There are countless examples that show “How” you do something is just as important as “What” you are doing.
If you’re talking to someone and one person is energetic and excited to see you, you can “feel” that. On the other hand, if the person is monotone and tired, it’s a completely different feeling.
The same can be said if you’re reading something for school. One person can read it begrudgingly, complaining they have so much work to do, while another might be excited to be learning something they’re interested in. Same book, same assignment, totally different outcome.
Then there’s working out. Two people can both “hate” working out, but one hates it, complains and then uses their hatred of it to do less work than they know they should. The other person, knowing they hate it, still complains, but busts their butt knowing that if they’re going to be at the gym doing something they don’t like, they better get something good out of it. Again, two people, same situation, but how they approach the situation makes the difference between results and frustration.
So what does this have to do with losing fat and having better health? In other words, “What determines how someone approaches their attempts to losing fat?”
3 Beliefs Towards Taking Action
When someone tries to lose fat, they have underlying beliefs that usually determine how consistent they will be and how much effort they give to their efforts.
These three beliefs are:
1 – It’s better to take an imperfect action than no action.
2 – If you’re going to do it, do it right.
3 – It is what it is.
These three beliefs lie on the continuum of the person’s predilection for action and planning. Let me explain.
1 – It’s better to take an imperfect action than no action. The first belief is great if you are action-oriented, learn from your mistakes and are constantly adapting. If you are this type of individual (and don’t we all want to be this type of individual), then you should take action early and often. But what happens if you tend to like thinking and being getting things done right. Well then, you’re more likely to hold the second belief?
2 – If you’re going to do it, do it right. This second belief is great if you can plan methodically and can follow plans exactly as prescribed. If you’re this type of individual (and don’t we all want to be this type of individual), then you should set a goal, plan methodically and work the plan until you achieve your goal. But what happens after you work your plan and still don’t get the results you want? Well then, you either switch plans, which starts to look a lot more like the first belief – it’s better to take an imperfect action, and adjust from there, or you become defeated and turn to the third belief, “It is what it is.”
3 – It is what it is. This is usually the belief of learned helplessness. This is where you feel powerless to change and you learn acceptance (and don’t we all want to learn acceptance). The thing with this belief is that sometimes, it’s absolutely true. If you got into a bad car accident as a passenger when you were younger and had surgery on your spine that limits your ability to do certain movements, then it is what it is. Acceptance can be a great thing. Often times though, “it is what it is,” is a person’s crutch to limit themselves.
These beliefs highlight how you approach anything in your life, not just with working out and changing your body.
The Three Beliefs and Their Biggest Problem
If you go into a situation thinking that taking an imperfect action and adjusting as you go is the way to go, then you join a gym, go, experiment, possibly purchase a workout routine, etc, and are consistently adjusting, hopefully improving. In this case, your biggest problem might be “program hopping” which is not sticking to a routine long-enough to see the results you want.
On the other hand, if you go into changing your body thinking, “If you’re going to do it, do it right,” then you might look to hire a personal trainer or on the other extreme, you might purchase a program, plan your days out and work that program. In this case, your biggest problem might be stagnation and not changing your workout for years on end.
Then again, if you go into changing your body thinking that “It is what it is,” then you might start, but not really give your workout routine and eating as much effort as you should and you end up quitting after the first week of not seeing any results.
How to Hold All Three Beliefs for Success
Since we generally all want to be the type of person that learns from our mistakes and is action-oriented (belief 1), while also planning methodically and following that plan well (belief 2) and can accept to take life’s hardships as you need to (belief 3), the question is how do you put those beliefs into action for your success?
Therefore, when it comes to making a body transformation, it really depends on how you distribute these beliefs. Here’s one example of these beliefs in action, that Do NOT lead to the changes you want:
1 – You’re action oriented and learn from your mistakes. You once went on a low-carb diet and lasted 2 weeks before giving up and you only lost one pound. You learned that “moderation with everything” is key, although you are really bad at moderating yourself around sweets and/or alcohol.
2 – You plan methodically and follow that plan. You set a workout routine for 30 to 45 minutes per day to get to the gym and jog 3 and a half miles every time you get there, 3 days per week.
3 – You accept that “sometimes” things will come up and you might miss one or two workouts per week.
This is, unfortunately, the average person’s thoughts on working out and eating right. It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s that they don’t have enough practice doing things “right” to be able to make this plan work for the body they want.
Moderation can work, but usually after they’ve established other things such as over-indulging on vegetables and eating enough protein. Jogging can work, but it should only be part of the plan, not the whole plan. And missing workouts is fine, if it is rare and you’re working out at least 4 days per week. If you’re only getting there 3 days per week and miss 1-2 workouts per week, you will have a hard time getting the body you want.
On the other hand, here is an example of these beliefs in action that DO lead to the changes you want:
1 – You’re action oriented and learn from your mistakes.
You have tried running every time you went to the gym and didn’t see the results you wanted and your knee bothered you. This time, you will do a mix of strength and cardio. For you this will include a mix of steady state cardio and high intensity cardio. The steady state cardio will be high incline walk for 30 minutes at a pace that keeps your heart rate up, but is still easier on the joins and the high intensity will be on the rowing machine, saving your joints. The strength portion includes total body workouts that focus on large, multi-joint exercises with a focus on progression.
2 – You plan methodically and follow that plan. You figure out your protein goals, decide that you want to include 40 grams of fiber from vegetables and fruit into your eating and then you start with an estimate of your total caloric intake to lose fat (about 8-12% deficit). You plan to limit your fat intake to 35% of your total intake, with the rest of the calories coming from carbs and plan meals around those initial estimates. You then food prep meals that hit those goals every Sunday and Thursday night.
3 – You accept that sometimes things will be difficult, especially when you go out to eat and hanging out with friends. As you accept this, you also accept that you don’t always need to eat bad or drink alcohol to enjoy time with your friends and family, even if they look at you a little weird for a bit. You also accept that there are times when you will indulge with friends and family and plan accordingly.
As you can see, you can have the same types of beliefs, but it is how they are applied that leads one person down the path of the status quo, whereas the other leads you down towards the body and health you’ve always wanted.
So the lesson for today is simple – If you’re not seeing the results you want, try to not only look at what you are doing, but also how you’re doing it.
If you have a good workout plan, maybe you’re not working hard enough when you’re at the gym. If you’re “eating healthy” look at how the foods are being cooked. If you purchase most of your food made outside of your home, you’re not controlling the amount of oils or how the food is being cooked.
In the end, changing how you approach any action starts with altering your beliefs (whether consciously or not) and when you do that, when you can take control of how you approach your goals, you control a large portion of your success. Get started today!