I Can, I Cant
One common question I receive is, "What do you do for maintenance?" It always takes me by surprise because the concept is alien to me. Maintenance? Granted, when I started this lifestyle, I would have loved to have some "vacation" waiting for me at the end, and I was certainly thinking about how I would "relax things" when I achieved my peak physique. Along the journey, however, I learned a true lesson in life: there is never any "maintenance."
Consider this: the average adult loses several pounds of muscle as they age. This has been studied in thousands of individuals over decades. As a person reaches their golden years, they begin to lose muscle mass. So what is maintenance? Is it losing muscle mass? I don't think so. Even gaining enough muscle mass to counteract the natural loss is "progress" in my book - you must train hard, intensely, and consume the right foods in order to just "maintain" your lean mass. The net result is maintenance of your physique, but the training style is far from "maintenance."
The same thing applies to training in general, even for younger individuals. It is well known that the body is quick to adapt to training. This is why the periodization model of training (which essentially involves changing the way you train over time) is so effective: it constantly manipulates parameters of training to prevent the body from adapting. Because the body is so good at becoming efficient, the longer someone trains, the fewer gains they are likely to make and the more intense their training must become. The converse to this is that because of the high intensity of training, most must rest more to recover as their training advances. Lee Haney once mentioned that he would be happy to put on one pound of muscle in a year. Once again, there is no such thing as maintenance - even doing the same workout will eventually produce fewer results, and send you backwards instead of keeping you at the same place!
What does this have to do with the "I can, I can't" syndrome? The question I always have in return is, "Why do you want maintenance?" Inevitably, people become tired of living a certain lifestyle. Whether it is due to boredom, over-training, or some other reason, it happens. My own father asked me just recently, "Are you still training? It's OK if you aren't - working out is something you do for a while and then take a break from." The problem is that if you are too focused on a specific goal such as "body fat" or "weight," then it becomes easy to hit that goal and slip into maintenance mode. If your goal, on the other hand, is total health, then it must become a lifestyle change because there is no maintenance. You don't reach good health just to fall back out of it.
The people who yearn for the maintenance mode wake up and tell themselves, "I should go work out." This is an inner conversation and while it may not seem significant, it is. "I should go work out." This implies a sense of "urgency" - it is not a desire, but a need being fulfilled. There may be a negative consequence if the action is not performed, so it should be done. Instead of positive reinforcement, this borders on negativity. After weeks of doing something I "should do," I, too, would probably want to hit some magical "maintenance" phase so I wouldn't "have to" do it anymore.
The alternative to this is to work out because you want to. "I want to go work out." This is a subtle change to the inner dialogue, but it makes a tremendous difference. Now there is no implied consequence for not doing it. It's not a finger wagging in your face, telling you to do something. It is an inner desire - the action is tied directly to a reward. If you want to do something, there is typically a reward involved - whether it is the satisfaction of accomplishment, the great feeling of good health, or some other positive emotion that springs from the activity.
This reminds me of vegetables. Vegetables? When I started to eat healthy, I knew that I should be eating more vegetables. I did not really like vegetables, and the few that I did eat came packaged with a ton of sodium in a can. I yearned for my "free day" and my "breaks" between programs so that I didn't have to eat vegetables. I still sucked them down because I knew I should eat them, but I did not want to eat them.
Somewhere along the way, I began to enjoy the journey and realize it was about much more than the destination. It suddenly was not just about losing fat - although that was certainly a bonus. It was about living life. It felt good to be in shape. I could tie my shoes and not run out of breath! I could play basketball with my son! We had a great time and being healthy just felt great. I made a conscious decision to tie the sensation of good health into the activities that blessed me with it. One such activity was eating vegetables. While I was still eating them because I should and not because I wanted to, I constantly reminded myself that they were part of what helped me become so healthy.
As time progressed, I began to truly appreciate the benefits of vegetables. I studied their composition and learned about phytochemicals and other components that promote good health. I realized that these were something I'd need to eat for the rest of my life, so I'd better enjoy them. I took some steps towards this. First, I moved from canned veggies to frozen veggies, but added my own seasoning and steamed them until they were mush. Then, I simply steamed them less, to acquire a taste for the crisp, raw flavor, and I seasoned them less. With raw vegetables, I started by dipping them in salad dressing. I then reduced the amount that I "dipped" and the amount of times that I dipped, and eventually acquired a taste for raw vegetables.
I did not by any means reprogram my entire set of tastes. For some odd reason, I still cannot eat raw tomatoes or mushrooms, and I still want to plug my nose when I eat Brussels sprouts. But, for the most part, I enjoy vegetables. I eat them now because I want to ... not because I should. And that means they are not a burden to me or something I need to take a break from - in fact, when I have a "splurge" meal, I often find myself enjoying a nice plate of roasted asparagus because I want to.
