Sunday, October 14, 2012

SVG FIT Motivation #2 - Fitness Results: Setting Expectations

Author's Note: I originally titled this slow and steady - but it ended up being not so much about "slow and steady" work over time as it was about setting proper expectations. Changed the title appropriately. 

How many times have you started a diet or a new, flashy fitness program only to bail-out after a few weeks or maybe even a few days when you don't see the results you thought you would?

C'mon - you know I'm talking to you. You know, deep down, you quit too early. I'm not a big statistics guy, but I would venture to say that almost EVERYONE has tried some sort of fitness or diet program because they saw some good looking guy or gal who swore up and down "it works" and so they bought into it.

Something you need to keep in mind when you see those ads on TV, on the Internet, or in print: Those people make a living off of their fame or their appearance!

They are certainly not exclusively using the product they are advertising!
You don't honestly think the "Shake Weight" models achieved those six-pack abs and bulging biceps using that ridiculous 3-pound device, do you?

 They are there to sell you their gimmick and that's it. They don't care about you or your health or your situation. They are being paid to sell you a product. Once you've made the purchase, they move on to the next chump.
Selling gimmicks one commercial at a time

There is no "secret pill", there is no one exercise or program that has the market cornered on your health and fitness. No matter how hard you try or how much you wish it were true, you are going to have to put the time in to lose weight, stay fit and stave off the affects of aging. Diet pills, energy drinks and fad diets do way more harm than good when it comes to your continuing and future health. It's a package deal - there is no all of some and none of the other. You cannot workout every day, smoke and still call yourself healthy. You cannot exercise just to have an excuse to eat at Taco Bell or McDonald's!

When you start a program like CrossFit, you are beginning way behind the "starting line". There are no two way about it. This is especially true if you are significantly overweight. Results take time because your body is  not yet able to produce the work or intensity required to burn massive amounts of fat. Additionally, you probably have not curbed your diet to the point where you are burning excess fat - as I intimated above, so many people I've talked to in the past joke around about having worked out, so now they can go home and "enjoy that pizza" or treat themselves to something excessive. It doesn't work that way and you're setting yourself up for failure by not admitting you need to make changes in that thought process.

You have to burn 3500 excess calories just to shed one pound of fat.
Running or Walking one mile for a 200 pound person only burns about 113-120 calories. While the length and disposition of CrossFit or other HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) programs varies greatly each day, we can expect the Rx (perscription) 15-20 minute workout to burn (roughly) 300 calories. A person has to burn 3500 calories to shed ONE POUND of excess fat.

In addition, the average resistance training program will afford the participant about 1 to 2 pounds of muscle gain per month. This is assuming a consistent and persistent weight training regimen.

Discouraging Truth: Running doesn't burn calories well. 1 Mile is about 113-120 Calories
In later topics, we'll discuss the deceptive nature of worrying about calories over the quality of the food you eat, but for now let's just look:

3500 calories to burn, per pound you want to lose.
CrossFit workout: 300 calories per day x 20 workouts in a month = 6000 calories
From the math alone you can see this is not even two pounds of weight loss in a month!

Paleo Diet - the true food pyramid
Assuming you have not changed your diet and ONLY added in exercise, there is simply NO WAY you can hope to achieve your goals (whatever they are) in just 30 days or even 60 days. The expectations have been set TOO HIGH in a social climate that expects results YESTERDAY.

By taking things slow and steady, working with your trainer to set expectations in the correct framework; combine those two things with changing your diet with an exercise program and you will see exponential gains over time.

Do not walk into ANY program, be it CrossFit or Lunchtime Yoga thinking you are going to see changes and results in just a few short weeks. Rapid change is unhealthy and perhaps just as important, not permanent!

This DOES NOT MEAN you can work at it half-heartedly over the next 90 days and still expect to see something. You will only get out of it what you put into it - if you want BIG GAINS you have to WORK HARD to achieve them.

Slow and steady progress WILL win the day!

Stay Savage, My Friends!


  1. Great article Matt, so many people expect quick results and dont want to dedicate themselves for the long haul. We have become a society of instant gratification. If we cant get it in a pill or from a drive through window it takes to long.

  2. Thanks, brother! I think almost every trainer in the world can probably attest to this sentiment being their number 1 frustration! It's incredibly difficult to set expectation in a world where commercials and snake-oil salesmen promise instant results. It just doesn't happen that way! Thanks for the praise!