Have you ever stayed up all night cramming for a test?
Many people find themselves in this scenario in college.
Perhaps you didn’t spend enough time studying leading up to test day, or you just wanted to make sure you had as much knowledge loaded into your brain as possible.
Personally I never did this, but knew plenty of kids who did.
If they had access to it, they threw an adderall down their throat then locked themselves into their room or the library until the sun came up.
Did this strategy work once or twice a semester?
Would it work on any sort of reoccurring basis?
Of course not.
You can trick your brain into working overtime for awhile, but eventually it will say screw you.
All night cram sessions definitely work for in some scenarios, but the one thing they will never be is sustainable in the long run.
Sustainability is the key to long term success.
When applied to health and fitness, what is sustainable is different for everyone.
What works for you is likely different that for your uncle, grandma, or your dog.
You frequently hear people talk about getting in shape for the summer or for a cruise they are taking and there is nothing wrong with that.
They are doing the equivalent of overnight cramming for the test.
Although it may work relatively well, it is nothing that you can keep doing repeatedly over time.
The best route to take is to find out how you can challenge yourself with your working out and nutrition, but still be able to sustain it for the long haul.
Years is the goal.
Ideally, for life to some degree at least.
By challenging yourself I mean to take yourself a couple steps out of your comfort zone.
It should be tough, but not so tough that you are going to flop after a month or two.
This is where most people go wrong.
They want to see the pounds fall off as quickly as possible, but aren’t able to see the long game of health and fitness.
What happens to the kid who never studies, crams for the physics exam all night, manages to rip out a B then goes back to not studying?
He goes right back to where he was before the cram session. Knowing little about the material and just sneaking by.
This is very similar to the person who hits their workouts and nutrition really hard a handful of times per year leading up to an event.
They drill their body into the ground with low calories and exhausting workouts to gain a “decent” physique for their event, then afterwards they go right back to high calories and mediocre workouts if any.
This endless cycle wears hard on the body and leaves it weak and with a garbage metabolism.
You also see this in many advertisements from Facebook, to television ads, radio commercials, or gym promotions where it is pushed that you can drop X amount of pounds in X number of days.
This is a big disservice to everyone that these advertisements they claim to be helping.
It puts a timeline on working hard and implies that after 30 or 90 days your hard work is over.
Anyone can lose weight fast.
Talk to anyone who wrestled in high school and lots of them were kids who didn’t even have any weight to lose.
Weight loss and exercise in and of themselves are not hard.
Weight loss and exercise that is continual all the way to a person’s goals and then is sustainable for life, is much more challenging and the real point of health and fitness.
Aggressive fitness changes are tough.
They take loads of mental fortitude and consistency day after day.
I am all for being tough on training and eating habits, but not to the point where I know that eventually the person will derail and drop off.
You can’t do the all night cram session for exercise and nutrition every month. You will end up hating everything about working out and eating healthy and will burn out fast.
So what is the best approach?
We are all different in what we can handle.
More often than not, a steady 1–2 pounds of weight loss per weight (assuming weight loss is your goal) is going to show more success than higher losses.
Remember, if the healthy eating guidelines you adopt cannot be sustained for life, what is the point?
They need to challenge you and provide forward progress, but not be so intense that you cannot keep doing them long term.
I do like to be more aggressive in the first month or two of a client’s program, but after that we tailor back to what is sustainable and that always ends up providing more success down the road.
Remember, this isn’t just for the vacation you have coming up, but also for life.
20, 30, 40, 50, maybe 60 years more.
Do you really want to treat your fitness like cramming for a test for 30–60 more years?
If you want to find out more about getting on a sustainable workout and nutrition program, contact me right now at:
OR find out more at: JonWalters.co