“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
– Jim Rohn
“…when it comes to getting ripped, the solution is quite simple…but the application is hard as hell.”
– Doug McGuff, MD
I know exactly what it takes to get someone’s body fat down to the low single digits, while maintaining or even gaining lean body mass. It does require some understanding of physiology, nutrition, and how to adapt exercise programs and diets based on individual response, but overall it is relatively simple. Unfortunately knowing isn’t enough, and while the process of getting ripped is relatively simple the application is really hard for most people.
Many people start a fat loss program feeling motivated and believing they will see it through, but eventually find excuses to go off of their diet and skip or slack off during workouts. It’s hard to restrict calorie intake, especially on workout days. It’s hard to give up or cut back on favorite foods, especially when your family and friends are eating them. Meal planning and preparation takes time and effort. Working out on a consistent basis takes time and effort. Depending on how much fat you want to lose it may take you a very long time to reach your goal.
It’s hard. It can be one of the hardest things some people do in their life. Losing a lot of fat if you’re overweight, or trying to get in ripped condition is an absolute bitch.
But, it is worth it.
The key to toughing it out is to constantly remind ourselves why we are doing it. More importantly, to define and stay focused on our end goals. Losing fat or getting ripped are means goals. In and of themselves they are meaningless. What gives them value is the end goals, the ways they will improve your life. To be healthier, to live longer, to look better, to perform and feel better, and all the things that come with these.
If you are trying to lose fat right now, go get a piece of paper, and write down all of the ways losing that fat will improve your life. Imagine how you will feel, what you will be able to do, how people will treat you. Those are the things you have to think about when you’re hungry, when you don’t feel like weighing and measuring food, when you’re tempted to skip or slack off during a workout, etc. Don’t think about the fat loss, think about all the reasons why you want to lose it.
I’m serious. If you haven’t already done it, go get a piece of paper right now, and write it down. Then keep that paper on your, or hang it somewhere you will see it every single day.
Share it with your spouse or partner, your family, your friends, so they know why your goals are important to you and ask them to be supportive. Few things are as hard to deal with while losing fat than being surrounded by people who are trying to undermine your attempts, often because they feel threatened by the change you are trying to make. Better yet, if they need to lose fat ask them to do it with you, and agree to support each other.
Then, every time you are tempted to eat more than you should, to not give your best effort during a workout, to stay out late drinking with friends instead of abstaining and getting adequate sleep, ask yourself whether the momentary enjoyment of some food or drink or the momentary relief from physical discomfort is worth more to you than the improvements in your life that will come from achieving your goals. Remind yourself why it’s worth it.