I’m sure many of you can relate to the picture of the iceburg in some way. Everyone sees what you have, where your company is, your marriage, your friends, your fitness level, your respect, or your accomplishments. They have no idea what it took to get there.
I once had a client, we’ll call him “Bob”, that told me a story about a man telling him that he wished he had what Bob had (successful business, nice house, nice car, etc). Bob asked the man a simple question. “Would you be willing to take out a $2 million loan to start your business?” The guy just chuckled and said, “Well no, of course not.” Bob saw the big picture and took a huge risk in order to possibly fulfill his dream. Today he has fulfilled that dream and more.
Often in life, people only see your success and have no idea what you had to go through to get there.
This also applies to fitness. We all get jealous of the fitness models in the magazines or on instagram, but would we really be willing to sacrifice or work as hard as they have to get there? A great body is not built overnight, or even in six months. Yes you can make big changes in six months, but it takes years of dedication and commitment to living a healthy lifestyle to achieve fitness success to that degree.
Most likely your goal isn’t to look like one of the fitness models you see, which often the photos are touched up and/or they are just preparing for that specific photo shoot, but perhaps you are looking to get into the best shape YOU have EVER been in! That is a great goal, and I encourage you to strive for that. Just be prepared that you are in for a long journey of making consistently better food choices, working out when you don’t feel like it, saying no to binge nights with friends, and finding healthy ways to stay active!
Remember that fitness is a lifestyle. There is no short-term cure for reaching your best body. You have to be willing to put in the grunt work that is required to get there. Most of you reading this went to college. You put in 4-8 years of hard work to reach a goal. You made sacrifices, but you were pursuing a dream. You understood that great results requires lots of work and preparation. Achieving your ideal healthy lifestyle is no different.
Much like the iceberg example, you will have to work hard, you will struggle with staying on track, you will face failures, you will have to break bad habits and create better ones, you may face judgement or criticism from others, and you will have to make sacrifices. However, as we all know, nothing feels as good as reaching our ultimate goal. That feeling will be worth all of the struggles you face along the way.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on the right track:
You will be the accumulation of what you do every day for years. One bad day won’t wreck months of hard work, and one good day is not going to get you ripped. Don’t beat yourself up for a bad meal or two, just get back on track tomorrow. A good rule is the 90/10 rule. Eat great for 90% of the time, eat what you want the other 10% (use common sense here).
Find activities you enjoy doing! If you don’t enjoy it, you will never stick to it. Whether it’s weightlifting, hiking, running, kayaking, basketball, or anything else, you must enjoy it to stick to it.
Have a support group. You need to have friends that are going to help you along the way. They should have similar goals of living a healthy lifestyle. We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. If you are hanging out with people who are breaking bad habits and getting to the gym, you will do the same.
Next time you get discouraged that you are not seeing the results you want, remember that this is a journey. Just like that one bad grade in college didn’t prevent you from graduating and earning your degree, don’t let one small slip up or a tough season in life derail you from getting where you want to be. Find what you need to do differently, make adjustments, and move on to the next day. Tomorrow is a new day.
Jonathan Brawley, BS, NASM-CPT