This was a guest post for Western Mastery, a fantastic blog for just about…
If you’re an older guy, you can blame:
- Your Wife;
- Your Kids;
- The Government
all you like, it doesn’t change a thing. You are responsible for your fitness success.
If you’re a younger guy, you can blame:
- Your Mates (and their junk food);
- Your Girlfriend (and her shitty diet);
- Your Parents (your mum’s cooking);
all you like, but again, you are responsible for your fitness success.
But, THIS IS A GREAT THING, and potentially life-changing:
You Are In Charge
You are the ONLY person who can fix your own problems. You are the boss. You are the captain of your own ship.
Struggling to lose weight? You have the power to fix it. Nobody else. Find it difficult to gain muscle? You have the power to fix it. I can’t put muscle on you. I can give you ingenious solutions, and I will do. But you have to actually take action.
Often, when it comes to improving your physique and/or health, the beginning and the end of the journey are the hardest times. They are the the most difficult psychologically. Getting the ball rolling from a standstill requires a lot of effort, then, once you have some momentum going, things get easier.
Finally, as you have been making progress for a while, eventually, you will reach a point where your body is crying out for a break. If you don’t give it the break it needs, you will stall, and likely regress.
Getting the ball rolling and noticing consistent improvements is psychologically pivotal. This is because the visceral factors (or survival impulses) are at their strongest at the start of a diet change, it’s almost like your body is saying:
“Whooa, what’s going on here, I don’t like this?”
But once you keep the calorie deficit/surplus going, your body just throws the towel in (at least for a while):
“Ah fuck it, he’s not listening to me” and accepts that the change is occurring.
So how do we get past the first hurdle?
You have to set your fitness goal as either your primary goal, or secondary goal for the next several months. If you’ve never actually managed to succeed in the past, set it as your primary goal. Then set one or two key habits in order to help you to progress towards this goal.
Also, make use of motivational pictures/videos on a daily basis. Put pictures of your ideal physique on the fridge. Listen to motivational music. Anything to get you through the first couple of weeks.
Sometimes you just have to ask yourself: “Do I really want that chocolate? Or do I really want to look like a boss?”
This is where your biology is a nuisance when it comes to getting what you want. You are literally your worst enemy in a dieting sense. Your body thinks its survival is under threat (which it isn’t, obviously), so it starts throwing these stupid cravings at you, and you normally give in.
Discipline is required to avoid this.
The habits you choose may not necessarily be the ones outlined in the article above, however, I believe the biggest one for most people would be to change their eating schedule.
For fat loss purposes, this would be Intermittent Fasting. For muscle gain purposes, this would be widening the eating window, and starting as early as possible in the day.
Cardio will also be very helpful for those looking to lose weight – just make sure you lower your training volume if you have historically trained on higher volumes. Two cardio sessions a week will do just fine, and you can increase the number of calories burned per session over time.
Once these habits have successfully become a part of you for 2-3 weeks, everything starts to become easier, your body accepts it, and you start ploughing towards your goal.
Other People Are Just Excuses
Younger guys, stop blaming your mates, your girlfriend and your mother. I’ve been a student and had all three evils attack me at the same time, while still remaining 7% body fat.
I am in charge of what goes into my mouth, and what doesn’t go into my mouth. I’m also in charge of how much cardio I perform.
You can have the best of both worlds, to a degree.
You just need to plan ahead and assume the worst. You need to expect your mates to be eating junk around you. Expect your girlfriend to try and fatten you up. Assume your mum will try the same (Why do all women seem to try this?)
With IF and more cardio, you can have more of the fun stuff and still stay lean.
If you’re a skinny guy, expect life to throw crap at you and mess up your schedule – have your snacks ready regardless. Always have food with you. Not difficult.
Older guys, stop blaming your wife, nothing is stopping you from learning to cook (if persuading her to cook different foods isn’t working).
With all of these excuses, it comes down to one thing: How badly do you want success?
Setting your fitness goal as your primary goal will alleviate most of these excuses. But you have to ask yourself:
“How great will I feel when I achieve the physique of my dreams?”
“How great will I feel when I achieve my dreams, despite the setbacks and distractions?”
“How great will my life be when the success carries over into all other areas of my life?” (Which it will!)
YOU are the captain of YOUR life, and therefore, your fitness success. Because of this fact, failures are your fault. BUT, SUCCESSES ARE WITHIN YOUR CONTROL. Get to work!