Whatever : 4 =Pointless six–packs and other meaningless life goals
So you’re hurtling towards middle aged. You have kids, a full time job, a house that needs decorating, 4 separate classes a week you have to take your children to after school. Your body is looking a little softer around the middle than it was in your twenties. Your diet is occasionally ok but mostly terrible. You drink most weekends and a few days a week. Your sleep is short and usually disrupted by waking children or the necessity to pee every three hours. Every movie you see showcases lean beautiful bodies rippled with muscle and all adorning the holy grail of fitness achievements “the six-pack”. It’s at that moment your brain cooks up the wonderful idea that you’re going to try to get a six-pack, this six-pack will solve everything. Once I have this six-pack I will no longer be middle aged, I’ll be one of those people that is all about fitness.
Several things happen at this point I shall list them in no particular order
- Internet research into how to get six-pack
- General confusion about all contradicting information that is discovered on the internet
- Finally utilizing “conformation bias” you decide on a particular system the internet provides
- Money is transferred to the system, usually late at night
- A small moment of euphoric resolution is had from the delusion that when the system arrives ill almost have my six-pack
- System arrives immediately opened and the delusion that “this is the answer” elevates
- Day one of the system, enthusiasm is high, effort is funnelled towards all of the systems parameters
- Day two of the system, effort and enthusiasm is still high but a few work things get in the way and only half system performed
- Fast forward to day 60 of supposed route to six-pack, still no six-pack, possibly due to only performing 8 percent of the system
- Day 62, system is in the cupboard soon to be removed and placed in the shed or loft
- Day 63 onwards, occasional references to the system are factored into conversations by spouse with regards to the money spent and what a waste it was and the “I told you so” statement throw around for good measure
- Day 72, given system failure a non conscious decision to actually care less about your diet, physique and general health is commenced due to “well that didn’t work and its just so much more immediately pleasurable to just eat and drink what I want and with the kids keeping me so busy I just don’t have time for fitness/health”
So what was the problem here ?
There are many problems here, I will try to outline them and later perhaps offer a real solution
- First and foremost the goal itself for your average slightly overweight adult that has a very busy lifestyle is mostly only achievable with very long term changes and an ultra hard ultra committed process, there are no quick fixes, at least none that would fit into your normal day to day schedule and certainly not maintainable long term.
- The goal has a specific end and this in my opinion is BAD, through my observations if you managed to literally “hold your breath” with your diet for a chunk of time and utilize every spare moment that you could muster to ruthlessly exercise and starve yourself, finally those abs might start poking through. You finally get to look in that mirror and see that all that hard work has payed off. Problem is now its time to keep up all that hard work up and keeping that diet just as tight and, er, oh, well I just have a weekend off and relax and eat some nice stuff and celebrate with alcohol. Its at this point that pretty much everyone that got that far (most have already parked the system in the shed) will slowly gravitate back to there old ways due to the system/process simply being to much for them to integrate into there life without it literally being there life.
- Six-packs are meaningless, they dont solve any problems they just create them. Thinking anyone really cares that you have one in my opinion is rubbish. You might get one moment a year that someone looks at you on your summer holiday and you feel cool.
- Now I’m not hating on six-packs seriously, it’s simply the goal of having one, I do realize if everyone could press a button and have one they probably would. They are a sign of hard work and commitment to diet and exercise and I do respect that but I also know what to takes to keep that up long term and its really not that easy, your health and fitness goals should not be an impossible mountain they should just fit in with your lifestyle so long term you keep them up.
Well the solution, as always is not the most glamorous one, it’s not a system promising results in no time, its not gonna burn fat in seconds. The solution is small changes, yes I actually mean really small changes, like this week I’m gonna walk on one of my lunch breaks. This week I’m going to take sugar out of my coffee during the day and just have one cup in the morning with sugar. These goals are manageable, these goals very subtly build up, these goals slowly become easily integrated into your lifestyle, they yield long term results that are there to stay. They have no particular end and before you know it become things that you actually strive to get better at.
One of the first things I ask a client to do when they are at home is to get a comfortable indoor exercise bike. I ask them to, at some point start to spend a little time on it. I usually suggest that they pick a show on Netflix that they can only watch when on the bike. I ask them to spend as little time on the bike as they like and do not worry about what level it’s on or what the end result is.
These things now happen
- They start to occasionally spend a bit of time on the bike and we talk about the show they watched
- Soon they mention that they spent more time this week than last week on the bike
- We continue to talk about the show
- Next I ask them how many calories does the display show when you have finished watching your show, I do not make much of a response to this just a simple “thats good” etc
- They now start to actively monitor the results of the bike and start to target themselves at doing more
- They get results
So you see my approach here is simple, let the person slowly adapt and integrate their fitness regime into their life. Guide them slowly into new ways so that they enjoy them, feel satisfied daily with the results and most importantly steer them away from goals that have a specific end point.
Simply put, your goal should be to exercise daily as little or as much as you can and make sure that it fits in to your schedule and feels good. Treat your diet the same and look to make sure that what you’re doing yields results that gravitates slowly towards you becoming healthier and happier.
I did mention in the title other meaningless life goals so lets just throw a few of them in for good measure
- Gonna run the marathon that will fix everything
- Gonna get up super early every day like the movie stars and workout
- Gonna exercise when we go own holiday from now on rather than eat/drink everything
- Gonna actually use all the heathy cookbooks that we bought
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anybodygym is a private one to one personal training facility based in Peterborough focusing on helping adults to retired people regain control over their health, strength and weight. A strong functional body will help you live a long and enjoyable life.
Private Personal Training Studio Peterborough