Do your health goals match the actions you take?

 

A friend of mine who happens to be a Personal Trainer as well has recently gone through his own 12 week transformation recently. His goal was to go from around 20% body fat down to sub 8% so he could take part in a body building contest. 

He is a driven guy and he was posting pictures of his progress throughout this journey. Needless to say he accomplished his goal (have a look at the photos below). 

john casto

Now, after the contest, he was getting asked by a load of people how he did it. 

He then posted his meal plan for the 12 weeks, and it looked something like this:

Breakfast:

egg whites and small bowl of porridge 

Meals 2-6:

  • Chicken or Tuna
  • Sweet Potato
  • Spinach  or broccoli

 

Loads of water.  

Every day for 12 weeks!!

You can’t get much more simple than this, but boy is that hard work.

If he didn’t have the contest to be working towards then this would have been even more difficult to stick to……and therein lies the secret.

Setting a goal, making yourself accountable to someone else/ others, following a proven process and then getting to work. 

But there is also something else. Having at least 5 big REASONS why this is such a worthy goal. 

Personally I think I would struggle with that nutrition plan for any longer than a week, let alone 12 weeks, but that’s based on my set of circumstances as they are. 

If you said to me that I would win £100,000 if I dropped to sub 8% body fat in 12 weeks time, I would move heaven and earth to make sure I achieved it. 

If you said that I could save someone’s life by going through this journey then again I would find a way of making it happen. 

MASSIVE REASONS WHY!!

If you have tried to achieve something in the past and fallen off the wagon (give up smoking, give up booze, lose weight, drop to certain clothes size etc), then the likely reason is that you didn’t have a big enough WHY.

When I was younger, I remember my Dad trying to give up smoking on numerous occasions and every time within months (sometimes weeks) he would have a fag in his mouth again. Then one day my little brother (who was about 7 or 8 at the time) looked up at him and very innocently said “Dad, don’t you want to ever see your Grandchildren?”

“Of course I do son”

“But you won’t if you keep smoking”

In an instant he stopped and has never touched one since. No hypnosis, no books, no tapes, no willpower. Just a massive reason WHY.

Now, this is an extreme example, but there is a very subtle point to the article. 

Have a look at your own reasons for ‘getting fit and healthy’

Are they the same now as what they were when you started on this journey?

Have you lost track of your goals?

If the answer is yes, then it might be worth setting some new ones. .

There is no judgement here and there is no right or wrong answer. It’s just an honest evaluation. 

There’s no point is setting yourself a goal of “lose 6% body fat in 1 month” or “lose 1 stone in weight this month” if you’re not prepared to COMMIT / SACRIFICE in order to achieve it. If you’re not prepared to go shopping to get the right foods, drop the booze at weekends and train hard then don’t set this as your goal. It’s not that dropping 6% body fat isn’t realistic. It most definitely is if your actions and commitment mirror the potential outcome.

This is what happens when you don’t have a bit enough reason WHY. You set the goal and feel pretty good about doing it. Then you put in a couple of good training sessions. Then something shitty happens at work or a family member gets ill and you feel stressed so have a few glasses to wine or some chocolate to relax. Don’t feel so great plus the traffic is terrible so skip training for that day. Another glass of wine that evening because the problems haven’t gone away and feel pretty guilty about not making training. etc, etc.

Then at the end of the month, you feel bad about not achieving the goal which reinforces the belief that ‘I never achieve my goals’ and then the whole process starts again.

When the WHY is big enough though, the above scenario doesn’t take place even though the set of circumstances do. Let’s say you’re getting married or you’re going on holiday in 8 weeks. You HAVE to fit into wedding dress / holiday clothes (that are a size smaller than you currently are). You do it. You achieve it. Nothing will stop you. The same shitty thing happens at work – SO WHAT, I’m getting married in 8 weeks and this is where my focus is. Same traffic is there – SO WHAT, I’ll train at a different time or leave a bit earlier…..

The challenge is to come up with these goals/ reasons WHY when you don’t have a wedding or a holiday to look forward to.

Here are some examples:

I hate feeling the way I do…..WHY?

I’m embarrassed to wear tight fitting clothes when I go out….WHY?

I’m the biggest I’ve ever been……WHY?

I comfort eat and drink too much wine….WHY?

I don’t feel confident and self esteem is low….So if you were 2 sizes smaller, how would you feel then?

Happy, confident, sexy, ….WHY?

I could wear smaller clothes, wear a bikini on holiday, enjoy shopping again, etc…

How much do you really want to feel like this again?

Are you prepared to change your nutrition habits to get there?

There we go. We’ve just unearthed some really good, strong  and powerful reasons to get going again. Right let’s put the ’12 week, drop 2 clothes sizes’ plan in place.

Something quite magical happens when you do what I outlined above:

Setting a goal, making yourself accountable to someone else/ others, following a proven process and then getting to work. 

You create an unstoppable force that pushes you through when it’s really tough. If you can then dig deep and identify WHY this goal would be so awesome to achieve then the chances of success go through the roof. 

Those ‘excuses / reasons’ for not making sessions become mere hurdles that need jumping over.

  • “I’m so busy at work”
  • “the traffic is terrible”
  • “it’s dark and cold and wet outside”
  • “everyone else is drinking”
  • “I’m sick of eggs so am going to go back to my coco pops”

 

All of the above translate to “not a big enough WHY”. I would suggest sitting down and setting a new 4,8 or 12 week goal. Then get clear on the reasons why. Then identify the process to achieve your goal and then get busy. Those obstacles above will still be there but you will find a way to overcome and smash through them.

 

What if I don’t want to make a massive change?

However, it may well be that you exercise just to feel a bit healthier and have a bit of ‘me time’. Again, that’s totally fine, but it would then be wrong to expect to see amazing body transforming results. 

Another example is that you train really hard at least 5 times per week, but then eat crappy food and binge drink at weekends. No problem with this as long as you’re realistic with your expectations. It’s unlikely that you’re going to see any noticeable dramatic changes.

This only becomes a problem when you expect changes to happen regarding things like weight and body fat % dropping because you train so hard, but your nutritional choices are not congruent with this outcome. 

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing to see results though. It may well be that for 6 days per week you train, eat, drink like a pro athlete and then for 1 day you let yourself go a little bit and have some indulgence. You’re gonna see much quicker changes with this plan than the other two above. 

And then you might go all out like my friend John and get the most dramatic changes in the shortest possible time by making wholesale changes to nutrition and exercise.

There isn’t a right or wrong type of reason for exercising and getting healthy – just as long as the plan / process that you follow is congruent with the goals/ expectations that you set yourself and want to achieve.

Ricky