You can train for an hour a week or 20 hours a week, but if you’re eating too much/too little for your health and body shape goals then you’ll likely get nowhere. A focus on THE BASICS will help you break this pattern and stop wasting any more of your time.
Whatever you might call it, training, exercising or simply moving more, we all do it for our own reasons. Our motivations also change as we go through life. For me, I used to be sports performance focused but now it’s more about feeling healthier, wearing clothes that actually fit me and being there for my family now and in the future. Have a think about why you truly train/exercise, its important and will help you focus your efforts.
At times, I’m sure a lot of us have been ‘in the zone’, start of a New Year being a prime example. We go to the gym more than usual, we walk places instead of driving, we carry all of the weekly food shop in one hand rather than use a trolley (the infamous ‘claw hand’ as its know in our house). This is all well and good and in fact, increasing the amount of non-exercise activity we do daily (known as ‘NEAT’ which we’ll cover another time), is a great way of keeping weight loss goals moving in the right direction.
HOWEVER, similar to the way supplements are pointless if we eat outside of our energy needs, it is almost a complete waste of effort (apart from the feel good factor) to purposefully exercise if you are inhaling everything in your cupboards. Referring back to our nutritional priorities (look for the pyramid in my previous article), we ALL must initially focus on what we eat (calories in) versus use up (calories out) to maximise the time and effort we put in.
If you’re struggling to get a handle on your weight and it just keeps going in the wrong direction, try this method. Keep a record of what you eat for the coming week - doesn’t matter what goes in, just write it down. For the following few weeks, eat EXACTLY THE SAME things as you did in the first week. The only difference is now making a conscious effort to be a bit more active. This could be walking more at home or work, going to the gym for a bit longer, spending more time running around after your kids. Whatever it is just do a bit more every week and make sure you ENJOY IT. Keep an eye on the scales and see what happens over these few short weeks.
CONSISTENCY is what we’re really looking for. Sounds simple, which it is, although it still takes a bit of focus and building skills through daily habits to gain control. It’s the same process if you’re looking to gain muscle, progressively train hard but eat thousands of calories more than you need per week (this can also be easy to do without realising it). Yes, you may become stronger but the additional fat gain will offset any visual benefits and you’ll likely give up eventually.
Many people think that you can out train/exercise a bad diet. The same people food binge at the weekend to reward themselves for stricter choices made during the working week. This idea just simply isn’t true if your energy intake is out of balance. Don’t be one of those people making the effort to move more but not seeing the results in the mirror. Change your focus, work towards consistency and see the benefits over time.
There’s no better time to start making a few small changes than today, because if you carry on as you are, you may be getting further away from where you actually want to be. So take action, share this article with a friend and tell them ‘I’M GOING TO START NOW’.
As always, thanks for reading if you’ve got this far and if you have any questions, please always feel free to contact me. Until next time, EMBRACE CONSISTENCY and STOP WASTING YOUR TIME!
Written by Ben Lawrence, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach,