If you don't have the body you want, I want this 28-day challenge to re-programme you and to train you to put your focus where it matters.
In order to do that, we need to avoid these crazy gym/training programme howlers that most folks make:
THEY HAVE NO CLEAR, SENSIBLE, INTELLIGENT EXPERIMENT.
A clear, sensible, intelligent experiment has a clearly defined goal, clear rational based on science, manageable behaviours, a clear definable change from what you were doing previously and a fixed time period.
Without one, people drift, have no basis for making proper decisions and often feel like they just can't get results. They often think they are trying, when in fact, they aren't.
Don't fall into this trap.
It doesn't have to take that long to set this up, but once you've done it, you'll have more clarity, motivation and commitment and you'll learn a lot more about your body in order to get results quickly.
THEY OVER-RATE CARDIO
Let's make one thing clear, I have nothing against cardio. Without my cardiovascular system, there's a fair chance I'd struggle to function, -- I certainly wouldn't be the powerhouse that I am today on the football field.
Sadly though, most folk over-rate 'cardio' exercise.
The belief that it's the weapon of choice for 'losing weight' is one of the cruellest and most annoyingly persistent myths that dogs our (very over-fat) society. Most folk trying to lose fat spend ages (or intend to) pounding the pavements, the treadmills, their joints, and who knows what else in a futile attempt to 'lose' -- to burn fat, to burn as many calories as you can. Of course, if you wanted to burn as many calories as possible in an exercise session, you'd definitely do a lot of traditional cardio.
But, unfortunately, trying to burn as many calories as possible in a training session is a very stupid goal.
Burning as many calories as possible is not fun, it's time consuming, it's knackering, it's hard to do consistently and it's very poorly correlated with what you actually look like.
It's the wrong goal.
Yes, you can burn more calories by doing loads of cardio, but unfortunately, if weight loss, fat loss and getting a great body is your goal, this completely oversimplifies the physiological processes going on, completely ignores the big picture of how your body adapts to cope with the stress, completely ignores what else happens the rest of the day when you're not in the gym and completely ignores what a low percentage of your daily calorie burn can actually come from your gym work. So, all-in-all, your cardio workout bares an extremely limited relationship to what you're actually going to look like in the mirror as a result.
500 calories burned...absolutely does not correlate to 500 calories of fat just left your body forever. It's wrong and it's over simplistic (but my goodness is it easy to market it).
Yet 'burning loads of calories' is really hard work, really time consuming and really hard to do consistently... It's the wrong tool.
To me, this training mentality is associated with a 'losers mindset', and is an atrocity of intellect.
Not at More-Athletic Body please: when we train, we focus on building our strength and athleticism. We focus on the positive: building sexy, lean, toned bodies.
I suggest completely eliminating cardio from our fat loss plan, and only ever turning to burning calories as a last resort, a final tool if you have the fundamentals right. I suggest focusing on the most effective things:
Nutrition to take care of our fat loss.
Training to preserve lean mass, to get ripped, to feel good and to improve ourselves.
You don't need cardio. Do a little please, if you fancy...for health, for enjoyment, for sport...whatever.
But don't overrate it.
Absolutely don't do it at the expense of smart resistance training and spending your time and willpower on planning and arranging your food.
Do you want to be the person who gets sucked in, or do you want to be the person who gets results? Please don't get caught up in the endless losing battle of trying to 'burn off'. Don't listen to the masses when the masses aren't getting results 'burning it all off'.
It doesn't work. Your body will outsmart you.
Play a wiser game.
Be an effective minimalist.
THEY SET FUZZY INTENTIONS.
"Go to the gym more". "Eat healthier". "Get fitter".
Admirable intentions, but too fuzzy; we need clarity.
We want to get absolutely clear on our end goal, where we are now, what we are changing and why, how long our current experiment will be, how we are defining success and exactly how and where we will do what we need to do.
Do that, and you'll do better than 90% of people.
To be clear: the result you want is a side-effect.
And that side effect is semi-predictable.
So we have two issues here:
1 - The behaviour
2 - The consequence
We need absolute clarity and consistent focus on both of these:
1) Decide on your end goal, get clear on what you're striving for.
When will you be happy? Visible abs? Rock-hard sculpted legs? Bottom so well defined you stop traffic? 10% body fat (gents)? 15%-17% ladies? Lose two stone?
