These days, so many of us are always in such a rush. We get so impatient and want everything right now.
Unfortunately, this is also how people think of their fitness. How fast will I get in shape? When will I get a 6-pack? How long will it take to lose the fat on my arms? These are the most common types of questions I get asked.
This mindset is so flawed it’s almost impossible to respond in a way that the person asking doesn’t feel discouraged before they’ve even started. The first thing that needs to happen is a change in mindset.
This starts with redefining what fitness is. Fitness is NOT being skinny. Fitness is being healthy, able to move, and engage in physical activity without limitations. Fitness is being able to handle what life throws at you on any given day.
Fitness is a state of being, NOT a destination. Being in shape is like being happy. You don’t reach “happy”, and then you’re done.
Ask someone you think is in shape if they are in shape. Nine times out of ten, they’ll say they still have work to do.
Once you understand that being fit is a series of habits created over time, then you’ll start to understand that there is no real time frame you can put on it. You can set goals that will help you gauge your improvement but it is still subjective, nebulous, and a fluctuating target to shoot for.
This is why goal setting is important when you start on the road to fitness, and why having a coach or mentor to keep you on track is so important.
Whatever goals you set, here are some things to consider if you’re wondering how long it’s going to take to get there.
How long did it take you to get out of shape?
How old are you? How long has it been since you maintained an active lifestyle, or worked out regularly? Have you been eating healthy or not? There are so many factors that lead to how you got out of shape and how long you’ve been that way.
What realistic expectation is there that you can get fit in any fraction of that time?
Here are some things that can help you have sustained success. Remember, moving closer every day is where you find success. Whether it takes you 6 months or 2 years, progress is the goal.
How willing are you to work hard consistently over time?
It’s not going to be easy. You have to make significant changes in your life to your schedule, habits, activities, etc.
That’s not even taking the actual working out into consideration. You’re going to be sore, tired, and frustrated as you exercise and learn how to work your body efficiently.
Can you remember why you’re doing it, and keep working hard consistently?
You can’t outwork a bad diet. It’s that simple.
Here’s my basic nutrition guideline: eat food that is nutrient-dense, highly bioavailable, and keeps you full as long as possible.
Ask yourself if the food you’re eating is hurting or helping you reach your goals. If you don’t know, I’d suggest starting to ask questions and learn as much as you can.
Obviously, there is more to it and I highly suggest working with a professional to make sure you’re doing it right.
Most important: Quick is not the answer
Get used to the fact that it will take time and it will take effort. The worst thing you can do is try to shortcut the process by using gadgets, supplements, wraps, or who knows what else is out there that will supposedly help you “lose weight in 60 days” or give you “3 secrets to lose fat.”
Eat and move your body the way nature intended. Remember: fitness is a series of habits developed over time. Start small, get help, and be patient.