“He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin
As anyone who has ever attempted a new fitness program knows, the effects of exercise are not immediately visible. You begin a program with a goal of becoming fit and healthy, but it can feel like a real slog. You train for weeks and yet you don’t feel like you are getting any stronger or fitter. You might even feel like giving up – “What’s the point of working so hard when I still can’t get into my skinny jeans?” “Why is it taking SO LONG to hit my goal of a 200 lb dead lift?”
There is a reason these feelings are so common, and there’s no getting around it: it takes time for our bodies to change. We just have to be patient. The truth is, a year from now, our bodies will still be changing. Fitness is a lifelong journey for everyone, with no mystical moment of physical perfection to be achieved. The journey of fitness is the journey of life.
The good news is that if you do the work and stay consistent, you WILL experience a wide range of positive results, including a decrease in body fat and an increase in lean muscle mass. The better news is that you are not resigned to sitting back and letting fitness happen to you. Taking a proactive approach to your training program will absolutely speed up the rate at which you see results. So what is the real recipe for long-term fitness success? Consistency, hard work, proper programming and nutrition and a mega-dose of patience.
• Above all else, STAY CONSISTENT! Show up for your twice-weekly sessions and group classes. Walk your dog more. Take that yoga class. Play outside. Get moving every day.
• Maximize your workouts by properly fueling before and after your sessions. Have a carb-heavy snack or meal within an hour of your training session (think oatmeal), and follow your workout with a protein shake or good old chocolate milk. Find some more tips here.
• Make smart food choices throughout the week. Choose real, whole foods whenever possible. Eat enough to fuel your hard work, and eat regularly. Drink half of your body weight in ounces in water each day, plus 1 ounce for every minute you exercise.
• Bring the THUNDER to each session! Your trainer helps keep you motivated, but it’s up to you to really turn up the intensity. Get serious and bring your best to every workout! (Hint: This is much easier to do when you’re properly fueled.)
You will still have tough days. You will do everything right and yet you will still feel weak and unmotivated from time to time. The trick is to take the long view and keep going. Remind yourself (and listen when your trainer reminds you!) of little successes you’ve had along the way. These small victories will snowball into big ones!
Trust your coach. Trust yourself. Choose each day to refuse to accept mediocrity. Remember, you are strong and getting stronger, fit and getting fitter. There is no destination, so enjoy wherever you are on the journey.
About Beckie: Beckie is a personal trainer at Austin Simply Fit. She encourages her clients to take the longview, helping them build strength and confidence for a lifetime of fitness and health. She is a marathon runner and is currently training for her first powerlifting competition.