The first part is getting clear on what you're striving for.
2) Then we need absolute clarity on what it is we need to do right now, and how we are going to make that happen.
Not "go to the gym more", but "train four days per week, straight after work".
Not "eat healthier", but "swap my crappy sandwich and packet of crisps lunch for a chicken breast, salad and a serving of olives".
That's the clarity of intentions and actions that get's done.
That's what we need please. No fuzzy end results, but, even more importantly, no fuzzy behaviours -- get absolute behaviours...that's what it takes to get it done.
THEY ALLOW DISTRACTIONS
If you can't see things through, (things like a 28-Day Challenge), it's unlikely you're ever going to be able to run a clear 'experiment' with your training and nutrition. This means you'll never really know how your body reacts to a certain way of eating and training.
Half the problem that causes this is behaviour control, the other half is the dastardly curse of getting distracted, getting bored easily and being a sucker.
To really have control of your physique, one must be able to finish their experiments without getting distracted in the middle, without the usual impatience and without making an excuse to give up when it gets hard.
This ability to stick with it is fundamentally more important than what the 'it' happens to be.
The classic case is that the experiment is not clearly defined in the first place, and as soon as it gets tough or results are slow to show (the body ay!) -- we get distracted and try something else, we try the latest media driven fad with hope of a shortcut.
It's very rare though, that the people who eat well, nearly all the time, the people who train well, consistently -- for strength...it's very rare they don't have great bodies. There's no great mystery out there, just a lack of consistency.
So please, set your experiment, set your challenge and ruthlessly commit to carrying it out to the finish.
THEY RELY ON WILLPOWER.
Willpower is there to to help you get started and to bail you out when you need it, not to aid you in the day-to-day. If you find yourself constantly relying on willpower, you need more strategy time, more enjoyable replacement habits, more thinking, more research, more options.
The higher the reliance on willpower, the more in-the-moment decision making needed, the higher the chance of failure.
THEY DON'T DECIDE IF THEY CARE OR NOT.
This is one of my personal pet-peeves. You need to really think about your level of motivation and how much you care about your physique. The more self-aware you are, the better you can plan, the better you can match your 28-Day Challenge to your level of commitment and the better you will feel about yourself along the way.
The worst thing you can do as an over-busy punter, with no real track record of success and only moderate passing motivation to improve your physique, is to set out on a full-bore fat-loss plan that you have no chance of completing. But unfortunately, we see this all too often.
So please: match your challenge to your motivation. Succeed at this challenge and you may feel you're ready for more next time. Fail at this challenge and you'll be left frustrated and without momentum -- choose wisely.
THEY DON'T PROACTIVELY FOCUS ON WHAT THEY WANT.
That brain of yours, -- it's a pesky old thing. Marvellous though; but not without it's flaws.
We should give it credit, it's got us this far, even though we'd all like to be better 'versions of ourselves' (or whatever). However, we need to guide it, to assist it, because it loves it when you sit on the couch, loves it when you drink a lot and loves it when you eat salt, sugar and fat.
When you set out on this challenge, you'll start out full of hope of glory, armed with your powerful story, but ultimately, things always get a bit gory.
You'll meet the resistance. You'll forget. You'll focus on the negative.
You'll start to make up stories of hardship, stories of woe, start to concentrate on the problems, on what you don't want.
But that's OK.
We know that will happen.
If it didn't, everyone would be as lean as you are going to be once I've sorted you out.
But they're not.
They let their brain get distracted, they get off course.
But we know this will happen...and we will be ready.
So when this happens, we must redirect our brain, turn our thoughts back it to what we DO want (in a non cheesy way), turn our thoughts back to what we need to do, to why it matters, and we refocus on what we need to say and what we need to tell ourselves to stay on track.
Do that, and it will all seem so much easier.
This, incidentally, is one of the major roles our daily emails play in this challenge. To proactively keep what you want and what you need to do on your mind. Do that, and you'll be amazed at what you can stick to, and how easy it will be.
THEY GET STUCK WITH 1970'S MIS-EDUCATION
--> do cardio to burn fat.
--> avoid egg yolks and red meat.
--> nothing wrong with cigarettes.
--> eat low fat foods.
--> eat like a king at breakfast and a pauper at dinner.
No. Please read something from this century.