The same inner talk can take place with your training as well. You don't enjoy cardio? Neither did I. I hated it. I did it because I knew I should, not because I wanted to. Then a funny thing happened. I had a fight with a hill in my neighborhood. It was one of those straight "up and down" hills that I couldn't quite make it to the top of. Every time I went out to jog, I set my sights on that hill, and every time, it would defeat me. I had all but given up one day when I realized that I was following the same pattern over and over again - I would start to go up that hill, then I'd feel the nausea kick in. And instead of pushing myself to my limits, I would just talk myself into stopping.
While cardio was still something I did because I should, that hill was something I wanted to conquer. So I detached my mind from that feeling I got and instead decided to see what my body was made out of. I felt disconnected from my legs and arms as they slowly pushed me up that hill, but when I neared the top, I knew I had it in me. I refused to let my mind distract me ("Oh, Jeremy, wouldn't it be nicer to just stop and walk right now?") - I ignored that negative self-talk and pushed through. I conquered it.
The feeling of ecstasy at having accomplished this little task on my own was incredible. I savored it, and then an interesting thing happened - I began to crave it. So the next time I performed cardio, I thought about how I could push myself more than I expected. In the past 18 months, this is how every cardio session has been. I don't feel satisfied unless I know I pushed myself to the limit - if I have anything left at the end then I am disappointed. As I step onto my treadmill, however, I realize that things are different now. I'm not stepping on because I should; I'm stepping on because I want to.
Do you truly believe that you have the power to change? Doubt can do many things. I had doubt. I told myself I wanted to become lean. Here, "want" was not powerful enough. Why? I did not think that I should or could become lean; I just wanted to. But I was only hoping and grasping - a part of me did not think it was truly possible. This creates a negative-feedback loop. When you only want to succeed, then subtle decisions affect the outcome. For example, if you are underneath several pounds of iron in the gym and getting ready to push out another rep, but your arms ache so bad you can barely grip the weight, what are you going to do? If you only want to succeed but don't truly believe that you can, you might decide that the pain is not worth it. So instead of pushing that last rep, you decide to terminate the set and rack the weights. It's okay, it was just one rep, and it wouldn't have been worth it anyway, right?
What am I asking for? I just mentioned moving from "should" to "want" and now I have an issue with "want"? That's right. For certain decisions in your life, it's not enough to want them. You must make them happen. Yes! It's not a possibility, but a certainty. Instead of wanting to obtain your peak physique, understand that you will. When you have made the decision to stop wanting and start creating, then you will cross yet another barrier. When you are underneath that same set of weights, you'll realize that racking them is not an option. Why? Because you will earn your peak physique, so you must get that last rep in. It IS worth it, because by pushing 110% each and every time, you will reach your goal.
This is what changed my fate. Originally I hoped to reach it, I wanted it, but it just wasn't there. When I started changing my perspective, when I focused on my inner dialogue and changed it, this is when I experienced success. I didn't train because I was supposed to; I trained because I wanted to. I didn't eat healthy because I should; I ate healthy because I wanted to. And I wasn't hoping to build my peak physique; I was doing it. So when I looked in the mirror, I didn't think about what I could become, I thought about what I was becoming. I'd look at my stomach and see the abs I would create, not the ones that I wished I would have. Only that thin line between "want" and "will" made the difference between "maintenance" and success for me.
I want you to avoid negatives, like "I can't," because you can. I want you to think positive. But I don't want this to be a mere cliché. The words hold no meaning when they are not backed by action. The things you say, feel, and yes, even your own, private thoughts are what sculpt your reality. Every day you have internal conversations with yourself. Instead of letting the doubt creep in, focus on that dialogue and change it. Simply rephrasing your thoughts as "I want to" or "I will," rather than "I should" or "I hope," can make a tremendous difference - in fact, just changing the way you think may be the one last step for you to reach your peak physique.
Jeremy Likness is an International Health Coach and motivational speaker. After losing 65 pounds of fat, he discovered his true vision to coach thousands around the world to better health. A Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Jeremy is the author of the internationally-selling e-Book, Lose Fat, Not Faith and the companion 5-CD set. Jeremy has been published in major online publications including Tom Venuto's Fitness Renaissance and Bodybuilding.com. Jeremy's approach is unique because he focuses on fitness from the inside out. Visit Jeremy online at Natural Physiques.
Weight Loss Tips for a Swimsuit Body
Spring is here and swimsuit weather is just around the corner. If you're like many of us, you start panicking about all the weight you need to lose to fit into your favorite swimwear.
Hoodia Diet Pills - Tremendous Product and Excellent Fraud!
When it comes to the matter of weight loss, peoples always prefer tricky methods. Peoples don't want to learn "Diet Basics"; they don't want to follow healthy food habit; they hate to exercise.
