Why you’re not making progress.

(I’m having a sale on all training packages for the holidays, as well as offering some specials.  For more info read here.)

Sometimes my brain works in weird ways.  I can have something happen to me, or have someone say something and all of a sudden I’m finding ways that situation applies to life, or training.  I had one of these moments yesterday.

In the morning, as I was tying my shoes, I broke my left shoelace.  So I did what anyone would do in that situation.  I hurriedly moved the unbroken end of the lace down the eyelets and the broken end up the eyelets so that I was able to tie my shoe.  The bow was so small that it looked more like it belonged on a jewelry box rather than my shoe, but it worked for the time being.

After a few sessions, I made a quick run to a local sporting goods store to buy some new laces.  When I got back to the gym, I sat down to re-lace my shoes.  I pulled off my left shoe, unlaced the broken lace and began to put the new lace in.  That’s when I saw it…hair.  Dog hair.  Not a ton, but enough that it made me want to get it all out of there.  Some of my dogs hair had worked its way into a narrow slit between the inner lining of my shoe and the outer part of the lining.  My first thought was, “Wow, I had no idea that was there.”

This is where my brain went weird, and I began to think of the ways this event could apply to fitness and health.  I know you’re probably thinking, what in the world does dog hair in this guy’s shoe have to do with my health?

Bear with me a minute.

I thought about how the dog hair in my shoe had slowly built up, day after day, week after week, until there was enough in there for me to take notice.  I thought about how it had probably been one or two hairs at a time, and how after a while one or two at a time began to be quite a bit.  Then I thought about how this applies to people and their goals.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

I have a client who is consistently bringing me a food journal with everything that she is eating written down.  She tells me everyday that she thinks she’s done pretty well.  And if i just looked at one day, I would probably say that it was OK, not great, but not horrible.  But when I look at her diet, day after day and begin to compare them to each other, what I start to see is not very good.  I see that at lunch she had some chips, and she polished off dinner with a few “very small” cookies or a “tiny” slice of cake.  And it’s this way day after day after day.  Now if she was dialed in most days and then decided to splurge a bit, I wouldn’t really have much to say, (after all, I’m a firm believer that anyone’s diet should have room for enjoyable foods at times), but this was happening daily.  What she wasn’t realizing was that these minor deviations from her diet, on a daily basis, were having a profound impact on her overall progress.

Here’s a little math lesson for you.  There are roughly 3,500 calories in a pound.  Let’s say this client of mine has an extra 300 calories a day.  This comes out to an additional 4,200 calories every 2 weeks, or an extra 1.2 pounds every two weeks.  (To be fair, eating an additional 3,500 calories doesn’t exactly equate a pound of body weight gain, but it’s relatively close.)

I didn’t realize that one hair by one hair, I was getting a full on hair ball in my shoe.  She’s didn’t realize that one little cheat at a time, she’s completely undermining her goals.  Sometimes it’s the smallest things, compounded on top of each other, that can be our downfall.  In fact I would argue that this client would be better off is she was really strict with her eating almost all of the time, and took 2-3 meals a week where she ate whatever she wanted.

The details matter.  In fact the details are everything.

Details are the reason that there are people who have been walking in to the gym for two solid years, doing a random assortment of exercises and are seeing zero results.  They have no details to what they are doing.  Details are the reason that some trainers can’t get any kind of results with their clients.  And details could be the reason you’re not seeing any kind of progress.

Again, details matter.  Don’t ignore them.

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