Having been a coach in the fitness industry for 12 years I can say, hand on heart, that most people, including myself, don’t have a lack of knowledge to achieve their goals. We largely know what to eat, we know we should exercise a few times a week and generally stay active, and we know we should sleep well, drink lots of good quality water and live a lifestyle conducive to good health. Give or take a few details, the fundamentals of health are understood by most. So, if we kind of know what to do, what’s the issue?
The make-or-break aspect of getting started, keeping going, and maintaining your results, is your mindset. In fact, can anyone disagree with me that success in any area of life, be it your body, your relationship, your career, anything, comes down to your mindset? Sure, you might have a knowledge gap, you might need to know a few more things, but if you have the right mentality you go looking for the answers, you keep trying, and eventually find what you are looking for.
I’ve been successful in my life because, firstly, I’ve chosen to, then I’ve spent time and effort building my mental fortitude to sustain those changes and create habits that constantly support the outcomes I seek. This is why this article, part three of my transformation, is the most important. Anyone can get a diet and training plan, heck there are many on the internet you can simply research or download. Your success simply comes down to your mindset approaching your transformation, during your transformation, and after it. If you want to go on a diet for eight weeks that’s fine, do it, but what about the diet after the diet? The one you need to keep for life to be healthy, strong and maintain your weight?
It’s statistically true that most people fail with their diets. Buy why? All diets work, period. They all work by putting you into a calorie deficit. Whether they cut carbs, or fat, or make you fast for two days a week, they all put you into a sub calorie state, which causes fat loss. There is no other magic with diets, it is all about a calorie deficit, eat less than you burn. This has been known for many years, companies and people just like to try and package it up into some new-fangled way that ultimately leads to the same result.
Now many of us know this, deep down, and if you didn’t know this, you do now. So our success is now hinged on a few other things. The diet you embark on needs to be sustainable. We need to see ourselves making these changes not just for 4-6 weeks, but for life, otherwise what’s the point? We need the right environment to foster and maintain these changes in our habits, and we need to know the reasons why we’re making these changes so we are empowered and motivated to keep them.
People often ask me, “Ben, how do you have and maintain such a strong desire to hit the gym, eat well and go to bed on time?” In my head I’m wanting to say back: “How can you not?” But I don’t. The reason I say this is because you only get one body. And let me tell you from a man who’s been obese, been bullied, suffered with ADHA, IBS, asthma and eczema. As a result, I have zero desire to return to that life. I love what I have now, I love how I feel, why would I go backwards?
Ask yourself right now, what’s stopped you achieving your body transformation before? It might have been the diet or the training, it might not have been sustainable, you might have gone too hard too soon, you might have been low on energy, or ill, or been tripped up by something. And that’s fine, if you’re willing to sit back, be a bit more objective and make a newer, better plan for yourself.
In my experience most people trip up because they haven’t made changes to their environment and home life to support the initial changes. They haven’t had that long-term shift in their mindset and moved past the original blocking factors that keeps them overweight, tired and unmotivated. They just pushed them aside for the six-week diet, but they are still there, waiting.
You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, that’s the definition of insanity. Change is needed, not just for eight weeks, for life.
Many of us are living very sedentary lifestyles. Many of us are short on time or have busy work and family lives. Many of us are not in the ideal environment, but let’s be honest, we’ve all got stuff going on and we can all make whatever excuses we want. That doesn’t change what needs to be done. So make whatever excuses you want, it won’t change anything.
As a coach I can only help someone as much as they are willing to help themselves. I’m great at writing and coaching a plan, I’m great at helping people with their mindset and blocking factors, but that person has to want to change, without that we are destined to fail. Even if that desire is small, I can work with that. You can work with that.
The biggest mindset shift you need is to take ownership of everything in your life. You need to choose to own the situation, or how you think about it. When you take ownership, you take control. Too many people are living in a state of no control because you blame others or the world for the way things are. That’s false.
Now this might all seem idealistic and nice, and you might be thinking: “Yeah yeah Ben, that’s easy for you to say, try living in my shoes for a day”. If you’re thinking that right now, that is the problem right there. Take ownership. When you take ownership you take control. Too many people are trying to find the perfect diet, get the perfect balance, do the perfect workout, and comparing themselves to others (often on social media). Step back, stop trying to live in someone else’s shoes and live in your shoes, cause they’re the ones you’ve got and you’re not getting any others.
We’ve all got our own problems, our own challenges, our own things that hold us back. No one’s life is perfect, so stop wishing it was, or hoping for a divine intervention on your circumstances and get stuck into making your situation better.
No more excuses. It gets you nowhere, it disempowers you. Instead, take ownership and do what you can, and over time you build up to be able to do more. Work to improve every day, focus on the good stuff and make progress.
The body transformation I did for this magazine wasn’t easy. I decided to get leaner for this magazine, for this photoshoot, to show people what can be done in a short space of time. The reason this wasn’t easy is because I didn’t want it, my mindset wasn’t there. I was getting leaner for someone else, for the photoshoot, to show other people. The reasons were not internal and self-driven, they were externally driven.
Day to day, I’m happy with my body. I have 13-14% body fat, am as strong as I need to be, I sleep well, I have good balance, enjoy my training, play sport at the weekends and enjoy a balanced and varied diet. But to do this photoshoot for this magazine, for this project, I had to eat a little less, do some extra work in the gym, forgo a few things that I wanted to eat, and sacrifice some stuff when I was already in a place I was happy with. I say this because it’s true. I don’t compare myself to anyone else. Doing this project for the benefit of this magazine was tough, and the results came slower than I wanted to or expected it to because I was being driven by external expectation.
When a goal is internal, for your reasons, for your desires, then you can be eternally successful. So, I ask you today, what needs to change with your mindset to get the ball rolling? The penny doesn’t have to drop for you today. But it has to start, you have to start to make decisions and choices that will start to move you one step closer. Tie up those laces on your shoes and take the first step out the door. Then we are able to build momentum, you build strength and confidence from the initial progress you get, and then that’s how we become unstoppable.
Are are you going to choose to change, or make excuses you cannot change?
This month’s training session
Mobilisations, activation work, core holds and boxing on the bag (increasing in intensity)
A1: Barbell Push press 4×6
A2: Chin up 4×6
1.5 minutes rest
B1: Kettlebell backwards lunge 3×8
10s rest, swap arms
keep going until fatigued
B2: Kettlebell single leg RDL 3×6
2 minutes rest
C1: Dumbbell shoulder snatch 3×8, 10s rest
C2: Dumbbell row 3×12
1.5 minutes rest
D1: Barbell hip drives 3×12
D2: Barbell Roll out
E1: Side plank 3xmax
E2: Straight arm plank
1.5 minutes rest
4x150m ski erg
sprints to finish