We all know the Aesop's fable of the Hare and the Tortoise, in which the boastful hare talks of how fast he can run. After hearing this bragging one too many times, the slow and steady tortoise challenges him to a race. The message behind this fable is very accurate to that of the health and fitness industry. Allow me to explain…
It is always a good idea to set yourself a goal before you embark on your health and fitness journey. This does not necessarily have to be a life changing goal but it should always be a realistic one.
Within this main goal, you should also set yourself a number of smaller milestones to make sure you are on track. For example, wanting to lose 2 stone in 6 months may sound like a big challenge, but break that down to losing just over a pound a week and all of a sudden it becomes very manageable.
Impressive body transformations are very achievable in short spaces of time but the shorter the time period you have given yourself, the more committed you must become and the harder you have to work. This kind of short term transformation usually involves a work rate which cannot be continued for a sustained length of time and therefore if it is set too high, the person can burn out or ‘fall off the wagon’.
Making your short term goals achievable is the key to achieving an amazing long term health or physique change. Too many people simply do not give themselves enough time to reach their desired goal. Does this start to sound familiar to Aesop's fable?
Something I often tell my clients is that maintaining a physique you are happy with is usually much easier than obtaining that physique in the first place. I believe the main reason for this is a change in mind-set. If you have travelled the health and physique path properly, you should have become more aware of your own body and how you react to certain foods for example.
What I find often happens is that people no longer feel restricted in their nutrition, for example, because either their tastes have changed and they no longer have cravings for certain foods or that they have mastered self-control.
Do not treat your health as a one-off goal where you have to obey by certain rules. Become the goal you wish to achieve by setting principles rather than procedures you have to follow. For example, if you know that gluten gives you a headache or that dairy causes bloating and stomach upset, why continue to eat it? Eat with the principle of feeling good or trying to feel better.
Too many people suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, headaches, skin conditions or a lack of energy yet all of these can be changed by improving your diet. Take two weeks to eat real food, which does not come in a colourful packet and drink tea, coffee and water, lots of water. You will see and feel a difference!
We all know that the slow and steady tortoise won the race and this is the same for your health and fitness. Not only should you allow plenty of time to achieve whatever goal you have set yourself but also look beyond that. See your transformation as a new you, a change for life, not just as a one off event.