Did You Burn More Cash Than Calories Last Financial Year?
It’s tax time, which means many of you are under the pump at work, running the numbers and assessing the finances of the businesses you work in, or for.
Despite the rush, some of you might have crept a look at your own tax return online, before handing it over to an Accountant when you weren’t happy with the estimated return (“can I claim driving to work as a deduction?” “No.”).
Whether you have done this or not, I want you to take 30 seconds to consider your spending on health and fitness in 2016/17 and estimate the total cost.
Here are some of the common costs to get you going.
Common Health & Fitness Costs
I ran these numbers very conservatively, with a $25/week gym membership and reasonable little spent on clothing and shoes. I also assumed nothing on personal training or nutrition, or any online courses or programs.
Now I want to ask you a question: what return did you see on that investment?
Let me break it down to include any of the following components - body fat, muscle, strength, fitness, confidence, and knowledge - in which you either made progress, remained stable, or regressed. If you progressed/regressed – was it strong, moderate, or weak.
Be honest. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.
I’ll run through mine, as an example. Keep in mind this is very related to my profession - so even though the results look ok, I could be doing better.
- Body fat - stable
- Muscle mass - stable
- Strength - weak progress
- Fitness - moderate progress
- Confidence - stable
- Knowledge - moderate progress
My guess is that you made some weak-moderate progress in one or two categories, stayed stable in one or two, and regressed in the rest.
To put it bluntly: you likely gained 1-2kg of body fat and made very little progress in other areas… and you paid $2000 for the privilege ($1000 per kg gained).
Not a great return.
I won’t get into the cause of those regressions – that’s for another article – all we need to know is your investment and your return.
The painful bit is that you paid money to gain weight, which is the opposite of what you set out to do. You want to pay money to lose weight!
Actually, think about that – how much would you pay to lose 10kg right now?
My guess is around the $2000 - $5000 mark. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but it’s also a huge result – with no work on your behalf – so there has to be a cost somewhere.
Yet despite that, you paid $2000 to gain weight last financial year. Let’s see why that was the case and how to fix that in 2017/18.
The Rules Of Recomposition
There are three important factors for any successful body recomposition, that I discuss with potential clients.
You take ownership of your body composition and accept that you are in control of all outcomes and have the ability to influence them. This is pretty simple – most people have already done that when they seek me out – but for those who aren’t hiring a coach, it is important.
2. Energy Balance
You need to consume less energy than you expend for fat loss. There are infinite ways you can do this – and this is what makes up your personalised approach – but this is the fundamental rule
You need to find the system that is easiest to adhere to and continually implement. Whether that be high carb/low fat, frequent or infrequent meals, it doesn’t matter. If we manage energy balance and repeat this over again, you will lose fat.
I want you to refer back to your 2016/17 spending list, and see if any of the items on there facilitated ownership, energy balance, or adherence.
Stop Focusing On The Dream
The biggest roadblock to results is spending all of your money on the dream, and nothing on implementation.
- The gym membership that has locations near your home and work, which means you can go anytime.
- The new shoes that have increased ankle stability that will help you squat your body weight for reps.
- The protein powder that will help maximise muscle protein synthesis and leave have you looking like Wolverine in no time.
All of these things are useful, but if wander around the gym aimlessly or don’t turn up because there is no accountability, these items are of no use.
You have spent your money on your gym aspirations - going to the gym all the time; lifting certain weights; or looking a certain way - when you should have been investing in implementation, whether that be having a program to follow, someone to teach you correct technique, or getting comfortable just being in the gym (which is underrated).
The dream is fun - you spend time planning, researching, browsing, and purchasing, as you collect all the pieces to turn this dream into reality. But when the planning is over, and it's time to turn up for your first training session in this unfamiliar gym, or your fifth training session when it's early, cold, and raining, the dream ceases to become a reality.
