Every trainer can tell you of dozens of clients who have fallen into the soul destroying cycle of trying over and over again to change their appearance. Seeing someone who has tried it all and failed a million times is heart breaking to see. In today’s society, so much self-worth has been tied to how we physically look that a desire to change can become a major psychological problem.
The biggest trap people fall into when trying to lose weight is focusing solely on losing weight.
Focusing on how you look can be very self-destructive and may lead to self-loathing and shame. It becomes very one dimensional with very few object measures.
Train like an athlete to build the body that you want.
The most successful way I have found is to shift perspective. Instead of worrying about how much you weigh, what your body fat percentage is and how many calories you are burning; think instead about improving performance.
This is how athletes think about their training goals.
Treat yourself like an athlete and the results will follow.
By taking the focus away from your outside appearance you are taking away the negative thought patterns which surround being overweight. Instead build new goals based upon physical achievement.
Benefits of performance based goals:
- Performance goals remove the negative thought patterns which surround being overweight. Focusing on outside appearance can be very toxic to many people and can lead to a cycle of failure and shame.
- Goals become objective.
- Ie; how far you can run, how much weight you can lift, how much quicker you completed a task compared to last time. These goals are measurable, repeatable and observable which allows you to much more accurately track progress.
- If you stall in one area you can still find improvement in others.
- So your 5km time hasn’t increased in a while? No problem, maybe your deadlift has improved or you can do more pushups. Having multiple measures helps to keep you positive when 1 aspect of your training is plateauing.
- Performance breeds excellence.
- Good athletes always strive to perform with excellence – this means you will care about the little things. You will care about quality of movement, practicing your skills and continually seeking knowledge.
- You won’t exercise for calories.
- The calorie setting on exercise equipment is terrible. 1 calorie is the amount of energy required to heat 1mL of water by 1 Degree. So who cares!?! Exercising for calories and then trying to match it up with calories you’ve eaten is a sure fire way to make your hard efforts seem pointless.
- You will build your body – not starve it.
- Training for weight loss goals leads people to focus on a diet of depletion. Training for performance helps people to fuel their body to achieve. You wouldn’t run a race car on E-10 and you shouldn’t starve your body of essential nutrients either. When training like an athlete you will find you are eating more and that it is better quality food.
- Training becomes fun!
- It’s a great feeling seeing those PB’s increasing and your workout times decreasing. You will find like-minded people, develop new passions and find so many aspects of achievement.
- You will build lean muscle!
- Lean muscle requires energy just to exist. This means you are using more energy from your food or body stores while you are at rest. (If you are worried about suddenly becoming massively jacked, don’t be – it’s not that easy)
- You will open up yourself to new adventures!
- Being fit allows you to do so many amazing things – go canyoning, rock climbing, scuba diving, climb a mountain, raft a flooded river! Having a strong and able body opens you up to so many great things. Being fit enough to take your kids on adventures is worth much more than money.
Get rid of the scales, change your perspective, put in the hard work and the rest will just happen. Training doesn’t have to be an emotional rollercoaster. Training doesn’t have to be a punishment for eating too much.