No matter what your goals are, conditioning is the key to make sure that whatever changes you make are consistent and long-term. As a trainer I get asked all the time how I am able to eat so well all the time and train the way I do and how I always look so sexy. The simplest answer I have to all of those questions is I was born that way. But that is besides the point.
Seriously, if you truly want to make changes in your life you must first learn how to condition a new pattern until it becomes consistent. In other words, you must do it over and over again until a habit is created. Have you ever heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”? There may be more to that phase than you think. When you practice you are actually creating new neurological pathways and strengthening old ones to operate more efficiently. For more on this check out the book The Talent Code.
Ask google and you will be told that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days to create a habit. I believe it takes much more than that as you have to break many years of bad habits to create the good ones. One month of sticking to a program is not going to undo years of eating junk food, binge drinking, and not working out. It is going to take patience and consistency so the next time you decide that you are going to skip your workout or eat Dominos late night, remember that you are conditioning yourself to allow it.
It is also key to have a solid workout and nutrition plan so you don’t have to think about it. The less you have to think about the easier it is to stick to the plan. Don’t miss workouts and don’t eat crap. Stick to the plan and do work.
If you are just sporadically working out and eating healthy “most” of the time (which means sometimes…c’mon be honest) then you are not creating the neurological pathways it is going to take to create the habits you will need to create the change you desire.
Your workout plan doesn’t have to be complicated but you do have to maintain some kind of consistancy. Randomly going to the gym to do like you know whatever is not going to cut it. A sample day could be:
A1) Deadlift 4×5
A2) Alternating DB Press 4×8
B1) Walking DB Lunge 3×10
B2) TRX Row 3×10
C1) Face Pulls 3×12
C2) Reaching Plank 3×10
Remember: The exercises and the program are only good if you follow them. Of course some programs are better than others but the best one is the one that you will follow.
A sample nutrition plan for weightloss might be:
BREAKFAST: A two egg omlette with veggies and a piece of fruit or a cup of yogurt with a piece of fruit and some oatmeal.
SNACK: Handfull of almonds or other nuts or a piece of fruit.
LUNCH: A sanwich with some lunchmeat and veggies or a salad with tons of fresh veggies with a healthy dressing (balsamic vinnaigrette or olive oil).
SNACK: Some kind of fruit and a glass of chocolate milk.
DINNER: A lean meat with tons of veggies (starting to see a trend with the veggies?), stir fry works well.
Do this for one month and not only will you have lost a significant amount of weight (provided you have been working out) but you will have begun to pave the path you need to maintain these good habits. The more you condition the easier it will be to achieve success in not only your health but your life as well.
The next step is to set up some sort of positive reinforcement for your new behavior. This will further help to condition yourself to make the changes that you want and help you reach your goals. Losing the first few pounds will probably not transform you into the next Jason Statham or Jessica Beil so rewarding yourself as soon as you make some positive changes will help keep the ball rolling.
On the other hand, if you don’t, you may find yourself saying, “Okay, I’ve lost a pound so far, but I’m still fat. This will take forever. I have such a long way to go…” Needless to say, running down the street to McDonald’s for a BigMac and side of McCrap will not help your cause either.
There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above it’s reach. It can turn bad morals into good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.” – Mark Twain