And if you don't put in the work, you won't get any result. That's why there are plenty of people out there with a wardrobe filled with workout gear that is too small for them, but they hold onto 'for when they get there'.
Instead of getting trapped in the dream, you need to focus on the process that needs to be implemented to get there.
Invest In Certainty
Rapidly-delivered certainty is rare in this industry, unless you are booking for surgery to have body fat removed. Even then, you can’t be certain that you’ll keep the weight off...
But you can increase the certainty of sticking to the system and getting a result by identifying where you fall down, and putting strategies in place to mitigate these areas.
Most people would benefit greatly from having a coach, yet they do it on their own. Trying to put together your own regime is akin to representing yourself in court – you might save a bit of money, but you have no idea what you are doing. Some people do it well, but the overwhelming majority do not.
At this point, you might be thinking ‘I know what I should be doing – I just can’t stick to it’. That tells me you don’t know what you are doing.
You might know what you are meant to eat and how to exercise (ownership and energy balance), but you don’t know how to make it something you can repeat (adherence). Again, you know the dream but not the implementation.
I cannot stress the value of having a coach for a) certainty; and b) implementation
Of course, I am as biased as they come, but I think the best form of certainty comes from having a coach who has been there before, done that, and has detached view of your life and what we are trying to achieve.
Right now, when you get caught up in the ‘I’m so tired - I can't go to the gym today' you probably don't go. But when you know you need to check in with me tomorrow to see how everything is going, you often find the motivation to at least turn up and get started. Once you are started, you don't stop.
I’ve worked with asset management executives who will check in from the back of a London taxi while travelling to full day of meetings, having just landed from New York. Checking in with me is priority number 500 for that day, but if they say they will do it, they do.
I’ve worked with an ex-special forces soldier, now Doctor, who met me at a café in London to catch up after finishing a night shift in the Emergency Room. He also rode his bike there. Tired - what? Deal with it and move on, there is work to do.
These people have elevated my expectations of myself, and my clients, to the upper echelon, particularly when it comes to tiredness or not having time. You create time by prioritising, and being tired means you need to sleep more tonight - not miss your workout.
Hiring a coach often eradicates the well-intentioned helpers who derail body recomposition journey. Training with a friend is great, but if you both struggle to be motivated to go to the gym, you might find that you cancel just as many sessions as you did on your to, and the two of you go for coffee instead.
Six weeks later, neither of you have made progress, so you give up on your training program. The reality is you should give up on training with the friend, but you should keep going (note: give up on training with them, don't give up on them as friend).
Most importantly, a coach cuts through all of your confusion around what is the best strategy in light of all the available information. Good coaches aren't perturbed by what’s written in today’s newspaper or a website, no matter how revolutionary it claims to be.
Sure, I’ll read the article you send to me, but then I’ll critically analyse it in relation to my knowledge and understanding – based on my university studies, CPD, and experience - then make an assessment of whether it’s worth further investigation. 95% of the time its sensationalised reporting that takes a small part of a study out of context, with the aim of getting your click.
I certainly never pick up the newspaper to see that Hugh Jackman got ripped and he did 100 burpees every workout, so I change all of my client’s training programs to include burpees. Actually, I have never made a client do burpees, so that’s a bad example, but you get the point.
So many people swayed between programs because of FOMOOR (fear of missing out on results) but they never make any progress anyway, because they never stick to anything.
Remember: ownership, energy balance, adherence.
Acai, matcha, ketogenic, paleo, functional fitness, sculpting, and every other fad will come and go. But the underlying principles of recomposition never change.
Your Responsible For This Investment
If you are sick of spending money on health and fitness, only to go backwards, it’s time to step up and invest in what you need. Alternatively, you can do the same thing you did last year - $2000; chase the dream - and hope for a different outcome.
You need to review your current structure to see where it is lacking ownership, energy balance, and adherence. Try it now – you don’t need to get a coach just yet.
But if in four weeks time you haven’t made any progress, you know where to find me.