What Flaw Does Every Diet and Exercise Program Have in Common? (and 5 Ways to Fix it).

By Brad Matushewski

February 4, 2016


Posted In: Education, Fitness, London, Nutrition

Most of us want to make some change in our lives.  Most times there is at least one thing we would like to improve.  The list sounds much the same with things like, “I want to lose some weight” or “I wish I felt better about the way I look”, etc.  Face it, beach season is right around the corner and it gets us thinking.  There are many approaches to making such changes with everything from extreme diets, supplements, intense workout programs to a comprehensive approach through lifestyle changes, in particular to those focussed around nutrition and exercise.  Many of these programs work to varying degrees but they are all flawed.  What is this flaw?

Let me explain this flaw. I have counselled many of my personal training clients with the goal of losing weight, etc.  I have carefully organized their workout plan, meticulously crafted a nutrition plan, customizing their macro-nutrient profile all the while paying attention to food likes / dislikes.  It is a plan that will surely work and bring them the success they are looking for if they follow it.  Wait, did you say IF they follow it?  Therein lays the flaw.  Any well planned exercise and nutrition program just won’t work if you don’t follow it.  It seems obvious when you think about it but what we don’t always think about is, what can we do to help stay on track?

Achieving success is more than simply divulging information about what to do different.  Take for example anyone who smokes.  Clearly they MUST know by now that smoking is bad for your health and dramatically increases the risk of various cancers and subsequent death.  Surely they must know.

What can you do about it?

When I work with clients and I am getting them to make some changes, there are countless strategies to help.  Here are the top 5 things that will help you move from “KNOWING” to “DOING”.

  1. Realize and accept the fact that Action comes BEFORE motivation does. Understand that something you just have to make the conscious decision to make the first move even though you “don’t feel motivated” to do it.  Once you experience at least some success, the motivation often follows to keep you going
  2. Start small and make gradual changes. Making an extensive list of changes all at once is overwhelming and is likely to end in failure.  Just like in the previous point where success will breed success, failure will breed failure.
  3. Do not expect perfection. I tell my clients to aim for the 90-90 rule; that is, doing 90% of the things right 90% of the time.  It is OKAY to indulge every once in a while and if things get a little out of control on Thursday don’t say, “Well I blew it today so might as well start fresh on Monday”.  NO – start fresh NOW.
  4. Set goals and write things down. Sitting down and writing out your goals is incredibly powerful.  Even better, share your goals with everyone.  We are afraid to share our goals because we are afraid to fail.  Sharing will help keep you on track and when people notice you making changes and seeing that you are getting results, imagine how good it feels when they take notice and compliment you on your efforts and outcomes.
  5. Perceptions are everything. Let’s face it, our mind is our best ally or our worst enemy.  Rephrasing our perceptions is incredibly powerful when making change.  Are you a stubborn person?  Great – use your stubbornness for good and not evil.  If you want that extra-large piece of chocolate cake, you might be tempted with thoughts like, “I can’t have it”.   However, a much more powerful approach would be to say to yourself, “I CAN have it if I want (let’s be realistic, of course you can you are an adult and make your own choices), but I do not want it because it will not bring be closer to my goals”.  That subtle shift from “can’t have it” to “don’t want it” can really make a big difference.

Stay tuned for the next article about how personal training as we know it is going to change in the next 5-7 years.