The Pace of Progress
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE RESULTS DON’T SHOW UP.
- You followed a 6-week program promising 10 pounds of weight loss and flat abs – but the scale didn’t budge.
- You followed an internet running plan for a half-marathon – but crossed the finish line 2-minutes short of a personal best.
- You meditated every morning – but you still feel overwhelmed by the stress and demands of balancing work and family.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the promises we set out to fulfill all came quickly? It’s so tempting to get lulled into the idea that we can get outrageous results FAST. Believe me, if that were true, I would be raving about strategies to get there!
In reality, no one succeeds quickly. All long-term gains and lifestyle changes occur slowly over time. Now I know that this is not the catchiest marketing pitch out there, but that’s just how it is.
If we buy in to the fitness marketing message that tells us we can have everything we want quickly, we may be setting ourselves up for discouragement when the results don’t come as fast as we thought they would. And even if they do come quickly, they can disappear as fast as they arrived. This can lead us sadly back to our ingrained habits.
I get it. Why put in the hard work if the results aren’t coming?
Don’t give up yet! There is hope! Here are some reasons to stay the course:
YOU ARE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK
If you are already weeks into a training program, right now would be the WORST time to quit! You have been building up a base that will help springboard you to new heights. Your body has been priming itself for peak performance. Don’t throw away all that hard work now.
SUCCESS DOES NOT MEAN CONSTANT FORWARD MOMENTUM
Think of a bow and arrow. How far would the arrow travel if all we did was try to push the arrow forward? Sometimes setbacks or even delayed gratification are really just other ways of looking at drawing the string of the bow. When it releases, that arrow is going to fly – and so are you!
MARKETERS TELL YOU WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR
That model on the cover is photo shopped. It didn’t take them 6-weeks to get those abs either. Success comes slowly. Your progress might not look like anything right now. Over time, you WILL get there. Understand this is not what sells fitness magazines, but it’s the truth.
RECOVERY IS UNDERRATED
Most people picture lifting weights or running the SEAWALL when they picture training. Generally people don’t imagine someone stretching, meditating or simply sipping a hot green tea! Your fitness actually doesn’t improve much while you are training; the gains materialize during the RECOVERY! Recovery is when the body rebuilds itself to sustain the gain. Over-training is one of the great obstacles to progress. Make sure you take enough time to recover. If you have been training hard and progress seems slow, you might just need to sit back more and let your body catch up with the work you have already done.
When clients come to me frustrated with their progress, I sometimes have to remind them about realistic expectations. Progress comes fastest when tempered with an appropriate goal, training that fits the current fitness level, and adequate recovery.
If you aren’t seeing the results as quickly as you’d like, just remember the pace of progress is not always as fast as we would like. Progress does not mean constant forward momentum. It’s a process.