It still seems to me that despite all that is going on in the world with lockdown still being in place, restrictions being imposed and many social activities out of bounds the world, and everyone in it seems to be in a rush to get things done.
Seemingly, this is no different when it comes to goal driven training to achieve a body image, a level of weight loss or increase in fitness. The modern way of life is slowly and surely forcing upon us to want things, now. If possible, yesterday!
Now, it may seem as no surprise that for us here at Body Planners the bread and butter of what we do is helping people to lose weight. Yeah, we do cater for other things but on mass, weight loss tends to cover many clients we work with.
As many are aware the majority of what I do personally is endurance based activity. This entails working at a low intensity for a long period of time, and as such, a goal takes a long time to achieve because I can’t create the required stimulus enough times, and recover enough in short time frames. For the weight loser, it always seems to be transformation based, or, ‘I want to lose X amount of weight in X amount of time’, which is sometimes unfeasible, very difficult and dependant on the individuals barriers to training and nutrition, their access to regular training and obviously, commitment and consistency.
We know, that ‘transformation’ programs do offer a high degree of accountability but they’re not the right thing for everyone and besides, isn’t tidying up your nutrition and becoming more active a transformation in itself?
I sit and think about some things I’ve done (again, endurance focused) and the timescales its taken. It takes 32 weeks to train and pass for duty as a Royal Marines Commando. It is the longest, most arduous and rigorous basic training for any military organisation and the quality of the end product really hammers that point home when you look at the quality of other forces in terms of fitness, ability and discipline.
IRONMAN UK which was my first long distance triathlon comprising of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run took around 6 months of training pretty much every day and the other IRONMAN events the same.
I did a trail ultra marathon a few years back (30 miles) and even though I couldn’t make myself go any faster, I felt like I could keep going and going, and that 30 miles wasn’t far enough!
The reason I find success in these types of goals or events is that I control my training, I look back at what I’ve been doing to plan ahead effectively. I keep things basic and simple, and as streamlined as possible. This way, there’s less to go wrong. Less chance of things grinding to a halt, and less things to surprise you along the way but ultimately we know life happens. Despite all that I say, you can’t help breaking your femur in the last week of basic training and spending 6 months trying to claw back everything you’ve lost in a rehab phase. You can’t avoid the wedding you break your ribs at 7 weeks out from another IRONMAN, you can’t stop bereavement grief and relationship problems. You can’t be completely safe from other things happening in the world whilst you’re trying to achieve something, they’re things to be managed as and when they come along.
Despite my goals and what seems to be life work of endurance, training for anything else is fundamentally the same but needs to be related to differently.
Training towards a goal comes down to basics at every level, from understanding what’s required, to implementing what is required. You yourself, can control what you do, and what you don’t and this is sometimes really difficult for professional trainers to say, without sounding up ones self.
We always hear of people trying to ‘catch up’ somewhere, or taking radical steps like ‘punishment’ sessions because they consumed a few more calories than normal the day before. We even experience clients flaking out because they’ve binged on crap the day before, felt so guilty the next day they’ve skipped meals to claw back the calorie deficit and its all brought on by wanting too much too soon, as opposed to understanding in the outset what is required, and implementing that. Managing expectations is overlooked because we’re sold so much on the end product nothing between the start and finish matters.
Day one of training for the Royal Marines week 32 couldn’t come soon enough but I knew that if I trusted in the program being laid before me, understood what I had to do and implemented it daily I would be a Royal Marines Commando, eventually. When I signed up to IRONMAN UK I couldn’t swim 2.4 miles, so every swim I did I was thinking… ’Sh*t, still can’t swim 2.4 Miles’ and trained so that I could, eventually.
If you want to lose weight, you need to understand that it will always come down to a calorie deficit. You need to implement things that will get you into a calorie deficit. You need to control things like your behaviour where your training and your nutrition is concerned. Just because your training mate is having a day off (which is fine), you don’t have to. If they eat something that takes them away from their calorie deficit, so be it but you don’t have to, you can control these circumstances. These are your actions. For the surprises in life, you have to manage. Just don’t be in a rush, the strongest timber comes from the slowest growing trees!