“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Positive change, especially that concerning the human body, takes time. There is no overnight fix or 7 day detox that will have you ripped and ready for your shirt off at the beach! Results, true and long lasting results, take time and hard work!
Groundbreaking news! In order to achieve your health and fitness goals, burn body fat, build lean muscle and feel awesome you need to eat a diet full of wholefoods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and fish, and healthy fats, as well as, train at high intensity (get your heart rate up with some resistance and cardio exercises) on a regular basis, sleep 7-9 hours per night and follow proper recovery methods! .....Sorry. This isn’t groundbreaking news; in fact this is nothing new at all and something all personal trainers, coaches, doctors are all prescribing because it works and has worked for years/decades/forever! There is no need for new, fancy fixes. Stick to the basics.
However there are two areas not mentioned above that most people leave out and they happen to be the main reasons people won’t succeed or regress once they have achieved their goals; CONSISTENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY!
“Accountability is the acknowledgment of responsibility for your actions with the obligation to report, explain, and be responsible for the resulting consequences.”
“Consistency is having steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form etc.”
Both accountability and consistency work hand in hand. Having someone or something to keep you accountable (your coach, training buddies, family, your children, wedding date etc.) will make staying consistent each day and week possible. Accountability keeps you consistent because you have to report back what you’re doing (or not doing) in the gym and in the kitchen to someone else.
Recording your food diary each week via My Fitness Pal, or simply writing it down, is a form of accountability, especially if you’re sending that information through to a coach to have a look at. Recording your calories consumed is in no means to get you obsessing over every single calorie that goes into your body, but to help you visualize your nutritional habits, record them and provide yourself with a means to stay accountable and measure consistency day to day.
Without consistency you won’t make progress. Eating well, exercising and sleeping 7-9 hours for short bursts through the year or month means you will still end up struggling. You might make good progress in that short time but unless you stick with it those results can be easily reversed. The key is to find something that works for you, and then stick with it for the long term. Throw in some variety now and then by adding new and exciting goals, new recipes or adding different elements to your training program, but the base nutrition and training needs to be constant.
So, what are some strategies to help me stay accountable and consistent??
1. MAKE IT FUN – I believe why so many people have joined CrossFit and stuck it out longer than any other training program is because it is fun. It is challenging and constantly varied and your training along some of the best people you will ever meet! Cooking and Meal Prep can be fun as well. Try new recipes, foods etc. Also get outside as much as you can, go for hike, swim, run, walk, climb etc. Use your fitness and challenge yourself by getting out of your comfort zone.
2. REWARD YOURSELF FOR WHAT YOU DO, NOT ACHIEVE – This doesn’t mean every day, but set yourself a tough challenge, like going without alcohol for 4 weeks. If you achieve this goal then celebrate by having a glass a wine with mates at the end. If you find it hard to eat more vegetables in your diet, then set yourself a goal of eating 5 vegetables a day for 7 days and once achieved reward yourself! Don’t think of it as a cheat meal but something you have earned. Your reward doesn’t even have to be food related, holidays or weekends away are also great ways to celebrate a goal achieved, but make sure these goals are challenging!!
3. MAKE IT A LIFESTYLE GOAL NOT JUST SHORT TERM – Realistically if you said you were going to “cut out all sugar every day” this would be hard to stick to long term and result in constant setbacks. Instead, turn this goal into “I’ll only drink water or coffee, and cut sugary drinks from my daily routine”. This is more specific and realistic, with a better long term benefit.
4. GET HELP FROM OTHER PEOPLE (THE COACH OR TEAM MEMBERS) – This is an opportunity to be more accountable to the Coach and gym community around you which allows you to be more consistent with your training and nutrition. Implementing and educating yourself about different strategies that hopefully you will hold onto on a daily basis moving forward is very important to sustaining your progress and new healthy habits long term.
Stay accountable and consistent. If you need help ask, if your motivation starts to lack then remind yourself of your goals. Just think the more you do something the better you will get, and the more it will become a habit. Habits are for life, start practicing good, healthy habits every day!
“Success isn’t overnight. It’s when everyday you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.” – Dwayne Johnson