I read a very thoughtful and powerful post from Precision Nutrition the other day, which has prompted me to write about the same topic here. That topic is cost.
Everything has a Cost
You go to a shop and buy something. That item has a cost. If you want it, you decide if you are prepared to part with your hard earned cash to purchase it. But it’s not this cost that I’m talking about today.
If you look at everything you do there is a cost involved. Maybe that cost is time, effort or money. Maybe it’s lost friendships, missed opportunities or something else. It could be anything, but there is always a cost.
The cost of you going to the pub, smoking, drinking, eating kebabs and not exercising has a cost. That cost is your health. Maybe it’s a cost you are happy to pay, and that’s cool, there is nothing wrong with doing these things. Some people are prepared to pay the cost of their health for doing things they enjoy regularly.
Some people are prepared to pay with their life for doing what they love. Just take a look at the Isle of Man TT deaths in any year and you will find people who die doing what they love; Motorbike racing.
Health & Fitness Costs
Some people might say that they want chiseled, 6 pack abs or a flat stomach and great legs. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s normal to want more, to improve and get a fitter, healthier body. Fortunately, you don’t need a 6 pack or a great butt to be fit and healthy. Unfortunately, that’s the perception.
Look at Instagram, health and fitness magazines and Facebook and you will find thousands of people who are in great shape. They are showing off their physique in order to inspire others, show off or sell something. Again, nothing wrong with that. That is their advertising platform, the platform that allows any viewer to decide if they want to purchase their program or product. But the cost of the program is not the total cost…And there is no guarantee that the program will work for you.
The True Cost of Getting Lean
If you want to be ripped and very lean it requires a huge amount of work and knowledge. It doesn’t happen overnight, either, it takes years of consistent work to get those results. Lots of trial and error and a lot of sacrifices. It has to be your lifestyle.
Those guys and girls on Instagram who compete or are really ripped don’t get there by accident. They live training. They will have very strict diets. Going out to restaurants and bars is something they may do once a month, but other than that they prepare meals at home and have the odd treat here and there. And they train hard. Very hard.
Do You Want to Pay?
So, you may want to have that look but are you prepared to pay for it? With sacrifices like not going out with your mates for a pint at the pub? Going to bed early and working out at least 5 days a week, sometimes twice a day? About measuring all of your food?
I know I’m not prepared to do that. So I don’t. I choose a more sustainable, livable lifestyle, for me. That means trying to be good, eating well and training a lot but also to go out to the pub every now and then and have a dessert at a restaurant when I want to. And yes, I do eat the occasional kebab!
It’s a personal choice but one you have to make. Why do you have to make it? To avoid disappointment and to manage your own expectations.
Managing Your Expectations
This is such an important point. Can you think back to a time when a sales person sold you a dream about an item you were buying? You believed it was the answer to all of your problems. You bought it, took it home and started to use it. Very quickly you found out that it wasn’t quite as good as you’d thought and you ended up disappointed.
This same issue can happen if you believe that a diet or fitness routine is going to be the answer to all of your health and fitness problems. You start a routine expecting to see huge results in a few weeks or months. And you know what happens next…It doesn’t work. You feel like maybe you let yourself down. You didn’t work hard enough. You are not good enough. A lot of stress is caused by that because you probably thought it was your fault. It probably wasn’t.
The problem was that your expectations did not match up with the results and most likely your expectations were too high. Change takes time. If you have been living a certain lifestyle for 10 years which has lead you to the place you’re at right now, that isn’t going to reverse in 2 months. It will take a lot longer. That’s not being harsh, it’s being realistic.
The more realistic you are the less likely you are to feel that you’re not achieving what you set out to do. If you can make small, achievable goals then it is more likely you’ll achieve them and feel good as a result.
Setting realistic goals can be challenging, which is why it’s good to have someone help you with those. Speak to someone who has already achieved what you want to and who has experience of doing what you want to do.
Some Ideas to Try
Every person, their lifestyle and goals are different so there is no one-size fits all approach that will work for each person. If there were, you wouldn’t have the large number of choices for diets, workouts, etc out there.
Having said that, there are a few key points that will help everyone who wants to reduce body fat and improve their health. Here they are:
Doing hours of cardio on the treadmill is not the answer to losing body fat. I promise you. Cardio does have its place, for sure, but if you’re looking to improve the look of your body weight training has to be done.
Stick to squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups and rows to start with. These moves, when done correctly, will speed up your metabolism, add muscle and burn fat.
High Intensity Interval Training is great for your heart and lungs and also burns fat. You body will be recovering for a day or so afterwards which is why it burns a lot of calories.
Sugar is a drug in my opinion. It is full of calories and causes your body a lot of stress. If you can reduce or remove the refined type, so chocolate bars, cakes, etc your body will be 100 times better for it. I know this one from personal experience. The hardest to achieve but the biggest results.
Sleep is so important for your health. Working out is important, but without the rest your body is unable to rebuild and repair itself. If you continue to get insufficient sleep your body will be stressed and not function properly.
So, getting really ripped and lean costs a lot. But to get in reasonably good shape you don’t have to pay too much. Getting the basics right, as outlined above, will get you a long way towards your goals.
Remember, there is no magic pill, supplement or fad diet that will help you. It all comes down to making choices and building a lifestyle that is conducive to good health and fitness. Removing those unnecessary chocolate bars from your daily routine, adding more fresh fruit and veg in, changing your beer to a vodka soda and lime, that kind of thing.
All the small changes can make a big difference, both positively and negatively. What positive change can you make today that will help you achieve the look you want?
Feel free to leave a comment or message me on Facebook or Instagram and I will help you out wherever I can.