Why Your Training Program and Diet Aren’t Working

 

Do you know how many pages there are on the internet when you run a google search for “how to lose weight”?

67,200,000. 

67+ MILLION!

Do you really think I’m going to tell you something today you haven’t heard before, or can’t download for free online? Think I’m going to give you a new exercise to try, a new super food, or some way to control yourself better?

(stop reading this post now if you do, because I can’t)

What I CAN do is tell you that it’s not a knowledge problem. The whole point of today is to illustrate one point. It’s not knowledge you lack – It’s implementation. And it’s not even REALLY implementation either. It’s something much deeper.

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Knowledge is only power once its actioned. Accumulating knowledge can be intensely overwhelming. And in that overwhelm comes indecision, confusion and “stickyness”.

I’ve a decade of accumulated knowledge, personal access to the most highly respected trainers and nutrition minds in the country, and an insanely flexible schedule, but still I can’t lose weight. Like I’m REALLY struggling with it at the moment. I’m happy enough where I am, but I’d like to be about 5-6kg lighter.

See for me, it’s not overwhelm. And it’s not knowledge. I know EXACTLY what to do. When I break apart why I’ve successfully got VERY lean before, there’s only one ‘technical’ answer. One thing you could call an ‘action step’… I ate breakfast and prepared my meals in advance.

Strip away all the other stuff, the training style, the cardio, the blah blah blah… It comes down to that. Once I prepare my meals in advance it’s easy and I’m successful.

Nothing I can read, study or pay someone else to tell me will change that – for me, there’s ONE thing I need to implement daily to successfully lose weight.

IMPLEMENTING SHOULD BE EASY
The harder and more routinely you can implement on what matters, the faster you’ll get where you want to be. Everything else is just fake busy time bullshit.

If we were to just tackle things from an implementation perspective, that is – if we didn’t think about will power, self belief, identity or anything else, and I was to just give you one tactic to take away today, one mechanical set of steps you can do tomorrow which will have a positve effect on your weight loss it would be this:

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Figure out what time you need to be up at to get in 15 minutes of meditation and prepare and cook a nutritious breakfast.

Once you know that, set your alarm for then and count back 8.5hrs from that point.

When you’re 8.5hrs out – turn off your computer and TV, meditate for 10 minutes (download an app called headspace and use that) and go to bed.

..and that’s it.

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Yup, maybe it sounds too easy. And maybe that’s the point… If it is so easy – go fucking do it. Don’t tell me why it won’t work – do it for 28 days. Implement hard and come back to me.

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Don’t think it’ll make any difference? Well there’s studies that suggest you’ve a 20+% increased chance of being overweight if you skip breakfast. It works for some short term, but if you’re currently fatter than you’d like and not eating breafkast regularly – how about you just try it.

HOPE SUCKS
However… picking one thing and implementing HARD is more stressful than it sounds. Having lots of options and different things you COULD try leads to hope. The hope that maybe in the future it won’t be so bad. Maybe if you read one more book you’ll find the key. Hope is the most destructive factor in your life because it stops you from consistently implementing one course of action.

I’m still 5-6kg heavier than I’d like to be. Mostly because of hope.

I know it’s funny to say “hope has ruined my life”, but it has. Hope’s normally a good thing after all. It’s the promise of a brighter future and a better tomorrow. Hope couldn’t have possibly ruined my life surely. But it has.

And it has because of exactly those reasons. Let me explain.

I’ve spent so long looking for short cuts to success that if I’d just spent the time I’d spent searching for short cuts implementing “the boring stuff” I’d be exactly where I want to be right now.

What do I mean by that?

Training is the perfect example. It’s no secret I used to be a pretty good powerlifter. Consistently ranking quite highly (I’m probably still somewhere in the top 10-15, but that’s a far cry from what I could be doing) before I stopped grinding out sessions.

See in powerlifting the hard work is done 6 months away from the comp. Grinding away on your own in the gym using moderate weights and high volume when no one is watching. It’s tempting to try a special program, or just skip it because it doesn’t matter. But it does.

6 weeks out isn’t when you panic and start to train hard. 6 MONTHS out is. That’s when you really have to bring the thunder. And right now, I know I don’t have it in me to consistently bring the thunder for 6 months (hell.. really it’s more like 18-24 months) so I’m getting left behind.

Yup, it’s frustrating to experience it, but I don’t mind – the guys in my class like Michael, Cillian and Mark and putting in the work every damn day and profiting for it. I honestly could not be happier for them.

I just don’t “want it bad enough” (more on that, shortly).

DO YOU “WANT IT BAD ENOUGH”?
It’s the same with weight loss – I’m 5-6kg above where I’d like to be.  I know EXACTLY what I need to do to lose weight, and have access to all the resources I need to make it happen. I just haven’t done it yet.

There’s only one reason – I don’t “want it bad enough”. I keep doing things to “self sabotage”.

