If you’re hitting the gym each week and still not seeing results, there could be a few things you are just not getting right.
Before you start looking at the nitty gritty of your fitness plan - are you taking the right supplements or timing your carbs perfectly after your workout? - look at the bigger picture. Because before you get the small stuff right, you're far better off looking at the basics. In my experience, it's far more likely is that you’re not as consistent as you need to be with the core essentials of your plan, such as staying within your calorie requirements or drinking enough water.
Truth is we all get bogged down in the minutia of exercise and nutrition, namely because they are much more interesting to talk about. Banging on about eating more protein, drinking less alcohol and more water is tedious - but have you heard about the new super-berry from that exotic place that apparently burns more fat than a 30-minute workout? Exactly.
Cards on the table, I completely get it. I’m a sucker for new and exciting too, and the fundamental stuff doesn’t awaken my senses either - but when it comes to getting into shape it’s these big rocks that are the difference between success and failure.
If you want to get in shape the 80/20 rule most definitely applies. In other words, 80 per cent of our results will come form 20 per cent of the things that we do – the big rocks. In fact, I’d wager that it’s more than 80 per cent, but the precise number is not important. It's the concept we need to understand and (perhaps rather reluctantly) accept. The harsh truth is that most of us are just putting details, or small rocks, in the way of results. Here are the big three worth repeating:
Don't Cheat a Diet
I’m not sure how many times I’ve written or read this, but it’s true. The dietary system or nutritional framework that you choose to employ is far less relevant than your level of compliance within it. The reality is that most nutritional approaches have very similar principles, the overriding one perhaps being that you need to eat within your calorie requirements, being in a deficit if your goal is weight loss.
Most systems will assume that most of what you consume comes from decent sources, with the key messages being to drink more water, eat your vegetables and get enough protein. Regardless of what you choose, the bottom line is that you’ve actually got to do it, consistently.
Don't Skip a Workout
Cheating on the gym is the same as cheating on your diet: it doesn’t work. Again, most approaches and systems will share common underpinning principles, such as prioritising resistance training for example, so what you choose to do is far less important than you actually doing it consistently.
The simple way to think of nutrition and exercise when it comes to changing your body shape and composition, is that your diet will look after fat loss, while your training or exercise will look after your muscle mass – think toning – and cardiovascular health. Both are important.
The bottom line is that you need to turn up three times per week, focus your mind on the task at hand, and give it a good go.
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