Skill 1 – The Ability To Lose Fat –
This is where everyone focuses their efforts, what exercises to do, what foods to eat, and so forth. What you really need is a plan of action that you can stick to that produces fat loss. Surprisingly, most people already know a formula that works and have stuck to it before. An ability to do this is not about doing actions, it is about developing a skill to be able to do these. When you see getting in shape as a set of skills to develop, and not actions to try and do, it makes the whole process easier (more on this below).
The problems around this phase is the ability to stick to it. There are different reasons you may struggle to do that. It could be that your plan is poor, for example it has too little taste, uses exercises you do not enjoy or doesn’t allow for your lifestyle.
For many people, they struggle with patience and thus expect faster results than the body is willing to give. As a result they try to increase difficulty from a known plan that is working to a harder one, this brings an inevitable failure as a result.
Other times the inconsistency is from a reliance on the linear dieting model. I have discussed numerous times the failures of linear dieting, defined as losing fat for long periods of time without a break e.g. 6, 10, 16 weeks in a row. It has really bad long term maintenance rates partly because of the physiological effects of it and partly because it does not develop the three other skills outlined below.
Skill 2 – Finish Losing Fat & Return To Break Even –
If you have been through a period of losing weight at some point you will need to stop and return to normal eating. This transition can be a big problem for many people as it often comes with a strong desire to overeat. This may mean you end up back at square one if the period of poor eating is for an extended period of time. It is a skill to learn how to finish a fat loss period and return to a normal break even routine. If done correctly you will re-feed and restore your body’s strength slowly and surely after a fat loss period and therefore easily maintain your new lower fat levels.
Skill 3 – Motivate Yourself From Break Even to Fat Loss Again –
As most people are a fair few weeks of fat loss away from their ultimate goal they unable to get there in one linear dieting block. This means they will need to use a few fat loss periods to get to their ultimate objective. Therefore, after a maintenance period you will need to motivate yourself back into action. This is about developing your own ability for self persuasion and be able to win the negotiation to kick things back into a fat loss phase.
Skill 4 – Get Yourself Back To Break Even From A Period Of Overeating –
The final element you will need if you find yourself in a period of overeating or fat gain. The key here is to snap out of it and into a break even phase ASAP. All too often when in this state you will try to get back into a fat loss phase immediately, which is too difficult a task. The ability to return to break even is more than adequate enough as it prevents any damage being done. In due course you could return to a fat loss phase if needed (skill 3).
Skills Vs Knowledge
The reason the above are labelled skills is that it refers to the ability to do it under the circumstances they are needed. Knowledge is meaningless in this context as it is not whether you can write a book on the topic but it is about whether you can get yourself to actually do it in the moment?
Anyone can develop these skills but it isn’t about reading a book or learning facts. It is about repetition, practice and doing the actual behaviours. The result is a continued development in the four areas and the eventual growth of you as a person in health and fitness. This of course brings significantly improved results.
For this to happen, you cannot just drop back into the tried and failed formula that most people adopt every January. The best way is through a targeted programme designed to develop these traits. This approach is distinctly absent from most health and fitness plans.
What Does This Mean For You?
Getting in shape is a skill, if you are not overly good at doing this then you simply need to upskill yourself. This is the same approach you would have used to learn to drive, get through school, starting a new job or being a parent. Stop thinking you lack motivation or not a certain kind of person to do this, you simply need to take a course to develop the skills needed around changing your body, getting healthier or becoming fitter. This is of course, how I work with my clients in person and online.
Photo – A photo of some the different skills I have learnt within sport, including including sprinting, rugby, bodybuilding and samba dancing.
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