But what is “wanting it bad enough”. There’s SO many people out there with a burning desire to lose weight, get stronger and be awesome. They WANT it so badly, but they can never achieve it.

There’s 68 million pages on google telling you how to lose weight. How can one of them not have the answer?

…and therein lies the rub. It’s not knowledge. It’s not “wanting it bad enough”. It has to be something else right?

We’ll get to THAT in a second.

But right now I bet you’re DYING to know what it is. I know if I was reading this I’d be screaming at the screen wanting to know what the secret it. But right there, I just gave you “hope”.

And that hope is ruining your life because now you’re looking for something else. You’re not thinking about the implementation of breakfast anymore. You’re just thinking of this new thing you can do. You’ve fallen straight into the trap I’ve laid for you.

The hope of a better, easier, faster way to achieve something means you never stick to something long term. You never implement a 6 month training progression, or stick to a single nutrition plan long enough to see results.

…because if you did, and you failed, well – that’s you fat, weak and unfit for life right? You tried it, you did it properly, and you didn’t get the results. No more hope. Doomed to life as a fatty.

So what do you do instead?

You try something for a few weeks, half heartedly. You kinda get results and then regress.

So you try something else.

You kinda get results, and you regress.

And so on, and so forth.

BUT what you do have thru all of that is the thought in the back of your head “if I just stuck to the plan I KNOW I’d get there” (subtext: “..so there is hope for me, I just don’t want it bad enough yet”).

That justification gives you the promise of a brighter future once everything lines up in your favour. You just gotta wait for that moment.

Problem is, you’ve probably been waiting for that moment for the last 3 years. You can’t KEEP waiting for it. You have to line it up yourself and smash it outta the park.

IS THERE A SECRET?
There’s only ONE reason I haven’t achieved everything I want to achieve in life already. And there’s only ONE reason why you haven’t either. There’s only one reason why I havne’t lost that 5-6kg. Slice it any way you want, but look deep enough into yourself and you’ll find out that I’m right.

pssssst.... don't tell anyone this secret!

For years, I resisted this fear. I thought it was something else. I made excuses and bargainned with myself as to why it couldn’t be true. I attempted to intellectualise it and rationalise it. But after 3 years fighting against myself, I finally came to accept and embrace it.

So if there’s only one reason, then it must be easy to solve right? All you need to do is fix it and you win right? We’ve almost found that FINAL answer yah?

WRONG!

If you thought it was gonna be easy, shame on you! It is simple, but it’s not easy.

Here’s the problem – everything you do in life (…or better yet DON’T do) comes down to how it effects your deepest fear. Your deepest fear isn’t snakes, or wasps, or heights. It’s not public speaking, or that people will laugh at you. They’re a component of it but it’s something much worse.

Your deepest fear is that you’re not enough, and you won’t be loved.

Yes it is.

(I know you just said “no it’s not”).

YEAH,SO?
EVERYTHING you do and don’t do is either pushing yourself away from the risk you’ll fuck up, or pulling you towards the idea that if you do it better you’ll be loved and adored. It’s the single most powerful set of motivators in existence. It stems back to our neanderthal days where if we didn’t stay part of a tribe we’d die. Upset the apple cart, and you’re boned. You’ve probably built a set of rules about how the world works without even realising it. And within that, you’ve created your “identity” and world view. How you see yourself, and how you see the world.

The most powerful force in human nature is our ability to stay consistent with our personal identity, even when it hurts us. It’s why addicts stay as addicts, people who ALMOST made it only to fall short will keep ALMOST making it but never cracking thru, and it’s why those mothertruckers who ALWAYS seem to get lucky keep on getting lucky.

Here’s how it effects me;

“I’m James, I own a business and compete in powerlifting. My business was successful in the early days because of my reputation as a powerlifter and ability to get people strong. Because I was strong too, people were excited to train with us because we did something no body else was doing.

The bigger I got, the stronger I became because mass moves mass. Even if that meant sometimes I got a little fatter than I was comfortable with. Right now, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, and because of that I’m respected by people all around the country and have a definite edge when it comes to talking about strength training.

Any time I’ve dieted before, I’ve lost strength. Now, if I lose strength I won’t stay ahead of the game, people won’t want to come train at RevFit and the business will fail. No one will like me, everyone will laugh and say ‘hah – I knew he was full of shit’ and I’ll have to figure out what else to do with my life. I won’t have any food, I’ll be stressed all the time, everyone will see me as a failure and I’ll be all alone”.

…so – break that apart and what do you see?

My identity states “if I lose weight, I’ll be a failure and I’ll be all alone”.

Do you really think I’ll do everything I need to do to lose fat and get in better shape with that attitude? I might make some short term progress, last a few days, lose a kg or two, but you know I’m falling off the wagon at the first sign of resistance because my identity says “you need to be strong to be successful, and the only way to be strong is to stay fat”.

