Consistency is a funny term that everyone seems to use in everywhich way possible, especially fitness folks. You can hear trainers say stuff like this all the time…
‘If you want results, well, you got to workout 5-6 days a week for 60-90 minutes a day and eat 6-7 small macronutrient balanced meals a day and do it consistently for the next 6 months.’
Guess what? He just handed you a big box of bullshit. Warm and toasty bullshit! You gonna take it? Maybe you should read this before you do.
Let me make it clear…
We don’t live in a boring world anymore. We live in a time that is so bloody amazing that I would hate to lose a single second just because I ‘have to’ do something. Thanks to technological advancements, we have plenty of time in our hands to hang with friends, go to a bar, chill at a cafe, take a farmers market stroll, jump off a cliff, go on a hike, bum around in the city, eat different foods, watch movies, explore various different countries, take a road trip etc etc etc! When life is so full of awesomeness why would I want to obsess over how I balance my macronutrients? And why would I ever want to do this 6 times a day? And to top that, I have to go to the gym 6 days a week? And worry about not missing a single workout session? If thats the only way to get in shape then I’d rather be pudgy and happy than to live such a sad life!
As far as I’m concerned, the good part of life is all about the ‘want to’ and never about the ‘have to’!
What is consistency?
Consistency is NOT doing the same thing over and over again.
Consistency is NOT planning every hour of every day of every week of every month.
Consistnecy is NOT being ready to give up a fun party/dinner/occasion in fear of ‘breaking the diet’.
Consistency is NOT skipping a movie ‘cos it interferes with your workout time.
Consistency is finding a way to get consistent results while living YOUR life!
In other words, it isn’t about what you do or how you do it. Its about what comes out of it! Consistency should result in small, continued and incremental results that cummulate over time to produce huge transformations and trust me, if you want real results that stick with you for life, you want to do it YOUR way. Not my way. Not his way. YOUR way!
How does this apply to you?
Since this is clearly not a one-concept-fits-all, we have different cases!
Case 1: I gots no time! My schedule is erratic! Can’t be consistent!
- You cant afford to workout 6 days a week. Period. Find a trainer who can work with you and come up with a 2-3 days/week workout plan.
- You’d rather spend the little time you get at home with your spouse and/or little ones and obviosly driving to the gym and back is not helping. Turn to bodyweight workouts. You don’t need fancy equipment to get in shape. Get a pull-up bar and you’re set. If your trainer knows his stuff (or if you find a good enough program) and you stay consistent on those 2-3 days a week for 20-40 mins a day, you will be a lean mean machine in a matter of a few months!
- You don’t have the luxury of doing strength training and cardio and ab work one after the other. Club ’em together and make all your sessions metabolically demanding full body sessions by incorporating compound movement with very little rest periods in a circuit training fashion. This way, in each workout session, you work your entire body, your core are worked in every move you do and you burn tonnes of calories.
- You absolutely dont have the time or freedom to eat healthy small meals every 2-3 hours. Check out intermittent fasting and find a plan that requires you to eat only once or twice a day. This will eliminate the food obsession and will even be forgiving to small nutritional mistakes/cheats you may commit on a daily basis.
Summary – Invest 80-100 min/week for exercise. Eat less frequently. Workout at home. Do compound bodyweight circuits. Track progress. Stay consistent.
Case 2: I’m a party animal yo! I live to have fun! Can’t be consistent!
- Assuming workout frequency or time isnt an issue, look for a 2-4 days/week training program but still keep your workout sessions to under 60 min to stay productive.
- Say you go out 4 nights a week. Factor that into your program. Make adjustments during other times. I have clients who enjoy their alcohol 3-4 nights a week and still progress just fine!
- If you are ingesting too many calories for dinner 3 nights a week, embrace intermittent fasting and skip breakfast and eat a very small protein rich lunch on those days.
- You, too, cant afford to count calories since you eat out too much. So be smart about it and find a nutritional approach that is more about quality of food than quantity. Such approaches are automatically protective against overeating and very satiating.
Summary – Factor your caveats into your plan – from dessert dependance to drunken dancing. Eat less when you’re at home and enjoy your food when you’re outside socializing. Track progress. Stay consistent.
Case 3: Fat ‘cos I’m poor! Can’t be consistent!
- It is absolute BS that eating right is always expensive. Skip breakfast and lunch. Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet for dinner and pile on the protein and veggies and whatever else your workout/goals demand. Or buy in bulk, cook in bulk and freeze ’em for the week!
- Protein supplements? Dont need ’em! Eat real food instead! Running shoes? Don’t need ’em! Run barefoot instead! How can I squat without a rack? Don’t squat! Run stair/hill sprints instead! Workout gear? BS! If you’re working out at home, workout naked for all I care!
- Gym membership? You don’t need one! All you need is one pull-up bar and an 8ft x 3ft piece of land and you are on your way to rippedville! Find stuff in the house that weighs something. Use those as weights for exercises like weighted pushups and presses. Get creative!
Summary – Be cheap. Be stingy. Eat one (or maybe two) huge meal(s) a day. Invest in the bare minimum equipment only. Embrace bodyweight training. Track progress. Stay consistent.
Case 4: I bust my ass and see no results! I have no motivation! Can’t be consistent!
- Take a deep breath and tell yourself this ain’t 3rd grade and the scale ain’t your pointy nosed language teacher to judge you. Throw the scale out if its stressing you out.
- Understand that you maybe doing things wrong or your current plan not might not be working for ya. Be open to making changes.
- Keep the end goal in mind. Stay focussed. Make up your mind that come what may you WILL get there. You are NOT a mystery. You are NOT uniquely fat. You are NOT screwed for life. If a million other people can achieve what you wish to achieve, you can do it too.
- Realize that, just like you grew taller at different rate than your buddy, you will lose fat at a different rate than someone else. Understand that (all) it takes (is) focus and patience and the drive to find what works for you.
Summary – Don’t let the lack of results demotivate you. Focus on the big picture. Make small but consistent progressive changes. Track progress during and after each change. Find what works for you. Stay consistent.
Case 5: I have no energy. Work is too exhausting! Can’t be consistent!
- Unless you’re a manual laborer, this statement ain’t true. And if you are a manual laborer with a physically demanding job, all you need to do is fix your nutrition (see Cases 1 and 3) and you’ll be fit as a fiddle!
- Desk jobs are not exhausting. Sorry. Been there done that. You “feel” exhausted and drained. But its more mental fatigue than physical. Be smart about it. You are lazy and sedentary all day. So look forward to working out in the evening. Yes, its hard to make yourself workout when your brain is asking you just collapse on the couch. But your body wants the activity and will thank you for it.
- If you are genuinely out of energy when you come back from work, then look into your nutrition. What are you eating all day? Why is the food (fuel) not fueling you well enough to get through your day? Are you eating enough? Are you getting enough nutrition?
Summary – Control your mind. Make exercise your release. Look forward to it. Look into your nutrition and eat more food/get more nutrition. Track progress. Stay consistent.
So guys, the point is to be absolutely certain to NOT follow the herd and try to do what everyone else is doing. The point is to find something legit and mold it to suit YOUR lifestyle. Being consistent is crucial… but customization comes before consistency!
Find what works for YOU. Always look for the bare minimum you can do to get the most benefit. Start there. Progress. Add more nutrition. Add more activity. Progress more. Stay consistent and with time you will work harder, eat better, progress faster and live stronger!