I’d give ANYTHING to look like You!!
We get this all the time. A 30 something year old guy or girl comes into our gym or messages us on Facebook and proclaims that he/she wants to look like me or my wife. They say they would give anything in the world to look like us or a dozen other random guys or gals on the cover of Men’s Health or Shape magazine. I often look them square in the eyes and say, “no you wouldn’t.” The truth is that most people wouldn’t give anything to achieve peak conditioning, enviable muscularity, and a great V taper. You wouldn’t sacrifice drinking alcohol and eating pizza. You wouldn’t spend ours in the gym weight training and doing endless amounts of cardio. You wouldn’t stay up until 1 am prepping food for the next day, tediously measuring out every gram of protein, carbs, and fat.
You know why you wouldn’t give anything to look like a bodybuilder? Because it SUCKS!! It’s a very strenuous lifestyle that can dramatically affect your relationships with the people you love and the people you work with. Developing a magazine worthy physique takes years and years of training and dieting. So the question you need to ask yourself is: Do I want to look like a Greek God or do I simply want to look and feel better? You might be surprised at your answer.
Fool Me Once…
The thing is, most people don’t fully understand the dedication, determination, and sacrifice required to maintain such a physique. The sad truth is that the main stream media glamorizes such physiques along with thousands of supplement companies, personal trainers, and weight loss gurus promising to give you over night results with their programs. Why is it that most people feel that this is so easily achievable? Why is that many people are fooled into thinking it is possible to gain 20 pounds of muscle naturally in a single year? The reason is simple. You are being manipulated. STOP being fooled into thinking you can attain a physique reminiscent of a Greek statue. Most people can’t even adhere to 3 workouts per week.
Unfortunately the health and fitness industry is chalked full of snake oil salesmen and six pack ab genies in bottles. Everyone claims to have the world’s best training program or weight loss system. It is the duty of the consumer to learn to filter through the bullshit and find the real professional advice, recommendations, and programs out there. It is the consumer’s obligation to figure out what he truly wants to achieve and learn what works best for him. So how do you become a well informed consumer? As is usually the case, you need to do your research and use a little common sense.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic expectations for your fitness goals is absolutely crucial. If you are a middle aged, overweight male that hasn’t worked out since high school, you probably aren’t going to look like Dwayne Johnson withing 90 days. Be realistic with yourself. Start out with small goals and dedicate yourself to the process required to achieve those. What works for your buddy may not work for you. Ask yourself why you want to achieve a certain goal. Why is it important to you to have abs? Why do you want to look like a bodybuilder? Often times you will find that what you thought you wanted and what you actually want are two different things. Most of the time when people really sit down to think about why they want to look a certain way, they realize that it’s not for them. It’s usually because they want others to perceive them a certain way or to envy them. This kind of goal will never bring you happiness or fulfillment. I had a guy tell me once after asking him what his fitness goal was, that he wanted people to look at him and say, “that guy must be a competitive bodybuilder.”
Filtering Through the Bullshit
Learning to filter through the garbage and identify the helpful information out there can be daunting but is well worth it. At Nerdfitness.com Steve says it best, “Of course, like 90% of people have no idea what they are talking about, so you need to be careful who you get your advice from or you could be either wasting your time or even hurting yourself without knowing it. If you go to the gym, if you read a muscle magazine, if you hear through the grapevine about this new amazing weight loss pill or miracle workout, do your research before you put all your eggs in one basket.” One general rule of thumb is to only take advice from fitness professionals who have these things going for them:
Experience- Do they have over 5 years in the industry? Who have they worked with? What type of clientele do they train or market to?
Expertise- Do they write scientifically sound articles and research or do they provide only second hand information heard through the grapevine? What certifications do they hold? What is their educational background? Are they considered experts in their filed by their peers? Do they own their own facility and specialize in a specific niche?
Research- Do they provide real, measurable research in their writing, services, and/or products? Is the research based on successful or failed conclusions? Have other fitness professionals deemed their work scientifically valid?
Testimonials – Can they produce multiple testimonials of real life people (not actors)? Does their system or program work for the masses or only a few select individuals? Do they over promise results? Is it right for what you are trying to achieve?
Identify Your Reasons & Have a Plan
Once you have a realistic fitness goal and have learned to filter out bad information, it’s time to identify your reasons for wanting it. Write down a S.M.A.R.T. goal and get to work on it immediately. A SMART goal is Specific, Realistic, Measurable, Attainable, and Realistic. For example, your SMART goal might look something like this; “I am going to lose 20 pounds in the next two months by weight training 4 times a week, doing steady-state cardio 4 times a week, and doing at least one HIIT cardio session a week.” Once you have your SMART goal written out, put it somewhere you can see every single day when you wake up and when you go to bed. Read it aloud. In addition, each night before bed write down all of the steps you took today to help move you toward total achievement of your goal. Then, write down the exact steps you will take tomorrow to help move you toward the goal. For example you might write, “Today I lifted weights for one hour, jogged on the treadmill for 40 minutes, and ate a palm sized serving of protein in every meal. Tomorrow I will weight train again for one hour, use the rower for 30 minutes, and track all of my macros in my new app.” There are dozens of fitness and nutritional apps out there that are great for tracking workouts and your calories/macros. One of the best is called MyFitnessPal.
Putting It All Together
So you have a realistic goal, have learned to filter out the bad info, and you have identified your reasons and have a solid plan of action. Now you can get busy. Remember, not everyone is cut out for the extreme bodybuilding lifestyle. Sometimes all you need is to be a little better every day. At Fitness United we aim to achieve Kaizen as a unified team. That is, we are in a constant state of perpetual state change for the better. I advise you to do the same. Just get better.