YES, IT IS BS
Before you say it – I know, I know – none of that is ACTUALLY true. Intellectually I know the above is 100% false. I can cite all the reasons in the world why it’s incorrect. But what I can’t do is integrate that new identity based off logic. It has to come from raw emotion. I have to want to change, I have to know I NEED to change, and I have to know that it can happen immediately because the pain of staying where I am is greater than the pain of the uncertainty of the future.

Now you tell me – what the fuck is a diet or training program going to do for that? There’s no training system or macro counting approach in the world strong enough to overcome that issue.

This is a recent development by the way – only in the last 12 months or so as the gym has grown and we’ve started to train more people. There’s been a catalogue of things that have ACTUALLY propelled RevFit into the stratosphere, and I have a list of them printed out at home, but somehow I’ve managed to attach the value and significance to the idea that if I lose weight I’m a failure. That’s important, because it shows our identity can change and develop over time – once you’ve solved one problem, another will almost certainly come up.

So… why does that matter to you?

Because you’ve an inner dialogue running that you are not even aware of. A story you’re telling yourself again and again in the background that makes no sense and is holding you back. I’ll be honest – you might not even be ready to confront it yet. But confront it you must.

WHAT CAN I DO?
The easiest way to do it is to have a conversation with yourself and challenge each statement with a “why” at least 5 times.

For example:

“I can’t lose weight because I’m not able to stick to a diet”

Why is that?

“It’s too hard to eat foods I hate and follow a rigid plan”

Why?

“Because if I always have to eat foods I hate I’ll never have any fun, and if I have to follow a rigid plan forever, then I’ll never get to go out on the weekend and see friends”

Why does that matter?

“Because if I can’t see my friends they’ll forget about me. They’ll stop asking me to do things, and I’ll have NO ONE to support me when the going gets tough, or if something happens”

Why’s that bother you?

“Because now I’m all alone in the world and no one likes me”

…so if that sounds like YOU’RE story, the reason why you haven’t lose weight yet is because you’re afraid it’ll leave you lonely and unloved.

Do you see how destructive the identity you’ve created is? And how beneficial drilling down into yourself to understand what’s happening in the background can be?

You could play Billy Big Balls and pretend none of this matters, but deep down – you know it does. You’ll always find a way to meet your need for love and connection. That’ll either be thru sending love out into the world and getting it back (hard) or by complaining about how hard life is, creating HUGE problems for yourself and acting like a victim (easy).

In both situations you get love & connection, but only one leads to happiness.

As I stood in a funeral mass today it hit me, there’s only REALLY one way to win at life.

Send love out into the world without attachement or expectaion of return. Contribute positvely to others. And live life as if your only objective was to see how many people would come to your funeral.

Do that, and nothing else will really matter.

POST SCRIPT
You might be thinking “great – a 3,000+ word blog post. Now what do I do?”. Here’s what I recommend:

If you think you have enough knowledge – you can try the implementation fix.

If “implementing” isn’t working for you, have a conversation with yourself.

And when just having a conversation with yourself doesn’t work, you need to do this – Go back to the very start, and follow these steps EXACTLY:

1_ Figure out what time you need to be up at to get in 10 minutes of meditation and prepare and cook a nutritious breakfast. Once you know that, set your alarm for then and count back 8.5hrs from that point. Meditate, eat breakfast, make your bed.

2_ Examine why you do what you do, and the excuses you make. Challenge each with “why” or “what will happen if….” 5 times. When you get to the point where you say “I don’t know”, I want you to think ‘what would I say if I did know’.

3_ Write down how you WOULD like your day to go, figure out in advance what excuses you’re going to make. Repeat step 2.

4_ After you meditate, sit down for 10 minutes. Spend 5 minutes imaging how truly awful life will be if you do all the things you don’t want to do. Step into the moment, see it and FEEL IT. Experience exactly the pain you’d go thru if it happened. Who would you lose, what would you lose, how bad would life be? Because that’s EXACTLY where you’re going now.

5_ Spend the next 5 minutes imaging how great life is when you do the things you want to do, and live the way you want to live. Feel and experience the warmth, the joy and the overwhleming sense of peace that comes as a result of opening your heart up and living each day full of love and happiness.

Attach enough pain to the bad things, and enough joy to the good things, and the change will be easy.

…or you could just continue to go thru life being miserable and hating everything. It’s your choice.

Your. Choice.

Choose wisely.

You only get one shot at life. No do-overs.

Curious to see how we do stuff like this for our clients? You can book a free personal training session with us where we’ll have a chat about your goals, discuss your background and problems, go thru some mobility drills and fixes to any problems you have, before taking 30 minutes to run thru the basics of squat, bench press and deadlifting too.

 ** We do 2-3 of these sessions each week. Books yours here: http://revolutionfitness.ie/trial **

James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.