Continuity & intensity. The two elements that decide body transformation. Nobody ever said ‘I got strong last week’ or ‘I became fit last month.’ It takes courage, education, and commitment to decide to step out of the comfort box and to do so for a long time – not just the duration of a mere 8-week personal training program. Stepping outside of this comfort box means reaching metabolic thresholds by actually making your workout count by lifting weights correctly in comfortably uncomfortable positions you thought you couldn’t do, making an effort to cook everyday from real food you buy from real grocery stores, and steering away from the mindset that a simple cardio treadmill session everyday is going to offset all the bad food you’ve eaten or make your butt or abs look better. If this were the case, everyone on the planet would be fit. But that’s not the case. The gym is packed with more people on the treadmill than in the weight room. And the waistlines aren’t getting any smaller. People are getting lazier because the treadmill is easy. Weightlifting is hard. And people don’t like hard. They like easy.

Anybody who has achieved significant body transformation will be quick to tell you it’s a lifestyle change – just as you’re forced to go to work everyday to get paid, diet and exercise must be seen as work, but without the paycheck. That is not to say work shouldn’t be fun. It should. You should love your work. And you should love your workout. But instead of work, diet and exercise it’s much more profitable. At what price do you put a slimmer waistline? The strength you gain? The confidence and smile? Your reduced health care costs or deductible? Your life insurance acceptance? Your longevity? Your energy level? Your lack of pain? Your improved golf game? Your fewer visits to the physician? The return investment in the time and effort you put directly into your diet and exercise is priceless.

The return investment in the time and effort you put directly into your diet and exercise is priceless.

Consider your top-5 priorities and adjust your life around these five items. Family? Work? Friends? College debt? Fitness? The mortgage? Writing? If fitness isn’t part of the top-5 priority list, then it’s simply not for you, but for somebody more willing and deserving standing next to you. Simply step to the side and stop making excuses on why you’re not fit or used to be fit long ago: It’s because you currently lack in continuity and intensity because it’s not a top-5 priority. Although you may think you value fitness, you probably don’t because it’s not in your top-5. You don’t deem it important enough because it’s not convenient enough for your lifestyle — and in life people will usually seek the path of least resistance. It is this toxic mindset that needs to change.

Exercise is nothing short of a collection of extremely good decisions made daily over a long period of time. Each decision you make – from the time you wake up, the type of breakfast you eat, the amount of cardio you do, the number of weightlifting sessions you perform, the dinner you make, and the time you go to sleep – add up. The better your decisions over this period of time, the better your success. This is why personal training — excuse my simple language — sucks. As a trainer — I see you only two, maybe three hours a week. This gives you more than 166 hours in the week to screw things up.

Some of these decisions you’re going to have to make everyday will be harder than others so you’re going to have to surround yourself with positive influences in your life. If your friends and family are constantly eating out, drinking, or smoking – you’re going to be tempted to please this crowd. If your friend doesn’t enjoy lifting weights or ordering healthy food, you’re going to have to find somebody else that makes your environment more conducive towards achievement of your top-5 priorities — in this case health and fitness. Find positive influences and make sure they are the ones pushing you to buy and cook real food everyday, lift weights three or four times a week, order healthy meals when eating out, sprint or hike once in a while, and perform constant steady-state recovery exercises such as a treadmill jog, meditation, or yoga on a daily basis. Yes — if you’re asking — the treadmill workouts you do are steady-state recovery work and seldom count as real exercise per say. They merely cover the basic metabolic requirements of moving your body every day in order to maintain somewhat a caloric balance, but do little in the effect of reaching metabolic thresholds that actually burn fat or build muscle.

Continuity & Intensity. Next time you’re at the gym or in the kitchen, be honest to yourself and think of these two words and what they mean to you.

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