Of course you want that lean, toned and sculpted body - who doesn't? Then why is it you have been working your butt off (literally you wished) in the gym yet you cannot achieve the ultimate results you see of others? If you are ready to throw in your gym towel, perhaps you need to pay close attention to some extremely important advice your PT may not have told you.
While a personalized training and diet program is paramount to success - to obtain brilliant results, to totally transform your body in a short time frame, you need to train not only your body, but also your MIND. Let's face it, on paper it's easy - all you have to do, is DO it!
Here Is The Scenario
It's Friday, you are so proud of yourself for having been 'good' all week and are keen to continue the trend. Throughout the day you hear your work colleagues chatting about tonight's 'Friday night drinks,' but politely (though it IS slightly annoying that they don't take no for an answer) you knock back their incessant invitations.
It's 3pm and you are starting to feel a bit weary. You think about tonight's planned training session - perhaps you can reschedule it for tomorrow when you've had a good sleep. You read somewhere that fresh air and a quick 5-minute stroll can work wonders for warding off sleepiness, but a coffee sounds much easier. Off you go to the kitchen for your caffeine fix.
It's afternoon break, and the cakes, pies and cookies that you so determinedly refused at 10 a.m, are there to taunt you again. This time you are tired and you really, really want one. You have your preplanned fruit and protein shake in the fridge but these Oreos (or Tim Tams if you are in Australia!) look a lot more appealing.
Your mind starts to play games with you. "Surely one can't hurt, I've been so good all week? It's Friday, I deserve it." Knowing you are on a 'diet,' your workmates see you eyeing off the goodies and nothing would please them more than to see you give in.
"Go on, one won't hurt!" That clinches the deal - you just can't be bothered saying no anymore. Besides, those Tim Tams look so good. You have 4 Oreo's (or Tim Tams) instead of 1, and when everyone leaves you scoff some chocolate cake straight out of the fridge for good measure.
Back at your desk, the realization of what just happened sets in. In one weak moment of resolve, your transformation world comes crashing down. "What have I done?" you ask yourself, tremendous feelings of guilt and resentment flooding over you. "Why can't I stop at one? I am hopeless, I will never lose this body fat! The others were right, I will never be able to stick to this."
At 5pm you head off to the pub to drown your sorrows, and after a few beers or wines, you start feeling pretty good again. "I don't need to do this, the others are right, I'm not THAT fat."
You polish off a big greasy pizza with your friends on the way home. The next morning - or perhaps afternoon - you wake feeling dehydrated and hungover and aghast as you remember what you devoured yesterday afternoon and evening. The gym closed an hour ago so obviously you can't train today. Instead you sit around watching TV, feeling sorry for yourself and eating more junk until your hangover subsides.
By nighttime you are bloated and feel disgusting - just to verify your own thoughts, you decide to get on the scale. You are 5 pounds (2.5kg) heavier than you were 2 days ago! "I am so hopeless. I will start again on Monday but THIS time I will stick to my plan".
Sound familiar? And so the cycle continues ...
Here are some of my tips for gaining and maintaining mental and emotional toughness throughout your physical challenge:
Make A Plan, And Have A Vision
How do you know where you will end up if you don't know where you are going and how you will get there? Think about what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve it, and WHY you want this so badly. Commit your plan to paper, and continually envision your goal physique in your mind.
Perhaps you want to drop 2 dress sizes, be able to jog for 30 minutes non-stop and increase your flagging energy levels. Perhaps you will secure the services of a reputable trainer (online or one on one), to set out your entire 12 week plan, so you don't have to do the thinking. Perhaps you refuse to buy new clothes at a Size 12 (or 16 in Australia), climbing the stairs wears you out, and you feel tired all the time.
Make A Firm DecisionNow you have figured out what you want - how badly do you want it? Are you ready to give it your all? Sit down and make a written promise to yourself stating that you will give 110%, and you will NOT give up. Remember, it takes at least 12 weeks to significantly change your body shape.
