We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare gets off to an incredible start with the tortoise left in the dust. The hare stops to rest, only to get passed and lose the race to the tortoise.
What is the significance of the tortoise winning the race? What’s the moral of the story?
The majority suggests the moral is that slow and steady wins the race, but what does that mean?
It means that the slow, continuously working individual is more likely to succeed than the one who overworks for a short period of time.
Now how does that relate to fitness and nutrition?
Well, with everyone searching high and low for answers of how to get a little bit fitter and lose a few extra pounds, too often we (I am absolutely including myself) are sucked in by the hot, new, and trendy diet or exercise plan.
Once we’re sucked in, we’re all in. Gym everyday, no cheat meals, and doing whatever it takes to get results as soon as possible.
We’re channeling our inner hare, and sooner or later, we’re going to stop and rest. We’ve all seen others do it, and potentially experienced it ourselves, that rest is our cheat meal, diet break, or time off from the gym. Similar to the hare, that rest gets all too long and before we know it, it’s too little too late.
Regardless of your goal, the hare’s pace is not reasonable in the long run. Working toward a new goal requires slow, steady, and continual progress – the pace of the tortoise.
But it is HARD to stay at the tortoise’s pace especially when you have to navigate around roadblocks instead of jumping over and blowing by them.
Here’s the thing, you WILL face roadblocks.
You WILL make mistakes.
You WILL see others speed by you on the new trendy diet.
You WILL feel like shifting gears to catch up to everyone else, but what you need to do is maintain your speed, turn away from the shiny objects, and stay consistent in your approach.
Consistency is the key to success and goal achievement, so if you’re looking to finally see results, here are 5 Tips for maintaining consistency:
Forget About Perfection
There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to diet and exercise – mistakes are bound to happen!
It’s a hard reality for many to accept (especially those with a perfectionist personality) but the more you are thinking about perfection and wishing you could attain it, the less you are able to focus on the process.
When you set out to change your diet and exercise habits, you are looking to break habits that have been set within you for some time, some maybe your entire life.
You are going against what feels natural and comfortable to the body, and that body is going to do everything possible to fight and hold strong to what it knows.
There will be plenty of times where your body just cannot stand strong and it will revert to old ways. When it does, be okay with it! The absence of perfection does not mean your ability to remain consistent is gone. Consistency is demonstrated in those moments by getting back on track as soon as possible.
Keep It Simple
With everyone looking to lose a little more body fat, new and crazy tactics for getting in the best shape of your life are everywhere you look.
We are all looking for the newest program with the fastest route to standout results.
Sure these programs hold some value and can provide you with some results and that might serve our immediate needs and desires. If you want the BEST and most long lasting results, well those come from a program founded on the basics.
Supplements, meal timing, and even macronutrients matter little if the simple aspect of obtaining the right amount of calories is not taken care of. Find the right caloric range for YOU and your goals, stick to it, and watch the results. Once you master it, take advantage of these and use them to enhance your results not supply them.
The same goes for your training program; it should be founded on staple movements such as squats, hip hinges, bench presses, rows, and core stability. The accessory work can give you a great pump and really make you feel the burn, but it’s just that, accessory work. Consistent and diligent work on your staple movements complimented by the “sexy” accessory work is where true progress comes through.
Your progress is your own just as your friend’s progress is her own.
Too often we start something, and upon the first check of our results we peak over to see how our friend is doing.
We love to play the comparison game. That’s how we get to the idea we need to be perfect or that we need the hottest program on the Internet.
Why are we taught to put up folders and cover our answers in class? Our teachers want each individual to know the answer to the problem, and comparing your answer to your neighbor’s answer doesn’t prove you know it.
Comparisons don’t get you results.
Comparisons drive us away from consistency.
They are the low hanging fruit that looks delicious and easy to grab, but when you choose to climb branch by branch to the top to reach the fruit at the top of the tree is there really any comparison?
Same goes for your results, the quick fix and instant results look great on your friend, but when you consistently put in the work to get to your goal, is there really any comparison?
Regular Goal Check
When you start out on your quest to get healthy, you start with your long-term goal in mind, but do you break that long-term goal into smaller milestones and goals?
You might break them down, but in my experience as a coach, most get so immersed in the process that the focus remains on the long-term goal.
When the journey is long, it is hard NOT to think about how far you have yet to go. It’s like watching the second hand tick on the clock waiting for the end of the workday, for no matter how long you watch that second hand, it feels like the end of the day is still dreadfully far away.
That’s where the smaller goals and milestones are important. Use these as assessments of your progress and an evaluation of where you are now compared to the start.
As you start to solidify new habits, they become so routine that it’s hard to think about the work it took to break the old and set the new.
You absolutely need to stay focused on the long-term goal, but schedule yourself deadlines to reach smaller goals and check-ins for progress evaluation. You will be quickly reminded the importance of consistent effort each day, and thoroughly rewarded once you reach your end goal.
You know what they say, right? Best for last!
Getting fit and eating right are lifestyle practices, and NOBODY wants to live a boring life that’s all fun and no play.
If you cannot have fun with what you’re doing, it’s unlikely you’ll stick with it in the long run.
Yes, there are basic, staple movements that should make up the bulk of your workout, but if you feel your workouts aren’t fun overall, then it’s only a matter of time before you hop to a new program.
Calories are king when it comes to fat loss, but if you feel that you’re so restricted an unable to enjoy your food, you will revert to old habits.
If you’re working with a coach, whether it be for training or nutrition, and you’re not having fun, then say something!
A great coach will want to help you build fun into your workouts and nutrition to help you establish this as a lifestyle. A great coach will actually LISTEN to what you’re saying, and work WITH you to make the program enjoyable overall.
Now, there will still be things you don’t necessarily enjoy, but there’s always room to add in those thing you do enjoy!
When you don’t enjoy your program or you feel like the distance between you and your goals is unchanging, it’s easy to talk yourself into jumping ship and picking up to the tortoise’s pace.
But remember, who wins the race?
Sure, his feelings were hurt as the hare continued to poke fun at his pace, but he kept a consistent pace, took it one step at a time, and left victorious.
When the hares around you are poking fun and encouraging you to keep, remember who wins because someday that will be you in your health and fitness goals.
Need encouragement, motivation, and a gentle reminder that the tortoises pace is A-OKAY? Click HERE, and let’s talk about how to start winning the race to a healthy lifestyle.