I know you want to get into better shape. I know you’re tired of being embarrassed to wear summer clothes. But you can’t go from where you are to looking like a fitness model or bodybuilder instantly. Gradual change is the name of the game, no matter how much of a hurry you are in.
This is a particularly tough fact to swallow for us guys. It’s our nature to dive head first into something new, without much thought of the consequences and all that. We sit in front of a computer all week at the office, then foolishly expect to outdo our kids at their favorite sports on the weekend. We have a hard time with half measures.
Even so, we should look at this logically. You aren’t as fit as you want, or you wouldn’t be here right now. The reason you don’t have the physique you want is because of the way you eat, live, and work out. You’re going to have to make some pretty significant changes in your life. It’s going to take a lot to go from where you are now to looking like you could be on the cover of a fitness magazine. But you can’t make all the changes you need to make at once.
The first is death. I mean that figuratively, but if you’re really out of shape, it could be literally. If you try to go from little or no exercise & unhealthy eating habits to working out like a professional athlete and eating like a fitness model too fast, your body is going to react badly. Too much change too fast is no good for you. Your body needs time to adjust to new exercise and eating patterns. Go too fast and you’ll get sick or hurt yourself.
If you try to make the jump at the same time, your head is going to freak out too. You’ll find it hard to do everything in the exercise program, and your stomach will demand its daily extra-cheese pizza. You won’t see any results right away, and you’ll give up on the whole thing in disgust.
Finally, if you do change everything at once and succeed in avoiding a physical or mental breakdown, you’ll be missing something else. You won’t know what works for you. Are the dietary changes working, or are bad results there being masked by great results from the workouts? Would you get better results from making more dietary changes or working out more? There’s no way to know.
This wouldn’t matter too much if you could jump right into a program that let you get fit without having to adjust anything. But that’s rare. Most of the time, you need to make adjustments as you go along to keep moving in the right direction. You can’t tell which things to adjust if you went crazy and changed your entire lifestyle at one.
Making gradual changes is a better way. By changing one thing at a time, say skipping the second double-cheeseburger at lunch, you can start moving in the right direction without too much stress. Your body can easily adapt to small changes. You won’t hurt yourself and quit because it is too hard. Instead, you will have one success under your belt and be ready to move on to greater fitness.
So there you have it. Change your lifestyle gradually for the best results. You won’t get there as fast as you would if you could dive in head first and change everything at once, but when has that approach ever worked for you anyway?