When you think about a ladder, you climb one rung at a time and you end up at the top. Simple. When it comes to people working on achieving goals in health, fitness, strength, fat loss etc they seem to try to jump straight to the top of the ladder ignoring the rungs in the middle. Occasionally someone may just make it to the top if they jumped with enough intent but most of the time I see it end in a fall back to the bottom. Some people will get up and try again and again and perhaps learn after several failed attempts that in fact they need to use the rungs in the middle and some just stop getting up all together thinking that getting to the top is unachievable when in fact they just havent been prepared or had the patience to climb instead of trying to jump. We seem to be a society that wants instant gratification. Staying with the focus on health, fitness and fatloss etc, this shows up as you see, hear, read and try crazy unrealistic programs and products that promise to have you at your goal by the weekend! Many years ago wanting that instant gratification or results, wanting it by the weekend, by next week or by my birthday in a month, I managed to starve, overexercise and subsequently binge myself up another 2 dress sizes! I see it all the time in the industry even at present, only eating protein, oh no I cant eat carrots they have too many carbs. Honestly! Training twice a day everyday to burn off more calories because if you can just burn off everything you eat plus some you will be thin by next week right? Not much thought seems to be given to the process of how you get there, only the destination seems to be of any concern.
So what the heck am I talking about ladders and their rungs anyway. I am referring to a process, one foot at a time, one rung at a time to reach the top or where you want to be.
What does that look like when you are applying this to achieving the things you want most?
95% of the women I train and mentor all report that food or what they eat, dont eat or cant stop eating is what is holding them back. Upon investigating I find many of them trying to eat like a bodybuilder preparing for a competition. Or what I call advanced dieting. This is what i refer to by trying to jump and missing the middle rungs of the ladder. Going from eating no breakfast, lattes and carrot cake, a cheese toastie at lunch, wines at night to wash down the bowl of pasta and chased with a bowl of icecream to eating chicken breast and broccoli at most meals is missing the middle rungs. Going from sitting at the desk all day at work, grabbing some takeaway, to eat on the couch while watching the nights entertainment on the TV to training Chest and Tri’s on a Monday, Legs on a Wednesday and Arms and Abs on a Friday along with an hour of fasted cardio every morning is another example of missing the middle rungs.
What are the middle rungs and why are they necessary? They support you while you are moving up onto the next rung and the next until you get to the top. They allow us to steady ourselves, to stay there as long as we need to until we are sure of our footing until we are ready to take the next step. By the time we get to the top we are sure footed and the top, the place we wanted to be the most is now the new normal for us, the “what you do”.
Taking the above example about the person who’s diet is not going to get them to a leaner, fitter, stonger or healthier body, if they added in a few middle rungs they will be much more successful in my opinion. First rung I would get them onto and become sure footed and steady would be eating regularly, eating more vegies and increasing their water intake. When they are ready they can move up and onto something like looking at replacing processed foods with real food options and increasing their protein intake to most meals of the day. Then they can move onto looking at macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) and perhaps portion sizes and even then onto things like only eating wholefood sources, no processed foods at all and even timing their carb intake etc. I call these last few example “advanced dieting”. Someone who doesn’t even know or practice basic healthy eating does not need advanced dieting techniques, they need to start on the bottom rung and steadily climb their way up the ladder.
Someone who is too tired or unmotivated to walk the dog or to even cook dinner does not need to do an hour a day of fasted cardio along with a split body part body building routine. They need to move more. Starting with incidental movement, moving up a rung to exercise that they find enjoyable, up a rung to exercise that they know they need to do not just the stuff they like to do, moving onto “training” and training with purpose and intent. These are all just off the top of my head and not how I would necessarily progress a person but I hope you get my point.
There is nothing wrong with setting your sights high and challenging yourself but dont set yourself up to fail. The more times you pull off what you set out to achieve the more your confidence and self belief increases and when that happens change really starts to happen. Instead of trying to jump, climb the ladder one rung at a time.
The take home message, FOLLOW A PROCESS and do what is right for YOU, where you are at right now. Have a clear focus, know how you are going to get there one step at a time and most importantly follow through! The change is in the doing. Once you start climbing up keep going, no matter how long it takes. As long as you hold on and stay sure footed you cannot fail or fall.