By: Michael Beiter
What is the end goal of a fitness and nutrition program?
Goals get talked about a lot. From setting SMART goals to trying to lose a certain amount of fat or lift a certain amount of weight, there is no shortage of opinions on what goal is right for fitness and nutrition adherence.
There's nothing wrong with setting your sights on something like fat loss or strength gain. But there is a problem when the goal is reached and it is simply replaced with another one. This goal to goal model of exercising and eating can work for a little while. Inevitably the participant gets burnt out and loses motivation to keep going though.
This happens when they are not communicated the end game of fitness and nutrition. Which is to maintain daily exercise and diet control for life.
Fat loss eventually stops because there is no more fat to lose.
Strength gains halt because the cost of more becomes too great.
What is left if the exerciser has been motivated strictly by moving from one achievement to the next is someone who won't maintain their good fitness and nutrition habits unless they are working towards some new, greater goal. This is a potentially fatal mistake.
We reap the most reward from exercise and a good diet when we do them daily. Forever. This promotes the longest life expectancy ever produced in human history: nearly 80 years for men and 82 for women.
Getting yourself to workout daily and eat well all the time is easier when you drop all the short term goals you've been taught to motivate yourself with and adopt this one: become a master.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his popular book Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to develop master level skills in something. Be that golf, accounting, or parenting. This is applicable to working out and eating well too.
If you do the math you'll realize that practice time takes decades to achieve given an hour of daily exercise. Same for food.
If I were to propose decades of work to a new client when they wanted to lose 20 pounds I wouldn't have any clients. But this is exactly what I know I will suggest to them once they have lost their fat or gotten their nutrition in order. Because exercise and nutrition follow the adage: if you don't use it you lose it.
So this leaves us with the question of "how do I ensure I don't lose the benefits they give me?"
Answer: you never stop doing the things that made you successful - working out and controlling your food.
Kind of a heavy suggestion, I know. But once you accept it you can drop all the short term, instant gratification goals you've used to get yourself working out and eating well in the past and adopt the mature perspective that actually matters. You need to do these things forever.
On the way to your 10,000 reps you will build skills that last a lifetime.
There is one crucial juncture that I see most people quit at. It's when they get bored. It happens sometime after a few years of practice and thousands of workouts and food logs completed. They get tired of hitting their hour per day and tracking their calories and macros. They yearn for excitement and novelty. Because that is what marketing and our culture teach us we should be after.
Make no mistake, new and exciting are things for entertainment and leisure, not fitness and nutrition.
The most successful people I've ever met practice the same basics over and over again.
Yes. It can be mind-numbing. I am over ten years of practice into eating and exercising the same way myself. Most days I'm bored out of my mind with little motivation, but that doesn't stop me from showing up and putting the work in. And it certainly doesn't make me want to look up a novel way to do things. I know entertainment is for Netflix and video games, not lifting weights and eating.
Boredom is an indication that you are becoming very skilled at what you are doing. When you feel it, keep doing what you have been.
If you do this you will get to be so skilled that few things will challenge you any more.
If you push through boredom you will reach the promise land: mastery.
Here you will be relaxed. You have earned this state through thousands of repetitions. You have so much experience working out and eating well that there is nothing life can throw at you in the form of a physical demand you are uncomfortable with.
Food works the same way. After thousands of reps logging your food you will see the macronutrients in everything you eat. This allows you to manage holidays, restaurants, friend's food, or no food with ease. Because everything you eat contains the numbers you have practiced accounting for for years nothing you eat will challenge you.
In each instance you will be relaxed and not worried about your exercise or eating. Your experience will serve you this way. You will be a master. Relaxed and ready to handle whatever is thrown your way fitness and nutrition wise.
This is the end game.