Mrs. Jones, a 5’5”, 195lbs. Italian woman, moved to America from her native country two years ago. She is 29 years old, works full time as a secretary at a law firm, and has two young boys; Skyler, 6, and Tyler, 3. Mrs. Jones is struggling to lose weight from her two pregnancies and has little free time to exercise. She has recently fallen into a funk and cannot seem to recover; she is depressed, sluggish, and unhappy with her physical self. After months of fear and hesitation, Mrs. Jones bought a gym membership and personal training from her local 24 Hour Fitness. She was assigned to work with Trainer Dan, a 23 year old gym junkie from San Diego, California. Let the journey begin.
The pair met for the first time on January 2nd, 2013 and, as expected, spent a majority of the session getting to know one another. Trainer Dan asked a variety of fitness-related questions, while Mrs. Jones emphasized her need for a slow and incremental start. The session progressed smoothly. Trainer Dan listened empathetically and agreed to help Mrs. Jones acclimate fitness into her daily routine. With a successful first session in the books, Mrs. Jones now felt confident in her ability to reach her goals. For the first time in a long time, Mrs. Jones was happy. Poised and ready to exercise, she strolled into the gym for her second personal training session. After a brief five minute warm up on the elliptical, Dan blasted Mrs. Jones through an advanced, high intensity cross-fit circuit and reamed her with impractical nutritional planning methods. Trainer Dan hadn’t listened. Mrs. Jones left the gym that night discouraged and confused, and woke up the next morning sore and unable to walk. The trend continued, leaving Mrs. Jones lost for words and motivation. After three unrelenting weeks, Mrs. Jones had had it; she canceled her membership and left her fitness dreams for dead. Had trainer Dan done things differently, he may have been able to change her life. But for now, all hope was lost.
Consistency should be the focal point of any fitness program. Whether you are designing a program for yourself or Mrs. Jones, the creative process underlying your concept should adhere to the exerciser's lifestyle. In other words, the program you create must be realistic and easy to follow. Your average, everyday exerciser will not commit to a plan long term if the program does not coincide with his or her daily routine. In this example, Mrs. Jones’s work schedule could not accommodate for the inclusion of trainer Dan's nutritional planning methods, and she quit. Individuals like Mrs. Jones require modified versions of what works to suit personalized needs. Reality undermines ideality, and what works for one person may not work for another. Ultimately, your fitness success relies on consistency, and, to be consistent, you must adopt and implement methods long term. You can create a successful atmosphere through long term consistency by incorporating your fitness program into your lifestyle. But, reality is key. Unless you are the diehard fanatic I detailed in my previous blog, Driven through Sacrifice, then chances are that you do not live for gut busting workouts and lack luster meal preps. In any case, a continued 7/10 fitness program will produce results far greater than yo-yoing between a 10/10 and a 2/10 program. Although the 7/10 program may not be scientifically ideal, it might be practical for you and you may succeed far beyond your greatest expectations.
Fitness is not a fad, a temporary fix, or a short-term commitment. Nor will Fitness hesitate to leave you behind. Can you keep up? Human beings are unique in their independence. No two people are exactly the same or live under the same conditions. Thus, each requires something different to maximize his or her fitness potential. Identify your needs and reexamine your lifestyle. Is your regime conducive to your lifelong success, or are you spinning your fitness wheels and struggling to find traction? Find a balance and make due. Establish an effective plan without compromising the practicality of your daily routine. From paleo to IIFYM and cross fit to bodybuilding, your fitness options are endless. Train for your goals within the realm of realism and your consistency will never wane. After all, you are in it for the long haul, so accommodate to facilitate.