Weight Loss Secrets -- It's About Perspectives!
Any dietary plan on the market has some portion of it that works, but the basic principle of any good eating program, no matter how sugarcoated, centers around calories IN- calories OUT.The eating "only one type of food diets" will not be effective, and such a restricted diet defeats you mentally.
Throw Out the Scale
Do you know someone that is obsessed with the scale? Someone who hops on the scale morning, noon and night? And stepping off each time with feelings of frustration or disappointment? With obesity on the rise and weight loss a common household topic, its easy to become obsessed with weight, diets and the scale. This multi-billion dollar industry brings about constant marketing and advertisement on the next solution or quick fix that hits sixty five percent of American's weight issues.
Dieting Obstacle When Life Gets in the Way
Dieting Dilemma No 1: When Life Gets in the WayThat pesky thing called life has a way of fouling up our the best laid plans. First you decide you're going to start keeping your car cleaner, thinking, "I'll wash it every Saturday morning.
3 Ways Going with the Flow Will Make You Fat - And What To Do About It!
Wanna know the truth? If you're going to be slim, you're going to have to swim against the current. You're going to have to take charge of your body and make your own decisions?cause if you go with the flow today, I guarantee that you're going to be fat.
Burn Fat Not Sugar!
You are going to be pleasantly surprised! Most people think that in order to lose weight you have to do strenuous exercise, continuously, and lots of it! Well, Guess what? NOT TRUE!I know you are thinking? That's crazy! It doesn't make any sense! I thought the same thing, when I first heard this. But it all comes down to understanding how your body works.
Low Carb Diet - The Way To Weight Loss?
Everybody you know is on the latest weight loss bandwagon: The Low Carb Diet. They've seen the astounding results on the scale and have lost 10+ pounds in a short period of time.
When Gaining Love Means Gaining Weight!
Do you tend to find your weight increases when you enter into a relationship? During weight management coaching, I use a tool called the "lifeline" to help my client and I understand what life events occurred around the time of gaining and losing weight. As my own experiences testify, I have found that many of us tend to put on weight when we enter into a relationship.
Eat More Often to Lose Weight
I'm sure you have heard it before, but one of the best ways to control your caloric intake and lose weight is to eat more often throughout the day. Ideally, you should eat 5 to 6 times per day, with 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours between each meal or snack.
Pathological Eating Disorders and Poly-Behavioral Addiction
When considering that pathological eating disorders and their related diseases now afflict more people globally than malnutrition, some experts in the medical field are presently purporting that the world's number one health problem is no longer heart disease or cancer, but obesity. According to the World Health Organization (June, 2005), "obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight - at least 300 million of them clinically obese - and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability.
Dieting Torture By Another Name, It Doesnt Need To Be That Way
I have tried many "diets" here in the USA and in England and to me they all felt like self inflicted torture. They were boring, tasteless, and restrictive.
Summer Dieting Tips
Cut the Calories, Bring Out the BikiniSummer's almost here and you want to get into the swim of things, but the B word - bikini - has been blindsided once again by that C word - calories.What can you do to get in shape at the last minute?Adam Shafran, co-author of the new book "You Can't Lose Weight Alone The Partner Power Weight Loss Program," says it's never too late to start losing weight.
A Diet Made For You Will Make All The Difference
To achieve your goals you need a diet that takes into account who you are and what you want.People diet for lots of reasons, and with lots of aims in mind.
Exercise Resistance! - The Secret Barriers that Prevent Weight Loss
Getting started on an exercise program is one thing. Stayingon it is the bigger challenge.
Exercise, Diet and Weight Loss - When Do Your Desires Turn into Lifestyle Habits?
Just one more day I can do this, I told myself in the beginning. When I awoke the next morning, I said it again, "Just one more day I can do this.
Weight Loss With Bontril: Smooth Sailing On The Weight Loss Ocean
As many of us know, it's the first few days of starting a healthy new habit that can be the most discouraging. The first few days of exercise are always the achiest.
LapBand Surgery. The Rules of the Road...Part 1
When you begin the decision making process to have Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), and specifically LapBand Surgery, it is vital that you fully understand the changes you must make in your lifestyle. WLS is never the magic pill.
The Thermogenic Fat Burner
The term 'thermogenic' refers to a group of drugs or herbs, which have the ability to stimulate the central nervous system and thyroid gland. The idea behind thermogenics is to decrease the appetite with a thermogenic fat burner while increasing the fuel burning capacity of the body.
Staying Toned After Weight Loss
Staying Toned After Weight Loss----------------------------------------Following significant weight loss, it is vital to have an exercise routine to keep your muscles firm and help to tighten the skin. One of the biggest drawbacks to significant weight loss is the flabby skin that is visible that often can take months to disappear.