1. Consistency Is King
The first and biggest factor of what all our successful clients have in common is consistency. Consistency easily predicts your success when it comes to reaching your health goals. Lack of consistency leads to an unorganized program, stalls your habit-forming process, and does not allow your body to make proper training adaptations necessary for fitness success. I see our successful clients thriving on momentum, and momentum is built on consistency. When things are flowing regularly with exercise, diet, and your other lifestyle modifications, it’s also easier to stay on track in the following weeks. Missed sessions, vacations, sickness, and other commitments (whether it is your fault or not) derail that momentum and push you in the wrong direction. Do your best to be consistent on a regular basis, and over time, results will come faster and easier to you.
2. Patience, Young Grasshopper
I caution clients who start a workout program and – five days in – complain that they are only down half a pound or maybe even up a pound. It takes time to adapt and make hormonal changes inside the body. You are setting yourself up for failure if you cannot get over the fact that optimizing your health isn't done overnight. It’s okay to realize that being patient under any circumstance can be difficult, and that setbacks are a normal part of the process. So be kind to your body, and have patience, young grasshopper. There is a reason why that Kung Fu quote is so popular.
3. Stop Telling Yourself You Can’t Do This
“I can’t lose weight because of my genetics.” “I don’t have time to work out because I have to watch my kids.” “I can’t lower my alcohol consumption because my husband likes to drink too much.” If you adopt a victim mentality, your progress will come to a complete stop. Once in a great while I hear a legitimate reason why an intended plan has a roadblock (and in those situations I present a different strategy), but in my experience – more often than not – these statements are not the decisive factor that is keeping you from living healthy. If you are telling yourself you cannot do something because it is outside of your control, be sure to closely examine if it is legitimately out of your control, or if this is an excuse because you are mentally not ready.
4. Motivation Is an Unreliable Friend
Don’t rely on motivation alone. I actually despise this word as it relates to fitness. This is one of the biggest issues my clients struggle with. I always warn them during our first consultation that motivation is not always going to be there for you. You are not going to wake up every single day with a huge bucket of motivation for a workout – just like you won’t always be motivated to skip the complimentary bread butter at the restaurant. Motivation is an unreliable friend. Over time, however, your lifestyle modifications transition into habits (some like to call this discipline). Once you simply “do” these habits automatically without worrying if you are motivated or not, your body is on autopilot and you are no longer forced to rely on motivation alone. The goal with all our clients is to get to a place mentally where healthy living (e.g., moving often, eating nutrient dense foods, optimizing your sleep schedule, managing stress, avoiding toxins) is like brushing your teeth: You don’t need to fall in love with brushing your teeth, you just need to build the habit of doing it to reap the rewards.
5. Be Mentally Ready
Unless YOU are mentally ready to make the jump into a healthy lifestyle, it will not work. This is why I do not give out gift certificates in my business, I do not take on clients who want to buy personal training for their spouse, and I never work with parents who are pushing their kids to see me. Being ready for a new way of living must come from within, or eventually your old habits are guaranteed to take hold of you once again in the near future. I notice when clients are pushed into the process from an outside source (think: doctor, spouse, parent). These clients often become resentful and distance themselves even more from the habits of healthy living. You MUST be mentally ready to do this.
Dan Tatro, M.S.-CSCS, CEO Patriot Fitness Academy
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