To achieve an amazing transformation, to some extent it has to be 'all about you.' If you choose not to go the pub for Friday night drinks - trust me, your friends will get over it. If your friends or family have been holding you back or getting in the way of your goals, it is time to become a little selfish and put YOU first. If you don't, you will continually be disappointed with your efforts.
You Must Be Prepared To Make Sacrifices For 12 Weeks
Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. Instead of trying to fit your 'body beautiful' diet around your work commitments, family and social obligations, try reversing it - make the transformation process your priority. The 12 weeks will pass anyway - make some sacrifices for this short time and be astounded at what can be done! If your approach is half-hearted, you can't expect brilliant results.
There are no valid excuses if you want amazing results in 12 short weeks. There are ALWAYS alternatives - pay close attention to planning in advance and having contingency plans for emergencies. If you start making excuses, then you haven't made a total commitment and are wasting your time.
For 12 weeks, Forget That Pizza And Cheesecake Even Exist
When dieting for a contest I put all thoughts of non-authorized foods out of my head. Don't waste energy wanting, looking at or thinking about food that is not a part of your plan. Think about what you CAN have, not what you can't. If you continually WANT food that isn't authorized, eventually you will give in.
Find A Good Support Network
You need positive influences in your life when focusing on your transformation. All too often there will be negative friends, family and work colleagues just waiting for an opportunity to bring you down. Steer clear of these types of people as much as possible, and find support and encouragement in other places such as internet fitness forums, a trainer or coach or other gym goers.
Believe In Yourself And Banish Negative Self Talk
When I set out to achieve a goal, I truly BELIEVE and KNOW I will do it. I don't "hope" and I don't "try" - "I can," "I will" and "I do." If you don't believe you can do it, then most likely, you won't. If you find yourself using negative words, stop and replace them with positives. If you continue to tell yourself you are fat and hopeless, your subconscious will believe it and prevent you from achieving.
Make Your Own Personal Inspiration Book
Cut out pictures, quotes, articles - anything that you find motivational and inspirational. Keep this book handy - read it daily, and at times when you feel the going getting tough.
Feel The Power
When you overcome the small challenges that each day brings, feel the sense of power that comes from these achievements. Use it to become more motivated as each day passes, knowing YOU are in control of your own actions.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Training and dieting places stress on your body - you need more sleep and rest when training hard. Lack of sleep can lead to overtraining and binge eating episodes through further stress, tiredness and fatigue.
Understand The Pitfalls Of The Scale
Muscle is more dense than fat - it weighs more on the scale. You can have 2 people weighing 132 pounds (60kg) - one at 15% body fat, and one at 30% body fat. The person at 15% body fat will appear much leaner and 'lighter,' due to the difference in body composition. Muscle is good.
If you choose to use a scale be aware that water/fluid will affect your readings - just because you weigh 2 pounds (approx 1kg) heavier than you did 2 days ago does not necessarily mean you have put on 2 pounds (1kg) of fat. Most likely it will be water due to dehydration, increased carbohydrate/sodium consumption, or if you are a woman, it may be that time of the month!
You WILL Make Mistakes!
In my first competition preparation, I caved in and ate an entire family block of chocolate at Week 5. I was devastated and thought I had ruined everything. Luckily I had supportive and knowledgeable people around to help me pull myself together. AIM for perfection, but don't expect it! Nobody is perfect.
If you fall off your diet plan, don't waste valuable energy feeling guilty and believing there is no point continuing. Put it to the back of your mind, get right back on track and there will be minimal 'damage' done. Don't wait for Monday! Back on track is only as far away as your next meal.
Be Consistent And Patient
Nothing above will matter if you do not practice consistency and patience. You must be consistent with training and nutrition, and you must be patient to see results. You WILL be changing even though the changes may not yet visible on the outside.
The number one reason people fail in their attempts to lose body fat, is that they simply give up too soon. You cannot change your body overnight, but be consistent, give it a good 12 weeks (not 4, 6 or 8!), and you will be astounded by the results!