Thursday, November 12, 2015

Consistency: A Big Key in Achieving Results

Many have gone through that phase in their training or anything else really, that takes work. You know the phase I'm talking about too; you are so excited and are going to be all about reaching this goal. You buy a gym membership, lock it in for a year, or better yet hire a trainer/coach, to help you get to that next size down in your wardrobe. You go to the grocery store and get all the right foods. When you get home you set out your schedule and plan to go 5-7 days a week for the remainder of eternity.

This is more or less what Dan John refers to as the Bus Bench mentality where you are expecting goals by a certain time. This is a great mentality to have...probably twice a year, when everyone else has them. It's perfectly fine to do it, I did it for a month doing a low carb diet approach to cut my body fat down before rugby season. Even when everyone else is doing it you don't have to try to be too cool for school and not take this approach. The problem is if you're gun ho for longer than 3-4 weeks, you WILL burn out and lose the drive. It's just facts and no I don't have any research off hand to prove this to you beyond just telling you. The only evidence I have is that I've seen it and experienced it.

My most recent experience with this is via a client that's been training with me since May. In reality this isn't too long, but 5-6 months is long enough that some changes should be noticed. Some have occurred (135x3 for a back squat's not bad for a novice trainee), but she feels that maybe there should be just a bit more changing. This is where most good coaches and trainers should start to dig into the problem, slowly and methodically.

I started my digging, at first she put up a decent wall and either avoided the questions or gave a nothing answer. I decided to let it be because she didn't show many signs of changing her answers or desire to cooperate, and I didn't want to upset her.  Five or ten minutes later I asked her a general how are you feeling questions and the epiphany came to her, which she promptly told me. She told me in not so many words that she had been inconsistent with everything outside our sessions. She made it clear that there were times she was on top of things and very on point, other times very much not so. To make the jump to be more consistent we established one new habit for her to start with that will improve her consistency, especially with her diet.

This is the part where I get to the lesson I wanted to convey. There are very few people that can sustain the 100% record of being on point, never wavering from sessions and keeping their diet clean, cold turkey. You have to build one little thing on top of the other, start with little things, like the habit my client and I talked about, and once those have become easy to maintain start working the next little thing. The level of retention with an approach like this will be a gazillion times better than going, pardon my french, balls out for 4 weeks. Probably a solid, unscientific, 90% of the time going with the blitzkrieg method ends up sending you back to the old ways for another 4 weeks or more because it just simply isn't sustainable for a normal human.

This constant back and forth or up and down that can occur will cause what some have termed, the rebound effect. Most have heard of a weight lost show with SHE who shall not be named. I encourage you to do some digging on this show, specifically the participants. You'll find out that a super high amount of the participants in this balls out boot camp they're put through have put the weight they lost back on, some even MORE. To the ones that manage to keep it off after that, I applaud you and will say that you are the rare, lucky few that managed it. The case and point here is even shows that have the best professionals (term used very loosely here) can't keep their participants healthy for a long extended period of time with this gun ho approach.

Sorry Bears fans....I know the truth hurts

For those that don't have the type of will and luck to stave off the rebound, but still want the help, it is possible and there is hope. First off find a knowledgable trainer or coach, preferably not someone with an internet/weekend certification (reference one of my posts here about smelling the BS or several articles written by the likes of Mike Robertson and Tony Gentilcore about figuring who the good ones are). Once you've found your new best friend for the near future, maybe you're lucky enough and you're new friend has a certification like Precision Nutrition, JACKPOT. No panic needed if that's not the case, most guys and gals worth their salt with have someone that they can recommend so you can up your nutrition game. Once you have put all the right ingredients in place, in the words of master Yoda, patience you must have my young padawan, things will not happen in an instant. After 4 weeks if you don't feel different, at the very least, something's off and you need to communicate this with your experts.

So let's recap everything that we just hit on here:
  • "Bus Bench" approaches are ok, everyone so often (6 months give or take)
  • Consistency will win the day
  • Changes will not occur over night
  • The Chicago Bears are pretty terrible
That's all I got today guys, go out there and get after it.

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