After 10 years as a PT there are some things I have observed over the years that seem to make the biggest difference to people achieving amazing results. From fat loss to muscle gain to running marathons and ultra running events. Some are practical and science based, while others are more mindset orientated. So, while there are quite a lot to potentially list, I have narrowed it down to the top 10. This list is also quite fluid, so there is every chance that if you asked me in 12 months if this list would be the same, it may not.
On that note, here are 10 lessons from 10 years of PT.
- Most people are not eating enough protein. This isn’t about getting jacked like a bodybuilder. Most people are just not aware of how much protein they should be consuming even if they are not regularly exercising. Aim for at least 3-4 serves of protein per day in whatever form you can on a consistent basis, whether that is chicken/beef etc, or a supplement. And what most people think is a serve of protein, is probably too low.
- Cutting an entire food group or macronutrient from your diet is simply not going to be a sustainable option for most people. Cutting down or being more conscious of your intake is great, but going to the extreme is a sure fire way to set yourself up for a heavy rebound and can cause a negative perception of foods that are simply not bad for you in most cases.
- Do what you can, not what you think you should. Understanding what a realistic level of commitment for you is will do wonders for you. Overstretching and feeling like your failing every week is just demoralising. If a friend of yours is doing x amount of training because they have less commitments or responsibilities than you, trying to do the same amount is probably unrealistic. Do what YOU can.
- Our excuses valid, now what? For example, work being a challenge that “stops” you from exercising is valid. But its not going to help you improve anything you want to improve. So the question needs to be “This challenge/barrier isn’t going anywhere, how do I still do what needs to be done?” And to be honest, the solution you come up with most likely will not be the one you want. But it could be the right one.
- Drink more water. Yes, water is essential. No, most of us are not getting enough. It literally improves everything. Digestion, fat metabolism, muscle building, cell health, recovery, skin health, everything gets better. So drink more water.
- Comfort will be your biggest challenge. This can sound counterintuitive but there is nothing more motivating than the feeling of discomfort and even emotional pain (yes, pain) to create positive change. When we hear about people achieving fantastic things then falling off the wagon and having to start again, it relates to them getting comfortable. There is no pain to move away from, nothing to motivate us. So find new ways to get uncomfortable, if you have lost a bunch of weight, look at improving strength, or running 10kms. Something that ideally you enjoy but are not near achieving just yet. Having the next goal is what maintains your results.
- Relapse does happen, minimising it is the goal. On the flip side of the last point, relapse is a normal part of the process, it highlights what may be a trigger for you and what can throw you off track. The trick is to try and recognise it early and adjust the plan as needed. If you cant exercise on your preferred days, when else can we do it. Silly season coming up? What's the new approach with nutrition that can be implemented for that period. Stopping the relapse from undoing all your hard work is the goal here.
- The people closest to you, have more influence than you think. We are a product of the 5 people we see the most. Its just true. Our friends, family and even co-workers can shape our choices, beliefs and actions much more than you realise. Letting them know what changes your making and why its important to you is a great way to create a circle of support around you, especially when temptation is there.
- 90+% of the time, your hormones are not the problem. Hormones play an important role in the body, but for them to be the root cause of why someone, for example, is not losing weight, is often not the case. Look at your weekly habits and routines, most of the time, the problem lays here.
- Personal Responsibility/Accountability will free you and move you closer to your goal at an accelerated rate. The more responsibility you take over your decisions and actions, the more power you have. If you don’t take responsibility and accountability, you have no more control over your life than a leaf in the wind. And we are all much more powerful than that, we just choose not see it.