First off, a quick reminder that tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to enter for free personal training. Be sure and let me know why you think you, a family member of a friend are deserving of getting free personal training. Entries taken after Friday will not be considered.
When I first start working with a client, I always talk with them about their exercise history. What I usually hear is a litany of different classes, videos, magazines and friends advice that the client has attended or followed in an effort to transform their body. And usually, they’ve all left the client less than thrilled with their results-hence, the reason the are currently sitting across the table from me.
So what gives? Is it that the client didn’t work hard enough? Did the countless celebrity endorsed videos and magazine workouts promise more than they were capable of delivering? Did the aerobics instructor just not know exactly how to instruct?
While all of these questions could be answered in a way that places blame externally, the problem is usually the client.
Before some of you get your panties in a bunch, let me explain.
I’m not saying that the client (or you) is faulty or lazy or anything along those lines. I also think that there is a good argument that most classes, videos and magazine routines are lacking what most people need to make significant change. However, for today’s post, what I’m suggesting is that most people fall prey to an unfortunate set of events known as “program-hopping”. What I mean by this is that most people don’t give one thing a long enough shot to actually see if it will work for them (or if they will work for it).
See if this sounds somewhat familiar to any of you:
One week your doing the newest routine out of SHAPE magazine. 10 days later your going with your friends to a bootcamp class, and cutting out gluten because a friend of a friend said you should. Two weeks, three bootcamp classes and a failed attempt at being gluten-free later, you’re going to a Zumba class and following the Atkins Diet. The next day your trying the South Beach Diet because you overheard the Zumba instructor say something about it. A few days later your not exercising at all because your doing the HCG diet and eating so few calories that zipping up your ever-tightening jeans takes all the energy you have. Finally, a week later you find yourself frustrated, hungry and you haven’t made a shred of progress in your physique goals only to throw your hands in the air and say “What’s the point? I’ve tried everything!”
And the thing is-it’s true. They’ve literally tried everything…but only for a moment.
The truth is that people all over the world have made great transformations using different training regimens as well as using different dietary guidelines. However, the one thing that they have in common is that they actually stuck with a training and dietary protocol long enough to see if it worked, how their body responded to it and for it to have some time to be effective.
Using the above (and not all that hyperbolic) example of my fictitious client-the result is that they have no idea what did or didn’t work for them. They were consistently throwing everything out the window and starting from scratch. Unfortunately this less-than-beneficial approach is perpetuated by the whole “keep the body guessing” fad which encourages the notion that the body is so incredibly adaptable that you can’t do the same routine more than once in a row or you will plateau.
Following a program for an appropriate amount of time gives you the opportunity to learn a little about yourself, your body and its response to different stimuli-something that most people are woefully unaware of. By giving yourself this opportunity, you gain greater understanding as to what will aid you in your quest for a transformed body and what will not.
If you are consistently abandoning programs only to launch into others, you will be eternally spinning your wheels, eternally frustrated and eternally unhappy with your complete lack of progress.
So here’s your plan of action: pick a training and dietary protocol and then actually stick with it. Don’t change programs for four weeks. See how your body responds and make small adjustments accordingly.
But for the love, don’t try everything for a minute and then tell me nothing works for you. You’re not that special.