12 Rules of Body Transformation: Part 1
In order to accomplish something really big in life, there are going to be important choices that have to be made every day. Each choice will either bring you closer to your goal or further from it. If you can consistently make choices that bring you closer to your goal, they will become habits. Once you have formed these habits, making choices that align with your big goal will not be such a struggle. The consistent improvement that comes from making these positive choices every day is the only “secret” to making long term improvements.
However, if you can identify the big picture principles that apply to achieving your goal, you can more quickly identify whether you are moving in the direction of your goal or away from it when making choices day to day. These big picture ideas become the rules that you live by. They are non-negotiable and they shape each decision that you make. Living by a set of rules makes decision making simpler because if it doesn’t align with the rules you have set for yourself, you don’t do it.
I have pinpointed 12 rules that should guide each decision one should make if their goal is to achieve long term improvements in the way your body looks, moves and feels. They are as follows:
1. Make it enjoyable. Find a form of exercise that you actually like doing! Here’s a news flash: exercise should be fun. Too many people think that exercise is supposed to be miserable. I disagree. If you begrudgingly do a certain type of exercise because you think you have to, it is almost a certainty that you won’t be able to stick with it. While there may be forms of exercise that work better for reaching certain goals, that doesn’t mean you have to do it. There is a never ending list of ways to exercise and I bet that you can find a couple that you have fun with. Find something that you are excited to do, that makes you feel better after doing it.
This rule applies to nutrition as well. Eating well does not mean that your food has to taste like cardboard. Experiment with recipes and find ways of preparing food that are delicious and nutritious. After some experimenting, you are bound to find a couple of meals that will become staples of your diet and you will actually look forward to eating them. If you have a sweet tooth like me, I highly recommend Quest nutrition products, especially their protein bars. Quest’s mission is to create food that tastes great but are made with high quality ingredients that keep you moving toward your goals but also allow you to “cheat clean.” With food that tastes great and is great for you, you will have no excuse to not eat well most of the time.
Here are some nutrition resources:
2. Focus on one habit at a time. How many times have you watched a motivation Monday video on YouTube and set a huge new goal for yourself? I’ve done it and it feels amazing in the moment. You decide that you are going to change everything at once and you will be ready to step on stage for a physique competition in a month. You go from living a sedentary lifestyle fueled by fast food to doing cardio in the morning, lifting weights at night and eating only chicken and broccoli. But, once you lose that initial motivation buzz, it gets real and you fall off the wagon. It’s just too much change all at once.
A better approach is to play the long game of focusing on one habit at a time. Precision Nutrition has made famous the practice of presenting one new and simple habit at a time to their clients and having them focus on it and practice it every day for two weeks. After two weeks, the habit has become somewhat of a routine and a new habit can be introduced. This is a simple but highly effective strategy for changing behavior. Following the one habit at a time approach will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with all that you have to do to reach your goal as well as provide you with a long term blueprint for success.
3. You are the company that you keep. You have to surround yourself with people that want you to succeed and limit your exposure to those that have a tendency to derail your progress. Mark Bell simply puts it as “Either you’re in, or you’re in the way.” It doesn’t mean that the people you limit your time with are bad people. They just don’t have the same vision as you and if you want to reach yours, you can’t have it become blurred by other people. Here are some ways that you can surround yourself with people that will help you on your mission:
- Find a training partner with a similar goal. When you are running low on motivation, you need someone who is going to drag you to the gym with them or make you order a salad instead of a stuffed crust meat lover’s pizza.
- Join a group class. This takes the training partner to the next level. With a group class, you have an entire group expecting you to be at the gym working out with them. Group classes, like those in CrossFit, are infamous for developing a community within its members. The members of the community push you to work hard; they celebrate your successes with you and make it way more fun!
- Finally, you could hire a personal trainer. I have found that most people are much more likely to get their workout in when they have a scheduled appointment with a professional trainer who they are paying their hard earned money to work with. It becomes an appointment that you have to keep. You are also more likely to stick to your nutrition plan when you have to report back to your trainer about your weekend debauchery.
4. Consistency is everything. Consistency equals results. If you put your whole heart into something and you work on it every single day, good things are going to happen. Of that I have no doubt. That doesn’t mean being consistent in one or two areas and completely neglecting others. Such as, crushing it in the gym, but eating a salad bowl of cookie crisp for breakfast.
If you truly want to achieve your goal and become the best version of yourself, then you need to determine all of the factors that play a role in you achieving that goal. Once you have this list, you need to do something every day that is going to lead to improvement in those areas.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
2016 11 01