week, it will probably take five, especially in regards to your body and physical or mental change. It will probably take a few weeks to get used to your new routine, a few to start nailing the diet consistently, and a few to really be able to train hard. All in all, you’re looking at eight to 12 weeks to really start seeing results. The 10,000 hour rule does not apply to time spent learning your craft. It takes 10,000 hours of doing your craft well to master it. Just be patient, enjoy the process, and learn as much about yourself as possible in the process.
Richard Saad is a personal trainer and can be reached at 864.907.0214.