Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Love Slow Results

All around us, fitness marketing offers fast results. Some of the extravagant claims I've heard or read have been: gain 10lb of muscle in 2 weeks; and lose 1kg per day. Mmmm, wouldn't that be nice.

Of course, reality is, those results don't happen. If you want to gain 10lb of muscle, you're looking at 6-12 months of training as a beginner, and even longer if you're advanced. That's not what anyone wants to hear, but it's the truth. Just imagine if you could gain that much muscle in 2 weeks -- you'd make Ronnie Coleman look like a sissy within a year!

Likewise, if you lose 1kg per day, it's fairly safe to say that you're losing a lot of fat-free mass. Since I assume you want to lose that weight to be less fat, I hope you'll understand why losing fat-free mass is a waste at best, and detrimental at worst.

When you compare reality to the market-driven attitude of "I want it all, and I want it yesterday," reality looks quite disappointing. But you know, the funny thing is, when you pursue reality instead of a fantasy, you actually get quicker, better results. Yes, you just read that correctly: Ryan is claiming that the pursuit of slow (ie realistic) results will get you better results than the pursuit of quick fixes. There are a few reasons for this.

1) If you try gaining weight too quickly in the pursuit of muscle, you pile on excess fat. This requires more time cutting fat later on, during which you will likely stop gaining muscle or even lose muscle.

2) If you try losing weight too quickly in the pursuit of fat loss, you will lose more than just fat.

3) Combine points 1 and 2 together, and after 6 months of bulking and 6 months of cutting, you're right back where you started, more or less.

4) If you understand that results will come slowly, and you expect this to be the case, you'll actually appreciate the results that you get. The person who drops 20kg in 6 weeks, still looks crappy in their own eyes, and then quits and returns back to their pre-transformation lifestyle will gain back the weight lost, and will often gain back more. The person who expects it to take a year for them to lose 20kg is more likely to appreciate it when they get halfway there after 6 months and can do their belt one or two notches tighter. When they lose the full 20kg, instead of thinking "I'm getting nowhere; this is pointless," they'll think "wow, I actually did it! This is amazing!"

5) Fast results are what you pursue when you want the end product but don't want what it takes to get the end product. Slow results are what you pursue when you know that this is a journey and a lifestyle transformation, not just a change in what stares back at you in the mirror. If you dedicate 6 weeks to losing 20kg, it's usually with the intention of returning to normal behaviour afterwards (when your normal behaviour is what's made you need to lose 20kg in the first place). If you dedicate 52 weeks to losing 20kg, the activities involved in the process will become a habit and lifestyle by the time you've lost 5kg.

There are probably other factors to consider as well. But the point is, the person who is committed to getting slow results will actually get real results, and is more likely to maintain those results and/or move on further along their fitness journey, whereas the person who pursues fast results is more likely to get fake results and quit once disillusionment settles in.

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