I love working with new training clients. They are filled with motivation, passion, and excitement. They want to learn everything they can. They’ll try anything and they go 100% all the time. I love watching how quickly they make progress and improve.
But… They all make the same mistake.
All new clients want to do everything immediately. They want to do crazy diets, workout 7 days a week, and lose 20 pounds this week. While I love the intensity, doing too much is one of the easiest ways to prevent progress.
As much as we would all love instant results, it takes time for the body to adapt to changes.
Making too big of a change too quickly seems to put the body in some sort of crisis mode that holds on to every pound it can. I don’t have any scientific literature to support that claim, but I’ve seen it over and over again. When people do too much, they don’t get results.
The better way to do it is to do less.
Workout two, or maybe three hours per week. Focus on making small improvements to your diet. No drastic calorie cuts or cleanses. Just start cutting back on all the unhealthy foods you know are in there. This doesn’t have to be all or nothing either. You can improve your diet 20% and start seeing results.
I think there are a couple big reasons a more patient approach is better.
It doesn’t overwhelm the system.
It seems like the body reacts to small changes fairly well and will adapt quickly. The body is willing to invest resources if it doesn’t feel like it has to invest all of its resources.
Beginner gains are the easiest gains you’ll ever have.
When you’re brand new to training, everything and anything you do will be an improvement. You can go for a walk and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Doing curls with a soup can will build muscle. The last thing you want to do is waste this incredibly valuable time doing all the more complicated stuff you’ll need to do in the future when the beginner phase ends. There are years ahead that will require more advanced strategies to stimulate progress, but in the beginning stick with the bare minimum and maximize the advantage you have.
No one likes the slow and steady approach in anything. Everyone dreams about winning the lottery, not investing $500 per month for the next 30 years in index funds. There’s nothing sexy about slow and steady. However, the tortoise always wins.
Small changes add up over time and lead to long-term, lasting results in business, finances, relationships, and your body.
Since I know logic isn’t nearly as powerful as emotion, I’ll wrap this up with a few simple questions. What’s the alternative? What are you going to do when every crash diet or insane workout program you’ve tried fails? Most people can reach and start maintaining their fitness goals in a year using a reasonable and incremental program. How many years will you spend looking for the magic pill?
Give yourself permission to play the long game. You’ll get better results that are more sustainable in the long run.
Yours in health,